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    32 Science Fiction, Fantasy And Similar Books To Dive Into This July

    It's hard to believe that the year's half over already. The onslaught of books continues, with 33 exciting looking science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, space novels to keep your bookshelves full this month, just in time for vacation.

    Going Grey, by Karen Traviss

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    What it's about: Ian isn't crazy. Life would be a lot simpler if he was. He's eighteen, on the run, and scared – the shape-shifting delusions he's had since childhood have turned out to be real. He's the result of a dynamic mimicry project intended to help undercover agents "go grey" and blend in unnoticed.

    Now the biotech company wants its property back, and the only people he can trust are two private military contractors sent to find him: Rob, a former Royal Marine who's struggling to adjust to Civvy Street, and Mike, heir to a wealthy American political dynasty, who only ever wanted to be an ordinary guy.

    While the company hunts Ian, the two contractors try to help him harness his disturbing ability. But first Ian's got to work out what identity really means – and Mike and Rob have to decide how far they'll go to give him the chance of a normal life.

    Why you should read it: Traviss is a master at realistic, exciting military SF. We missed this back in June, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention it here.

    Release date: 6/9/2014

    Hurricane Fever, Tobias S. Buckell

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    What it's about: Prudence “Roo” Jones never thought he’d have a family to look after—until suddenly he found himself taking care of his orphaned teenage nephew. Roo, a former Caribbean Intelligence operative, spends his downtime on his catamaran dodging the punishing hurricanes that are the new norm in the Caribbean. Roo enjoys the simple calm of his new life—until an unexpected package from a murdered fellow spy shows up. Suddenly Roo is thrown into the center of the biggest storm of all.

    Using his wits—and some of the more violent tricks of his former trade—Roo begins to unravel the mystery that got his friend killed. When a polished and cunning woman claiming to be murdered spy’s sister appears, the two find themselves caught up in a global conspiracy with a weapon that could change the face of the world forever.

    Why you should buy it: Bucknell's works takes his characters all over the world, and this one brings in his own background in the Caribbean. This looks like a taut, exciting thriller.

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    God Is an Astronaut: A Novel by Alyson Foster

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    What it's about: The day of the accident, Jess is in the backyard with a chainsaw, clearing space to build the greenhouse she’s always wanted. And, as always, she is thinking of Arthur. Arthur, her colleague in the botany department, who never believed she’d actually start the project. Arthur, who, after getting too close, has cut off contact, escaping to study the subarctic pines.

    But now there has been a disaster, connected to her husband’s space tourism company: the explosion of a space shuttle filled with commercial passengers, igniting a media frenzy on her family’s doorstep. Jess’s engineer husband is implicated, and she knows there is information he’s withholding, even as she becomes an unwitting player in the efforts to salvage the company’s reputation.

    Struggling, Jess writes to the only person she can be candid with. She writes to Arthur. And in her e-mails—warm, frank, yet freighted with regret and the old habits of seduction—Jess tries to untangle how her life has changed, in one instant but also slowly, and how it might change still.

    Why you should buy it: This one looks as though it falls into the 'Literary' SF scene, set in the reasonably near future, with a disaster striking a private space company.

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    Shattering the Ley by Joshua Palmatier

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    What it's about: Erenthrall—sprawling city of light and magic, whose streets are packed with traders from a dozen lands and whose buildings and towers are grown and shaped in the space of a day.

    At the heart of the city is the Nexus, the hub of a magical ley line system that powers Erenthrall. This ley line also links the city and the Baronial plains to rest of the continent and the world beyond. The Prime Wielders control the Nexus with secrecy and lies, but it is the Baron who controls the Wielders. The Baron also controls the rest of the Baronies through a web of brutal intimidation enforced by his bloodthirsty guardsmen and unnatural assasins.

    When the rebel Kormanley seek to destroy the ley system and the Baron’s chokehold, two people find themselves caught in the chaos that sweeps through Erenthrall and threatens the entire world: Kara Tremain, a young Wielder coming into her power, who discovers the forbidden truth behind the magic that powers the ley lines; and Alan Garrett, a recruit in the Baron’s guard, who learns that the city holds more mysteries and more danger than he could possibly have imagined . . . and who holds a secret within himself that could mean Erenthrall’s destruction — or its salvation.

    Why you should buy it: Palmatier's book looks like a really cool blend of magic and futuristic technology. This type of fantasy is something I always find interesting: what's running under the hood when it comes to magical powers?

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park

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    What it's about: In All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park returns to science fiction after a decade spent on the impressive four-volume A Princess of Roumania fantasy, with an extraordinary, intense, compressed SF novel in three parts, each set in its own alternate-history universe. The sections are all rooted in Virginia and the Battle of the Crater, and are also grounded in the real history of the Park family, from differing points of view. They are all gorgeously imaginative and carefully constructed, and reverberate richly with one another.

    The first section is set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in a world in which the Queen of the North has negotiated a two-nation settlement. The second, taking place in northwestern Massachusetts, investigates a secret project during World War II, in a time somewhat like the present. The third is set in the near-future United States, with aliens from history.

    Why you should buy it: Park's works have come highly acclaimed in the recent past, and now he's back with a new SF story, set among several alternate histories. This looks very impressive to us, and we're excited to see how it plays out!

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    Unwept: Book One of The Nightbirds by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman

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    What it's about: Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them.

    Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who claim to be friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, and that her memories may return in time. But, for her own sake—so they claim—they refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state.

    Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?

    Only her lost past holds the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she falls prey to an unearthly killer.

    Why you should buy it: Tracy and Laura Hickman, the two authors behind the long-running Dragonlance series, have a new book about a woman who has no memory, and with strange happenings around her. This looks like a thrilling read.

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan

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    What it's about: Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus’s vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more. Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus’s grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm.

    But those gifted with the blood-song are never destined to live a quiet life. Many died in King Janus’s wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target, not just for those seeking revenge but for those who know what he can do. The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries. Something moves against the Realm, something that commands mighty forces, and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.

    Why you should buy it: A soldier is drawn back into the life of killing when he's made into a target. This looks like this month's solid epic fantasy release!

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross

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    What it's about: As a newly appointed junior manager within the Laundry—the clandestine organization responsible for protecting Britain against supernatural threats—Bob Howard is expected to show some initiative to help the agency battle the forces of darkness. But shining a light on things best left in the shadows is the last thing Bob wants to do—especially when those shadows hide an occult parasite spreading a deadly virus.

    Traders employed by a merchant bank in London are showing signs of infection—an array of unusual symptoms such as superstrength and -speed, an uncanny talent for mind control, an extreme allergic reaction to sunlight, and an unquenchable thirst for blood. While his department is tangled up in bureaucratic red tape (and Buffy reruns), debating how to stop the rash of vampirism, Bob digs deeper into the bank’s history—only to uncover a bloodcurdling conspiracy between men and monsters...

    Why you should buy it: Stross returns to his Laundry Files universe to take on a new trope: Vampires. Sold.

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    The Sacred River: A Novel by Wendy Wallace

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    What it's about: Harriet Heron’s life is almost over before it has even begun. At just twenty-three years of age, she is an invalid, overprotected and reclusive. Before it is too late, she must escape the fog of Victorian London for a place where she can breathe.

    Together with her devoted mother, Louisa, her god-fearing aunt, Yael, and a book of her own spells inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Harriet travels to a land where the air is tinged with rose and gold and for the first time begins to experience what it is to live. But a chance meeting on the voyage to Alexandria results in a dangerous friendship as Louisa’s long-buried past returns, in the form of someone determined to destroy her by preying on her daughter. As Harriet journeys towards a destiny no one could have foreseen, her Aunt Yael is caught up in an Egypt on the brink of revolt and Louisa must confront the ghosts of her own youth.

    Why you should buy it: This looks like a really neat portal story. Egypt seems to be at the receiving end of some attention, and this book looks like it'll be an interesting read.

    Release date: 7/1/2014

    Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbree

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    What it's about: Much has been written about Neil Armstrong, America’s modern hero and history’s most famous space traveler. Yet shy of fame and never one to steal the spotlight Armstrong was always reluctant to discuss his personal side of events. Here for the first time is the definitive story of Neil’s life of flight he shared for five decades with a trusted friend – Jay Barbree.

    Working from 50 years of conversations he had with Neil, from notes, interviews, NASA spaceflight transcripts, and remembrances of those Armstrong trusted, Barbree writes about Neil’s three passions – flight, family, and friends. This is the inside story of Neil Armstrong from the time he flew combat missions in the Korean War and then flew a rocket plane called the X-15 to the edge of space, to when he saved his Gemini 8 by flying the first emergency return from Earth orbit and then flew Apollo-Eleven to the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.

    Together Neil and Jay discussed everything, from his love of flying, to the war years, and of course his time in space. The book is full of never-before-seen photos and personal details written down for the first time, including what Armstrong really felt when he took that first step on the moon, what life in NASA was like, his relationships with the other astronauts, and what he felt the future of space exploration should be.

    As the only reporter to have covered all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings Jay knows these events intimately. Neil Armstrong himself said, “Barbree is history’s most experienced space journalist. He is exceptionally well qualified to recall and write the events and emotions of our time.” Through his friendship with Neil and his dedicated research, Barbree brings us the most accurate account of his friend’s life of flight, the book he planned for twenty years.

    Why you should buy it: Barbree is one of the longest serving correspondents when it comes to covering space, and his latest is a new biography on Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. This looks like it'll be a must buy for fans of space and science history.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    Resistance by Samit Basu

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    What it's about: In 2020, eleven years after the passengers of flight BA142 from London to Delhi developed extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires, the world is overrun with supers. Some use their powers for good, others for evil, and some just want to pulverize iconic monuments and star in their own reality show. But now, from New York to Tokyo, someone is hunting down supers, killing heroes and villains both, and it’s up to the Unit to stop them…

    Why you should buy it: Basu's follow up to his 2012 novel Turbulence takes on a new look at superpowers across the world. Hailing from India, we're pretty excited to see a new, worldly take on superheroes.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    The High Druid's Blade: The Defenders of Shannara

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    What it's about: Paxon Leah never thought of the old family sword hanging above his living room hearth as anything other than an intriguing ornament—until his sister is kidnapped by a sorceror. Following the dark mage with nothing but this piece of steel to protect him, Paxon stumbles into a plot to remake the world . . . and accidentally unlocks the powers of the ancient blade.

    Why you should buy it: Brooks is back for another Shannara novel: fans of the long-standing series rejoice!

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo

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    What it's about: Welcome to the world of steampunk, a nineteenth century outrageously reconfigured through weird science. With his magnificent trilogy, acclaimed author Paul Di Filippo demonstrates how this unique subgenre of science fiction is done to perfection—reinventing a mannered age of corsets and industrial revolution with odd technologies born of a truly twisted imagination.

    In “Victoria,” the inexplicable disappearance of the British monarch-to-be prompts a scientist to place a human-lizard hybrid clone on the throne during the search for the missing royal. But the doppelgänger queen comes with a most troubling flaw: an insatiable sexual appetite. The somewhat Lovecraftian “Hottentots” chronicles the very unusual adventure of Swiss naturalist and confirmed bigot Louis Agassiz, as his determined search for a rather grisly fetish plunges him into a world of black magic and monsters. Finally, in “Walt and Emily,” the hitherto secret and quite steamy love affair between Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman is revealed in all its sensuous glory—as are their subsequent interdimensional travels aboard a singular ship that transcends the boundaries of time and reality.

    Ingenious, hilarious, ribald, and utterly remarkable, Di Filippo’s The Steampunk Trilogy is a one-of-a-kind literary journey to destinations at once strangely familiar and profoundly strange.

    Steampunk, the twisted offspring of science fiction and post-modernism, colors these stories set in the 19th century. Queen Victoria disappears from the throne and is replaced by a young, sexy woman, while Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman have a lurid love affair and travel to the future to meet Allen Ginsburg.

    Why you should buy it: This collection of three books from Paul Di Filippo bring together three excellent entries in the Steampunk subgenre.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma by Brian Herbert

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    What it's about: A revolution has taken over the government of the United States and the environment has been saved. All pollution has been banned and reversed. It's a bright, green new world. But this new world comes with a great cost. The United States is ruled by a dictatorship and the corporations are fighting back. Joining them are an increasing number of rebels angered by the dictatorship of Chairman Rahma. The Chairman's power is absolute and appears strong, but in The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma by Brian Herbert, cracks are beginning to show as new weapons are developed by the old corporate powers, foreign alliances begin to make inroads into America's influence . . . and strange reports of mutants filter through the government's censorship.

    Why you should buy it: We're used to seeing Brian Herbert's name on his sequel Dune books. This looks like a bit of a paranoid vision of the near future with some weak extrapolations, but we'll be interested to see just what he does with this.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    A Plunder of Souls by D. B. Jackson

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    What it's about: Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villains and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious.

    A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille’s minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related...but how?

    When Ethan discovers the source of this trouble, he realizes that his conjure powers and those of his friends will not be enough to stop a madman from becoming all-powerful. But somehow, using his wits, his powers, and every other resource he can muster, Ethan must thwart the monster’s terrible plan and restore the restless souls of the dead to the peace of the grave. Let the battle for souls begin in Plunder of Souls, the third, stand-alone novel in Jackson’s acclaimed Thieftaker series.

    Why you should buy it: DB Jackson's Gunpowder Fantasy series continues forward in the city of Boston. Perfect for this year's lingering 4th-of-July mood.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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    What it's about: Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

    Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

    Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."

    Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

    Why you should buy it: Johansen's new novel is the first of a trilogy brings together fate and heritage, and it looks like this'll be an exciting fantasy tale.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    California: A Novel by Edan Lepucki

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    What it's about: The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.

    Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

    Why you should buy it: Lepucki's post-apocalyptic tale has gotten a boost from Stephen Colbert, and it's easy to see why: it's a fantastic debut novel. We're reading it now and it's astounding.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    Ringworld: The Graphic Novel, Part One by Larry Niven and Robert Mandell and illustrated by Sean Lam

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    What it's about: In Ringworld, two-hundred-year-old human Louis Wu is recruited by a two-headed alien named Nessus to join him, a catlike warrior alien named Speaker, and the infinitely lucky human Teela Brown to explore an alien artifact.

    They find a Ringworld, a ribbon millions of miles long built around a distant sun. The civilization has fallen into savagery, though, and after crashing into the Ringworld, Louis must come up with a clever plan to get back to known space, hundreds of light years away.

    Why you should buy it: Ringworld returns in a new form: as a graphic novel! This is one of our favorite SF novels (I recently wrote about Niven here), and we're excited to see how this translates out.

    Release date: 7/8/2014

    Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch

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    What it's about: While the rest of the world has moved on, losing itself in the noise of a media-glutted future, survivor John Dominic Blaxton remains obsessed with the past. Grieving for his wife and unborn child who perished in the blast, Dominic relives his lost life by immersing in the Archive—a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh, accessible to anyone who wants to visit the places they remember and the people they loved.

    Dominic investigates deaths recorded in the Archive to help close cases long since grown cold, but when he discovers glitches in the code surrounding a crime scene—the body of a beautiful woman abandoned in a muddy park that he’s convinced someone tried to delete from the Archive—his cycle of grief is shattered.

    With nothing left to lose, Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined.

    Why you should buy it: This is another debut post-apocalyptic novel, with a sort of cyberpunk theme to it: a destroyed city that's been preserved for its memories. This looks excellent.

    Release date: 7/10/2014

    Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

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    What it's about: “I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

    Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

    The deceived will become the deceiver.

    Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

    The betrayed will become the betrayer.

    Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

    Will the usurped become the usurper?

    But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

    Why you should buy it: Abercrombie has been a big name in the grimdark style of fantasy, and this one looks like it'll uphold that reputation.

    Release date: 7/15/2014

    Seeders: A Novel by A. J. Colucci

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    What it's about: George Brookes is a brilliant but reclusive plant biologist living on a remote Canadian island. After his mysterious death, the heirs to his estate arrive on the island, including his daughter Isabelle, her teenage children, and Jules Beecher, a friend and pioneer in plant neurobiology. They will be isolated on the frigid island for two weeks, until the next supply boat arrives.

    As Jules begins investigating the laboratory and scientific papers left by George, he comes to realize that his mentor may have achieved a monumental scientific breakthrough: communication between plants and humans. Within days, the island begins to have strange and violent effects on the group, especially Jules who becomes obsessed with George’s journal, the strange fungus growing on every plant and tree, and horrible secrets that lay buried in the woods. It doesn’t take long for Isabelle to realize that her father may have unleashed something sinister on the island, a malignant force that’s far more deadly than any human. As a fierce storm hits and the power goes out, she knows they’ll be lucky to make it out alive.

    Why you should buy it: This book looks weird in all the right ways: strange happenings on an isolated island. It looks terrifying and thrilling all at once.

    Release date: 7/15/2014

    Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

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    What it's about: On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can't stop it first.

    Why you should buy it: Gladstone's series has been getting accolades with it's unique take on fantasy fiction, and this latest story has been highly praised already. It's at the top of our to-read pile.

    Release date: 7/15/2014

    Fortune's Rising by Sara King

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    What it's about: Under the supertech Coalition government, Fortune’s colonists are enslaved to harvest the highly valuable brain-enhancing drug Yolk, often losing their sanity and lives in the process. The population is dying off and the planet is becoming a police state whose only purpose is to harvest Yolk. But a revolution is in the air, fueled by an unlikely band of rebels:

    - Anna Landborn, a brilliant, sociopathic child, and her quiet, lethally gifted sister, Magali;

    - Runaway Joel, a virtuous military pilot turned tormented smuggler;

    - Milar Whitecliff, a tattooed, chess-playing fugitive full of hatred and heart;

    - Doberman, a simple robot in the throes of a startling transformation;

    - Tatiana Eyre, a captured Coalition soldier torn between loyalty and love.

    As their paths and fates collide, the battle to spark a full-scale uprising is violently challenged by the Nephyrs, the government’s elite army of sadistic, near-indestructible cyborgs. But the prophecies of a mad soothsayer have foretold the coming of a hero destined to turn the tide—and the fight for freedom is just beginning.

    Why you should buy it: 47North's latest looks like it'll be an oustanding space opera, with an exciting cast of characters and space warfare.

    Release date: 7/15/2014

    Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir

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    What it's about: Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

    Why you should buy it: Another entry in the 'literary' SF canon, but this looks like it's unique, weird and very interesting.

    Release date: 7/15/2014

    The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi

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    What it's about: With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterization and his unrivaled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science, Hannu Rajaniemi swiftly set a new benchmark for Science Fiction in the 21st century. Now, with his third novel, he completes the tale of the many lives, and minds, of gentleman rogue Jean de Flambeur.

    Influenced as much by the fin de siècle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF, Rajaniemi weaves intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of a wild future,and deep conjectures on the nature of reality and story.

    In The Causal Angel we will discover the ultimate fates of Jean, his employer Miele, the independently minded ship Perhonnen, and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung throughout the solar system.

    Why you should buy it:Rajaniemi's trilogy is coming to a close with the long-awaited Causal Angel. His brand of SF has electrified the SF community, and it'll be interesting to see how he wraps everything up.

    Release date: 7/15/2014

    World of Trouble (Last Policeman Series #3) by Ben H. Winters

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    What it's about: With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank’s safety is only relative, and his only relative—his sister Nico—isn’t safe. Soon, it’s clear that there’s more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it’s up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out…for everyone.

    Why you should buy it: Winter's series has become very highly acclaimed (and award winning!), and now, the trilogy comes to a close with World of Trouble. We're sad to see it go.

    Release date: 7/15/2014

    New Frontiers: A Collection of Tales About the Past, the Present, and the Future by Ben Bova

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    What it's about: Frontiers can be found in all directions. Frontiers of time and space, as well as frontiers of courage, devotion, love, hate, and the outer limits of the human spirit. This outstanding collection of stories by one of science fiction’s premier talents spans the length and breadth of history and the universe, while exploring thought-provoking new ideas and dilemmas.

    From the Baghdad of the Arabian Nights to a vast interstellar empire thousands of years in the future, from the Vatican to a one-man vessel drifting in the vast emptiness of the Asteroid Belt, from virtual reality duels to the subtle intricacies of time travel and a golf tournament on the Moon, here are tales of scoundrels and heroes, scientists and explorers, aliens and artificial intelligences, and even a young Albert Einstein. Each of them stands at the border of a new frontier and must venture out into unexplored territory—thanks to the limitless imagination of Ben Bova.

    Why you should buy it: Bova is a master at the hard SF genre, and this new collection brings together some of his shorter fiction into a single volume.

    Release date: 7/22/2014

    Prototype by M. D. Waters

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    What it's about: Emma looks forward to the day when she can let go of her past—both of them. After more than a year on the run, with clues to her parents’ whereabouts within her grasp, she may finally find a place to settle down. Start a new life. Maybe even create new memories with a new family.

    But the past rises to haunt her and to make sure there’s nowhere on the planet she can hide. Declan Burke wants his wife back, and with a little manipulation and a lot of reward money, he’s got the entire world on his side. Except for the one man she dreads confronting the most: Noah Tucker.

    Emma returns to face what she’s done but finds that the past isn’t the problem. It’s the present—and the future it represents. Noah has moved on and another woman is raising their daughter.

    Why you should buy it: The follow up to Water's first book, Archetype, looks as though it's an exciting, interesting voice in speculative fiction. Archetype's on our to-read list, and together, both books look as though they've very good reads.

    Release date: 7/24/2014

    Tigerman: A novel by Nick Harkaway

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    What it's about: Sergeant Lester Ferris is a good man in need of a rest. After a long career of being shot at, he’s about to be retired. The mildly larcenous, backwater island of Mancreu is the ideal place to serve out his time, a former British colony in legal limbo, belching toxic clouds of waste and facing imminent destruction by an international community concerned for their own safety. The perfect place for Lester is also the perfect location for a multinational array of shady businesses. Hence the Black Fleet of illicit ships lurking in the bay: spy stations, arms dealers, offshore hospitals, money-laundering operations, drug factories and torture centers. None of which should be a problem, since Lester’s brief is to sit tight and turn a blind eye.

    Meanwhile, he befriends a brilliant, Internet-addled street kid with a comic-book fixation who will need a new home when the island dies. When Mancreu’s fragile society erupts in violence, Lester must be more than just an observer: he has no choice but to rediscover the man of action he once was, and find out what kind of hero the island—and the boy—will need.

    Why you should buy it: Harkaway's latest book since his award-winning Angelmaker set on a toxic, contested island as violence comes down on a veteran's home.

    Release date: 7/29/2014

    Hardship by Jean Johnson

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    What it's about: It began with a terrible vision of the future. Compelled by her precognitive abilities, Ia must somehow save her home galaxy long after she’s gone. Now Jean Johnson presents the long-awaited epic conclusion to her national bestselling military science fiction series…

    Demoralized, their ship destroyed, Ia’s Damned must fight their way out of a planet-bound blockade and back into space. But there is more happening here on Dabin than meets even Ia’s inner eye.

    Some of the Feyori, energy-based beings of vast power and arrogance, are moving to block her efforts under the direction of her counter-faction foe, Miklinn. The Terran Army Division stationed on Dabin is not cooperating with her battle plans. Events are not happening as Ia has foreseen, and too many people are now in grave danger, thanks to alien Meddling.

    All these hardships are threatening to derail Ia’s carefully laid plans. The Meddlers, however, have made one fatal mistake:

    They’re just making Bloody Mary mad.

    Why you should buy it: Johnson's latest in her Theirs Not To Reason Why series continues the story of Military SF heroine in deep space. We loved the earlier books in this series, and now, we're excited to see what happens next.

    Release date: 7/29/2014

    The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

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    What it's about: The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

    When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

    Why you should buy it: This novel blends together steampunk and mystery fiction, two excellent genres that go really well together.

    Release date: 7/29/2014

    Cast in Flame by Michelle Sagara

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    What it's about: Any day that starts with dragon arguments is going to be bad

    Kaylin returned from the West March in one piece. Now that piece is fraying. She's not at home in the Imperial Palace—and she never intends to be. All she wants is normal garden-variety criminals and a place of her own. Of course, normal in her new life involves a dragon as a roommate, but she can handle that.

    She can't as easily handle the new residents to the city she polices, because one of them is Nightshade's younger brother. On a night when she should be talking to landlords in perfectly normal buildings, she's called to the fief—by Teela. A small family disagreement has become a large, complicated problem: Castle Nightshade's latent magic is waking.

    And it's not the only thing.

    Why you should buy it: Sagara's latest sets her fantasy in Asia, following Kaylin as she policies a fantastic city as magic awakes, along with other mysterious dangers.

    Release date: 7/29/2014

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