This month is full of blockbuster science fiction and fantasy novels. Including new books by Neal Stephenson, Nnedi Okorafor, Paolo Bacigalupi, Mark Z. Danielewski, Naomi Novik and Clive Barker! Plus a solo adventure for Lois Lane! Here are the books that you absolutely need to know about this month.

Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi (Tachyon Publications)

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The author of The Quantum Thief is finally publishing his first collection of short stories, including a living city, unlimited space travel, genetic alteration and other hot topics. Writes RisingShadow, “These stories beautifully demonstrate the full range of the author’s imagination and writing abilities. They also reveal how much he has developed as an author over the years.” BN | Books Inc.


Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond (Switch Press)

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A young-adult Lois Lane novel (hopefully the first of many) by the author of Blackwood and Girl on a Wire. The young Lois Lane moves to Metropolis and deals with bullies, both online and in the real world — while she also makes friends with a mysterious guy named Clark on the Internet, who only goes by “SmallvilleGuy.” DenofGeek calls it “an engaging story that should catch the interest of readers hesitant to pick up a comic book. It would also lead to some interesting Lois adventures in the future, if Bond decides to take on this character again. Which she should.” Here’s an excerpt! BN | Powell’s


The Subprimes: A Novel by Karl Taro Greenfeld (Harper)

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This “Swiftian satire” takes place in a near future where some people have credit scores that make them basically social outcasts and non-people. It’s basically a totally ridiculous dystopia, in which a host of social problems have run amok, and adults can be arrested just for playing touch football with kids. As NPR says, “Greenfeld’s satire fits the harrowing subject matter, especially so when it bleeds into a storytelling that can best be called heartfelt.” BN | Powell’s |


The Water Knife: A novel by Paolo Bacigalupi (Knopf)

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Bacigalupi delivers another bracing novel set in an ecologically devastated future. This time, there are extreme water shortages, and people live in arcologies that have elaborate water filtration systems. The main character, Angel, is a “water knife,” skilled in finding scarce moisture. Publishers Weekly says “this epic, visionary novel should appeal to a wide audience.” [Full disclosure: Bacigalupi and I share an agent, Russ Galen.] Read an excerpt here! BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)

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Stephenson’s novel begins with a global catastrophe — and that’s when things start to get interesting. After the Moon explodes, the Earth soon becomes uninhabitable, and the human race has to survive in orbit for 5,000 years. Kirkus calls it, “Wise, witty, utterly well-crafted science fiction.” Read a huge excerpt here. BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


Points of Departure: Liavek Stories by Patricia C. Wrede and Pamela Dean (Diversion Publishing)

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The first collaboration from two of the all-time great fantasy writers, this includes nine previously published stories in their shared world of Liavek, plus two new ones. And these stories form a sprawling but coherent tale of the Benedicti family, who brought their insane god with them when they left home. It received a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly, which said, “This deeply enjoyable journey to Liavek will be of interest to longtime fans and newcomers alike.” BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker (St. Martin’s Press)

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Fans have been waiting for this book for over 20 years, and it’s Barker’s first novel for adults since 2007. And now, at long last, it’s here — the final story of Pinhead, as the Cenobite tries to take over Lucifer’s throne. Beauty in Ruins called it “absolutely magnificent.” Read an excerpt here. BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest (Arthur A. Levine Books)

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May created the katana-wielding superhero Princess X with her best friend Libby in fifth grade — but then Libby and her mom died in a car accident. Or did they? Years later, the 16-year-old May spots a Princess X sticker in a store window and goes in search of her old friend, and the hero they created. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review and called it “fresh and contemporary.” BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)

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This prequel to Who Fears Death follows Phoenix, who’s been genetically modified to look like a 40-year-old even though she’s only two years old. And meanwhile, a man named Sunuteel finds a hidden cache of old computers, and manages to upload a long lost file onto his portable. Tor.com says, “The Book of Phoenix isn’t just well written, and it isn’t just smart as hell; it’s also a damn good story, and it kept me reading almost nonstop all the way through.” Read an excerpt! BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


Tide of Shadows and Other Stories by Aidan Moher (A Dribble of Ink)

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Moher’s Hugo Award-winning blog has been a great read for years, but meanwhile he’s also won praise for his short fiction — and now you can read a big chunk of it for yourself, for just around $2.99. These stories include a soldier reliving the last moments of his comrades’ lives, a girl with mechanical wings, an unconventional love triangle, and more. Read an excerpt here.


Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

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The author of the Temeraire novels is launching a new fairytale world with this book — a wizard known as the Dragon takes young women from a village in return for his protection, and young Agnieszka goes to live with him for 10 years. Only to discover she has a rare gift for magic. Publishers Weekly raves, “Novik’s use of language is supremely skillful as she weaves a tale that is both elegantly grand and earthily humble, familiar as a Grimm fairy tale yet fresh, original, and totally irresistible.” Read an excerpt! BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


The Familiar, Volume 1 by Mark Z. Danielewski (Pantheon)

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Danielewski, the author of House of Leaves, is starting an ambitious 27-volume illustrated series, full of strange typography as well as beautiful images. We featured a first look a while back. In the first volume, a 12-year-old girl goes to get a dog, but winds up getting a very different sort of creature — and the whole world could be in danger. Kirkus raves that “most everything about this vast, elusive, sometimes even illusory narrative shouts tour de force,” while Publishers Weekly is less impressed. BN | Powell’s


Seriously Wicked: A Novel by Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)

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The author of Ironskin writes a new teen novel about a young witch who’s dealing with a lot of problems. An evil witch has put a demon into the body of the guy she has a crush on, and is trying to find a rare Phoenix on school grounds, potentially causing a huge disaster. The New York Journal of Books says the plot is a bit overcomplicated, but adds: “Connelly exhibits a sharp wit and a keen tongue that make Seriously Wicked a fun read.” BN | Books Inc.


The New World: A Novel by Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

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This story was originally published in digital form, but now it’s available as a straight-up book. A woman discovers that her husband has died and a cryonics company has taken his head, intending to preserve his consciousness after death. Meanwhile, in the far future, her husband has been brought back to life and must cope with the fact that his wife is long dead. KQED says, “Like the best novels do, The New World leaves you wondering.” BN


Where: A Novel by Kit Reed (Tor Books)

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It sucks when a new guy comes along and starts making moves on David’s estranged girlfriend. But what makes the situation a thousand times worse is, when David’s wife Merrill and the other guy disappear into a pocket universe, lost forever. Just try having marriage counseling when your spouse is gone from space and time entirely. [Full disclosure: Tor is also my publisher.] BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


Day Shift (Midnight, Texas) by Charlaine Harris (Ace)

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The second book in Harris’ Midnight, Texas series. Manfred the phone psychic comes home after a client dies during a reading, only to find himself accused of theft. It takes ghosts, angels, and other supernatural critters to help Manfred clear his name. Writes Publishers Weekly, “Harris continues to open up her setting, layering in more secrets as well as revealing some answers.” And the name “Sookie Stackhouse” is mentioned in passing, so it’s clear this is still the same universe. BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


The Watchman of Eternity by Paul Witcover (Bantam Press)

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The author of The Emperor of All Things returns to his clockpunk world for another installment, in which Daniel Quare from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, is sent to find a lost WMD that’s fallen out of the realm of dragons, demons and gods — a pocket watch with a thirst for human blood. Here’s an excerpt! | Powell’s |


The Gracekeepers: A Novel by Kirsty Logan (Crown)

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In a drowned world, setting your feet on dry land is a privilege that must be earned. And Callanish has been cast out of society to become a Gracekeeper, tending the graves of the people who died at sea and the caged birds hanging over them, on a tiny island near the equator. Callanish is all alone... until the circus comes to town, that is. Says the Herald Scotland, “This modern fairytale has moments of exceptional insight and thrilling action, and others where a little human touch would be welcome.” Here’s an excerpt! BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


The Vorrh by Brian Catling (Vintage)

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You already know that Alan “god of comics” Moore loves this book for its poetic, fantastical strangeness. But NPR also raves about it, saying, “Catling’s plot and prose, like his setting, are dreamlike and hyper-vivid. His frequent and liquid shifts in point-of-view only add to that kaleidoscopic vision.” Catling picks up a vague reference to a weird forest called the Vorrh in a 1910 surrealist novel Impressions of Africa and turns it into a weird voyage into the heart of dark fantasy. BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan (Orbit)

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Colgan’s written some fun Doctor Who fiction, and now she’s written what she describes as “a sci-fi-rom-com about a mathematician discovering an alien intelligence and accidentally falling in love with it.”


Corsair: A Science Fiction Novel by James L. Cambias (Tor Books)

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The author of the cracking A Darkling Sea is back with a near-future science fiction thriller in which vessels transporting helium-3 from the Moon to Earth are being hijacked by someone who calls themselves Captain Black the Space Pirate. The only one who can bring Captain Black to justice is his ex-girlfriend, Air Force officer Elizabeth Santiago. BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.


The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris (Saga Press)

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And finally, U.S. readers are finally getting to read this sly, wicked tale of the trickster god, from the author of Chocolat. This is Loki telling his own story, which you can imagine might involve a bit of unreliable narrating. And the Guardian says that fans of Tom Hiddleston will be excited about this one: “Pitched, openly and unashamedly, at the commercial end of the market, this book is more likely to delight those whose Loki is the one from the Marvel movies than to satisfy admirers of Harris’s astringent, highly original and often subtly fantastic mainstream novels.” BN | Powell’s | Books Inc.

Sources: SFSignal, Locus, Amazon, Publishers’ catalogs


Contact the author at charliejane@io9.com.

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