There’s no catchy saying about August—maybe we’re just too hot to think of one—but from the looks of this SF list, it’s time to take your imagination to a dark (maybe cool?) place. The world is ending, or at least being direly threatened, in all kinds of ways this month: carnivorous giants, the end of the species, scary alternate futures, superpowered soldiers, televised cage fights, and so much more. (You can also revisit the Cylon threat in the Battlestar Galactica oral history So Say We All.) It’s sort of a choose-your-own-adventure of conflict and high-stakes action. Enjoy!
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Garrison Girl: An Attack on Titan Novel—Rachel Aaron (August 7, Quirk Books)
Young adult. When the last vestige of the human race is threatened by unstoppable carnivorous giants, a brave young woman decides to defy her wealthy family and join the military garrison to battle humanity’s enemies. But Rosalie Dumarque soon finds that her dream of escaping the protection of Wall Rose not only leads to bloody sword fights with monsters, but exposes her to other dangers. Can she earn the trust of her fellow soldiers, stand up to a corrupt authority, navigate a forbidden romance … and cut her way out of a titan’s throat?
The Point—John Dixon (August 7, Del Rey)
Scarlett Winter has always been an outsider, and not only because she’s a hardcore daredevil and born troublemaker—she has been hiding superhuman powers she doesn’t yet understand. Now she’s been recruited by a secret West Point unit for cadets with extraordinary abilities. At The Point, Scarlett discovers that she may be the most powerful cadet of all. With the power to control pure energy, she’s a human nuclear bomb—and she’s not sure she can control her powers much longer. Even in this army of outsiders, Scarlett feels like a misfit all over again, but when a threat that endangers her fellow students arises from the school’s dark past, duty calls and Scarlett must make a choice between being herself and becoming something even greater: a hero.
Avalanche (Secret World Chronicles #5)—Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere (August 7, Baen)
Ultima Thule has been destroyed—but somehow the Thulians mounted an even bigger force to destroy Metis. The Metisians that escaped the carnage and destruction of their secret city now must somehow find somewhere safe to go—without getting snapped up by various world governments. And now the Thulians have changed their tactics to “blitz guerilla warfar,” sending wave after wave of their ships and troops to attack vulnerable targets all over Earth, with no clue for ECHO as to where these things are coming from. John Murdock and The Seraphym have become a force of nature, but they can’t be everywhere at once, and if they were regarded with suspicion before, now they are regarded by ECHO’s allies with fear as well. You could say “things can’t get worse.” You would be wrong.
Haven (Aftermath #2)—Adam Roberts (August 7, Solaris)
Young Forktongue Davy has visions; epilepsy, his Ma calls it. He’s barely able to help around the family farm. But something about the lad is attracting attention: the menacing stranger who might be the angel of death himself; the women-only community at Wycombe; Daniel, sent by the mysterious Guz. They all want Davy for their own reasons. But what use can he be to anyone? He has visions of flight, but how can flight ever be possible in this shattered world? A simple farmboy, caught up in events beyond his power to control—but his visions may be the key to the future.
Herokiller—Paul Tassi (August 7, Talos Press)
Mysterious billionaire Cameron Crayton is a household name from televised spectacles in which prison inmates fight to the death, but his old shows pale in comparison to his new gladiatorial tournament, The Crucible. The winner is promised unimaginable wealth and glory … if they’re able to survive a series of fight-to-the-death matches. Former black-ops operative Mark Wei wants nothing more than to be left alone to drink after sacrificing everything in America’s covert Cold War II against China. But there are rumors that Crayton’s background and business dealings involve shady connections to foreign powers, and soon Mark is convinced to reluctantly dust off his training and enter the tournament arena as an undercover agent. It’s the most dangerous assignment he’s ever been given, and Mark quickly finds himself not just fighting for his life in the arena against trained killers, but racing to expose The Crucible’s founder’s secrets while navigating a viral phenomenon in which the stakes are literally life and death.
Implanted—Lauren C. Teffeau (August 7, Angry Robot)
When college student Emery Driscoll is blackmailed into being a courier for a clandestine organisation, she’s cut off from the neural implant community which binds the domed city of New Worth together. Her new employers exploit her rare condition which allows her to carry encoded data in her blood, and train her to transport secrets throughout the troubled city. New Worth is on the brink of Emergence – freedom from the dome – but not everyone wants to leave. Then a data drop goes bad, and Emery is caught between factions: those who want her blood, and those who just want her dead.
The Tropic of Eternity (Amaranthine Spectrum #3)—Tom Toner (August 7, Night Shade Books)
It is the 147th century. The mighty era of Homo Sapiens is at an end. In the Westerly Provinces of the Old World, the hunt is on for the young queen Arabis, and the vile creature that holds her captive. In the brutal hominid Investiture, revolution has come. The warlord Cunctus, having seized the Vulgar worlds, invites every Prism to pick a side. In the Firmament, once the kingdom of the Immortal Amaranthine, all ships converge on the foundry of Gliese. The grandest battle in the history of mammalian kind has begun. Perception, ancient machine spirit, must take back its mortal remains in a contest for the Firmament itself. Ghaldezuel, now the Grand Marshal of Cunctus’ new empire, must travel to the deepest lagoon in the Investiture, a place where monsters dwell. Captain Maril, lost amongst the Hedron Stars, finds himself caught between colossal powers the likes of which he’d never dreamt. But for Aaron the Long-Life, he who has waited so very, very long for his revenge, things are only getting started . . .
Rogue Protocol (Murderbot #3)—Martha Wells (August 7, Tor.com Publishing)
Who knew being a heartless killing machine would present so many moral dilemmas? Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is. And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good. Martha Wells’ Rogue Protocol is the third in the Murderbot Diaries series, starring a human-like android who keeps getting sucked back into adventure after adventure, though it just wants to be left alone, away from humanity and small talk.
Moderan—David R. Bunch (August 14, New York Review Books)
Welcome to Moderan, world of the future. Here perpetual war is waged by furious masters fighting from Strongholds well stocked with “arsenals of fear,” earth is covered with vast sheets of plastic, and humans vie to replace more and more of their own “soft parts” with steel machinery. What need is there for nature when trees and flowers can be pushed up through holes in the plastic? Who requires human companionship when new-metal mistresses can be ordered from the shop? But even a Stronghold master can doubt the catechism of Moderan. Wanderers, poets, and his own children pay visits, proving that another world is possible. Originally published in science-fiction magazines in the 1960s and ’70s, these stories have not been available in a single volume for nearly fifty years, and this new edition of Moderan will include ten previously-uncollected stories.
Stars Uncharted—S.K. Dunstall (August 14, Ace)
Captain Hammond Roystan is a simple cargo runner who has stumbled across the find of a lifetime: the Hassim, a disabled exploration ship–and its valuable record of unexplored worlds. His junior engineer, Josune Arriola, said her last assignment was in the uncharted rim. But she is decked out in high-level bioware that belies her humble backstory. A renowned body-modification artist, Nika Rik Terri has run afoul of clients who will not take no for an answer. She has to flee off-world, and she is dragging along a rookie modder, who seems all too experienced in weapons and war. Together this mismatched crew will end up on one ship, hurtling through the lawless reaches of deep space with Roystan at the helm. Trailed by nefarious company men, they will race to find the most famous lost world of all—and riches beyond their wildest dreams.
Relic—Alan Dean Foster (August 14, Del Rey)
Once Homo sapiens reigned supreme, spreading from star system to star system in an empire that encountered no alien life and thus knew no enemy … save itself. As had happened many times before, the basest, most primal human instincts rose up, only this time armed with the advanced scientific knowledge to create a genetically engineered smart virus that quickly wiped out humanity to the last man. That man is Ruslan, the sole known surviving human being in the universe. Rescued from the charnel house of his home planet by the Myssari—an intelligent alien race—Ruslan spends his days as something of a cross between a research subject and a zoo attraction. Though the Myssari are determined to resurrect the human race, using Ruslan’s genetic material, all he wants for himself and his species is oblivion. But then the Myssari make Ruslan an extraordinary offer: In exchange for his cooperation, they will do everything in their considerable power to find the lost home world of his species—an all-but-mythical place called Earth—and, perhaps, another living human. Thus begins an epic journey of adventure, danger, heartbreak, and hope, as Ruslan sets out in search of a place that may no longer exist—drawn by the slimmest yet most enduring hope.
Ball Lightning—Cixin Liu (August 14, Tor Books)
When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station. The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier. While Chen’s quest for answers gives purpose to his lonely life, it also pits him against soldiers and scientists with motives of their own: a beautiful army major with an obsession with dangerous weaponry, and a physicist who has no place for ethical considerations in his single-minded pursuit of knowledge.
Noumenon Infinity (Noumenon #2)—Marina J. Lostetter (August 14, Harper Voyager)
Generations ago, Convoy Seven and I.C.C. left Earth on a mission that would take them far beyond the solar system. Launched by the Planet United Consortium, nine ships headed into the unknown to explore a distant star called LQ Pyx. Eons later, the convoy has returned to LQ Pyx to begin work on the Web, the alien megastructure that covers the star. Is it a Dyson Sphere, designed to power a civilization as everyone believes—or something far more sinister? Meanwhile, Planet United’s littlest convoy, long thought to be lost, reemerges in a different sector of deep space. What they discover holds the answers to unlocking the Web’s greater purpose. Each convoy possesses a piece of the Web’s puzzle … but they may not be able to bring those pieces together and uncover the structure’s true nature before it’s too late.
The Moons of Barsk (Barsk #2)—Lawrence M. Schoen (August 14, Tor Books)
Years after the events of Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, the lonely young outcast and physically-challenged Fant, Pizlo, is now a teenager. He still believes he hears voices from the planet’s moons, imparting secret knowledge to him alone. And so embarks on a dangerous voyage to learn the truth behind the messages. His quest will catapult him offworld for second time is his short life, and reveal things the galaxy isn’t yet ready to know. Elsewhere, Barsk’s Senator Jorl, who can speak with the dead, navigates galactic politics as Barsk’s unwelcome representative, and digs even deeper into the past than ever before to discover new truths of his own.
The Million—Karl Schroeder (August 14, Tor.com Publishing)
Every thirty years, ten billion visitors overrun Earth during one month of madness: partying, polluting, and brawling. In between, the world is ruled by the Million; the inheritors and custodians of all of humanity’s wealth and history, they lead unimaginable lives of privilege and wealth, and they see it as their due. Gavin Penn-of-Chaffee is an illegal child—a visitor hidden among the Million. When the family that raised him in secret is torn apart, Gavin must impersonate a dead boy to survive. What he doesn’t know is that his new identity is expected at the School of Auditors—the Million’s feared police force, sworn to find and capture outcasts like him to keep the peace. In order to solve the murder of his adoptive father, Gavin must keep his disguise and his wits intact within the stronghold of those threatened by his very existence.
The Embedding—Ian Watson (August 14, Gollancz)
Reissue. Ian Watson’s brilliant debut novel was one of the most significant publications in British SF in the 1970s. Intellectually bracing and grippingly written, it is the story of three experiments in linguistics, and is driven by a searching analysis of the nature of communication. Fiercely intelligent, energetic and challenging, it immediately established Watson as a writer of rare power and vision, and is now recognized as a modern classic.
Vox—Christina Dalcher (August 21, Berkley)
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her. Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
So Say We All: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Battlestar Galactica—Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman (August 21, Tor Books)
Nonfiction. Four decades after its groundbreaking debut, Battlestar Galactica—both the 1978 original and its 2004 reimagining—have captured the hearts of two generations of fans. What began as a three-hour made for TV movie inspired by the blockbuster success of Star Wars, followed by a single season of legendary episodes, was transformed into one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved series in television history. Fathered exclusively in this volume are the incredible untold stories of both shows—as well as the much-maligned Galactica 1980. For the first time ever, you will learn the uncensored true story of forty years of Battlestar Galactica as told by the teams that created a television legend in the words of over hundred cast, creators, crew, critics and executives who were there and brought it all to life. So say we all!
The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut #2)—Mary Robinette Kowal (August 21, Tor Books)
Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.
From Distant Stars—Sam Peters (August 21, Gollancz)
Inspector Keon has finally got over the death of his wife Alysha in a terrorist attack five years ago. The illegal AI copy of her—Liss—that he created to help him mourn has vanished, presumed destroyed. His life is back on track. But a deadly shooting in a guarded room in a high-security hospital threatens to ruin everything. Why did someone kill the seemingly unimportant military officer who had been in a coma for weeks? And why did the scanners pick up the deceased man the next day on the other side of the planet, seemingly alive and well? As Keon digs into the mysteries he begins to realise that the death was connected to a mysterious object, potentially alien, discovered buried in ice under the north pole. Someone has worked out what is hidden there, and what its discovery will mean for mankind. Someone who is willing to kill. And another player has entered the game. Someone who seems to know more about Keon than is possible. Someone who might be using Liss’s information against him. Or who might be Alysha, back from the dead.
2020—Kenneth Steven (August 21, Arcade Publishing)
In 2020, Britain is at a breaking point. Years of economic turmoil, bitter debates over immigration, anger at the political elites, and fears about the future have created a maelstrom, a dis-United Kingdom, with citizens tempted to find easy answers in demagoguery and isolationism. A major terrorist attack targets a sleeper train traveling between Edinburgh and London. Investigators soon identify the culprits as a radicalized group of young British Muslims. Horrific images from the attack and speculation by the media fan worries about further terrorist acts and the danger of an enemy within. In the aftermath, two far right organizations join to create a new radical group called White Rose, promising to stand up for English values. An unproven leader vows that he can fix the nation. As the nightmare unfolds, a myriad of voices—from across the social and political spectrum—offer wildly differing perspectives on the chaotic events … and unexpectedly reveal modern Britain’s soul with 20/20 acuity.
Irontown Blues (Eight Worlds #4)—John Varley (August 21, Ace)
Christopher Bach was a policeman in one of the largest Lunar cities when the A.I. Lunar Central Computer had a breakdown. Known as the Big Glitch, the problem turned out to be a larger war than anyone expected. When order was restored, Chris’s life could never be the same. Now he’s a private detective, assisted by his genetically altered dog Sherlock, and emulates the tough guys in the noir books and movies that he loves. When Bach takes the case of a woman involuntarily infected with an engineered virus, he is on the hunt to track down the biohackers in the infamous district of Irontown. But if he wants to save humanity, he’ll have to confront his own demons.
The Stars Now Unclaimed—Drew Williams (August 21, Tor Books)
Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages. Hot on her trail is the Pax—a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the pulse. Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers. And that’s just the beginning . . .
Missing Signal—Seb Doubinsky (August 29, Meerkat Press)
Missing Signal—a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a government conspiracy? Agent Terrence Kovacs has worked for the New Petersburg Counter-Intel Department propagating fake UFO stories for so long that even he has a hard time separating fact from fiction. Especially when he’s approached by a beautiful woman named Vita, who claims she’s been sent from another planet to liberate Earth.
The Towering Sky (Thousandth Floor #3)—Katharine McGee (August 28, HarperCollins)
Welcome back to New York, 2119. A skyscraper city, fueled by impossible dreams. Leda just wants to move on from what happened in Dubai. Until a new investigation forces her to seek help—from the person she’s spent all year trying to forget. Rylin is back in her old life, reunited with an old flame. But when she starts seeing Cord again, she finds herself torn between two worlds, and two very different boys. Calliope feels trapped, playing a long con that costs more than she bargained for. Watt is still desperately in love with Leda. He’ll do anything to win her back. And now that Avery is home from England—with a new boyfriend, Max—her life seems more picture-perfect than ever. So why does she feel like she would rather be anything but perfect?