Flying, falling, growing, baking, exploring, excavating—there’s a lot of activity in this month’s genre-bending tales. And it’s not all action: September will introduce you to some curious characters ranging from Robin Sloan’s curious sourdough starter to Kristin Cashore’s very peculiar dog, Jasper. If you want something a little less cozy, get creeped out with Jeffrey Ford’s The Twilight Pariah or visit the sure-to-be-unnerving near-future of Stephen and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties.
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound—Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law, editors (September 8, Laksa Media)
Who are The Sum of Us? Children giving care. Dogs and cats giving care. Sidekicks, military, monks, ghosts, robots. Even aliens. Care given by lovers, family, professionals. Caregivers who can no longer give. Caregivers who make the decision not to give, and the costs and the consequences that follow. If we believe that we are the protagonists of our lives, then caregivers—our pillars—are ghosts, the bit players, the stock characters, the secondary supports, living lives of quiet trust and toil in the shadows. Summoned to us by the profound magic of great emotional, physical, or psychological need, they play their roles, and when our need diminishes … The caregivers fade. These are their stories. Twenty-three science fiction and fantasy authors capture the depth and breadth of caring and of giving and delve into the complex world of caregivers.
Tales of Flying and Falling—Ben Loory (September 5, Penguin)
In stories that eschew literary realism, Ben Loory’s characters demonstrate richly imagined and surprising perspectives, whether they be dragons or swordsmen, star-crossed lovers or long-lost twins, restaurateurs dreaming of Paris or cephalopods fixated on space travel. In propulsive language that brilliantly showcases Loory’s vast imagination, Tales of Falling and Flying expands our understanding of how fiction can work and is sure to cement his reputation as one of the most innovative short-story writers working today.
Sourdough—Robin Sloan (September 5, MCD)
Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop—but they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive—feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it. Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up. When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?
The Law of Love—Laura Esquivel (September 12, AmazonCrossing)
It’s the year 2200, and Azucena Martinez is a lonely astroanalyst living in Mexico City. She has finally repaid the karmic debts she accumulated during her previous fourteen thousand lives, and in recognition of her newfound purity of spirit, she will at last be permitted to meet her twin soul, Rodrigo Sanchez. But their perfect union is limited to just one night of bliss, as Rodrigo is framed for murder soon after and banished. As Azucena sets off in search for her lost love, she will trigger a chain of events that puts her in the midst of an intergalactic political uproar.
The Twilight Pariah—Jeffrey Ford (September 12, Tor.com)
All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion’s outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child. Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.
Worlds From the Word’s End—Joanna Walsh (September 12, And Other Stories Press)
This collection cements Joanna Walsh’s reputation as one of the sharpest writers of this century. Wearing her learning lightly, Walsh’s stories make us see the world afresh, from a freewheeling story on cycling (and Freud), to a country in which words themselves fall out of fashion—something that will never happen wherever Walsh is read.
Jane, Unlimited—Kristin Cashore (September 19, Kathy Dawson Books)
Young adult. Jane was raised by her aunt Magnolia, an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago on one of her expeditions. With no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion, Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.
Release—Patrick Ness (September 19, HarperTeen)
Young adult. Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life. Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart. At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela. But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release.
Sleeping Beauties—Stephen King & Owen King (September 26, Scribner)
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare. One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world. Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is a wildly provocative, gloriously dramatic father-son collaboration that feels particularly urgent and relevant today.