Books

The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of May 2018

 

Looking for something to read? Here’s our guide to the best and biggest science-fiction and fantasy books of the month — plus a little bit more!

  • The cover of the book Atlas of a Lost World

    Atlas of a Lost World

    Travels in Ice Age America

    From the author of Apocalyptic Planet comes a vivid travelogue through prehistory, that traces the arrival of the first people in North America at least twenty thousand years ago and the artifacts that tell of their lives and fates. In Atlas of a Lost World, Craig Childs upends our notions of where these people came from and who they were. How they got here, persevered, and ultimately thrived is a story that resonates from the Pleistocene to our modern era. The lower sea levels of the Ice Age exposed a vast land bridge between Asia and North America, but the land bridge was not the only way across. Different people arrived from different directions, and not all at the same time. (May 1)

     
  • The cover of the book Dark Queen

    Dark Queen

    As Enforcer to the vampire Master of the City of New Orleans, Jane Yellowrock stakes her reputation and her life on keeping her territory safe. But Leo has been issued a blood challenge by the emperor of the European vampires, who seeks to usurp all of his power and possessions. If Leo loses the match to the death, the city will be forfeit, and the people of New Orleans will suffer the consequences. Jane can’t let that happen. (May 1) 

     

     
  • The cover of the book The Glory of the Empress

    The Glory of the Empress

    The war between Evagardian Empire and the Commonwealth is at its peak. The Evagardians have developed a weapon that could change everything, but they can’t use it until it’s been fully tested. Targeting unsuspecting pirates in a newly annexed system, far from the worst of the fighting is supposed to be a safe way to determine if the weapon is ready for live combat… (May 1)

     
  • The cover of the book Moontide and Magic Rise

    Moontide and Magic Rise

    It is the dawn of a new era: an age of reason, science, and exploration, and Tristam Flattery is one of its most promising young naturalists. But when Tristam is summoned to the royal court of Farrland to try to revitalize a failing species of plant which seems to have mysterious, almost magical, medicinal properties–a plant without which, he is told, the aging king will surely die–he soon realizes that he has been drawn into the heart of a political struggle which spans generations, a conflict which threatens the very foundations of his civilization. And before long, Tristam is caught in the grip of a destiny which will lead him to the ends of the known world–on a voyage of discovery that has more to do with magic than with science…. (May 1)

     
  • The cover of the book Only Human

    Only Human

    After nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find a devastating new war—this time between humans. America and Russia are locked in combat, fighting to fill the power vacuum left behind after the invasion. Families are torn apart, friends become bitter enemies, and countries collapse in the wake of the battling superpowers. It appears the aliens left behind their titanic death machines so humankind will obliterate itself. Rose is determined to find a solution, whatever it takes. But will she become a pawn in a doomsday game no one can win? (May 1)

     
  • The cover of the book The Pisces

    The Pisces

    A Novel

    Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection. Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. (May 1)

     
  • The cover of the book The Poppy War: A Novel

    The Poppy War: A Novel

    When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone, and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good. Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. (May 1)

     
  • The cover of the book The Smoke Thieves

    The Smoke Thieves

    In a land tinged with magic and a bustling trade in an illicit supernatural substance, destiny will intertwine the fates of five players: A visionary princess determined to forge her own path. An idealistic solider whose heart is at odds with his duty. A streetwise hunter tracking the most dangerous prey. A charming thief with a powerful hidden identity. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his kingdom. All are driven by ambition, honor, and desperation on the cusp of war. But who will be left standing when the smoke clears? (May 1)

     
  • The cover of the book Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries

    Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries

    It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks… (May 8)

     
  • The cover of the book Death Doesn't Bargain: A Deadman's Cross Novel

    Death Doesn't Bargain: A Deadman's Cross Novel

    The Deadmen are back… But so are the demons who have broken free of their eternal prison and are bent on mankind’s destruction. The worst of the lot is Vine, determined to claim their lives for taking hers. She will see the world burn…and has the perfect lure to destroy them all. One of their own. Kalder Dupree has never known a day of mercy. Born to the cruelest of mer-races, he sacrificed himself for his crew and is in Vine’s hands. He expects no mercy or rescue. Yet Cameron Jack is determined to set Kalder free. As a Hellchaser, it’s her calling, and she cannot allow even a not-so-innocent to be tortured for an act of kindness that spared her damnation. (May 8)

     
  • The cover of the book The Order of Time

    The Order of Time

    Why do we remember the past and not the future? What does it mean for time to “flow”? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike. For most readers this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears. He explains how the theory of quantum gravity attempts to understand and give meaning to the resulting extreme landscape of this timeless world. Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, he suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe (May 8)

     
  • The cover of the book The World of All Souls

    The World of All Souls

    The Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life

    In The World of All Souls, Deborah Harkness shares the rich sources of inspiration behind her bewitching novels. She draws together synopses, character bios, maps, recipes, and even the science behind creatures, magic, and alchemy–all with her signature historian’s touch. Bursting with fascinating facts and dazzling artwork, this essential handbook is a must-have for longtime fans and eager newcomers alike. (May 8)

     
  • The cover of the book What Should Be Wild: A Novel

    What Should Be Wild: A Novel

    Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women. (May 8)

     
  • The cover of the book Ascendant

    Ascendant

    When one of Glenlyon’s warships is blown apart trying to break the blockade that has isolated the world from the rest of human-colonized space, only the destroyer Saber remains to defend it from another attack. Geary’s decision to take Saber to the nearby star Kosatka to safeguard a diplomatic mission is a risky interpretation of his orders, to say the least. Kosatka has been fighting a growing threat from so-called rebels–who are actually soldiers from aggressive colonies. When a “peacekeeping force” carrying thousands of enemy soldiers arrives in Kosatka’s star system, the people of that world, including Lochan Nakamura and former “Red” Carmen Ochoa, face an apparently hopeless battle to retain their freedom. (May 15)

     
  • The cover of the book The Immortal Renshai

    The Immortal Renshai

    After a cataclysmic magical confrontation that shakes the very roots of Midgard, elves and humans alike struggle to put the pieces of their lives back together. But with many among them cast out of their own world and stranded in the Outworlds, the chances of rescuing all those “lost” souls seems very slim. While elves can find those of their own race, they cannot track humans in the same way. Perhaps, if the powers of the elves, the human mages of Myrcidë, and the one surviving Kjempemagiska, the sorcerer Kentt, can be combined, they can bring back most of those lost in chaos. Saviar, Subikahn, and Calistin, the three Renshai brothers, must all face their own personal demons, as they attempt to find their destinies in this radically changed world. Even the royal family of Béarn will find everything they value placed at risk. (May 15)

     
  • The cover of the book In the Region of the Summer Stars

    In the Region of the Summer Stars

    Ravaged by barbarian Scálda forces, the last hope for Eirlandia lies with the island’s warring tribes. Wrongly cast out of his tribe, Conor, the first-born son of the Celtic king, embarks on a dangerous mission to prove his innocence. What he discovers will change Eirlandia forever. For the Scálda have captured the mystical Fae to use as an ultimate weapon. And Conor’s own people have joined in the invasion. (May 15)

     
  • The cover of the book The Plastic Magician

    The Plastic Magician

    Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery. Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is. Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself. To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair… (May 15)

     
  • The cover of the book The Queen of Sorrow

    The Queen of Sorrow

    Queen Daleina has yearned to bring peace and prosperity to her beloved forest home—a hope that seemed doomed when neighboring forces invaded Aratay. Now, with the powerful Queen Naelin ruling by her side, Daleina believes that her dream of ushering in a new era can be realized, even in a land plagued by malevolent nature spirits who thirst for the end of human life. And then Naelin’s children are kidnapped by spirits. (May 15)

     
  • The cover of the book Wrath of Empire

    Wrath of Empire

    The country is in turmoil. With the capital city occupied, half a million refugees are on the march, looking for safety on the frontier, accompanied by Lady Flint’s soldiers. But escaping war is never easy, and soon the battle may find them, whether they are prepared or not. Back in the capital, Michel Bravis smuggles even more refugees out of the city. But internal forces are working against him. With enemies on all sides, Michel may be forced to find help with the very occupiers he’s trying to undermine. Meanwhile, Ben Styke is building his own army. He and his mad lancers are gathering every able body they can find and searching for an ancient artifact that may have the power to turn the tides of war in their favor. But what they find may not be what they’re looking for. (May 15)

     
  • The cover of the book American Hippo: River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and New Stories

    American Hippo: River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and New Stories

    Years ago, in an America that never was, the United States government introduced herds of hippos to the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This plan failed to take into account some key facts about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two. By the 1890s, the vast bayou that was once America’s greatest waterway belongs to feral hippos, and Winslow Houndstooth has been contracted to take it back. To do so, he will gather a crew of the damnedest cons, outlaws, and assassins to ever ride a hippo. American Hippo is the story of their fortunes, their failures, and his revenge. (May 22)

     
  • The cover of the book Nightflyers: The Illustrated Edition

    Nightflyers: The Illustrated Edition

    Featuring fifteen original full-color illustrations, this is the definitive edition of an electrifying tale that combines the deep-space thrills of Alien, the psychological horror of The Shining, and, of course, the inimitable vision of George R. R. Martin. When a scientific expedition is launched to study a mysterious alien race, the only ship available is the Nightflyer, a fully autonomous vessel manned by a single human. But Captain Royd Eris remains locked away, interacting with his passengers only as a disembodied voice—or a projected hologram no more substantial than a ghost… (May 29)

     
  • The cover of the book Shadow Keeper

    Shadow Keeper

    The paparazzi can’t get enough of infamous bad boy Giovanni Ferraro. But unknown to them–and the women he beds–he’s just playing a role. Keeping the spotlight on himself keeps it off the family business. And if this lethal shadow rider can’t hunt in the dark, he’ll find his pleasure elsewhere. Sasha Provis grew up on a Wyoming ranch and thought she knew how to protect herself from predators. But in the nightclub where she works, she’s fair game–until one of the owners steps in to protect her. Giovanni is gorgeous. He’s dangerous. And his every touch takes her breath away. The devil at her heels may have finally met its match… (May 29)

     
  • The cover of the book The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals

    The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals

    Some monsters are figments of our imagination. Others are as real as flesh and blood: humans who may look like us, who may walk among us, often unnoticed, occasionally even admired—but whose evil deeds and secret lives, once revealed, mark them as something utterly wicked. In this illustrated volume from the host of the hit podcast Lore, you’ll find tales of infamous characters whose veins ran with ice water and whose crimes remind us that truth can be more terrifying than fiction. (May 29)