Genre-benders, genre-hoppers, genre-crossers, put-all-your-genres-in-a-blender-and-see-what-comes-out… no matter what you want to call ’em, these books do a lot of interesting things. From superheroes to strange teens, supervillains to demigoddesses, time travel to horror, there’s a little bit of everything in June’s releases! Meg Eden’s Post High School Reality Quest crosses life and a game; Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland give us witch-powered time travel in The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.; Victor LaValle presents his take on a classic idea in The Changeling; and so much more.
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2017 Edition—Rich Horton, editor (June 6, Prime Books)
This ninth volume of the year’s best science fiction and fantasy features thirty stories by some of the genre’s greatest authors, including Charlie Jane Anders, Steven Barnes, Seth Dickinson, Kameron Hurley, Rich Larson, Ian R. MacLeod, Paul McAuley, Adam Roberts, Lavie Tidhar, Genevieve Valentine, Carrie Vaughn, and many others. Selecting the best fiction from Asimov’s, Bridging Infinity, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Lightspeed, and other top venues, The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy is your guide to magical realms and worlds beyond tomorrow.
Dear Cyborgs—Eugene Lim (June 6, FSG Originals)
In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponder modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics. Gleefully toying with the conventions of the novel, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendship’s dissolution with a provocative and timely meditation on protest. Through a series of linked monologues, a lively cast of characters explores narratives of resistance—protest art, eco-terrorists, Occupy squatters, pyromaniacal militants—and the extent to which any of these can truly withstand and influence the cold demands of contemporary capitalism.
Not So Good a Gay Man—Frank Robinson (June 6, Tor Books)
Memoir. Frank M. Robinson (1926-2014) accomplished a great deal in his long life, working in magazine publishing, including a stint for Playboy, and writing science fiction such as The Power, The Dark Beyond the Stars, and thrillers such as The Glass Inferno (filmed as The Towering Inferno). Robinson also passionately engaged in politics, fighting for gay rights, and most famously writing speeches for his good friend Harvey Milk in San Francisco. This deeply personal autobiography, addressed to a friend in the gay community, explains the life of one gay man over eight decades in America. By turns witty, charming, and poignant, this memoir grants insights into Robinson’s work not just as a journalist and writer, but as a gay man navigating the often perilous social landscape of 20th century life in the United States.
Breaking—Danielle Rollins (June 6, Bloomsbury)
Young adult. Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Weston Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school–or her demanding mother, Dr. Gruen–her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Weston Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Weston are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth . . .
The Himalayan Codex—Bill Schutt & J.R. Finch (June 6, William Morrow)
It is 1946, and the world is beginning to rebuild from the ashes of the devastating war. Marked by the perilous discoveries he encountered in the wilds of Brazil, Captain R. J. MacCready has a new assignment on the other side of the globe. He is headed for the Himalayas, to examine some recently discovered mammoth bones. Arriving in Asia, Mac learns the bones are only a cover story. He’s really there to investigate an ancient codex allegedly written by Pliny the Elder. The Roman naturalist claimed to have discovered a new race of humans, a divergent species that inspired the myth of the Yeti and is rumored to have the ability to accelerate the process of evolution. Charged with uncovering more about this miracle species, Mac sets off into the remote mountain valleys of Tibet, using the codex as his guide. But the freezing climate and treacherous terrain are only the beginning of the dangers facing him.
The Wonderful O—James Thurber (June 6, Penguin Classics)
Reissue. Littlejack has a map that indicates the existence of a treasure on a far and lonely island, and Black has a ship to get there. So the two bad men team up and sail off on Black’s vessel, the Aeiu. The name, Black explains, is all the vowels except for O—which he hates since his mother got wedged in a porthole: They couldn’t pull her in, so they had to push her out. Black and Littlejack arrive at the port and demand the treasure. No one knows anything about it, so they have their henchmen ransack the place—to no avail. But Black has a better idea: He will take over the island and purge it of O. (“I’ll issue an edict!”) The harsh limits of a life sans O (where shoe is she and woe is we) and how finally with a little luck and lots of pluck the islanders shake off their overbearing interlopers and discover the true treasure for themselves (Oh yes—and get back their O’s)—these are only some of the surprises that await readers of James Thurber’s timelessly zany fairy tale about two louts who try to lock up the language—and lose.
Supreme Villainy: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Most (In)Famous Supervillain Memoir Never Published—Matt D. Wilson (June 6, Talos)
For eons, King Oblivion, Ph.D., was one of the most ruthless supervillains the world has ever known. As the CEO of the ISS (International Society of Supervillains) for half a century, he was personally responsible for numerous nefarious acts, including Nixon’s presidential election, stealing the country of Japan, Star Wars: Episode I–III, and Milli Vanilli, just to name a few. Since his untimely (and inexplicable) passing, Matt D. Wilson, who was found rotting in one of Oblivion’s numerous dungeons, has discovered in his giant lair (located in the Earth’s mantle) what seems to be the early workings of the villain’s ultimate manifesto. Though in-depth research (and paper cuts), Wilson reviewed endless documents and has compiled numerous unedited chapters, email correspondences, and various threats which combine tell the “life story” of this anti-hero.
Midnight at the Electric—Jodi Lynn Anderson (June 13, HarperTeen)
Young adult. Kansas, 2065: Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house more than a hundred years ago and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. Oklahoma, 1934: Amid the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine’s family’s situation is growing dire. She must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most. England, 1919: In the recovery following World War I, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America. But can she make it that far? While their stories span thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful.
The Prey of Gods—Nicky Drayden (June 13, Harper Voyager)
The days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges: A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country. An emerging AI uprising. And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters. It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about. Fun and fantastic, Nicky Drayden takes her brilliance as a short story writer and weaves together an elaborate tale that will capture your heart … even as one particular demigoddess threatens to rip it out.
Post-High School Reality Quest—Meg Eden (June 13, California Coldblood Books)
After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to life her life. While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.
The Changeling—Victor LaValle (June 13, Spiegel & Grau)
When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word IMPROBABILIA. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, are settling into their new lives as parents, Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. Irritable and disconnected from their baby boy, at first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go even deeper. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act and vanishes, seemingly into thin air. Thus begins Apollo’s odyssey through a world he only thought he understood, to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His quest takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.—Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland (June 13, William Morrow)
When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidentally meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But magic stopped working altogether in 1851. And so the Department of Diachronic Operations—D.O.D.O. —gets cracking to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive … and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial—and treacherous—nature of the human heart.
Mapping the Interior—Stephen Graham Jones (June 20, Tor.com Publishing)
Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew. The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you’d rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save them … at terrible cost.
Twelve Days—Steven Barnes (June 27, Tor Books)
Around the world, leaders and notorious criminals alike are mysteriously dying. A terrorist group promises a series of deaths within two months. And against the backdrop of the apocalypse, the lives of a small shattered family and a broken soldier are transformed in the bustling city of Atlanta. Olympia Dorsey is a journalist and mother, with a cynical teenage daughter and an autistic son named Hannibal, all trying to heal from a personal tragedy. Across the street, Ex–Special Forces soldier Terry Nicolas and his wartime unit have reunited Stateside to carry out a risky heist that will not only right a terrible injustice, but also set them up for life—at the cost of their honor. Terry and the family’s visit to an unusual martial arts exhibition brings them into contact with Madame Gupta, a teacher of singular skill who offers not just a way for Terry to tap into mastery beyond his dreams, but also for Hannibal to transcend the limits of his condition. But to see these promises realized, Terry will need to betray those with whom he fought and bled. Meanwhile, as the death toll gains momentum and society itself teeters on the edge of collapse, Olympia’s fragile clan is placed in jeopardy, and Terry comes to understand the terrible price he must pay to prevent catastrophe.
Flashmob—Christopher Farnsworth (June 27, William Morrow)
As a fixer for America’s one percent, John Smith is a man of rare gifts, including the ability to read minds. Arriving at the wedding of a reality television celebrity, Smith witnesses a group of gunmen open fire, hitting the bride and others. Though he’s unarmed, Smith cripples one of the killers and is able to pry one word from his mind: “Downvote.” Smith hacks into the brain of an FBI agent investigating the attack to discover the Bureau has been investigating a nefarious new threat called “Downvote,” an encrypted site on the “dark net” that lists the names of celebrities and offers a hefty bounty for anyone who can kill them. Motivated by money and revenge, Smith traces a series of electronic signatures to a reclusive billionaire living at sea, accompanied by a scary-smart female bodyguard who becomes Smith’s partner in his quest. The only way Downvote’s creator can stop Smith is to kill him … because while this diabolical genius can run, there’s no hiding from a man who can read minds.
Spoonbenders—Daryl Gregory (June 27, Alfred A. Knopf)
Teddy Telemachus is a charming con man with a gift for sleight of hand and some shady underground associates. In need of cash, he tricks his way into a classified government study about telekinesis and its possible role in intelligence gathering. There he meets Maureen McKinnon, and it’s not just her piercing blue eyes that leave Teddy forever charmed, but her mind—Maureen is a genuine psychic of immense and mysterious power. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, have three gifted children, and become the Amazing Telemachus Family, performing astounding feats across the country. Irene is a human lie detector. Frankie can move objects with his mind. And Buddy, the youngest, can see the future. Then one night tragedy leaves the family shattered. Decades later, the Telemachuses are not so amazing. To make matters worse, the CIA has come knocking, looking to see if there’s any magic left in the Telemachus clan. And there is: Irene’s son Matty has just had his first out-of-body experience. But he hasn’t told anyone, even though his newfound talent might just be what his family needs to save themselves—if it doesn’t tear them apart in the process.
Amatka—Karin Tidbeck (June 27, Vintage)
Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion. Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk. In Karin Tidbeck’s world, everyone is suspect, no one is safe, and nothing—not even language, nor the very fabric of reality—can be taken for granted.