40 SF/F Books To Read In June 2014

The year’s half over now, but there’s a new cohort of books arriving this month to fill your bookshelves. From anthologies to collections, and from fantasy to weird horror to science fiction, to mystery to non-fiction, there’s plenty of books coming out this month to keep every fan happy.

1. Women Destroy Science Fiction, edited by Christie Yant

What it’s about: Lightspeed Magazine is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF—and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales.

This month, we present our special anniversary issue, Women Destroy Science Fiction!, an all-science fiction extravaganza entirely written—and edited!—by women.

Guest-edited by long-time Lightspeed assistant editor Christie Yant, our Women Destroy Science Fiction! Issue contains eleven all-new, original science fiction short stories, plus four short story reprints, a novella reprint, and for the first time ever, an array of fifteen flash fiction stories. In addition to all that goodness, we also have more than two dozen personal essays by women talking about their experiences reading and writing science fiction, plus seven in-depth nonfiction articles.

Why you should buy it: This special, all women’s issue (anthology, really, weighing in at 488 pages), has a number of absolutely fantastic original and reprinted short stories, as well as essays by and about women working in science fiction. This is a must-buy.

Release date: 6/1/2014

2. Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, by David Hitt and Heather R. Smith

What it’s about: After the Apollo program put twelve men on the moon and safely brought them home, anything seemed possible. In this spirit, the team at NASA set about developing the Space Shuttle, arguably the most complex piece of machinery ever created. The world’s first reusable spacecraft, it launched like a rocket, landed like a glider, and carried out complicated missions in between.

Bold They Rise tells the story of the Space Shuttle through the personal experiences of the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who made it happen—in space and on the ground, from the days of research and design through the heroic accomplishments of the program to the tragic last minutes of the Challenger disaster. In the participants’ own voices, we learn what so few are privy to: what it was like to create a new form of spacecraft, to risk one’s life testing that craft, to float freely in the vacuum of space as a one-man satellite, to witness a friend’s death. A “guided tour” of the shuttle—in historical, scientific, and personal terms—this book provides a fascinating, richly informed, and deeply personal view of a feat without parallel in the human story.

Why you should buy it: It’s not Science Fiction, but it’s just as awesome. This book is the latest in the University of Nebraska Press’s fantastic Outward Odyssey series, detailing human spaceflight efforts from its inception. This one looks like it’ll be excellent.

Release date: 6/1/2014

3. The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson

What it’s about: Twenty years after the elemental conflict that nearly tore apart the cosmos in The Saga of Seven Suns, a new threat emerges from the darkness. The human race must set aside its own inner conflicts to rebuild their alliance with the Ildiran Empire for the survival of the galaxy.

Why you should buy it: Kevin J. Anderson’s known for a number of his tie-in novels, but he’s also known for his Saga of the Seven Suns, a major space opera series from a couple of years ago. Now, he’s back with the start of a new trilogy set in the same world.

Release date: 6/3/2014

4. The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six edited by Ellen Datlow

What it’s about: This statement was true when H. P. Lovecraft first wrote it at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it remains true at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The only thing that has changed is what is unknown.
With each passing year, science, technology, and the march of time shine light into the craggy corners of the universe, making the fears of an earlier generation seem quaint. But this “light” creates its own shadows. The Best Horror of the Year, edited by Ellen Datlow, chronicles these shifting shadows. It is a catalog of terror, fear, and unpleasantness, as articulated by today’s most challenging and exciting writers.

Why you should buy it: Datlow is one of the best anthologists out there right now, and her curated list of the best horror stories of the year looks like it’s got an excellent table of contents.

Release date: 6/3/2014

5. The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon

What it’s about: The war that they had feared is now upon them. Ashe and Rhapsody, leaders of the Cymrian Alliance, are gathering their allies to combat the machinations of Talquist, who will soon be crowned emperor of Sorbold. Gwydion Navarne remains by Ashe’s side. Anborn, Lord Marshal, has taken to the field. And Rhapsody has been forced into hiding to protect the life of her infant son.

The Merchant Emperor of Sorbold has unintentionally allied himself with a pair of demons and has begun targeting the dragons that remain on the Middle Continent. Talquist will stop at nothing until the Cymrians are wiped out and the entire continent and the rest of the Known World is under his rule.

Assailed by danger from all sides, surrounded by lies and intrigue, Rhapsody is left with one undeniable truth: if their forces are to prevail, she must join the war herself, wielding the Daystar Clarion, an ancient weapon whose power is nearly unparalleled. As she struggles to reconcile her duties as a mother and ruler, a danger far more devastating than Talquist is stirring beneath the surface of the land itself.

Why you should buy it: 14 years after the first book in the series was published, Haydon’s latest is a continuation of her Symphony of Ages Series.

Release date: 6/3/2014

6. Shadows & Tall Trees 2014, edited by Michael Kelly

What it’s about: Shadows & Tall Trees is the flagship publication of Undertow Publications, a small press based near Toronto. In 2010 and 2013 the journal was a finalist for the British Fantasy Award for Best Periodical/Magazine.

Why you should buy it: This started out as a magazine, and now, it seems to be a yearly anthology of Weird fiction. This one has some outstanding authors in its Table of Contents.

Release date: 6/3/2014

7. Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King

What it’s about: In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Why you should buy it: King is the undisputed king of horror novels, and this latest one from him looks like it’ll be a bit of a twist: his first ‘hardboiled detective novel’. Color us interested.

Release date: 6/3/2014

8. Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

What it’s about: The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

Why you should buy it: Lawrence made a real name for himself with his Broken Empire series, and now he’s back with a new series set in the same world. This one will no doubt attract new and old epic fantasy fans.

Release date: 6/3/2014

9. A Barricade in Hell, by Jaime Lee Moyer

What it’s about: Delia Martin has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with the ability to peer across to the other side. Since childhood, her constant companions have been ghosts. She used her powers and the help of those ghosts to defeat a twisted serial killer terrorizing her beloved San Francisco. Now it’s 1917—the threshold of a modern age—and Delia lives a peaceful life with Police Captain Gabe Ryan.

That peace shatters when a strange young girl starts haunting their lives and threatens Gabe. Delia tries to discover what this ghost wants as she becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and an end to war. But as young people begin to disappear, and audiences display a loyalty and fervor not attributable to simple persuasion, that message of peace reveals a hidden dark side.

As Delia discovers the truth, she faces a choice—take a terrible risk to save her city, or chance losing everything?

Why you should buy it: This looks like a neat turn of the century Ghost story.

Release date: 6/3/2014

10. Robert A. Heinlein, Vol 2: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better, by William H. Patterson Jr.

What it’s about: Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) is generally considered the greatest American science fiction author of the twentieth century. His most famous and widely influential works include the Future History series (stories and novels collected in The Past Through Tomorrow and continued in later novels), Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress—all published in the years covered by this volume. He was a friend of admirals, bestselling writers, and artists; became committed to defending the United States during the Cold War; and was on the advisory committee that helped Ronald Reagan create the Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative in the 1980s.

Heinlein was also devoted to space flight and humanity’s future in space, and he was a commanding presence to all around him in his lifetime. Given his desire for privacy in the later decades of his life, the revelations in this biography make for riveting reading.

Why you should buy it: The second part of a two-volume biography, Patterson’s last (he passed away last month) book looks to be a stunningly comprehensive look at one of science fiction’s best known authors.

Release date: 6/3/2014

11. On the Steel Breeze, by Alastair Reynolds

What it’s about: Chiku Akinya, great granddaughter of the legendary space explorer Eunice and heir to the family empire, is just one among millions on a long one way journey towards a planet they hope to call their new home. For Chiku, the journey is a personal one, undertaken to ensure that the Akinya family achieves its destiny among the stars.

The passengers travel in huge self-contained artificial worlds—holoships—putting their faith in a physics they barely understand. Chiku’s ship is called Zanzibar—and over time, she will discover it contains an awesome secret—one which will lead her to question almost every certainty about her voyage, and its ultimate destiny…

Why you should buy it: Reynolds is a mainstay in modern space opera, and this second book in his Poseidon’s Children follows Blue Remembered Earth. Looks excellent.

Release date: 6/3/2014

12. Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr

What it’s about: The definitive biography of Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, with exclusive insights from Ride’s family and partner, by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys’ club to a more inclusive elite.

Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women.

After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the Challenger explosion and the Columbia disintegration that killed all aboard. In both instances she faulted NASA’s rush to meet mission deadlines and its organizational failures. She cofounded a company promoting scienceand education for children, especially girls.

Sherr also writes about Ride’s scrupulously guarded personal life—she kept her sexual orientation private—with exclusive access to Ride’s partner, her former husband, her family, and countless friends and colleagues. Sherr draws from Ride’s diaries, files, and letters. This is a rich biography of a fascinating woman whose life intersected with revolutionary social and scientific changes in America. Sherr’s revealing portrait is warm and admiring but unsparing. It makes this extraordinarily talented and bold woman, an inspiration to millions, come alive.

Why you should buy it: This is another non-fiction space book, but it’s certainly worth looking into. We’re reading it now, and it’s blowing us away at it’s in-depth coverage of Ride’s life.

Release date: 6/3/2014

13. Hungry by H. A. Swain

What it’s about: In Thalia’s world, there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. Her parents both work for the company that developed the drugs society consumes to quell any food cravings, and they live a life of privilege as a result. When Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that there is an entire world outside her own. She also starts to feel hunger, and so does the boy. Are the meds no longer working?

Together, they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food. It’s a journey that will change everything Thalia thought she knew. But can a “privy” like her ever truly be part of a revolution?

Why you should buy it: What happens when you no longer have to eat? This looks like a really cool YA novel of a dystopic future.

Release date: 6/3/2014

14. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel by Genevieve Valentine

What it’s about: Jo, the firstborn, “The General” to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those she must make of herself.

Why you should buy it: In this reimagining of the Twelve Dancing Princesses set during the 1920s, Valentine looks like she’ll extend her already considerable reputation in the SF/F world. This book looks stunning.

Release date: 6/3/2014

15. Ecko Burning by Danie Ware

What it’s about: Ruthless and ambitious, Lord Phylos has control of Fhaveon city, and is using her forces to bring the grasslands under his command. His last opponent is an elderly scribe who’s lost his best friend and wants only to do the right thing.

Seeking weapons, Ecko and his companions follow a trail of myth and rumour to a ruined city where both nightmare and shocking truth lie in wait.

When all of these things come together, the world will change beyond recognition.

Back in London, the Bard is offered the opportunity to realise everything he has ever wanted - if he will give up his soul.

Why you should buy it: Ware had a hit with Ecko Rising last year, and this sequel looks to be just as interesting.

Release date: 6/3/2014

16. Dawn Song by Michael Marano

What it’s about: Dawn Song is a modern dark fantasy classic in which Lawrence, a young bookstore clerk seeking to escape his repressive past and find a place for himself in Boston’s Gay community, crosses paths with a Succubus - a powerful, shape-shifting female spirit who destroys the bodies and souls of the lovers she takes - who has been sent to Earth to earn a Name by furthering her demonic patron’s cause in a war fought among factions in Hell. Escalating conflicts, both spiritual and earthly, lay waste to the lives, sanity, and souls of the innocent (and not-so innocent) as Lawrence and the Succubus are both nearly destroyed, and discover in themselves a capacity to love that will either be their mutual salvation - or damnation!

Why you should buy it: Topped with a really cool cover, this looks like a clever and really interesting horror novel.

Release date: 6/4/2014

17. Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

What it’s about: Nearly 100 years before the events of Orson Scott Card’s bestselling novel Ender’s Game, humans were just beginning to step off Earth and out into the Solar System. A thin web of ships in both asteroid belts; a few stations; a corporate settlement on Luna. No one had seen any sign of other space-faring races; everyone expected that First Contact, if it came, would happen in the future, in the empty reaches between the stars. Then a young navigator on a distant mining ship saw something moving too fast, heading directly for our sun.

When the alien ship screamed through the solar system, it disrupted communications between the far-flung human mining ships and supply stations, and between them and Earth. So Earth and Luna were unaware that they had been invaded until the ship pulled into Earth orbit, and began landing terra-forming crews in China. Politics and pride slowed the response on Earth, and on Luna, corporate power struggles seemed more urgent than distant deaths. But there are a few men and women who see that if Earth doesn’t wake up and pull together, the planet could be lost.

Why you should buy it: The third book in Card and Johnston’s series that predates Ender’s Game, covering the events of the first Formic War. Card is a questionable author, but those who grew up with Ender’s Game should be interested to see what preceded his most famous book.

Release date: 6/10/2014

18. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

What it’s about: Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

Why you should buy it: This novel has also been receiving a lot of attention, and it’s cryptic plot from the back (plus a blurb from Joss Whedon), has us intrigued.

Release date: 6/10/2014

19. California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout

What it’s about: When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian.

When Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones.

Now, years later, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles—the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California—Daniel is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist he wants Daniel to perform: break into the Hierarch’s storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian’s sword, an object of untold power.

For this dangerous mission, Daniel will need a team he can rely on, so he brings in his closest friends from his years in the criminal world. There’s Moth, who can take a bullet and heal in mere minutes. Jo Alverado, illusionist. The multitalented Cassandra, Daniel’s ex. And, new to them all, the enigmatic, knowledgeable Emma, with her British accent and her own grudge against the powers-that-be. The stakes are high, and the stage is set for a showdown that might just break the magic that protects a long-corrupt regime.

Why you should buy it: This novel has already been gathering accolades in the months before it was published. It looks like an excellent, cross-genre drama that’s already captured our attention.

Release date: 6/10/2014

20. Paradise and Elsewhere by Kathy Page

What it’s about: The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin.

Why you should buy it: From the description, this collection of short fiction looks weird, different and really, really cool.

Release date: 6/10/2014

21. Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea

What it’s about: Five hundred years from now, ex-corporate mercenary Koko Martstellar is swaggering through an early retirement as a brothel owner on The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort archipelago known for its sex and simulated violence. Surrounded by slang-drooling boywhores and synthetic komodo dragons, the most challenging part of Koko’s day is deciding on her next drink. That is, until her old comrade Portia Delacompte sends a squad of security personnel to murder her.

Why you should buy it: This book looks absolutely bonkers, and it’s one that we’re itching to read.

Release date: 6/10/2014

22. Shield and Crocus by Michael Underwood

What it’s about: In a city built among the bones of a fallen giant, a small group of heroes looks to reclaim their home from the five criminal tyrants who control it.

The city of Audec-Hal sits among the bones of a Titan. For decades it has suffered under the dominance of five tyrants, all with their own agendas. Their infighting is nothing, though, compared to the mysterious “Spark-storms” that alternate between razing the land and bestowing the citizens with wild, unpredictable abilities. It was one of these storms that gave First Sentinel, leader of the revolutionaries known as the Shields of Audec-Hal, power to control the emotional connections between people—a power that cost him the love of his life.

Now, with nothing left to lose, First Sentinel and the Shields are the only resistance against the city’s overlords as they strive to free themselves from the clutches of evil. The only thing they have going for them is that the crime lords are fighting each other as well—that is, until the tyrants agree to a summit that will permanently divide the city and cement their rule of Audec-Hal.

It’s one thing to take a stand against oppression, but with the odds stacked against the Shields, it’s another thing to actually triumph.

Why you should buy it: A city in the bones of a Titan. That just sounds awesome. Sold.

Release date: 6/10/2014

23. Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson

What it’s about: Humankind had triumphed over the machines. At the end of Robopocalypse, the modern world was largely devastated, humankind was pressed to the point of annihilation, and the earth was left in tatters … but the master artificial intelligence presence known as Archos had been killed.

In Robogenesis, we see that Archos has survived. Spread across the far reaches of the world, the machine code has fragmented into millions of pieces, hiding and regrouping. In a series of riveting narratives, Robogenesis explores the fates of characters new and old, robotic and human, as they fight to build a new world in the wake of a devastating war. Readers will bear witness as survivors find one another, form into groups, and react to a drastically different (and deadly) technological landscape. All the while, the remnants of Archos’s shattered intelligence are seeping deeper into new breeds of machines, mounting a war that will not allow for humans to win again.

Why you should buy it: Robopocalypse was a blockbuster hit (and almost made into a movie), and this one continues the story. It looks like there’ll be another hit on Wilson’s hands.

Release date: 6/10/2014

24. Vintage Visions: Essays on Early Science Fiction by Arthur B. Evans

What it’s about: Vintage Visions is a seminal collection of scholarly essays on early works of science fiction and its antecedents. From Cyrano de Bergerac in 1657 to Olaf Stapledon in 1937, this anthology focuses on an unusually broad range of authors and works in the genre as it emerged across the globe, including the United States, Russia, Europe, and Latin America. The book includes material that will be of interest to both scholars and fans, including an extensive bibliography of criticism on early science fiction—the first of its kind—and a chronological listing of 150 key early works. Before Dr. Strangelove, future-war fiction was hugely popular in nineteenth-century Great Britain. Before Terminator, a French author depicted Thomas Edison as the creator of the perfect female android. These works and others are featured in this critical anthology.

Why you should buy it: This looks like it’ll be an astounding collection of essays that examine the early days of the science fiction genre.

Release date: 6/11/2014

25. Headlong by Simon Ings

What it’s about: Post-cyberpunk SF that recalls the darkness of M. John Harrison and the wild visual imagination of China Mieville and Hannu Rajaniemi, HEADLONG felt ahead of the curve when first published and now serves to show just why Simon Ings has remained on the cutting edge of genre fiction. Surgically connected to their swarming robotic workers, architects Christopher and Joanne Yale are turning the moon into a paradise. But now, without warning, the machines have pulled the plug and are building a new, insane future away from the control of human minds.

Why you should buy it: Ings is a really interesting author, and this book looks like it’s got a fascinating vision of the future.

Release date: 6/12/2014

26. Chasing the Milky Way by Erin E. Moulton

What it’s about: Lucy Peevy has a dream—to get out of the trailer park she lives in and become a famous scientist. And she’s already figured out how to do that: Build a robot that will win a cash prize at the BotBlock competition and save it for college. But when you’ve got a mama who doesn’t always take her meds, it’s not easy to achieve those goals. Especially when Lucy’s mama takes her, her baby sister Izzy, and their neighbor Cam away in her convertible, bound for parts unknown. But Lucy, Izzy and Cam are good at sticking together, and even better at solving problems. But not all problems have the best solutions, and Lucy and Izzy must face the one thing they’re scared of even more than Mama’s moods: living without her at all.

Why you should buy it: A disclaimer here: Erin is a childhood friend, and this book looks excellent: a compelling, near future look at mental health and growing up. This is a must buy.

Release date: 6/12/2014

27. Bliss House: A Novel by Laura Benedict

What it’s about: Death never did come quietly for Bliss House … and now a mother and daughter have become entwined in the secrets hidden within its walls.
Amidst the lush farmland and orchards in Old Gate, Virginia, stands the magnificent Bliss House. Built in 1878 as a country retreat, Bliss House is impressive, historic, and inexplicably mysterious. Decades of strange occurrences, disappearances and deaths have plagued the house, yet it remains vibrant. And very much alive.

Rainey Bliss Adams desperately needed a new start when she and her daughter Ariel relocated from St. Louis to Old Gate and settled into the house where the Bliss family had lived for over a century. Rainey’s husband had been killed in a freak explosion that left her 14 year-old daughter Ariel scarred and disfigured.

At the grand housewarming party, Bliss House begins to reveal itself again. Ariel sees haunting visions: the ghost of her father, and the ghost of a woman being pushed to her death off of an upper floor balcony, beneath an exquisite dome of painted stars. And then there is a death the night of the party. Who is the murderer in the midst of this small town? And who killed the woman in Ariel’s visions? But Bliss House is loath to reveal its secrets, as are the good folks of Old Gate.

Why you should buy it: Summer is never the time that we’d think to pick up a horror novel, but this one might just do it. Benedict’s novel looks like it’ll be an excellent ghost story that’ll keep us up at night.

Release date: 6/15/2014

28. Rogues, edited by George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois

What it’s about: If you’re a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.

Why you should buy it: Another major anthology from George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, with an excellent TOC of authors.

Release date: 6/17/2014

29. Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey

What it’s about: The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity’s home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.

Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth.

James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail.

And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.

Why you should buy it: Picking up after the events of Abbadon’s Gate, humanity now has a doorway to countless other stars, and one of the absolute best series in space opera continues. This book is already excellent (we’re not finished yet), and we can’t wait to see what happens next. Plus, the SyFy channel’s got this one set up to become a TV show next year.

Release date: 6/17/2014

30. The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds by Neil Gaiman, and illustrated by Eddie Campbell

What it’s about: You ask me if I can forgive myself?
I can forgive myself …

And so begins The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure. This gorgeous full-color illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman and renowned artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman’s award-winning story. In this volume, the talents and vision of two great creative geniuses come together in a glorious explosion of color and shadow, memory and regret, vengeance and, ultimately, love.

… for many things. For where I left him.
For what I did.

Why you should buy it: This is a neat looking adaptation of one of Gaiman’s best recent stories (originally published in his Stories anthology. Now with images, it looks like this’ll be a really cool read.

Release date: 6/17/2014

31. Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus

What it’s about: Kari, a young woman, returns to the jungle planet of Dora after ten years in Earth’s schools determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding the harpies, a feral species with the appearance half-bird, half-human.

The human colonists believe harpies are dangerous animals, which are known to steal women. The creatures are hunted like wild game, their wings considered rare trophies. But Kari distrusts these rumors. When she was attacked by a monster in the jungle as a child, a male harpy with rare golden coloring rescued her.

Constant hunting by men has driven the harpies to the brink of extinction. Is Kari’s savior, the elegant golden harpy, is still alive? If so, how long can he and his flock survive the ravages of mankind?

Why you should buy it: This novel looks like an interesting throwback to some of the classic science fiction stories of the 1960s/1970s. Looks entertaining!

Release date: 6/17/2014

32. Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov

What it’s about: Centuries after the disastrous War of the Necromancers, the Nabatorians, aligned with the evil necromancers of Sdis, mount an invasion of the Empire. Luk, a soldier, and Ga-Nor, a Northern barbarian, are thrown together as they attempt to escape the Nabatorian hordes and find their way back to their comrades.

Gray and Layan are a married couple, master thieves who are hiding out and trying to escape their former gang. They hope to evade the bounty hunters that hound them and retire to a faraway land in peace.

Tia is a powerful dark sorceress and one of The Damned—a group trying to take over the world and using the Nabatorian invasion as a diversion.

Unfortunately, for Gray and Layan, they unwittingly hold the key to a powerful magical weapon that could bring The Damned back to power.

Hounded by the killers on their trail and by the fearsome creatures sent by The Damned, Gray and Layan are aided by Luk and Ga-Nor—and Harold, the hero of The Chronicles of Siala. Realizing what’s at stake they decide that, against all odds, they must stop The Damned.

Why you should buy it: The first novel from Pehov (a translation), Chasers of the Wind looks like a really exciting epic fantasy.

Release date: 6/17/2014

33. The Long Mars: A Novel by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

What it’s about: 2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his request… .

Meanwhile U. S. Navy Commander Maggie Kauffman has embarked on an incredible journey of her own, leading an expedition to the outer limits of the far Long Earth.

For Joshua, the crisis he faces is much closer to home. He becomes embroiled in the plight of the Next: the super-bright post-humans who are beginning to emerge from their “long childhood” in the community called Happy Landings, located deep in the Long Earth. Ignorance and fear have caused “normal” human society to turn against the Next. A dramatic showdown seems inevitable… .

Why you should buy it: The powerhouse combination of Sir Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter continues with their third collaboration in the Long Earth series. We’ve heard good things about it’s predecessors.

Release date: 6/17/2014

34. The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith, (J. K. Rowling)

What it’s about: When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

Why you should buy it: The latest Cormoran Strike novel from J. K. Rowling comes a year after the first, which surprised everyone when it was revealed that Harry Potter scribe was the woman behind the curtain of Robert Galbraith.

Release date: 6/19/2014

35. Unexpected Stories, by Octavia Butler

What it’s about: The novella “A Necessary Being” showcases Octavia E. Butler’s ability to create alien yet fully believable “others.” Tahneh’s father was a Hao, one of a dwindling race whose leadership abilities render them so valuable that their members are captured and forced to govern. When her father dies, Tahneh steps into his place, both chief and prisoner, and for twenty years has ruled without ever meeting another of her kind. She bears her loneliness privately until the day that a Hao youth is spotted wandering into her territory. As her warriors sharpen their weapons, Tahneh must choose between imprisoning the newcomer—and living the rest of her life alone.

The second story in this volume, “Childfinder,” was commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendary (and never-published) anthology The Last Dangerous Visions™. A disaffected telepath connects with a young girl in a desperate attempt to help her harness her growing powers. But in the richly evocative fiction of Octavia E. Butler, mentorship is a rocky path, and every lesson comes at a price.

Why you should buy it: Butler’s a master of science fiction, and these two unpublished and recently released stories are outstanding finds.

Release date: 6/24/2014

36. Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica

What it’s about: One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.

The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.

Sophie doesn’t know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered…her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don’t know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world…or is doomed to exile, in Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica.

Why you should buy it: This looks like an outstanding portal fantasy novel.

Release date: 6/24/2014

37. Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel by Katherine Harbour

What it’s about: Serafina Sullivan, named for angels and a brave Irish prince, is haunted by dreams of her older sister, Lily Rose, a sprite, ethereal beauty who unexpectedly took her own life. A year has passed since Lily’s death, and now eighteen-year-old Finn and her college-professor father have moved back to Fair Hollow, her father’s pretty little hometown alongside the Hudson River. Populated with socialites, hippies, and famous dramatic artists, every corner of this quaint, bohemian community holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the alluring Jack Fata, scion of the town’s most powerful family.

Jack’s smoldering looks and air of secrecy draw Finn into a dangerous romance … and plunge her into an eerie world of shadow and light ruled by the beautiful and fearsome Reiko Fata. Exciting and monstrous, the Fata family and its circle of strange, aristocratic denizens wield irresistible charm and glamorous power— a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds perilous consequences for a curious girl like Finn.

As she becomes more deeply entwined with Jack, Finn discovers that their lives and those of the ones she loves, including her best friends Christie Hart and Sylvie Whitethorn, are in peril. But an unexpected ally may help her protect them: her beloved sister, Lily Rose. Within the pages of the journal that Lily left behind are clues Finn must decipher to unlock the secret of the Fatas.

Yet the wrathful and deadly Reiko has diabolical plans of her own for Finn, as well as powerful allies. To save herself and to free her beloved Jack from the Fatas, Finn must stand up against the head of the family and her clever minions, including the vicious, frightening Caliban—a battle that will reveal shocking secrets about Lily Rose’s death and about Finn herself …

Why you should buy it: This is a retelling of the Scottish Tam Lin story, and it looks like it’s a really interesting take. Color us interested.

Release date: 6/24/2014

38. The Last Page by Anthony Huso

What it’s about: The city of Isca is set like a dark jewel in the crown of the Duchy of Stonehold. In this sprawling landscape, the monsters one sees are nothing compared to what’s living in the city’s sewers.

Twenty-three-year-old Caliph Howl is Stonehold’s reluctant High King. Thrust onto the throne, Caliph has inherited Stonehold’s dirtiest court secrets. He also faces a brewing civil war that he is unprepared to fight. After months alone amid a swirl of gossip and political machinations, the sudden reappearance of his old lover, Sena, is a welcome bit of relief. But Sena has her own legacy to claim: she has been trained from birth by the Shradnae witchocracy—adept in espionage and the art of magical equations writ in blood—and she has been sent to spy on the High King.

Yet there are magics that demand a higher price than blood. Sena secretly plots to unlock the Cisrym Ta, an arcane text whose pages contain the power to destroy worlds. The key to opening the book lies in Caliph’s veins, forcing Sena to decide if her obsession for power is greater than her love for Caliph.

Meanwhile, a fleet of airships creeps ever closer to Isca. As the final battle in a devastating civil war looms and the last page of the Cisrym Ta waits to be read, Caliph and Sena must face the deadly consequences of their decisions. And the blood of these conflicts will stain this and other worlds forever.

Why you should buy it: Reviews for this have compared it to China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, which is a pretty tall claim. It looks like a fascinating book.

Release date: 6/24/2014

39. A Better World by Marcus Sakey

What it’s about: The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional…and the rest of us.

Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.

Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.

And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down.

Why you should buy it: The first novel in this series, Brilliance, was a fantastic page turner akin to that of Fringe and Person of Interest. Hyper-powered people are all around the world, with an outstanding and bleak dystopic US as its world. This new novel has shot to the top of our list.

Release date: 6/24/2014

40. Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin

What it’s about: Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

Why you should buy it: Martin’s excellent with fantasy, and this one looks like it’ll be the start to a really interesting urban fantasy series.

Release date: 6/25/2014

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