Looking for something to read? Here’s our guide to the best and biggest science-fiction and fantasy books of the month.
“There are no vampires in Japan. That is the position of the Emperor. The Emperor is wrong…”
In 1899 Geneviève Dieudonné travels to Japan with a group of vampires exiled from Great Britain by Prince Dracula. They are allowed to settle in Yōkai Town, the district of Tokyo set aside for Japan’s own vampires, an altogether strange and less human breed than the nosferatu of Europe. Yet it is not the sanctuary they had hoped for, as a vicious murderer sets vampire against vampire, and Yōkai Town is revealed to be more a prison than a refuge. Geneviève and her undead comrades will be forced to face new enemies and the horrors hidden within the Temple of One Thousand Monsters
Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Runacarendalur Caerthalien has been a master of battle for hundreds of years, but he found himself on the wrong side―the losing side―in the last war. Betrayed by his brother, trapped in a prophecy he does not understand, Runacar flees the battlefield.
Yet Runacar is no coward. In a twist he could never have imagined, the Elven War-Prince finds himself leading a new army into battle―a force of centaurs, merfolk, gryphons, minotaurs, and talking bears who can perform magic. For centuries they have been trying to reclaim their lands from Elven invaders. With Runacar at the helm, they just might manage it.
Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory’s first collaboration, the Obsidian Mountain trilogy, introduced readers to a brilliant, continent-spanning fantasy world of high adventure and epic battle. Civilization shimmered with magic while in the nooks and crannies of the world, dragons and unicorns hid from people who believed them to be nothing more than legends.
The Dragon Prophecy, set thousands of years before that story, illuminates a time when long-lived Elves rule the Fortunate Lands. It is a time of dire prophecy, of battle and bloodshed, of great magics unlike any the Elvenkind have seen before. It is the story of the end of one world and the beginning of the next.
Renowned storyteller Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials for a thrilling and epic adventure in which daemons, alethiometers, and the Magisterium all play a part.
The Book of Dust will be a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.
Edited by Gardner Dozois
New epic fantasy in the grand tradition—including a never-before-published Song of Ice and Fire story by George R. R. Martin!
Fantasy fiction has produced some of the most unforgettable heroes ever conjured onto the page: Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné, Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Classic characters like these made sword and sorcery a storytelling sensation, a cornerstone of fantasy fiction—and an inspiration for a new generation of writers, spinning their own outsize tales of magic and swashbuckling adventure.
Now, in The Book of Swords, acclaimed editor and bestselling author Gardner Dozois presents an all-new anthology of original epic tales by a stellar cast of award-winning modern masters—many of them set in their authors’ best-loved worlds. Join today’s finest tellers of fantastic tales, including George R. R. Martin, K. J. Parker, Robin Hobb, Scott Lynch, Ken Liu, C. J. Cherryh, Daniel Abraham, Lavie Tidhar, Ellen Kushner, and more on action-packed journeys into the outer realms of dark enchantment and intrepid derring-do, featuring a stunning assortment of fearless swordsmen and warrior women who face down danger and death at every turn with courage, cunning, and cold steel.
Orson Scott Card
From Orson Scott Card, award-winning and bestselling author of Ender’s Game, his first solo Enderverse novel in years.
Children of the Fleet is a new angle on Card’s bestselling series, telling the story of the Fleet in space, parallel to the story on Earth told in the Ender’s Shadow series.
Ender Wiggin won the Third Formic war, ending the alien threat to Earth. Afterwards, all the terraformed Formic worlds were open to settlement by humans, and the International Fleet became the arm of the Ministry of Colonization, run by Hirum Graff. MinCol now runs Fleet School on the old Battle School station, and still recruits very smart kids to train as leaders of colony ships, and colonies.
Dabeet Ochoa is a very smart kid. Top of his class in every school. But he doesn’t think he has a chance at Fleet School, because he has no connections to the Fleet. That he knows of. At least until the day that Colonel Graff arrives at his school for an interview.
Peter V. Brett
For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them. Then two heroes arose—men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Warded Man, tattooed head to toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat—and emerge victorious. Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka—the final war against demonkind.
But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold dear—a swarm. Now the war is at hand, and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.
Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen, and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evil—from which none of them expects to return alive.
Mark Z. Danielewski
The astonishing series about a young girl who befriends a cat hunting humanity continues with Volume 5, and the Season One finale, in which the consequences of how we encounter one another come into poignant and terrifying relief—especially on one September night, when an unexpected phone call demanding the return of the little white cat challenges everything the Ibrahims hold dear. They are not alone.
Jingjing must contend with a rival he could never have anticipated, while Xanther must relinquish all she thought she knew as a far greater responsibility is set before her. Light wavers and pomegranates reveal their price as the effects of a great transition start to reverberate around everyone,
Shnorhk’s efforts to resume playing music cannot escape history’s ghosts. Cas, in upstate New York, comes face-to-face with her lifelong nemesis in a candlelit rendezvous that presages the international crisis soon to come. As more lines tangle, Özgür and Luther brawl with a future that may have chosen them long ago, and Isandòrno crosses a line that will force him over the border into a country he has until now steadfastly refused. All the while, a terrible power roaming the world continues to grow . . .
Renée Ahdieh, Meg Cabot, John Jackson Miller, Nnedi Okorafor, Sabaa Tahir, and more!
On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the fortieth anniversary, more than forty contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the forty short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by bestselling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars.
In this science fiction thriller, brothers are pitted against each other as a pandemic threatens to destabilize world governments by exerting a subtle mind control over survivors.
Neil Johns has just started his dream job as a code breaker in the NSA when his brother, Paul, a mycologist, goes missing on a trip to collect samples in the Amazon jungle. Paul returns with a gap in his memory and a fungal infection that almost kills him. But once he recuperates, he has enhanced communication, memory, and pattern recognition. Meanwhile, something is happening in South America; others, like Paul, have also fallen ill and recovered with abilities they didn’t have before.
But that’s not the only pattern–the survivors, from entire remote Brazilian tribes to American tourists, all seem to be working toward a common, and deadly, goal. Neil soon uncovers a secret and unexplained alliance between governments that have traditionally been enemies. Meanwhile Paul becomes increasingly secretive and erratic.
Paul sees the fungus as the next stage of human evolution, while Neil is convinced that it is driving its human hosts to destruction. Brother must oppose brother on an increasingly fraught international stage, with the stakes: the free will of every human on earth. Can humanity use this force for good, or are we becoming the pawns of an utterly alien intelligence?
Gregory Maguire returns with an inventive novel inspired by a timeless holiday legend, intertwining the story of the famous Nutcracker with the life of the mysterious toy maker named Drosselmeier who carves him.
Hiddensee: An island of white sandy beaches, salt marshes, steep cliffs, and pine forests north of Berlin in the Baltic Sea, an island that is an enchanting bohemian retreat and home to a large artists’ colony– a wellspring of inspiration for the Romantic imagination . . .
Having brought his legions of devoted readers to Oz in Wicked and to Wonderland in After Alice, Maguire now takes us to the realms of the Brothers Grimm and E. T. A. Hoffmann– the enchanted Black Forest of Bavaria and the salons of Munich. Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann’s mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier– the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s fairy tale ballet– who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt
A who’s who of space opera and military science fiction contribute brand new stories set in the universes of their most famous series. Space Opera and Military Science Fiction are cut from the same cloth, so this anthology merges the two to create a once-in-a-lifetime collection that includes:
A new Honor Harrington Universe tale by David Weber
A new Dune story by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, set within the time frame of the original novel Dune
A new Ender’s Game story by Orson Scott Card
A new Lost Fleet story by Jack Campbell
An RCN story by David Drake, in print for the first time
Though he was born into a leopard’s lair in the bayou, Joshua Tregre’s fighting skills were honed in the rain forests of Borneo. Sleek and deadly, he’s the perfect man to take over a crime syndicate back home in Louisiana’s lush swamplands. His razor-sharp instincts give him an edge in the violent underworld he knows so well, but even the watchful leopard inside him isn’t prepared for the threat that comes from the girl next door…
She is a woman who can create beauty out of thin air—and out of the ruins of her own life. The games that dangerous men play have taken their toll on her, but she is bent, not broken. And it’s her fierce spirit that’s like a lure to Joshua, a temptation he can’t resist—even if it means bringing his true nature into the light…
This new, expanded edition of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories features twelve brilliantly reimagined holiday tales, five of which are collected here for the first time.
Christmas comes but once a year, yet the stories in this dazzling collection are fun to read anytime. They put a speculative spin on the holiday, giving fans of acclaimed author Connie Willis a welcome gift and a dozen reasons to be of good cheer.
Brimming with Willis’s trademark insights and imagination, these heartwarming tales are full of humor, absurdity, human foibles, tragedy, joy, and hope. They both embrace and send up many of the best Christmas traditions, including the holiday newsletter, Secret Santas, office parties, holiday pageants, and Christmas dinners (both elaborate and spare). There are Rockettes, the best and worst Christmas movies, modern-day Magi, Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come—and the triumph of generosity over greed. Like all the timeless classics we return to year after year, these stories affirm our faith in love, magic, and the wonder of the season.
A new collection of stories, including some that have never before been seen, from the New York Times best-selling author of the Silo trilogy.
Hugh Howey is known for crafting riveting and immersive page-turners of boundless imagination, spawning millions of fans worldwide, first with his best-selling novel Wool, and then with other enthralling works such as Sand and Beacon 23.
Now comes Machine Learning, an impressive collection of Howey’s science fiction and fantasy short fiction, including three stories set in the world of Wool, two never-before-published tales written exclusively for this volume, and fifteen additional stories collected here for the first time. These stories explore everything from artificial intelligence to parallel universes to video games, and each story is accompanied by an author’s note exploring the background and genesis of each story.
Howey’s incisive mind makes Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories a compulsively readable and thought-provoking selection of short works—from a modern master at the top of his game.
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
The Saga of Recluce chronicles the history of this world with world-building detail and an ingenious and disciplined magic system. L. E. Modesitt, Jr. returns to his longest and bestselling fantasy series with volume nineteen, The Mongrel Mage, which marks the beginning of a new story arc.
In the world of Recluce, powerful mages can wield two kinds of magic—the white of Chaos or the black of Order. Beltur, however, has talents no one dreamed of, talents not seen in hundreds of years that blend both magics.
On the run from a power hungry white mage, Beltur is taken in by Order mages who set him on the path to discover and hone his own unique gifts and in the process find a home.
However, when the white mage he fled attempts to invade his new home, Beltur must hope his new found power will be enough to save them all.
From the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a thrilling novel that kicks off a fantasy series with an entirely new mythology—complete with shape-shifting bards, fire-wielding giants, and children who can speak to astonishing beasts
MOTHER AND WARRIOR
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.
SCHOLAR AND SPY
Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.
REBEL AND HERO
Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.
Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.
In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.
Amy S. Foster
To save her love and unlock the mystery of who she is, a brave young woman must travel between alternate realities in The Rift Frequency, the exciting second book in Amy S. Foster’s The Rift Uprising Trilogy.
She didn’t mean to, but…
Teenage super-solider Ryn Whittaker started an uprising.
For three years Ryn was stationed at The Battle Ground Rift site—one of the fourteen mysterious and unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths—and then she met Ezra Massad.
Falling in love and becoming a rebel Citadel wasn’t part of Ryn’s life plan, but with Ezra there asking all the right questions, they began to decode what’s really going on with the Allied Rift Coalition, and what they discovered was enough to start a civil war.
When the base explodes with infighting and Ezra gets caught in the fray, he is accidentally pushed through the Rift, taking a stolen laptop—and the answers it could give Ryn—with him.
Now all Ryn wants is to locate Ezra and get back to her Earth. But that’s not easy when she’s traveling the multiverse with Levi, the painfully guarded Citadel who shoved Ezra through in the first place. And Ryn is quickly learning that inside the multiverse there is no normal—it’s adapt, or die—and the one weapon she really needs to win the war back home is the truth.
Christmas is a very special time of year. It is special for Psychic Nan Killian and Medium Sarah Lyon-White and their ward Suki, who are determined to celebrate it properly. It is special for their friends, Doctor John Watson, and his wife Mary, both Elemental Masters, who have found great delight in the season seeing it through young Suki’s eyes.
It is also special to others…for very different reasons.
For Christmas Eve is also hallowed to dark forces, powers older than mankind, powers that come awake on this, the Longest Night. Powers best left alone. Powers that could shake the foundations of London and beyond.
It begins slowly. Women disappearing in the dark of night, women only missed by those of their own kind. The whispers only begin when they start to reappear—because when they do, they are no longer sane. And when Nan and Sarah and the Watsons are called on to examine these victims, they discover that it was no ordinary horror of the streets that drove them mad.
But then, the shadows reach for other victims—girls of good, even exalted families, who vanish from concerts, lectures, and evening balls. And it will take the combined forces of Magic, Psychic Powers, and the worlds greatest detective to stop the darkness before it can conquer all.
S. M. Stirling
The spirit of troubadour Prince John, the brother of Crown Princess Órlaith, has fallen captive to the power of the Yellow Raja and his servant, the Pallid Mask. Prince John’s motley band of friends and followers—headed by Captain Pip of Townsville and Deor Godulfson—must lead a quest through realms of shadow and dreams to rescue Prince John from a threat far worse than death.
Meanwhile, across the sea, Japanese Empress Reiko and Órlaith, heir to the High Kingdom of Montival, muster their kingdoms for war, making common cause with the reborn Kingdom of Hawaii. But more than weapons or even the dark magic of the sorcerers of Pyongyang threaten them; Órlaith’s lover, Alan Thurston, might be more than he appears.
From the tropical waters off Hilo and Pearl Harbor, to the jungles and lost cities of the Ceram Sea, a game will be played where the fate of the world is at stake.
In Myke Cole’s latest high-octane, action-packed military fantasy, the fate of undead Navy SEAL James Schweitzer will be decided—one way or another…
The Gemini Cell took everything from Jim Schweitzer: his family, his career as a Navy SEAL, even his life. Hounded across the country, Schweitzer knows the only way he can ever stop running, the only way his son can ever be safe, is to take the fight to the enemy and annihilate the Cell once and for all.
But the Cell won’t be easily destroyed. Out of control and fighting a secret war with the government it once served, it has dispatched its shadowy Director to the far reaches of the subarctic in search of a secret magic that could tip the balance of power in its favor. Schweitzer must join with the elite warriors of both America and Canada in a desperate bid to get there first—and avert a disaster that could put the Cell in control.
Hugo Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to her critically acclaimed epic fantasy world of the Eternal Sky with a brand new trilogy.
The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.
The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.
They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.
Julie E. Czerneda
Jason Morgan is a troubling mystery to friends and enemies alike: once a starship captain and trader, then Joined to the most powerful member of the Clan, Sira di Sarc, following her and her kind out of known space.
Only to return, alone and silent.
But he’s returned to a Trade Pact under seige and desperate. The Assemblers continue to be a threat. Other species have sensed opportunity and threaten what stability remains, including those who dwell in the M’hir. What Morgan knows could save them all, or doom them.
For not all of the Clan followed Sira. And peace isn’t what they seek.
Vlad Taltos is an Easterner―an underprivileged human in an Empire of tall, powerful, long-lived Dragaerans. He made a career for himself in House Jhereg, the Dragaeran clan in charge of the Empire’s organized crime. But the day came when the Jhereg wanted Vlad dead, and he’s been on the run ever since. He has plenty of friends among the Dragaeran highborn, including an undead wizard and a god or two. But as long as the Jhereg have a price on his head, Vlad’s life is…messy.
Meanwhile, for years, Vlad’s path has been repeatedly crossed by Devera, a small Dragaeran girl of indeterminate powers who turns up at the oddest moments in his life.
Now Devera has appeared again―to lead Vlad into a mysterious, seemingly empty manor overlooking the Great Sea. Inside this structure are corridors that double back on themselves, rooms that look out over other worlds, and―just maybe―answers to some of Vlad’s long-asked questions about his world and his place in it. If only Devera can be persuaded to stop disappearing in the middle of his conversations with her…