Strange machines, parasites and deadly ritual transport you to alternate times and places in this month’s most unique and intriguing genre books. Here are our top picks for the best new science fiction books in September 2022.
The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: September 27
Den of Geek says: Neon Yang’s Tensorate series of novellas was an inventive, adventurous secondary world. We’re excited for the release of their debut novel.
Publisher’s summary: It’s an old, familiar story: a young person hears the voice of an angel saying they have been chosen as a warrior to lead their people to victory in a holy war.
But Misery Nomaki (she/they) knows they are a fraud.
Raised on a remote moon colony, they don’t believe in any kind of god. Their angel is a delusion, brought on by hereditary space exposure. Yet their survival banks on mastering the holy mech they are supposedly destined for, and convincing the Emperor of the Faithful that they are the real deal.
The deeper they get into their charade, however, the more they start to doubt their convictions. What if this, all of it, is real?
A reimagining of Joan of Arc’s story given a space opera, giant robot twist, the Nullvoid Chronicles is a story about the nature of truth, the power of belief, and the interplay of both in the stories we tell ourselves.
Bliss Montage by Ling Ma
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release date: September 13
Den of Geek says: Despite the name, Ling Ma’s debut novel Severance is not in fact connected to the streaming show of the same name. The similarity has helped promote Ling Ma’s name, though, and it’s deserved: known for thoughtful science fiction, she has been praised by critics and readers alike.
Publisher’s summary: What happens when fantasy tears the screen of the everyday to wake us up? Could that waking be our end?
In Bliss Montage, Ling Ma brings us eight wildly different tales of people making their way through the madness and reality of our collective delusions: love and loneliness, connection and possession, friendship, motherhood, the idea of home. A woman lives in a house with all her ex-boyfriends. A toxic friendship grows up around a drug that makes you invisible. An ancient ritual might heal you of anything―if you bury yourself alive.
These and other scenarios investigate the ways that the outlandish and the ordinary are shockingly, deceptively, heartbreakingly alike.
Leech by Hiron Ennes
Release date: September 27
Den of Geek says: Described as New Weird and praised by Tamsyn Muir (Gideon the Ninth), this science fiction horror promises bizarre explorations of bodily autonomy.
Publisher’s summary: In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The doctor’s replacement has a mystery to solve: discovering how the Institute lost track of one of its many bodies.
For hundreds of years the Interprovincial Medical Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine. The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species from the apocalyptic horrors their ancestors unleashed.
In the frozen north, the Institute’s body will discover a competitor for its rung at the top of the evolutionary ladder. A parasite is spreading through the baron’s castle, already a dark pit of secrets, lies, violence, and fear. The two will make war on the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, humanity will lose again.