Okay, so it’s almost halfway through July for this post, but that’s okay because there are so many exciting SFF releasing coming in August and September (and the rest of July)!
Despite number, this is far from an inclusive list, as these are the books I’m most excited about, and therefore the list skews non-cis male and queer.
I hope you see some books you want to read, and discover new ones to add to your tbr!
Blurbs are from Goodreads.
Silk Fire by Zabé Ellor (July 5)
Koré’s life is consumed by power, politics, sex and vengeance, and as courtesan to the wealthy and powerful, he is privy to all manner of secrets. During a tryst in an ancient tomb─in the pursuit of political influence─Koré encounters a dying god, who imbues him with the powers of one of the city’s sacred dragons. Suddenly Koré finds himself a hunted man, threatened with becoming a pawn by whoever finds him first. If the wrong person discovers his secret and lays claim to his powers they would plunge their world into war, unleash untold horrors and destroy the city─and the two people he has come to love.
The Moonday Letters by Emmi Itäranta (July 5)
Lumi is an Earth-born healer whose Mars-born spouse Sol disappears unexpectedly on a work trip. As Lumi begins her quest to find Sol, she delves gradually deeper into Sol’s secrets – and her own. While recalling her own path to becoming a healer under the guidance of her mysterious teacher Vivian, she discovers an underground environmental group called Stoneturners, which may have something to do with Sol’s disappearance. Lumi’s search takes her from the wealthy colonies of Mars to Earth that has been left a shadow of its former self due to vast environmental destruction. Gradually, she begins to understand that Sol’s fate may have been connected to her own for much longer than she thought.
A Prayer for the Crown Shy by Becky Chambers (July 12)
After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home. They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe. Book 2.
What Moves the Dead by T Kingfisher (July 12)
When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania. What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves. Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.
August Kitko and the Mechas From Space by Alex White (July 12)
Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine. But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (July 19)
Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.
Ion Curtain by Anya Ow (July 19)
For decades the UN and the Russian military have navigated a tense interstellar Cold War. Peace is on the knife’s edge and events are coming ever closer to open conflict. Solitaire Yeung is a corsair, a scavenger, a pirate, In the heart of a destroyed Russian battleship, his salvage crew discovers a mysterious device they shouldn’t have, the brain of the ship’s top secret artificial intelligence. And against all better sense they take it and run from the most powerful forces in the system, but an even more powerful foe grows in the darkness of space. Now all of humanity has to fight to survive…
A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys (July 26)
On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm–and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn’t agree, they may need to be saved by force.
A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows (July 26)
Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead. With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (August 2)
Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories. But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.
The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu (August 9)
It has been foretold: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom. But the prophecy was wrong. Because when Taishi, the greatest war artist of her generation, arrives to evaluate the prophesied hero, she finds a spoiled brat unprepared to face his destiny. But the only force more powerful than fate is Taishi herself. Possessed of an iron will, a sharp tongue—and an unexpectedly soft heart—Taishi will find a way to forge Jian into the weapon and leader he needs to be in order to fulfill his legend.
Terminal Peace by Jim Hines (August 9)
Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos and her team were trained to clean spaceships. They were absolutely not trained to fight an interplanetary war with the xenocidal Prodryans or to make first contact with the Jynx, a race who might not be as primitive as they seem. But if there’s one lesson Mops and her crew have learned, it’s that things like “training” and “being remotely qualified” are overrated. The war is escalating. The survival of humanity—those few who weren’t turned to feral, shambling monsters by an alien plague—as well as the fate of all other non-Prodryans, will depend on what Captain Mops and the crew of the EDFS Pufferfish discover on the ringed planet of Tuxatl. Book 3.
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia (August 9)
Firuz-e Jafari is fortunate enough to have immigrated to the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa, fleeing the slaughter of other traditional Sassanian blood magic practitioners in their homeland. Despite the status of refugees in their new home, Firuz has a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa, working with Kofi, a kindly new employer, and mentoring Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee with powerful magic. But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice, untangle sociopolitical constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.
The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope (August 9)
Clara Johnson talks to spirits, a gift that saved her during her darkest moments in a Washington D. C. jail. A curse has left her indebted to the cunning spirit world—and that spirit has come to collect. The task: steal a magical ring from the wealthiest woman in the District. Clara can’t pull off this daring heist alone. She’ll need help from an unlikely team. But as they encounter increasingly difficult obstacles, conflict in the spirit world is leaking into the human one and along D.C’.s legendary Black Broadway, a mystery unfolds—one that not only has repercussions for Clara but all of the city’s residents.
High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson (August 9)
Lana Baker is Aldgate’s finest scribe, with a sharp pen and an even sharper wit. Gregarious, charming, and ever so eager to please, she agrees to deliver a message for another lovely scribe in exchange for kisses and ends up getting sent to Low Parliament by a temperamental fairy as a result. As Lana transcribes the endless circular arguments of Parliament, the debates grow tenser and more desperate. Due to long-standing tradition, a hung vote will cause Parliament to flood and a return to endless war.
The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri (August 16)
The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya’s souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them. Book 2.
Small Town, Big Magic by Hazel Beck (August 23)
No one has civic pride quite like Emerson Wilde. As a local indie bookstore owner and youngest-ever Chamber of Commerce president, she’d do anything for her hometown of St. Cyprian, Missouri. She may be descended from a witch who was hanged in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials, but there’s no sorcery in doing your best for the town you love. Or is there? As she preps Main Street for an annual festival, Emerson notices strange things happening around St. Cyprian. Strange things that culminate in a showdown with her lifelong arch-rival, Mayor Skip Simon. He seems to have sent impossible, paranormal creatures after her. It turns out witches are real, and Emerson is one of them. She failed a coming-of-age test at age eighteen—the only test she’s ever failed!—and now, as an adult, her powers have come roaring back.
Babel, or the Necessity of Violence by RF Kuang (August 23)
Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (August 23)
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of the house’s residents.
The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais (August 23)
Five octogenarian witches gather as an angry mob threatens to demolish Moonshyne Manor. All eyes turn to the witch in charge, Queenie, who confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments. Still, there’s hope, since the imminent return of Ruby—one of the sisterhood who’s been gone for thirty-three years—will surely be their salvation. The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but their aging powers are no match for increasingly malicious threats. As the deadline to save the manor approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.
The Stellar Snow Job by Marie Howalt (August 27)
For Alannah Jackson, space is not the final frontier. As a professional travel writer, she strives to create the best and most conscientious travelogues to every visitable planet in the galaxy. But she might have bitten off more than she can chew when she agrees to survey a previously unexplored world.Private investigator Richard Hart is an expert in interstellar human affairs. Weary of idling in space station bars, Richard and his snarky pilot, Eddie Macías, jump at the opportunity to take on an unusual and highly classified mission. The new job whisks them, and their tiny but trusty spaceship, the Colibri, away to a distant solar system. Unfortunately, it’s in a corner of the galaxy overseen by a menacing power that’s not particularly fond of human involvement.
The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (August 30)
The royal family—the despotic emperor and his monstrous sons, the Three Terrors—hold the countryside in their choking grip. They bleed the land and oppress the citizens with the frightful powers they inherited from the god locked under their palace. With the aid of a guard broken by his guilt-stricken past and an outcast fighting for his future, the god escapes from her royal captivity and flees from her own children. And so it is that she embarks with her young companions on a five-day pilgrimage in search of freedom—and a way to end the Moon Throne forever.
A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland (August 30)
To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.
Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco (September 13)
Remy Pendergast is many things: the only son of the Duke of Valenbonne (though his father might wish otherwise), an elite bounty hunter of rogue vampires, and an outcast among his fellow Reapers. When a terrifying new breed of vampire is sighted outside of the city, Remy prepares to investigate alone. But then he encounters the shockingly warmhearted vampire heiress Xiaodan Song and her infuriatingly arrogant fiancé, vampire lord Zidan Malekh, who may hold the key to defeating the creatures—though he knows associating with them won’t do his reputation any favors. As the Rot continues to spread across the kingdom, Remy must decide where his loyalties lie: with his father and the kingdom he’s been trained all his life to defend or the vampires who might just be the death of him.
Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans (September 13)
Since the city of Bezim was shaken half into the sea by a magical earthquake, the Inquisitors have policed alchemy with brutal efficiency. Nothing too powerful, too complicated, too much like real magic is allowed–and the careful science that’s left is kept too expensive for any but the rich and indolent to tinker with. Siyon Velo, a glorified errand boy scraping together lesson money from a little inter-planar fetch and carry, doesn’t qualify. But when Siyon accidentally commits a public act of impossible magic, he’s catapulted into the limelight. Except the limelight is a bad place to be when the planes themselves start lurching out of alignment, threatening to send the rest of the city into the sea.
Bindle Pink Bruja by Desideria Mesa (September 13)
Luna–or depending on who’s asking, Rose–is the white-passing daughter of an immigrant mother who has seen what happens to people from her culture. This world is prejudicial, and she must hide her identity in pursuit of owning an illegal jazz club. But this bruja with ever-growing magical abilities can never resist a good fight. With her new identity, Rose, an unabashed flapper, defies societal expectations all the while struggling to keep her true self and witchcraft in check. However, the harder she tries to avoid scrutiny, the more her efforts eventually capture unwanted attention.
Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (September 13)
Her city is under siege. The zombies are coming back. And all Nona wants is a birthday party. In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back. The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face…Book 3.
Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott (September 13)
The Yaga siblings–Bellatine, a young woodworker, and Isaac, a wayfaring street performer and con artist–have been estranged since childhood, separated both by resentment and by wide miles of American highway. But when they learn that they are to receive a mysterious inheritance, the siblings are reunited–only to discover that their bequest isn’t land or money, but something far stranger: a sentient house on chicken legs. Thistlefoot, as the house is called, has arrived from the Yagas’ ancestral home in Russia–but not alone. A sinister figure known only as the Longshadow Man has tracked it to American shores. As the Yaga siblings embark with Thistlefoot on a final cross-country tour of their family’s traveling theater show, the Longshadow Man follows in relentless pursuit, seeding destruction in his wake.
The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore (September 20)
As a half-goddess possessing magic, Yaga is used to living on her own, her prior entanglements with mortals having led to heartbreak. She mostly keeps to her hut in the woods, where those in need of healing seek her out, even as they spread rumors about her supposed cruelty and wicked spells. But when her old friend Anastasia—now the wife of the tsar, and suffering from a mysterious illness—arrives in her forest desperate for her protection, Yaga realizes the fate of all of Russia is tied to Anastasia’s. Yaga must step out of the shadows to protect the land she loves. As she travels to Moscow, Yaga witnesses a sixteenth century Russia on the brink of chaos. Tsar Ivan—soon to become Ivan the Terrible—grows more volatile and tyrannical by the day, and Yaga believes the tsaritsa is being poisoned by an unknown enemy.
The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik (September 27)
Almost singlehandedly–although backed by an increasingly large cadre of genuine friends–El has changed the nature of the Scholomance forever. But now that she is back in the real world, how will the lessons she learned inside the school apply? Will her grandmother’s prophecy come true? Will she really spell the doom of all the enclaves forever? El is about to learn the most significant lesson of all–the dire truth on which the enclaves and the whole stability of the magical world are founded. And being El, she is not likely to let it lie….Book 3.
The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang (September 27)
This is the story of Misery Nomaki (she/they) – a nobody from a nowhere mining planet who possesses the rare stone-working powers of a saint. Unfortunately, these saint-like abilities also manifest in those succumbing to voidmadness, like that which killed Misery’s mother. Knowing they aren’t a saint but praying they aren’t voidmad, Misery keeps quiet about their power for years, while dreaming and scheming up ways off their Forge-forsaken planet. But when the voice of an angel, or a very convincing delusion, leads Misery to the center of the Empire, they find themself trapped between two powerful and dangerous factions, each hoping to use Misery to win a terrible war.
And before you go…here’s a super duper self-promo!
We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction of 2021 ed by LD Lewis and Charles Payseur (September 20)
We’re Here 2021 includes the following stories from 2021:
- “The Captain and the Quartermaster” by C.L. Clark (Beyond Ceaseless Skies)
- “A Study in Ugliness” by H. Pueyo (The Dark)
- “Mulberry and Owl” by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny)
- “The Lake, the Valley, the Border Between Water and Wood, and the End of Things” by Watson Neith (Translunar Traveler’s Lounge)
- “Let All the Children Boogie” by Sam J. Miller (Tordotcom)
- “The Hidden Language of Flowers” by Laurel Beckley (Misspelled: Magic Gone Awry edited by Kelly Lynn Colby)
- “The Art and Mystery of Thea Wells” by Alexandra Seidel (Diabolical Plots)
- “To Rest and To Create” by LA Knight (FIYAH)
- “A Technical Term, Like Privilege” by Bogi Takács (Whether Change: The Revolution Will Be Weird edited by C. Dombrowski and Scott Gable)
- “Root Rot” by Fargo Tbakhi (Apex)
- “Twenty Thousand Last Meals on an Exploding Station” by Ann LeBlanc (Mermaids Monthly)
- “Blood in the Thread” by Cheri Kamei (Tordotcom)
- “Sutekh: A Breath of Spring” by Sharang Biswas (Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness edited by dave ring)
- “To Rise, Blown Open” by Jen Brown (Anathema: Spec from the Margins)
- “To Exhale Sky” by Shingai Njeri Kagunda (Baffling)