You feel the wind begin to change, a gust blows across your face, and in the distance you hear the rumblings of an engine. A sky ship lowers down from the sky. Its hatch opens. Its pilot holds out his hand, inviting you to come along. This month’s Sci-Fi titles are all about saying yes to something more, and taking chances at the far reaches of the universe. Uncover the truth about an alien race in Keith Thomas’s Dahlia Black; fight a genocidal group looking to purify space in The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham; and explore the Galaxy’s Edge in new Star Wars novels by Zoraida Córdova and Delilah S. Dawson.
Head below for the full list of science fiction titles heading your way in August!
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 (August 6)
Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate (Star Wars) — Zoraida Córdova (Disney)
Izzy and Jules were childhood friends, climbing the spires of Batuu, inventing silly games, and dreaming of adventures they would share one day. Then, Izzy’s family left abruptly, without even a chance to say goodbye. Izzy’s life became one of constant motion, traveling from one world to the next, until her parents were killed and she became a low-level smuggler to make ends meet. Jules remained on Batuu, eventually becoming a farmer like his father, but always yearning for something more. Now, thirteen years after she left, Izzy is returning to Batuu. She’s been hired to deliver a mysterious parcel, and she just wants to finish the job and get gone. But upon arrival at Black Spire Outpost she runs smack into the one person who still means something to her after all this time: Jules. When Izzy’s job goes wrong, the two childhood friends find themselves on the run. And all their secrets will be revealed as they fight to stay alive?
First Cosmic Velocity—Zach Powers (Putnam)
It’s 1964 in the USSR, and unbeknownst even to Premier Khrushchev himself, the Soviet space program is a sham. Well, half a sham. While the program has successfully launched five capsules into space, the Chief Designer and his team have never successfully brought one back to earth. To disguise this, they’ve used twins. But in a nation built on secrets and propaganda, the biggest lie of all is about to unravel. Because there are no more twins left. Combining history and fiction, the real and the mystical, this novel is the story of Leonid, the last of the twins. By turns grim and whimsical, fatalistic and deeply hopeful, First Cosmic Velocity is a sweeping novel of the heights of mankind’s accomplishments, the depths of its folly, and the people—and canines—with whom we create family.
Cry Pilot—Joel Dane (Ace)
A devastated Earth. Rogue bio-weapons. And a recruit with secrets. In this explosive new military science fiction novel, a tight-knit infantry squad is thrown into battle against a mysterious enemy that appears without warning and strikes without mercy. There’s only one way for a man with Maseo Kaytu’s secrets to join the military: by volunteering for a suicide mission as a ‘cry pilot’. Yet the more he bonds with his fellow recruits, the more he risks exposure of his criminal past. Keeping his secret is about to become the least of his problems. Kaytu discovers that his platoon is being deployed against a new kind of rogue bio-weapon. One that has torn apart every military force it’s ever faced.
Reticence (Custard Protocol #4)—Gail Carriger (Orbit)
Percival Tunstell loves that his sister and her best friend are building themselves a family of misfits aboard their airship, the Spotted Custard. Of course, he’d never admit that he belongs among them. He’s always been on the outside – dispassionate, aloof, and hatless. But accidental spies, a trip to Japan, and one smart and beautiful doctor may have him renegotiating his whole philosophy on life. Except hats. He’s done with hats. Thank you very much.
The Darwin Strain (An R. J. MacCready Novel)—Bill Schutt & J. R. Finch (William Morrow)
Though the fighting has stopped and Hitler is vanquished, a dangerous new war between America and the Soviet Union has begun. Invaluable in defeating the Nazis, accidental crypto-zoologist R. J. MacCready and Yanni Thorne, an indigenous Brazilian and expert in animal behavior, are working for the Pentagon once again. Sent to a mysterious Greek island in a remote corner of the Mediterranean, they are investigating rumors about a volcanic spring with “miraculous” healing properties that the locals say is guarded by sea monsters from ancient legends. Alongside French and Chinese researchers—men who share their strange, blood-stained past—Mac and Yanni discover that the volcanic spring’s undersea plumes release an exotic microbe that can transform life with astonishing speed. To find the source of the Volcanic spring, Mac and Yanni must find a way to neutralize “the Dragons of Revelation”—a fearsome aquatic species also known as “Kraken,” which are preventing the scientists from exploring deep beneath the sea’s surface. Mutating at an astonishing pace, the Kraken have evolved into a chillingly high alien intelligence. As the race to possess the “miracle” microbe heats up, tensions between geopolitics, religion, and ordinary scientists confronted with the unknown escalate into chaos. Mac and Yanni know all too well that one wrong choice can easily set in motion a biological chain reaction that will reach across the decades to enhance—or destroy—everything that lives.
WEEK TWO (August 13)
Dahlia Black—Keith Thomas (Atria)
Discovered by Dr. Dahlia Black, the mysterious Pulse was sent by a highly intelligent intergalactic species that called themselves the Ascendants. It soon becomes clear this alien race isn’t just interested in communication—they are capable of rewriting human DNA, in an astonishing process they call the Elevation. Five years after the Pulse, acclaimed journalist Keith Thomas sets out to make sense of the event that altered the world. Including never-before-published transcripts from task force meetings, diary entries from Black, and candid interviews with Ballard, Thomas also shows in Dahlia Black how a select few led their country in its darkest hours, toward a new level of humanity.
WEEK THREE (August 20)
The Cruel Stars: A Novel—John Birmingham (Del Rey)
The galaxy was once terrorized by the Sturm, a group of “species purists” intent on destroying any human with genetic or cybernetic enhancements. Fashioning themselves as the one true “Human Republic,” the Sturm cut a bloody swath across the stars, killing billions before finally being defeated and driven into the far reaches of Dark Space. Centuries of peace bred complacency. Everyone believed the Sturm had died out in the Dark. They were wrong. The enemy has returned and, with a brutal and decisive attack, knocks out almost all of humanity’s defenses. Now on the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial attack.
Inch by Inch (Step by Step #2)—Morgan Llywelyn (Tor)
In Inch by Inch, book two in the Step by Step trilogy, the residents of Sycamore River have only just adjusted to the end of the Change. Until the morning people notice that metal starts to behave oddly. It’s dissolving. The world is pushed into global war, and a small band of Sycamore River survivors only have one another. They have to survive the unthinkable.
WEEK FOUR (August 27)
Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire (Star Wars) — Delilah S. Dawson (Del Rey)
After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower—and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge. A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help. To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu—before the First Order snuffs it out entirely.