All the New Genre-Bending Books Coming Out in October

If you would like an anthology, a creepy tale, or a lush illustrated novel, you’re in the right place. Creep yourself out with Tade Thompson’s The Murders of Molly Southbourne or the latest Night Vale novel; pick up this year’s Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy collection or Charlie Jane Anders’s short story collection (in cool mini-book format!); or fall into Gregory Manchess’s Above the Timberline, with its sweeping illustrations of snowy landscapes and polar bears.

Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

 

WEEK ONE

Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories—Hugh Howey (October 3, John Joseph Adams Books)
Machine Learning is a collection of Howey’s science fiction and fantasy short fiction, including three stories set in the world of Wool, two never-before-published tales written exclusively for this volume, and fifteen additional stories collected here for the first time. These stories explore everything from artificial intelligence to parallel universes to video games, and each story is accompanied by an author’s note exploring the background and genesis of each story.

That Inevitable Victorian Thing—E.K. Johnston (October 3, Dutton Books for Young Readers)
Young adult. Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history. The imperial tradition of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage. But before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer of freedom and privacy in a far corner of empire. Posing as a commoner in Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an extraordinary bond and maybe a one-in-a-million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process.

Her Body and Other Parties—Carmen Maria Machado (October 3, Greywolf Press)
In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne—Tade Thompson (October 3, Tor.com Publishing)
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction. Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

What the Hell Did I Just Read (John Dies at the End #3)—David Wong (October 3, Thomas Dunne Books)
It’s the story “They” don’t want you to read. Though, to be fair, “They” are probably right about this one. To quote the Bible, “Learning the truth can be like loosening a necktie, only to realize it was the only thing keeping your head attached.” No, don’t put the book back on the shelf—it is now your duty to purchase it to prevent others from reading it. While investigating a fairly straightforward case of a shape-shifting interdimensional child predator, Dave, John and Amy realized there might actually be something weird going on. Together, they navigate a diabolically convoluted maze of illusions, lies, and their own incompetence in an attempt to uncover a terrible truth they—like you—would be better off not knowing. Your first impulse will be to think that a story this gruesome—and, to be frank, stupid—cannot possibly be true. That is precisely the reaction “They” are hoping for.

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy—Charles Yu, guest editor (October 3, Mariner Books)
Anthology. Science fiction and fantasy can encompass so much, from far-future deep-space sagas to quiet contemporary tales to unreal kingdoms and beasts. But what the best of these stories do is the same across the genres—they illuminate the whole gamut of the human experience, interrogating our hopes and our fears. With a diverse selection of stories chosen by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor Charles Yu, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 continues to explore the ever-expanding and changing world of SFF today, with Yu bringing his unique view—literary, meta, and adventurous—to the series’ third edition.

 

WEEK TWO

Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy—Derwin Mak & Lucas K. Law, editors (October 8, Laksa Media)
Anthology. Follow 23 science fiction and fantasy authors on their journeys through Asia and beyond. Stories that explore magic and science. Stories about love, revenge, and choices. Stories that challenge ideas about race, belonging, and politics. Stories about where we come from and where we are going. Each wrestling between ghostly pasts and uncertain future. Each trying to find a voice in history. Orphans and drug-smuggling in deep space. Mechanical arms in steampunk Vancouver. Djinns and espionage in futuristic Istanbul. Humanoid robot in steamy Kerala. Monsters in the jungles of Cebu. Historic time travel in Gyeongbok Palace. A rocket launch in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. A drunken ghost in Song Dynasty China. A displaced refugee skating on an ice planet. And much more. Authors include S.B. Divya, Minsoo Kang, Fonda Lee, E.C. Myers, and many more.

 

WEEK THREE

Six Months, Three Days, Five Others—Charlie Jane Anders (October 17, Tor Books)
Collected in a mini-book format, here are six of Anders’ quirky, wry, engaging best stories. In “The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Model,” aliens reveal the terrible truth about how humans were created—and why we’ll never discover aliens. “As Good as New” is a brilliant twist on the tale of three wishes, set after the end of the world. “Intestate” is about a family reunion in which some attendees aren’t quite human anymore—but they’re still family. “The Cartography of Sudden Death” demonstrates that when you try to solve a problem with time travel, you now have two problems. “Six Months, Three Days” is the story of the love affair between a man who can see the one true foreordained future, and a woman who can see all the possible futures. And “Clover” is a coda to All the Birds in the Sky, answering the burning question of what happened to Patricia’s cat.

It Devours! A Night Vale Novel—Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Craynor (October 10, Harper Perennial)
Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.

Infinite Ground—Martin MacInnes (October 17, Melville House)
On a sweltering summer night at a restaurant in an unnamed Latin American city, a man at a family dinner gets up from the table to go to the restroom … and never comes back. A semi-retired detective takes the case, but what should be a routine investigation becomes something strange, intangible, even sinister. The corporation for which the missing man worked seems to be a front for something else; the staff describes their colleague as having suffered alarming, shifting physical symptoms; a forensic scientist examining his office uncovers evidence of curious microorganisms. As the detective retraces the man’s footsteps, the trail leads him away from the city sprawl and deep into the country’s rainforest interior—where, amidst the overwhelming horrors and wonders of the natural world, a chilling police procedural explodes into a dislocating investigation into the nature of reality.

 

WEEK FOUR

Strange Weather—Joe Hill (October 24, Harper Collins)
In Strange Weather, Joe Hill exposes the darkness that lies just beneath the surface of everyday life. “Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap. On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world. In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it.

Above the Timberline—Gregory Manchess (October 24, Saga Press)
When it started to snow, it didn’t stop for 1,500 years. The Pole Shift that ancient climatologists talked about finally came, the topography was ripped apart and the weather of the world was changed—forever. Now the Earth is covered in snow, and to unknown depths in some places. In this world, Wes Singleton leaves the academy in search of his father, the famed explorer Galen Singleton, who was searching for a lost city until Galen’s expedition was cut short after being sabotaged. But Wes believes his father is still alive somewhere above the timberline. Fully illustrated with over 120 pieces of full-page artwork throughout, Above the Timberline is a stunning and cinematic combination of art and novel.

 

WEEK FIVE

No new titles.

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