As I’ve mentioned in the past, my To Be Read pile is gigantic (and frankly, pretty intimidating). While I’ve managed to whittle it down since my Summer 2016 recommendations list, the fall release schedule’s already loaded even more books on the pile.
This season, I’ve got a mix of science fiction and fantasy, novels and novellas, that are incredibly intriguing, continuations of knockout debuts, and set in fresh worlds you’ll be dying to explore.
September 2016 Releases
Everfair by Nisi Shawl
(Tor Books, September 6)
Summary: In a steampunk alternate history, activists and missionaries purchase land in the Belgian Congo to create a safe haven for members of the African diaspora, including escaped American slaves and native populations of the Congo.
Get Excited: I’m personally a total nerd for science fiction and fantasy that addresses colonialism and imperialism, and Shawl’s Everfair looks to represent not only depictions of colonialism but also offers an alternate version of history in which agency was taken back by those colonized. Sign me up.
Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan
(Tor.com Publishing, September 13)
Summary: A young woman embarks on a quest she’s compelled to complete, faced with challenges that swell until she must make a decision that will require the greatest sacrifice she’ll ever have to make.
Get Excited: Destiny versus free will is a common theme in sci-fi and fantasy, and Brennan’s novella looks like an exciting adventure. But there’s another cool reason to check out this novella: Brennan based the protagonist on a character that she played in a video game for four years.
Death’s End by Cixin Liu
(Tor Books, September 20)
Summary: In the conclusion to Liu’s award-winning Three-Body trilogy, humanity is in a new Golden Age after holding off an oncoming alien invasion — but an astrophysicist from the early 21st century awakens from hibernation, and the information she holds can send our world to even greater heights or cause its utter destruction.
Get Excited: The Three-Body Problem won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and Three-Body‘s translator, Ken Liu, returns to the trilogy for its conclusion. This is the best hard science fiction novel I think I’ve ever read, and fans of hard SF absolutely shouldn’t miss this trilogy, which is one of China’s most celebrated speculative fiction works of all time.
Cloudbound by Fran Wilde
(Tor Books, September 27)
Summary: The companion to 2015’s Updraft takes place months later, with Kirit’s wing-brother Naton trying his best to keep their tower city in array — but catastrophe threatens everything he knows, and there may be no coming back.
Get Excited: Updraft received the 2015 Andre Norton Award, which is given to the best in young adult SF/F by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. (We’re also reading it this November as part of the Girls in Capes Book Club.) After looking at this cover, try not to picture Cloudbound as a film #StarringJohnCho and see if you can do it, because I definitely can’t.
October 2016 Releases
Feedback by Mira Grant
(Orbit Books, October 4)
Summary: Set at the same time as Feed, the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy, this series continuation is a retelling of the first book of the series from the perspective of different characters. (Check out the first in the series here.)
Get Excited: Newsflesh’s entire premise is based on journalism and zombies, and Feedback is no different. While Feed is still on my TBR pile, it’s a book that comes highly recommended, and zombie-lovers definitely shouldn’t miss the next installment in this series.
The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
(Saga Press, October 4)
Summary: The sequel to 2015’s The Grace of Kings continues the epic saga of Kuni Garu as his new nation faces an invasion.
Get Excited: I already mentioned Ken Liu earlier as the translator of The Three-Body Problem and Death’s End, but he also writes science fiction and fantasy. The Grace of Kings is a sweeping epic fantasy in a non-Western setting, and if you haven’t started the series, you should definitely pick it up.
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
(Tor.com Publishing, October 25)
Summary: Aqib bgm Sadiqi gets swept up in a storm of a romance with soldier Lucrio despite the disapproval of his family and must face the consequences and hardships of that decision.
Get Excited: It’s pretty rare to see a fantasy title that’s both explicitly about a queer romance and features characters of color. Wilson’s work also comes pretty highly recommended, and he’s been on my radar since The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps was published last year, which was another fantasy story featuring an M/M couple. A Taste of Honey is already on preorder, and I can’t wait to pick this one up.
November 2016 Releases
The Burning Light by Bradley P. Beaulieu & Rob Ziegler
(Tor.Com Publishing, November 1)
Summary: Colonel Chu lost everything to the Light, a mysterious entity that leaves users disconnected from the rest of humanity, and she’s determined to end that threat. Zola, a former pilot and a Light user, needs the Light just as much as it needs her. And their paths are set on a definite collision course.
Get Excited: Drug use in speculative fiction stories can be utterly fascinating — like the insect drug use in A Crown for Cold Silver. The Light isn’t explicitly described as a drug, though, so I’m intrigued, and I’m very much looking forward to discovering how these authors handle the topic.
Feliza Casano realized she reads more books than she can comfortably admit. She founded Girls in Capes and currently edits and writes for all sections of the site. In her approximate 2.3 hours of free time each month, she loves watching anime, reading science fiction, and working on her novels-in-progress. Keep up with her antics at felizacasano.com and follow her on Twitter @FelizaCasano.