20 sci-fi and fantasy books we look forward to diving into this summer

That Other things the summer season is upon us. Some of this year’s greatest science fiction and fantasy books will hit the shelves over the next four months, including new titles from Ken Liu, Holly Black and Ruthanna Emrys. Moreover, widely acclaimed writers at genre boundaries like Akil Kumarasamy, Megan Giddings and Georgi Gospodinov are back with new head-scrapers along with a fresh harvest of debut writers.

Whether you’re looking for a quick fix to devouring over a single weekend or an epic short story you can read about for months, here’s the top 20 science fiction and fantasy books on the way for you in May, June , July and August 2022.


The front of Jennifer Saints Elektra, with the profiles of three people with long hair on an orange background.

Image: Flatiron Books

Elektra by Jennifer Saint (May 3)

Fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe and Margaret Atwoods Penelope will be attracted by this re-creation of Iliad zooming in on Helen of Troy’s niece, Elektra. It’s yet another gripping historical fantasy in the style of Saint’s debut novel, Ariadnebut this time she expands her focus to include two more women: Elektra’s mother, Clytemnestra, and her father Agamemnon’s mistress, Cassandra.


The front of The Immortal King Rao, with a group of uneven concentric circles and a silhouette facing upwards.

Image: WW Norton

Not many former Wall Street Journal technology reporters have written a science fiction novel, but Vauhini Vara has done just that with this amazing, nuanced book on memory, capitalism, and climate change. It is the story of a South Indian child who grows up to be the most powerful man in the world – first as CEO of a technology company, then as head of an international corporatocracy – and gives his daughter access to his memories in a desperate situation. attempt to save the planet.


The cover of the Book of Night by Holly Black, with a crescent moon set against a black and blue background.

Photo: Tor Books

Co-author of Spiderwick Chronicles is back with his first novel for adults, a dark fantasy set in a world that could be our own if it were not for the “shadow magic” and the “gloamists” who study it. When a 28-year-old thief named Charlie Hall finds a dead man whose shadow has been torn to pieces, she embarks on an adventure to search for a missing magical text – The Titular Book of Night.


Front Page of Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel.  Illustrative color block in the form of a face with round gals.

Image: Liveright

Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel (May 10)

This ballad novel, Gospodinov’s third translation from Bulgarian into English, is about a Swiss health clinic for Alzheimer’s patients, where each floor is designed to recreate another decade of the 20th century. Things start to get wild when whole countries decide to start “living” in a particular decade from the past. (France, of course, chooses the 80s.)


The cover for Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak, with someone shoveling in the road in front of a parked car.

Image: Flatiron Books

This contemporary spin on Screw rotation is about a new sober nanny, Mallory Quinn, who takes a job caring for a 5-year-old boy. The child first seems cute (don’t they always?) Until he draws a picture of a man pulling the body of a woman through the woods. As his drawings become more and more lifelike, Mallory wonders if he is channeling something supernatural – something that could help solve a cold case.


Cover for The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah, with an amulet against a white background.

Image: Orbit

Loulie al-Nazari, a criminal magic smuggler with the enviable alias “Midnight Merchant”, joins his jinn guardian, a prince and a thief in this fast-paced fantasy adventure inspired by several stories from A thousand and one nights. Fans of SA Chakraborty’s Daevabad trilogy will enjoy al-Nazari’s race to find an ancient artifact with the power to wipe out any jinn in the world.


Cover image for Garden of Earthly Bodies by Sally Oliver, with a woman with bare back and hair growing along the spine.  Also potentially tentacles!

Photo: The Overlook Press

Traumatized women begin to grow thick, dark hair along the spine in this debut novel by Sally Oliver. Marianne, mourning the death of her sister, joins other affected women at an experimental treatment center in the Welsh desert, where her past and present begin to overlap – and where her mind begins to fall apart.


Cover image for Ordinary Monsters by JM Miro, with a black bird flying against the background of both clouds and the night sky.

Image: Flatiron Books

A gloomy historical fantasy set in Victorian London and the Meiji period of Tokyo, Ordinary monsters is about a British detective who is tasked with keeping two supernaturally driven children safe from a man made of smoke. At almost 700 pages, it is a door stopper with a labyrinthine story and a large cast.


Cover image of The City Inside by Samit Basu, with a colorful image of Delhi.

Photo: Tor Books

In the near future, the meta-verse will be moderated by Reality Controllers like Joey, who monitors livestreams of South Asian celebrities. When she hires an assistant named Rudra, the alienated offspring of a wealthy Delhi family, they discover a corporate conspiracy that shatters everything they think they know.


The cover for Speaking Bones by Ken Liu, with a cornucopia in front of a garinafin skull.

Photo: Saga Press

Ken Liu returns with the fourth and final book in his Dandelion Dynasty series, best known for establishing the “silkpunk” genre with 2015’s The Grace of the Kings. This time, Pékyu Takval and Princess Théra must navigate two wars to decide the fate of the seven islands of Dara.


Cover of Drunk on All Your Strange New Worlds by Eddie Robson, with dark text against a pastel background partially obscured by a ripple effect.

Photo: Tor Books

Knives Out meetings The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy in this mystery of locked spaces that takes place in the near future, where the human translator for a foreign diplomat gets caught in a murder investigation. Eddie Robson is written for British sitcoms and Doctor Who spinoffs, so some dry humor must be expected.


The cover of What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher, a surreal image of a rabbit mixed with a rabbit skeleton made of mushrooms.

Photo: Tor Nightfire

Kingfisher’s retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” is a great way to recreate yourself with the story before Mike Flanagan’s upcoming Netflix adaptation of the original text. This version involves mushrooms, “obsessed wildlife” and a bunch of ghosts that may not actually be ghosts.


Cover image for A Half-Built Garden, showing the Earth at a distance surrounded by dandelion seed heads.

Photo: Tor Books

Emrys’ first novel since the Innsmouth Legacy series is a first-contact story driven by climate change. At the end of the 21st century, when aliens land in the Gulf of Chesapeake and offer humanity an escape from what they perceive as a doomed Earth, our species must decide whether to leave home or endure it.


Cover image of The Sleepless by Victor Manibo, with three pairs of eyes in neon lights that gradually open.

Photo: Erewhon

The sleepless by Victor Manibo (August 2)

What if you never needed to sleep again? It sounds good, but it does not turn out so well in Manibo’s debut novel. A “sleepless” journalist named Jamie Vega is caught in a murder investigation, and the worst thing is that he can not remember anything from the night of the crime. After embarking on his own investigation, he discovers the truth behind insomnia and it can not be good.


Cover image of The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean, with a diorama image of a parent and a child and a house, all made from pages from a book while standing on a book.

Photo: Tor Books

The title is not a metaphor; this novel is about people eating books. They call themselves The Family, they live on the Yorkshire Moors, and they punish children by making them eat dictionaries. It turns out that they are actually living off the contained stories within the books, which becomes a problem when one of them gets a taste for the best storyteller of all – the human brain.


Cover image of 40 by Alan Heathcock, a bright image with a red angel-like figure inside the digits 4 and 0.

Image: MCD

40 by Alan Heathcock (August 2)

A civil war between the US government and a faction of revolutionary fundamentalists is the setting for Heathcock’s daring and bizarre novel about faith, family and the future. When a young soldier named Mazzy Goodwin wakes up in a crater to find wings sprouting from her back, she’s not sure if it’s a miracle or a biological experiment, but it gives her the opportunity to become a war leader and find his missing sister.


Cover image for Face by Joma West, an abstract combination of colors that creates the shape of a face in the middle.

Photo: Tor Books

face by Joma West (August 2)

Skin color is a choice in Joma West’s debut novel, politely by some GattacaGenetic technology at a level that allows everyone (who can afford it) to design their own “perfect” faces. At the same time, all skin-to-skin contact is considered obscene, and a wealthy family’s quest for happiness turns into a nightmare worthy of Black mirror episode.


Cover image of The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings, a vibrant blue image showing a tree and the sun.

Photo: Friendship

The ingenious author of Lakewood imagines a dystopia in which witches are real – a fact that the authoritarian state uses to criminalize women’s singleness after the age of 30 and to put black women on trial for the slightest suspicion. When Josephine Thomas embarks on a quest to honor her mother’s last wish, she discovers a society living under very different rules.


Cover image of The First Bindin by RR Virdi, with a person climbing a mountain with a fantasy background.

Photo: Tor Books

The first binding is a South Asian inspired epic fantasy that has been compared to Patrick Rothfuss’ The name of the wind, and with good reason: it’s an 800-page series starter told in the first person by a legendary, sharp-tongued warrior who practices magic. The amazing cover art does not hurt either!


Cover image of Meet Us by the Roaring Sea by Akil Kumarasamy, a grid image with a background and various images of geography within each grid.

Photo: FSG

This genre-defying novel from the author of the 2018 short story collection Half gods is about an AI trainer in the near future, Ada, who in her spare time translates a Tamil manuscript written by a group of female medical students in the 1990s. The story alternates between Ada’s encounters with the technology of the future and the medical students’ attempts to suffer as much as possible in order to understand their patients.

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