From outer space to future Earth, science fiction helps us explore what-ifs and the human heart. Take a look at our top picks for new science fiction books in July 2022.
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
Release date: July 12
Den of Geek says: Chambers is a reliable staple for stories that appear low-stakes at first but address big ideas with their unconventional relationships and lush universes. We couldn’t help but pay attention to this second installment in her ongoing series.
Publisher’s summary: After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.
They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.
Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?
A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys
Release date: July 26
Den of Geek says: Climate fiction and first contact come together in this book that has gotten a lot of buzz as a writers’ favorite. Expect a parable about how best we might live with each other as well as with aliens.
Publisher’s summary: On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm―and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn’t agree, they may need to be saved by force.
But the watershed networks that rose up to save the planet from corporate devastation aren’t ready to give up on Earth. Decades ago, they reorganized humanity around the hope of keeping the world liveable. By sharing the burden of decision-making, they’ve started to heal our wounded planet.
Now corporations, nation-states, and networks all vie to represent humanity to these powerful new beings, and if anyone accepts the aliens’ offer, Earth may be lost. With everyone’s eyes turned skyward, the future hinges on Judy’s effort to create understanding, both within and beyond her own species.
August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White
Release date: July 12
Den of Geek says: Darkly funny narration propels this sparkling story about mechas and music. Fans of Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera or Friends At the Table’s science fiction games might recognize some of the same far-future glam here.
Publisher’s summary: Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine.
But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity.