Check Out The Sparkling New Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Coming Your Way In May

The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear (Image: Tor Books)

May is a huge month for new sci-fi and fantasy releases, and we’ve got a list of over 30 books for you to check out and add to your reading list — whether your tastes run toward epic space operas, magical misfits, post-apocalyptic survival tales, alt-histories, clone dramas, or risky adventures on newly-colonised planets. And if none of those appeal, there are still so many more!


Tales for the Camp Fire edited by Loren Rhoads

Support wildfire relief efforts and scare yourself silly with this collection of creepy sci-fi, horror, and fantasy tales, all by Northern California authors who’ve contributed their stories to help people affected by last year’s devastating Camp Fire. (May 2)

Last Tango in Cyberspace by Steven Kotler

In this near-future cyberpunk noir, an “em-tracker” — a man able to track empathy and predict cultural shifts with near-psychic accuracy — discovers a dark side to his corporate gig when his latest assignment leads him into a sinister, murderous underworld of “soul hackers and consciousness terrorists.” (May 14)

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

A new sci-fi epic begins in the year 2380, as the Aurora Academy’s graduating class sets out on their first missions—including cadet Tyler Jones’ squad of screw-ups, rejects, and bad-attitude misfits, who suddenly find themselves tasked with helping a young refugee who might hold the fate of the galaxy in her hands. (May 7)

A Chain Across the Dawn by Drew Williams

The Universe After series continues as Justified agents Esa and Jane travel the galaxy trying to track down and offer protection to supernaturally gifted children—before a sinister being snatches them up first. (May 7)

Empire of Grass by Tad Williams

The second in the author’s Last King of Osten Ard series, set in his longstanding fantasy realm, follows the struggles of Osten Ard’s royal couple as they face war from opponents both mortal and magical. (May 7)

Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It by Adam Savage

The Mythbusters star and noted sci-fi superfan shares his “golden rules of creativity,” using his own experiences as a maker to guide and inspire other budding inventors and builders. (May 7)

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang

The author of Stories of Your Life and Others (the basis for the 2016 film Arrival) returns with another collection of short fiction that delves into subjects like time portals, alien science, and alternate universes.

Some of the works are older (albeit previously uncollected), but there are some brand-new entries as well. (May 7)

Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler

The author of The Book of Speculation returns with this story about a Florida girl growing up in the 1980s who dreams of becoming an astronaut—a plan that’s complicated by her scientist father, who becomes dangerously obsessed with playing with time so he can extend his daughter’s childhood just a little bit longer. (May 7)

Middlegame by Seanan Maguire

The Hugo and Nebula-winning author (among other accolades) has a few ongoing book series at the moment, but this one’s a stand-alone fantasy tale.

It’s about twins Roger (a language expert) and Dodger (a maths genius), who aren’t actually totally human, seeing as how they were created by an alchemist who hopes they’ll help him ascend to the godlike status he craves. (May 7)

Million Mile Road Trip by Rudy Rucker

The mathematician and cyberpunk pioneer’s latest novel follows three California teens who take an epic road trip across a parallel, alien universe in a quest to save Earth. (May 7)

Octavia Gone by Jack McDevitt

The author’s eighth book starring antiquities dealer Alex Benedict sees Alex and his team tracking down an alien artifact—a hunt that gets ever-more intriguing when they realise the missing object is tied to the mysterious disappearance of a group of scientists from their black hole-adjacent space station. (May 7)

Snakeskins by Tim Major

A woman grapples with the strange task of deciding the fate of her own clone—while also trying to prevent a group of people with mysterious powers of rejuvenation from taking over the government and, eventually, the world. (May 7)

The Warship by Neal Asher

The author’s space opera continues in this sequel to The Soldier, as a plan to destroy an accretion disc containing dangerous technology using something even more dangerous — a weaponised black hole — turns into a cosmic disaster when sinister ulterior motives come to light.

Westside by W.M. Akers

Set in a magical version of 1921 Manhattan, this historical fantasy follows a detective named Gilda Carr who excels at solving “tiny mysteries”—a specialisation she’s forced to expand on when her latest case, the search for a pesky missing glove, snowballs into a terrifying murder investigation. (May 7)

A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

In this speculative fiction tale, set in a world inspired by Renaissance Italy, a man looks back on a life that included time spent in the service of a count nicknamed “the Beast,” as well as encounters with magical healers, religious leaders, mercenaries, and other figures who helped shape his journey. (May 14)

Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky

In this sequel to the acclaimed Children of Time, a planet that was terraformed thousands of years ago offers new hope for humans looking for remnants of the long-lost Earth—but something far more malevolent is revealed once a new crew of explorers arrives. (May 14)

Mythic Journeys: Retold Myths and Journeys edited by Paula Guran

A collection of short stories that reimagine classic legends and myths, with contributions from Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, Ken Liu, Genevieve Valentine, Yoon Ha Lee, and many others. (May 14)

The Undefeated by Una McCormack

A retired journalist whose reporting once helped stamp out corruption decides to visit her home planet—but her trip down memory lane is interrupted by a ruthless new enemy that threatens all of humankind. (May 14)

Gather the Fortunes by Bryan Camp

In a magical version of New Orleans first seen in the author’s The City of Lost Fortunes, a woman who helps guide the deceased to the underworld gets drawn into a mystery involving a boy who manages to cheat death — and the mysterious deity who gave him an assist for their own nefarious reasons. (May 21)

Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan

In the Nebula winner’s new novella, a telepath serving a life sentence on a prison planet (where she can’t recall anything about her crimes) starts to question why she’s really there once she begins to hear a strange voice emanating out of the darkness. (May 21)

An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass

In a world where using magic is a capital crime, a ragtag group of secret sorcerers must pool their talents to stop a scheme that could result in a civil war. (May 21)

Shadowblade by Anna Kashina

A talented young swordswoman bounces back from being kicked out of school when she’s accepted into an advanced training program — only to discover that her benefactor plans to exploit her resemblance to a long-lost princess as part of an elaborate scheme of courtly intrigue. (May 21)

Starship Repo by Patrick S. Tomlinson

This month’s prize for “best character name” goes to Starship Repo’s Firstname Lastname, who ditches her plan to work aboard an alien space station in favour of stowing away with a crew that flies around repossessing space ships. (May 21)

Triumphant by Jack Campbell

The Genesis Fleet saga continues as the newly-colonised planet of Glenlyon comes under attack after helping a neighbouring world fight off an invasion. Will the star systems that have so far avoided any battles pool their limited resources and come to their aid, or will they stand solo and be blasted out of the solar system? (May 21)

Year of the Orphan by Daniel Findlay

Billed as “The Road meets Mad Max,” this post-apocalyptic debut novel follows a girl known as the Orphan who has secret knowledge that might help give the world a second chance.

But in the meantime, she’s fighting to survive in the Australian Outback — where the land is toxic, resources are precious enough to kill for, and monstrous mutants stalk the landscape looking for any available prey. (May 21)

The Gameshouse by Claire North

Previously available as three digital-only novellas (The Serpent, The Thief, and The Master), this latest tale from the World Fantasy Award-winning author (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August) is about three talented gamblers invited to participate in a series of high-stakes games that control the real-life fates of empires and economies. (May 28)

Lent by Jo Walton

The Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author infuses history with magic in this fanciful exploration of the life of Girolamo Savonarola, a key figure and religious rebel of sorts in Renaissance Florence. (May 28)

Longer by Michael Blumlein

A pair of scientists have the chance to “reboot” themselves while they’re orbiting Earth, a process that’s supposed to transform their ageing bodies back into the way they were in their 20s. But when one succeeds and the other fails, their marriage comes under some serious strain. (May 28)

The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear

The Hugo winner’s sequel to The Stone in the Skull returns to the Lotus Kingdoms, where the brass automaton known as the Gage must embark on a desert quest to seek the answer to a dangerous riddle. (May 28)

Shark Beach by Chris Jameson

Just when you thought it was safe to start planning your vacation, along comes this Jaws riff that imagines a hurricane-plagued Florida beach packed with rowdy spring-breakers—as well as an influx of toothy military test subjects who’ve just escaped the local marine institute. (May 28)

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