From space opera to near future speculation, science fiction brings us futures beautiful and frightening. Take a look at our top picks for the best new science fiction books to read in June 2021 …
Star Eater by Kerstin Hall
Release date: June 22
Den of Geek says: Perhaps Octavia Butler started it, and Kameron Hurley and Rivers Solomon powered the next wave. It’s that side of science fiction that deals with reproduction and bodies and body horror, a goopy, weird exploration of humanity and power. At best, Star Eater will fit right into that conversation.
Publisher’s summary: Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.
So when a shadowy faction approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.
A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.
The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien
Release date: June 15
Den of Geek says: Another one for the literary/science fiction crossover canon arrives with a bang. Along with being praised for the kind of atmosphere suggested in the literary half of that, it’s also designed to deliver on adventure.
Publisher’s summary: In fifty years, Myrra will be free.
Until then, she’s a contract worker. Ever since she was five, her life and labor have belonged to the highest bidder on her contract—butchers, laundries, and now the powerful, secretive Carlyles.
But when one night finds the Carlyles dead, Myrra is suddenly free a lot sooner than she anticipated—and at a cost she never could have imagined. Burdened with the Carlyles’ orphaned daughter and the terrible secret they died to escape, she runs. With time running out, Myrra must come face to face with the truth about her world—and embrace what’s left before it’s too late.
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: June 1
Den of Geek says: We’ll be honest, pickings are slim for adult SF this month. It may look like this novel crosses too far over into some other genre, whether that’s YA or romance or fanfic (AO3 tag: trapped together). But that doesn’t mean it’s bad: early reviews say it’s a good mix of hot romance and science fiction intrigue, asking heartfelt questions about cloning, space exploration and relationships.
Publisher’s summary: Two boys, alone in space. Sworn enemies sent on the same rescue mission.
Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor with no memory of a launch. There’s more that doesn’t add up: evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing his own sister.
In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust each other . . . especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Love might be the only way to survive.