You strap yourself in, check the airlocks on your helmet and suit. This isn’t the first mission you’ve been on, but it is the most dangerous. You don’t know what’s out there. All you can do is go forward, onward, outward. This month’s Sci-Fi titles are all about exploring new planets and varying futures. Transform the universe in Becky Chambers’ To Be Taught, If Fortunate; save humanity from a bioterrorism attack in Cold Storage by David Koepp; and rewrite time to avoid tragedy in Annalee Newitz’s latest, The Future of Another Timeline.
Head below for the full list of science fiction titles heading your way in September!
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 (September 3)
To Be Taught, If Fortunate—Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager)
At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in subzero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to journey to neighboring exoplanets long known to harbor life. A team of these explorers, Ariadne O’Neill and her three crewmates, are hard at work in a planetary system fifteen light-years from Sol, on a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds. But as Ariadne shifts through both form and time, the culture back on Earth has also been transformed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the story of the wonders and dangers of her mission, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.
Cold Storage—David Koepp (Ecco)
When Pentagon bioterror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction. He contained it and buried it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository. Now, after decades of festering in a forgotten sub-basement, the specimen has found its way out and is on a lethal feeding frenzy. Only Diaz knows how to stop it. He races across the country to help two unwitting security guards—one an ex-con, the other a single mother. Over one harrowing night, the unlikely trio must figure out how to quarantine this horror again. All they have is luck, fearlessness, and a mordant sense of humor. Will that be enough to save all of humanity?
WEEK TWO (September 10)
A Song for a New Day—Sarah Pinsker (Berkley)
In the Before, when the government didn’t prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce’s connection to the world—her music, her purpose—is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law. Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery—no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she’ll have to do something she’s never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.
WEEK THREE (September 17)
Gamechanger—L. X. Beckett (Tor)
Rubi Whiting is a member of the Bounceback Generation. The first to be raised free of the troubles of the late twenty-first century. Now she works as a public defender to help troubled individuals with anti-social behavior. That’s how she met Luciano Pox. Luce is a firebrand and has made a name for himself as a naysayer. But there’s more to him than being a lightning rod for controversy. Rubi has to find out why the governments of the world want to bring Luce into custody, and why Luce is hell bent on stopping the recovery of the planet.
Chilling Effect—Valerie Valdes (Harper Voyager)
Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom. To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.
A Trick of Light: Stan Lee’s Alliances—Stan Lee, Kat Rosenfield, Luke Lieberman, Ryan Silbert (HMH)
Nia, a gifted but desperately lonely hacker, is living in isolation with her strict single dad. As a social-media maven, she is wildly popular and has more than a million friends. But they are all strangers who love her posts but know nothing about her that is real. Cameron is on a quest for YouTube fame as a vlogger focusing on exploring the mysteries of Lake Erie. While recording his latest video, he is knocked out by lightning in a freak storm that appears to defy the laws of physics. When Cameron awakens, he discovers an astonishing cyberkinetic talent: the ability to manipulate computers and electronics with his mind. After a chance meeting online, the two teenagers—one born with extraordinary gifts, one unwillingly transformed—join together to right wrongs in the world. As Nia and Cameron develop their powers and deal out reckonings, they draw the attention of dangerous forces, putting the future of the planet at risk.
WEEK FOUR (September 24)
The Future of Another Timeline—Annalee Newitz (Tor)
1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend’s abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. This murder sets Beth and her friends on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too.
2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she’s found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost.
Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine as war breaks out across the timeline—a war that threatens to destroy time travel and leave only a small group of elites with the power to shape the past, present, and future. Against the vast and intricate forces of history and humanity, is it possible for a single person’s actions to echo throughout the timeline?