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19 science fiction and fantasy books to pick up this October

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Art: Tom Edwards

It’s October, which means that it’s time to take a look at the next crop of books that are slated to hit your favorite local bookstore in the days ahead.

Here’s 19 books to pick up this month:

October 4th

Rise of Io, Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu is returning to the world where he started his career: Tao. Rise of Io is the start of a new trilogy that will follow Ella Patel, a thief, con-artist, and smuggler. She comes across an assault late at night and is soon inhabited by Io, an alien trying to complete a mission on Earth. She’s to help him out, and the fate of the world depends on her success.

Feedback, Mira Grant

Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series was a fast-paced horror thriller that took place decades after a zombie outbreak that was caused by a pair of viruses. Feedback takes place alongside the first installment of that original trilogy, following a pair of bloggers as they try and uncover a conspiracy during a presidential election.  

The Wall of Storms, Ken Liu

Grace of Kings is one of the best fantasy debuts to arrive in recent years, and Ken Liu is following up with a sequel, The Wall of Storms. Kuni Garu is now known as Emperor Ragin, and is forced to balance progress against the demands of his people. This is all overturned as a foreign army invades. To counter the threat, Garu sends the only people he can trust: his own children.

Vick's Vultures, Scott Warren

We love a good military science fiction novel, and Scott Warren’s new book Vick’s Vultures looks as though it’ll hit that sweet spot for us. Set in the far future, Earth has pushed into the stars aided by alien technology. Victoria Marin is a ship’s captain who comes across an alien ship with the heir to an empire aboard, and launches a desperate mission to rescue him before his would-be executors finish the job.

Impersonations: A Story of the Praxis, Walter Jon Williams

Ever since Walter Jon Williams published Dread Empire’s Fall in 2002, he’s returned periodically to his Praxis universe. The latest is Impersonations, a new novella that features Carolina Sula after she was sent to Earth after accidentally winning a battle. She’s happy to visit humanity’s homeworld until an acquaintance stops by with a warning: someone is trying to frame her.

Crosstalk, Connie Willis

In Connie Willis’ new novel, a new device has taken the public by a storm: an implant that increases empathy between couples. When Briddey Flannigan gets one at the suggestion of her boyfriend, Trent, things don’t quite go as planned, as she’s connected to someone else. Willis is known for her humor, and this book looks as though it’s the perfect satire for our ever-more-connected world.

October 11th

Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood takes on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest with her latest novel. The story is about an artistic director named Felix who is fired from the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival and exiled to the backwoods of Canada. After plotting his revenge for over a decade, he returns to teach theater to the prisoners of a local prison and take revenge on those who wronged him. This appears like an absolutely bonkers retelling of Shakespeare, but with Atwood at the helm, it should be interesting to read.

Hammers on Bone, Cassandra Khaw

A 10-year-old comes to John Persons with an unlikely task: kill his stepfather. It’s okay, because the stepfather is a monster and Persons is an ancient intelligence inhabiting a private investigator. He’s hunted all manner of supernatural beings, but this new target is a different challenge altogether.

October 18th

A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers

One of my favorite novels last year was Becky Chamber’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. That book ended with a ship’s AI being downloaded into an android body, which is where A Closed and Common Orbit picks up. Lovelace begins to cope with being out in the larger world, and as she makes friends with her former ship’s engineer, Pepper, she takes a bold step out into the universe.

The Tourist, Robert Dickinson

A century from now, time travel has become a regular tourist attraction. Recovering from an extinction-level event, visitors to the 21st century go through all the mundane aspects of life: some shopping, try the food, and head home. When one member of a party goes missing, it’s cause for concern, because she could be part of the reason the entire world went belly up in the first place.

The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin / The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin, Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the greatest living science fiction authors around, and over her long career has yielded some incredible stories. Saga Press is releasing a pair of collections: The Found and the Lost contains her all of her novellas, while The Unreal and the Real contains a selection of her best short stories. These two books are an absolutely essential entry for one’s personal library.

The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe

Fairy Tales retold have been something of an attraction lately, and a new anthology of stories from Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe collects some of the genre’s best authors into one volume. This book includes works from such powerhouse authors as Naomi Novik, Genevieve Valentine, Charlie Jane Anders, Karin Tidbeck, Theodora Goss, Max Gladstone, and quite a few more.

Everything Belongs to the Future, Laurie Penny

In a future Oxford, the ultra rich can afford to have a longer lifespan. Despite the cure for aging, people are still people, and for some, there’s still some surprises in store for them. Laurie Penny is known for her writings on social issues, and this short novella from her takes a look at how the cure for aging would be realized and utilized by the ultra wealthy, and what its impact on society would be.

October 25th

Faller, Will McIntosh

Will McIntosh’s novels are always out there when it comes to what they’re about: telepathic aliens invading Earth, ghosts who haunt cartoonists, weird spheres that appear around the planet, imparting powers on those who find them. Every time, I think he’s come up with something too out there, but every time, he pulls it off. Faller should be no exception. Everyone on Earth loses their memories, and one person embarks on a journey to discover himself, led only by clues that he can’t begin to remember, and comes across someone looking to exact revenge for a past that’s been lost.

Star of the Sea, Una McCormack

The world of Stella Maris has been forever changed after its discovery by Delia Walker. In this latest installment of the Weird Space series, McCormack has taken over writing duties from Eric Brown. In this book, Walker comes across someone unexpected: a woman claiming to be her daughter, amidst a race to preserve the planet as those who would exploit it begin to arrive.

Certain Dark Things, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garica’s debut novel Signal to Noise was a wonderful urban fantasy about pop music and magic in Mexico City. She returns to the city in Certain Dark Things, where Domingo comes across a vampire descended from the Aztecs, Atl. She’s on the run from from a rival vampire clan, and doesn’t expect to fall for Domingo, while a local cop tries to make sense of the collision of the two gangs spilling out into the city streets. There’s a ton of vampire novels out there, but this one looks as though it’s going to be something really different.

A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson

Kai Ashante Wilson made some impressive waves with his novella Sorcerer of the Wildeeps last year, and he’s now back with a new entry in that world, A Taste of Honey. Aqib bgm Sadiqi, the fourth cousin to the royal family, has fallen in love in a world where humans and gods intermingle. Despite disapproval from his family, Aqib is swept up and tested from all corners.

Penguin Galaxy Series

Penguin Classics might be known for their distinctive editions of classic literature. There’s a new series on the way: Penguin Galaxy, which will be reprinting some of the genre’s best-known works. The first group will include 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, Neuromancer by William Gibson, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, Dune by Frank Herbert, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, and The Once and Future King, T. H. White. These books are coming in a sleek hardcover edition, each with an introduction by author Neil Gaiman.