This Summer’s Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Plus a Sweeps!


Spring has given way to the heat of summer, and with the move toward hopefully-lazy afternoons and dog day heat comes the inevitable plethora of literary options for those looking to either retreat from or revel in the heat. Whether it’s a fantastical beach read, literary dystopia, something of the speculative variety, or a bit of weird fiction, there’s something for everyone to get excited about in the extensive literary offerings of summer 2017. Let’s have a look at what’s coming down the pike.

9780804177269Eagle and Empire: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book III
by Alan Smale

Who doesn’t love a little alternate history? With Eagle and Empire, Alan Smale closes out his epic Clash of Eagles Trilogy in spectacular fashion. Imagining a Roman invasion of North America, Smale pits the legions of the Roman Empire against a loose affiliation of Native American tribes. Mix in an advancing Mongol hoard and it’s easy to see why we’re excited for this sweeping epic.

by C.A. Higgins

Fusing sci-fi, suspense, and high drama, C.A. Higgins has created one of recent sci-fi’s most fascinating and unique heroines in Ananke – a former military spacecraft-turned-sentient A.I. Although unbelievably powerful, Ananke is nonetheless consumed by a quintessentially human need for companionship and the desire to know her creators. Juggling questions of sentience and what it means to be human, Radiate is not to be missed.

9780399585111The Space Between Stars
by Anne Corlett

“When the world ends, where will you go?” Now, that’s a tagline. With The Space Between Stars, Anne Corlett imagines a world ravaged and humanity in tatters. The kicker? That world is not Earth. Jamie Allenby left an over-populated Earth and made a life on a frontier on the edge of the universe, but now a devastating virus has forced Jamie and a rag-tag group of survivors to make their way back to Earth and hopefully salvation.

9780553391480The Black Elfstone 
by Terry Brooks

It’s been years in the offing, but Terry Brooks is finally bringing his beloved Shannara series to a close. The Black Elfstone will begin a four-part conclusion to Brooks’s landmark epic fantasy. Despite generations of peace in the Four Lands, an unknown enemy is massing in the North. Attackers wielding strange and wondrous powers are sowing carnage, and the brewing confrontation will pull together a band of adventurers and decide the ultimate fate of the Four Lands.

9780425284025The Waking Land
by Callie Bates

When the king who raised her as own dies under mysterious circumstances, Lady Elanna finds herself accused of his murder and must flee to the homeland she left behind long ago. Forced to come to terms with a past she barely understands and an estranged father she believes to be a traitor, Elanna soon discovers powers that she believed to be little more than superstition stirring within her, and is thrust into a rebellion against the kingdom she once considered home.

9781101987896The Legion of Flame: Book Two of the Draconis Memoria
by Anthony Ryan

In this sweeping series from Anthony Ryan, the Ironship Trading Syndicate has long relied on drake blood and the extraordinary powers it grants to the Blood-blessed. Drake blood has both fueled and protected the Syndicate empire. However, in the wake of the rise of a terrifyingly powerful drake, a motley crew will set off in search of salvation as the fires of revolution ignite throughout the empire.

9781594634369Out in the Open
by Jesus Carrasco

Dystopian fiction is arguably one of fiction’s most timely subgenres – endlessly, and often unfortunately, relevant. With Out in the Open, Jesus Carrasco crafts a country torn apart by drought and driven to the brink by violence. The novel centers on a young boy fleeing dangerous pursuers across an arid and brutal plain to seek salvation in a world where such a thing may no longer exist.

9780399181733Besieged: Stories from the Iron Druid Chronicles
by Kevin Hearne

Wraiths, flesh-craving ghouls, creepy carnivals, demons, and bogeymen – what’s not to love about Kevin Hearne’ Iron Druid Chronicles? The answer is not much. In this collection of short stories featuring everyone’s favorite two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, Hearne takes readers from ancient Egypt to the San Francisco Gold Rush with stops along the way to meet up with William Shakespeare, visit a Kansas carnival, and make a journey to the realm of the dead. All in a day’s work (or several) for Atticus O’Sullivan.

9780375413964Gork The Teenage Dragon
by Gabe Hudson

Take a bit of The Hitchhiker’s Guide, a little Harry Potter, and sprinkle in some John Hughes and you’ll have a fair approximation of what to expect with Gork. Oh, and dragons – don’t forget the dragons. Gork is a fantastical, outrageous, coming-of-age love story featuring a dragon named Gork on a quest to find his lady love, maybe conquer a planet, and encounter plenty of hijinx along the way.

9780385541992 (1)Meddling Kids
by Edgar Cantero

What do you get when you throw together Scooby-Doo and H.P. Lovecraft and shake them up with Stephen King-esque nostalgia and a healthy dose of pop culture? You get Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, a hilarious send up of the teen detective archetype and what happens when those teens grow into haunted adults.

9780451472410Ash and Quill
by Rachel Caine

In this riveting follow-up to Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire, a group of rebels have risen up against the tyranny of the Great Library and the secrets it guards. Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to be imprisoned in Philadelphia. Thankfully, they have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine to break the Library’s rule.

9780399575433The Epiphany Machine
by David Burr Gerrard

It could be a hoax, a long con, or perhaps something darker. Regardless, the Epiphany Machine – a contraption that tattoos personalized revelations on user’s forearms – has shown an eerie ability for prediction. Venter Lowood, keen to both confront and not fall victim to his family’s mistakes, may have discovered the dark secret behind the machine and its profane and charismatic operator, Adam Lyons. The question is: what will he do about it?

9780385541787The Clockwork Dynasty
by Daniel H. Wilson

In the present, anthropologist June Stefanov discovers a terrible secret in the workings of a 300-year-old mechanical doll and is plunged into a hidden world lurking just beneath the surface of our own. In 18th century Russia, the Tsar’s mechnician creates two powerful beings, Peter and Elena, destined to live out of time, until they find themselves pulled into a secret war that has raged for centuries. With The Clockwork Dynasty, Wilson imagines a human-like race of machines that have hidden among humanity for centuries and crafts a powerful, time-spanning thriller that is not to be missed.

9781524760120The Massacre of Mankind: The Sequel to the  War of the Worlds
by Stephen Baxter

In this sequel to H.G. Wells’ classic The War of the Worlds,  it is 14 years after the Martian Invasion of England and the world has moved on. Mankind, although vigilant, remains confident that the Martians can once again be defeated should they attack earth a second time. However, one man, Walter Jenkins – the narrator of Wells’ book – is convinced the Martians learned from their defeat. Unfortunately for mankind, Jenkins is all too right. The massacre has begun.

9780399178481Reincarnation Blues
by Michael Poore

What it would be like to be reincarnated over ten thousand lifetimes? It’s a question Michael Poore seeks to answer with the Reincarnation Blues – a novel that is equal parts profane, profound, and hilarious. Milo has had 9,995 chances to earn a spot in the cosmic soul. With only five more, oblivion lurks just around the corner. Milo, however, simply wants to fall into the arms of Death – or Suzie, as he calls her. Reincarnation Blues is a wildly imaginative love story falling somewhere on the spectrum between Neil Gaiman and Kurt Vonnegut – certainly not bad company to keep.

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