Looking for space opera or alternate Earths? Here are some of the science fiction books we’re most excited about and/or are currently consuming…
Top New Science Fiction Books August 2020
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Release date: Aug. 4
Den of Geek says: Muir’s necromancers in space have gained an enthusiastic following for their irreverent tone and wild gothic magic.
Publisher’s summary: She answered the Emperor’s call.
She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.
In victory, her world has turned to ash.
After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath ― but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.
Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?
The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Release date: Aug. 18
Den of Geek says: Portal fantasy of a sort, backed by hard science fiction from the author of the award-winning Children of Time, this novel looks inventive, rigorous, and adventurous.
Publisher’s summary: They thought we were safe. They were wrong.
Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.
Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.
Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.
Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.
Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May
Release date: Aug. 4
Den of Geek says: This ensemble cast space opera fits nicely into the “Expanse” model of adventure stories with enough political detail and blood to make you feel like you could walk into the far-future world. An early review calls it “epic, if occasionally bumpy.”
Publisher’s summary: When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.
Top New Science Fiction Books July 2020
The Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: July 7
Den of Geek says: Kate Elliott’s long career in fantasy has proven her a master of world-building. It has a heck of a tagline: “female Alexander the Great in space.” This series promises strong science fiction action.
Publisher’s summary: Princess Sun has finally come of age.
Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected―and feared.
But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme―and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.
To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.
Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia―add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same―and hold on tight:
Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Release date: July 21
Den of Geek says: Lindsay Ellis is known primarily as a YouTube pop culture critic. She excels at explaining why pop culture works or doesn’t work, as well as adding context to day’s top headlines. Her first book sounds like a mix between Arrival and The X-Files, set in the early 2000s.
Publisher’s summary: The alternate history first contact adventure Axiom’s End is an extraordinary debut from Hugo finalist and video essayist Lindsay Ellis.
Truth is a human right.
It’s fall 2007. A well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. Cora Sabino is doing everything she can to avoid the whole mess, since the force driving the controversy is her whistleblower father. Even though Cora hasn’t spoken to him in years, his celebrity has caught the attention of the press, the Internet, the paparazzi, and the government―and with him in hiding, that attention is on her. She neither knows nor cares whether her father’s leaks are a hoax, and wants nothing to do with him―until she learns just how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover-up, and that an extraterrestrial presence has been on Earth for decades.
Realizing the extent to which both she and the public have been lied to, she sets out to gather as much information as she can, and finds that the best way for her to uncover the truth is not as a whistleblower, but as an intermediary. The alien presence has been completely uncommunicative until she convinces one of them that she can act as their interpreter, becoming the first and only human vessel of communication. Their otherworldly connection will change everything she thought she knew about being human―and could unleash a force more sinister than she ever imagined.
The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronauts) by Mary Robinette Kowal
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: July 14
Den of Geek says: The Lady Astronaut series tackles sexism (lots and lots of sexism) in an alternate world where the space race is hurried along by the arrival of a meteor strike. It has gained a lot of fans for its determined characters and convincing alternate history.
Publisher’s summary: The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and sabotage plague the space program. The IAC’s goal of getting as many people as possible off Earth before it becomes uninhabitable is being threatened.
Elma York is on her way to Mars, but the Moon colony is still being established. Her friend and fellow Lady Astronaut Nicole Wargin is thrilled to be one of those pioneer settlers, using her considerable flight and political skills to keep the program on track. But she is less happy that her husband, the Governor of Kansas, is considering a run for President.