Dive Into October's Harvest Of New Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books

Detail from the cover of The Penguin Book of Mermaids, edited by Cristina Bacchilega and Marie Alohalani Brown. (Image: Penguin Classics)

If our massive spring preview left you wanting even more books for your list, you miiiight be an alien from some kind of speed-reading planet. But as it happens, we do have some new additions on our expanded October round-up, so read on for fantastical, spooky and spaced-out suggestions galore.


Angel Mage by Garth Nix

A centuries-old practitioner of angelic magic sets out to reunite with her long-lost archangel love, but she’ll need the unwilling assistance of four young people (including, as it happens, a scholar of angelic magic) to get what she wants. (October 1)

In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey

After a family tragedy, an author moves to a remote estate and immerses himself in writing a biography of the mansion’s former occupant: a Victorian fantasist who drew inspiration from the estate’s foreboding surrounding forest, where sinister forces still dwell. (October 1)

Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik

The Consortium Rebellion space-opera trilogy continues with the newly widowed princess Bianca relishing her independence and covertly using her wealth to help empower other women. But when her older brother disappears, she’ll do anything to find him, even if it means reconnecting with an old flame who once broke her heart. (October 1)

Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury

In this alt-history thriller, a strange messenger who turns up in 1683 sparks timeline changes that mean the Ottoman Empire rules Europe in 2017. As war looms with the Christian Republic of America, a member of the Empire’s secret police stumbles upon dark truths the current ruler will do anything to keep hidden. (October 1)

The End and Other Beginnings: Stories From the Future by Veronica Roth

The author of Divergent and Carve the Mark presents an illustrated collection of novella-length sci-fi stories about life in the future. (October 1)

Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

This collection gathers 13 thrilling supernatural tales, including “In the Tall Grass,” co-written with Stephen King and a film soon to be streaming-on-Netflix (read our review here), and “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain,” which will be adapted into an episode of Shudder’s Creepshow series. (October 1)

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery edited by Christopher Golden

Brand-new stories about witches and witchcraft from an array of female fantasy authors, including Theodora Goss, Kelley Armstrong, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Amber Benson, and many more. (October 1)

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith

A new fantasy series begins in Hell, specifically the part filled with unfinished books: the Library of the Unwritten. Head librarian Claire’s tasks include preventing rebellious characters from escaping their pages — until the Devil’s Bible adds some major complications to her usual routine. (October 1)

The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth’s Stupidest Show by Matt Brady

This book aimed at fans of the Adult Swim sensation examines Rick’s experiments through the lens of real-world physics, biology, and chemistry, including but not limited to “how we can use dark matter and energy... and whether or not you can really control a cockroach’s nervous system with your tongue.” (October 1)

Shattered Skies by Alice Henderson

The Skyfire Saga continues as an environmentally devastated Earth now faces a completely new threat: a deadly asteroid that’s on a collision course with the planet. Can one woman and her team assemble an ancient spaceship (and warn everyone, too) in time? (October 1)

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerising Girl by Theodora Goss

Mary Jekyll and the rest of the Athena Club return for this final trilogy entry, this time to rescue Mary’s kidnapped employer, some guy named Sherlock Holmes — and uncover a wider plot that threatens all of the British Empire. (October 1)

Trinity Sight by Jennifer Givhan

A pregnant anthropologist must renegotiate her understanding of science, mythology, and her own indigenous heritage when she wakes up in a post-apocalyptic New Mexico filled with ancient monsters. (October 1)

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

Hugo winner Ursula Vernon writes under a pen name for this tale described as “The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show,” about a young woman who makes an unsettling discovery while clearing out her late grandmother’s rural home. (October 1)

The Waters and the Wild by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Dying to escape the drama of her parents’ divorce, Olivia accepts a classmate’s invitation to visit his family’s lake house — but he’s no ordinary dude, and the lake soon reveals itself to be a place where creepy mysteries lurk beneath the surface. (October 1)

Whispers of Shadow and Flame by L. Penelope

The Earthsinger Chronicles continue as a magically-gifted assassin teams up with a guilt-ridden Earthsinger try and prevent a war that seems inevitable, no matter what they do. (October 1)

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

Without a home planet, humanity now dwells in short-term colonies constructed inside of giant “space beasts.” When a young woman who’s just learned some grim behind-the-scenes truths about this harsh way of life is unexpectedly elevated to a leadership role, her own sister tries to overthrow her. (October 2)

Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow edited by Future Tense

Future Tense — a series presented by Slate, New America, and Arizona State University — curates this collection of original speculative fiction. Authors include io9 co-founders Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz, as well as Nnedi Okorafor, Paolo Bacigalupi, Carmen Maria Machado, and many more. (October 2)

The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

The adventures of Lyra, heroine of the His Dark Materials series, continue in this new series; she’s now a 20-year-old college student but her life is far from normal, as a dying man’s last secrets lead her, her daemon Pantalaimon, and her old pal Dr. Malcolm Polstead on a dangerous new journey. (October 3)

Wasteland: The Children of D’Hara (Episode 3) by Terry Goodkind

The author’s post-Sword of Truth novella series continues with another tale of Richard and Kahlan’s children. (October 8)

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

A worldly teenage girl in 19th century New Orleans becomes entangled in a serial murder case — one she suspects involves the vampires she’s been mixing with in the city’s decadent underworld. (October 9)

The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt

The space-opera series that kicked off with The Wrong Stars continues as the crew of the White Raven uneasily realise that, yep, bad-guy aliens are to blame for the grim fate of a colony just beyond one of the galaxy’s 29 wormholes. (October 8)

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

This is not a sci-fi book, but it takes a real-world look at one of sci-fi’s favourite scenarios. The author, a leading AI researcher, digs into all the ways we can avoid the (inevitable?) rise of the machines, and even learn to coexist peacefully and beneficially alongside superhuman artificial intelligence. (October 8)

Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

A two-part YA fantasy series begins with this tale of four young criminals who’ve been relying on their magic to get by — until one of them makes a giant mistake that sparks a war, and they must work together (even though they really don’t want to) to save the world. (October 8)

A Kingdom for a Stage (For a Muse of Fire) by Heidi Heilig

The Shadow Players fantasy trilogy continues as a rebellion looms and the powerful Jetta tries to avoid capture for treason (among other crimes). But her greatest fear is that using her magic will make her just like her sinister father. (October 8)

A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by John Hornor Jacobs

The author pairs his novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky, about a poet driven mad by an impossible translation, with new short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow, about a librarian who accidentally stumbles on a recording of the Devil’s own music. (October 8)

Merlin Redux by Dave Duncan

The final novel in the author’s historical fantasy trilogy sees Sir Durwin, England’s Enchanter General, tasked with gathering some new allies and protecting the realm from Prince John’s sinister clutches. (October 8)

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

After she survives a horrifying crime, a young woman gets the chance to attend Yale — but her good fortune turns around again when she becomes entangled with the sinister occult activities of the school’s secret societies. (October 8)

The Princess Beard by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

In the world of Pell — setting for the author duo’s other comedic fairy tales, including No Country for Old Gnomes — a princess slumbers for eons; when the spell is broken, she wakes up not to the expected handsome prince, but to some seriously overactive hair follicles. Fortunately, her new beard makes the perfect disguise when she escapes to the high seas. (October 8)

The Remaking: A Novel by Clay McLeod Chapman

The campfire tale of a mother and daughter who were murdered after being accused of witchcraft haunts a small Virginia town — so much so that a horror film inspired by the story draws the lead actress into the legend, which turns out to be more true-crime than folklore after all. (October 8)

Sudden Traveller: Stories by Sarah Hall

This short story collection investigates some of the author’s favourite themes, including “identity, eroticism, and existential quest.” (October 8)

The True Bastards by Jonathan French

The second Lot Lands novel finds half-orc Fetch realising that being chief isn’t quite the gig she thought it would be, thanks to mounting problems like a destroyed fortress, a growing famine, meddling humans, and an evil wizard, to name just a few. (October 8)

Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan

The acclaimed author of the Wheel of Time epic fantasy series passed away in 2007, but he left behind this never-before published novel, about an Altaii leader dealing with warlords, magic, otherworldly interlopers, and other sorts of friends and foes while trying to keep his people safe. (October 8)

The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher

In this fantasy romance, a woman studying fairies visits an absinthe bar to research the connection between the two — only to meet a man who makes her realise the supernatural creatures might not be such a myth after all. (October 15)

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

After a violent revolution, a pair of orphans — an aristocratic boy and a lowborn girl — become friends, and their relationship transforms as they grow older and become competitive dragonriders. Things get even more complicated when the boy’s long-lost extended family resurfaces, and both must decide where their true loyalties lie. (October 15)

Forever and a Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

When novice sorceress Dru Jasper becomes the guardian of a scroll that could bring about the apocalypse, she must travel to the underworld to prevent a gang of particularly nasty wraiths from using it to end everything. (October 15)

Ormeshadow by Prita Sharma

In this fantastical drama, a young man must confront his troubled family legacy, which may or may not involve an actual dragon buried deep beneath their ancestral farmlands. (October 15)

The Quantum Garden by Derek Kunsken

The sequel to The Quantum Magician sees con man Belisarius living large with everything he ever wanted — until he realises he must risk it all and travel back in time to save his people and their world. (October 15)

The Rosewater Redemption by Tade Thompson

The Nigeria-set Wormwood trilogy concludes as Rosewater tries to hold onto its independence as a city-state — while also working to keep its extraterrestrial citizens from launching a violent rebellion. (October 15)

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux

A young woman ditches her bioengineering career and famous family in favour of working as a “space janitor,” cleaning up after intergalactic research expeditions. But her fresh start’s kind of a bust, truth be told — and things get even worse when she’s assigned to a ship that’s been overtaken by a dangerous alien parasite. (October 15)

The Penguin Book of Mermaids edited by Cristina Bacchilega and Marie Alohalani Brown

This collection of stories, each with accompanying commentary, traces folk tales about mermaids from cultures around the world, some of which are being published in English for the first time. The co-editors both teach at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (October 15)

The Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmett

The Hostage of Empire fantasy series begins as an ageing Emperor is nearing the end of his reign — and his queens, his concubines, and six potential royal heirs scheme, plot, and worry over who’ll take the throne next. (October 15)

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

In this futuristic tale inspired by Black Panther, two Nigerian sisters are pulled into a civil war being waged by bionic soldiers and flying mechs as they try to survive on an Earth so ravaged by bombs and climate change that most of humankind has relocated to space colonies. Read our exclusive excerpt here. (October 15)

The Blue Eye by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Khorasan Archive series continues as the magical warrior women known as the Companies of Hira target a sacred text that could help unseat the land’s patriarchal rulers once and for all. (October 17)

Supernova Era by Liu Cixin, translated by Joel Martinsen

The latest from the author of The Three-Body Problem is set in a future where all the adults on Earth have died after a cosmic event. Will the children left behind build a better future... or tear each other apart? (October 21)

When the Earth Had Two Moons by Erik Asphaug

In this non-fiction tome subtitled “Cannibal Planets, Icy Giants, Dirty Comets, Dreadful Orbits, and the Origins of the Night Sky,” the author — a planetary geologist — offers a tour through the surprising history of our galaxy. (October 21)

Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju by Kim Newman

The author’s vampire series continues, this time in a dragon-shaped building in Tokyo where a meeting of world leaders intent on ushering in a peaceful, technologically-advanced new era is crashed by “cyberpunk terrorists, yakuza assassins, and Transylvanian mercenaries.” (October 22)

The Burning White by Brent Weeks

The Lightbringer epic fantasy series that began with 2010's The Black Prism comes to an end as Kip Guile makes one last stand to protect his home and chosen family. (October 22)

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp

A woman relocates to live with her new boyfriend, but finds the apartment completely empty... except for a missing man’s cell phone. Will his digital history reveal what happened to him before something sinister happens to her next? (October 22)

Interference by Sue Burke

The author’s Semiosis series continues. It’s been 200 years since the first Earth colonists landed on a planet called Pax — but a new group of explorers discover something’s not quite as it seems when they show up to join the mission. (October 22)

The Last Road by K.V. Johansen

In a dying world, a new god rises up and tries to take total control — though one city may have the only chance to fight back, with the unlikely help of a couple of devils and an undead assassin. (October 22)

The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

In small-town North Carolina, circa 1992, there’s a reform school with a dark and dangerous secret. When one among a trio of horror-loving high-school friends gets sent there, the other two band together to do a little mystery-solving — and hopefully spring her free while they’re at it. (October 29)

The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons

The second in the author’s A Chorus of Dragons series sees Kihrin D’Mon on the run after killing an emperor, but he soon finds himself in fresh trouble when he gets caught up in a rebellion involving dragons that need slaying and his old enemy, a powerful wizard. (October 29)

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

A woman rushes to help her long-lost bestie who desperately needs a caretaker for her twin stepkids — though things get complicated when it’s revealed that the little ones have some very unique and fiery powers. (October 29)

Salvation Lost by Peter F. Hamilton

The Salvation Sequence, set in the 23rd century, continues as Earth faces a new threat from hostile aliens who turn out to be religious extremists. (October 29)

Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter

Shapeshifter and vampire killer Jane Yellowrock is on the retreat after a particularly brutal battle, but her rest and recovery plan will soon be interrupted by the supernatural evils that’ll stop at nothing to find her. (October 29)

Shield of the People by Marshall Ryan Maresca

The Maradaine Elite fantasy series digs into more political intrigue, as heroes Dayne and Jerinne are sharply reprimanded behind closed doors for their bold actions. Though they’re supposed to be keeping a low profile, they can’t help but step up when a new rebellion threatens the people they’re sworn to protect. (October 29)

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather

In this novella, space nuns — yep, space nuns! — travel to answer an intergalactic distress call aboard their living ship, Our Lady of Impossible Constellations. (October 29)

Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire

A collection of genre-bending short fiction — including several pieces that are being reprinted here for the first time — from the prolific author, dating back to 2009. (October 31)


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