Never Fear, Here Are 63 New Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Books to Ease You Into Spooky Season

Never Fear, Here Are 63 New Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Books to Ease You Into Spooky Season
Ellen Datlow's Body Shock horror anthology peers into your soul and sees that you crave more books! (Image: Tachyon Publications)
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October is here! The days are shorter, you’ve already started plotting out your Halloween costume, and it’s time to re-stock your reading list for the weeks ahead. We’ve got you covered with tales of pirates, haunted houses, witches, wizards, magicians, dragons, evil farm animals, interstellar battles, and so much more.

Those Fantastic Lives: and Other Strange Stories by Bradley Sides

This debut collection gathers stories of magical realism involving haunted forests, psychic grandmas, a young boy who suddenly sprouts wings, and more. (October 1)

Anvils, Mallets & Dynamite: The Unauthorised Biography of Looney Tunes by Jaime Weinman

Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the gang get their due in this deep dive into the Warners’ studio and the stories behind the creation of its envelope-pushing animated characters. (October 5)

Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey

Sleeping Beauty inspired this tale of a young woman gifted with magical but dark powers who’s tasked with protecting the heir to the throne — who just so happens to be her baby half-sister. (October 5)

Cackle by Rachel Harrison

In this novel described as both “funny” and “frightening,” a woman desperately seeking a fresh start moves to a small town, where she makes a new friend who miiiight be a witch. (October 5)

Crossbones by Kimberly Vale

In this swashbuckling fantasy tale, the death of the pirate king means a variety of hopefuls must gather their weapons and wits to compete for the Bone Crown — and the newly vacated island throne. Read an excerpt here. (October 5)

The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales: A Collection of Magical Short Stories by Yoon Ha Lee

This collection invites the reader to “enter a world of magic and myth, where foxes fall in love and robots build their own dragons.” (October 5)

The House of Dust by Noah Broyles

A down-on-his-luck crime writer visits a decaying house in rural Tennessee hoping to find the story that’ll revive his career. Instead he and his travelling companion find a dark and disturbing presence. (October 5)

The Keepers of Metsan Valo by Wendy Webb

An uneasy reunion for the reading of a will sends a woman on a journey into her family’s past, something that’ll require investigating the ancient forces that lurk around the isolated island where she grew up. (October 5)

Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond

As the title suggests, it’s a romance — but more specifically it’s “a paranormal romantic comedy at the (possible) end of the world.” Also, the “hot guy” is a demon. (October 5)

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

A witch visits her hometown on the eve of a spellcasting contest, where she discovers her childhood crush has been two-timing her best friend and the local magical badass. A revenge scheme is in order, but things get complicated when she starts to fall for the badass. (October 5)

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow

The second Sleeping Beauty-inspired entry on this month’s list is about a young woman destined to die at age 21 — but who experiences a strange out-of-body experience involving another young woman with a dreadful future after she pricks her finger on a spindle at her birthday party. (October 5)

Triumph of the Wizard King by Chad Corrie

The Wizard King trilogy ends with this volume, which sees the mercenaries who helped the king find success readying for another new conflict. (October 5)

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

The hungry spirits of the dead are invading — and it’s up to a young nun-in-training and the sinister revenant she accidentally awakens to form an unsteady alliance and fight off the threat. Read an excerpt here. (October 5)

When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles

The Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology concludes as disgraced magician Daron Demarco fights to save the woman he loves from the sinister force that’s trapped her inside a world filled with mirrors. (October 5)

All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told by Douglas Wolk

In writing this book, the author read “all 27,000+ comics that make up the Marvel Universe,” and charted a through line through all of them, uncovering how the comics and their changing styles reflected the politics and culture of the real, outside world that helped shaped their stories. (October 12)

Along the Saltwise Sea by A. Deborah Baker

This latest from Seanan McGuire (A. Deborah Baker is an “open pseudonym” for the prolific author) follows Over the Woodward Wall’s two young explorers as they’re made to work off their debt to a pirate queen by helping sail her ship across monster-laden waters. (October 12)

The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

Written by the actual NASA astronaut, this 1973-set, alt-history space-race thriller imagines the crew of the Apollo 18 must race to the moon ahead of their Soviet rivals. However, as the book’s title suggests, things may not go entirely as planned. (October 12)

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021 edited by Veronica Roth and John Joseph Adams

Series editor Adams and guest editor Roth (Divergent) select the best sci-fi and fantasy stories of 2021, with authors including Ken Liu, Meg Elison, Yoon Ha Lee, Tochi Onyebuchi, and more. (October 12)

The Brides of Maracoor by Gregory Maguire

The latest from the author of Wizard of Oz riff Wicked spins off a tale about Elphaba’s green-skinned granddaughter after she washes ashore on a strange island, where her presence causes instability but also brings hope. (October 12)

The Cabinet by Un-Sun Kim, translated by Sean Lin Halbert

This winner of South Korea’s most prestigious literary prize tells the story of a cabinet that holds files on humans with strange talents and even stranger experiences. The main character is an overworked office drone who must oversee the cabinet and the fantastical “symptomers” it keeps track of. (October 12)

Inhibitor Phase by Alastair Reynolds

The author returns to his Revelation Space universe for this new adventure following a group of humans who’ve taken shelter on a faraway planet, hiding from an evil cybernetic entity that won’t stop until they’re all wiped out. The hero among them must take action when a refugee ship enters their system and threatens to blow their cover. (October 12)

The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

In this first part of a duology set in the 1890s, the main character — “half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami soul collector” — flees London for Japanese underworld, where she’ll have to complete three daunting tasks if she wants to serve the Goddess of Death. (October 12)

Legacy of Seven: A Guardian Rises by P.J. Flie

The fates of two wizards, a soldier, and a construction robot become intertwined with that of a young woman who dreams of a magical adventure. (October 12)

Pearl by Josh Malerman

The latest from the author of Bird Box is about a monster that takes the form of a “strangely malevolent” pig named Pearl that drives a small town to madness. (October 12)

The Penguin Book of Dragons edited by Scott G. Bruce

This book collects and explores accounts of dragons throughout history and fiction, from ancient myths to the Bible, Beowulf, The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, and beyond. (October 12)

The Quantum War by Derek Künsken

The Quantum Evolution series continues, as does the war at its centre. Will the daring rescue of a geneticist being help captive on Venus help change the tide? (October 12)

Remember Me by Estelle Laure

A young woman who’s paid to have her memories erased must piece together the painful reasons that drove her to do it. (October 12)

Star Wars Visions: Ronin by Emma Mieko Candon

“The Duel,” an episode in the current Star Wars Visions animated anthology series, inspires this novel about a mysterious former Sith who wanders the Outer Rim of the galaxy trying to put his past behind him. (October 12)

Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

This follow-up to Before the Coffee Gets Cold returns to the Japanese café that offers the chance for customers to travel back in time and address something in the past that’s holding them back. (October 12)

This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno

When a couple decides to add a “smart speaker” to their maybe-haunted home, a tragedy rocks their lives — and an evil that won’t stop pursuing them is unleashed. (October 12)

Trailer Park Trickster by David Slayton

The follow-up to White Trash Warlock finds Adam Binder back in his Oklahoma hometown for his aunt’s funeral, where he must face his family’s mysterious history and battle the dark druid who threatens them all. (October 12)

Yume by Sifton Tracey Anipare

A Canadian woman teaching English in Japan unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a supernatural clash between humans and yokai. (October 12)

Body Shocks: Extreme Tales of Body Horror edited by Ellen Datlow

Just in time for Halloween, this collection presents 29 stories of “body horror at its wide-ranging and shocking best.” Contributors include Carmen Maria Machado, Richard Kadrey, Seanan McGuire, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Nathan Ballingrud, Tananarive Due, Cassandra Khaw, and more. (October 19)

Child of Light by Terry Brooks

The author of the Shannara books kicks off a new fantasy series with this tale of a girl who’s been imprisoned almost her whole life for unknown reasons — until she escapes into a magical world, where she begins to learn about her hazy past. Read an excerpt here. (October 19)

Femlandia by Christina Dalcher

In this near-future tale set in a chaotic, violent world, a woman and her daughter think the off-the-grid, woman-only colony they’ve joined will provide safety and comfort — but what they find there is both mysterious and terrifying, (October 19)

Flowers For the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

This novella about the survivors of a flooded kingdom — including a pregnant woman whose baby might not be entirely human — is intriguingly described as “Rosemary’s Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler.” (October 19)

Glimmer by Marjorie Kellogg

Set in 2110 after all of the Earth’s glaciers have melted, this “cli-fi epic” follows a a ragtag group of survivors — including a young girl who cannot recall where she came from — struggling to live in a devastated Manhattan. (October 19)

Guillermo del Toro: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work by Ian Nathan

This book takes a deep dive into the Oscar-winning, monster-loving director’s groundbreaking career to date. (October 19)

Hunting By Stars by Cherie Dimaline

In this follow-up to The Marrow Thieves, the Indigenous people of North America are persecuted and tortured because they are the only people left on Earth with the ability to dream. A 17-year-old boy kidnapped by dream harvesters must escape and find his family as they all struggle to survive. Read an excerpt here. (October 19)

Isolate: A Novel in the Grand Illusion by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

In this political fantasy, an “isolate” whose status means he’s “immune to the projections of empaths” works as a security chief — a gig that becomes tricky when an apparent assassination happens in his midst. (October 19)

Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch

In this thriller, a young woman whose parents invented “Enhanced Memory” — a process by which people can experience other people’s memories — meets a man who makes her question whether sharing memories is really the incredible gift she’s always believed it to be. (October 19)

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

A young woman uses her magical talents to take the place of a princess, while also leading a double life of a jewel thief. But just when she’s about to make one last score, she’s cursed — and must figure out how to break the spell before she turns into jewels herself as punishment. (October 19)

Nightwatch on the Hinterlands by K. Eason

This sci-fi mystery follows a murder in which the number one suspect is a battle-mecha that was supposedly decommissioned — but is now being used as a weapon by someone with terrifyingly bold ambitions. (October 19)

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

Japanese folklore inspired this haunted-house tale about a group of friends who reunite for a wedding and decide to party in an abandoned mansion, not realising it holds a nightmarish secret. (October 19)

Perhaps the Stars by Ada Palmer

The Terra Ignota series concludes with this entry, which sees a global civil war ripping apart the false sense of stability given by the Hive nations, which exist without fixed locations. It’s up to a criminal to try to restore order, as humankind begins to wonder if leaving the planet is its only choice for the future. (October 19)

Shadows of Eternity by Gregory Benford

Two centuries in the future, a young librarian who works at the SETI library on the moon realises she may be in over her head when she receives a particularly forceful alien message. (October 19)

Truth of the Divine by Lindsay Ellis

The alt-history, first-contact Noumena series continues as one of the few people who’s privy to the details about the alien presence on Earth must work with a journalist to convince a sceptical and fearful public not to panic. (October 19)

The Warriors of God by Andrzej Sapkowski

The latest from the author of The Witcher continues the Hussite Trilogy, following the 15th century magician Reynevan as he takes on a secret mission set against a wartime backdrop. (October 19)

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

An exorcist who cleanses homes that’ve been cursed with the Evil Eye takes on a new client out of desperation — only to realise the gig will both test her supernatural abilities and her heart. (October 19)

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: Volume Two edited by Paula Guran

This collection gathers dark and disturbing tales from Alix E. Harrow, Zen Cho, Victor LaValle, Elizabeth Bear, and more. (October 19)

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente

A woman who believes her life, husband, and home are all perfect starts to waver in her faith when he starts taking long business trips… and acting more and more secretive… and not telling her what’s locked in the basement. (October 26)

Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest

“A psychic travel agent and a Seattle PD detective solve a murder” — OK, we were already sold on this one, even before the plot description notes that the psychic also gives “Klairvoyant Karaoke” performances at open-mic nights. (October 26)

Journey to the Heart of the Abyss by London Shah

The sequel to futuristic mystery The Light at the Bottom of the World finds Leyla McQueen reunited with her formerly imprisoned father — but her happiness is tempered by the fact that she’s now a wanted criminal as she tries to prove his innocence. (October 26)

Liege-Killer: The Paratwa Saga by Christopher Hinz

Winner of the 1988 Compton Crook Award, this cult classic novel — set 200 years after a nuclear apocalypse sent humans fleeing from genetically-modified killers known as Paratwa — gets a refresh with brand-new material added. (October 26)

Shackled Fates by Thilde Kold Holdt

The Norse mythology-inspired Hanged God Trilogy continues in this magical saga. (October 26)

Star Trek: Coda, Book II: The Ashes of Tomorrow by James Swallow

Who’s ready for a crossover adventure novel? “The crews of Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, Ezri Dax, and William Riker unite to prevent a cosmic-level apocalypse — only to find that some fates really are inevitable.” (October 26)

Trashlands by Alison Stine

In a world devastated by climate change where new plastic is no longer manufactured, people rummage through garbage to find whatever valuables they can recycle, and an artist who toils in a junkyard must decide whether to drastically change her life when the opportunity suddenly arises. (October 26)

The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

This collection of short sci-fi from the author of The Three-Body Problem includes the title story that inspired the Chinese blockbuster film picked up by Netflix. (October 26)

We Light Up the Sky by Lilliam Rivera

Three Los Angeles teens must put aside their differences and figure out how to react when an alien visitor arrives and warns them of an invasion to come. (October 26)

Where They Wait by Scott Carson

A journalist reluctantly accepts an assignment writing about a mindfulness app — and soon discovers there’s something sinister and literally nightmare-inducing lurking within its technology. (October 26)

Winders by Ryan O’Nan

This sci-fi tale imagines that certain people have the ability to wind back time. They live in secret among regular people, and some of them use their power for good — while others, inevitably, for terrible evil. (October 26)

Belladonna Nights and Other Stories by Alastair Reynolds

The space scientist turned fiction author presents his fourth collection of short stories, drawn from the last decade and including a previously unpublished story set in the Revelation Space universe. (October 31)

The Best of Dark Terrors edited by Stephen Jones and David A. Sutton

This volume gathers 20 stories from Dark Terrors: The Gollancz Book of Horror, which ran from 1995 to 2002 and was billed as “Britain’s premier non-themed anthology of original horror stories.” It also includes an index of authors from the series, and new notes from both the editors as well as the stories’ original publisher, Jo Fletcher. (October 31)