Andrew Liptak on 22 New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books in June

Andrew Liptak on 22 New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books in June

Stormblood-small We Ride the Storm-small Devolution A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre-small

Covers by Larry Rostant

Polygon has discontinued Andrew Liptak’s excellent monthly new SF book column, which is a shame. John DeNardo’s column seems to have vanished from Kirkus as well, and since the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog folded up shop at the end of last year, that leave us with no regular new columns at any of the major sites.

Fortunately, Andrew hasn’t given up. At least according to this notice in his bi-weekly newsletter:

My regular column with Polygon has been put on hiatus for a while, presumably because of the strain that the COVID-19 pandemic puts on editorial resources and budgets. I enjoy putting these together, so I’ll be publishing it here in the meantime.

That’s great news. And true to his word, Andrew has continued to issue his monthly new books column in his Newsletter. The latest one includes “Space westerns, fantastic kingdoms, and more,” with new books by Max Brooks, David Gerrold, Kim Harrison, Carrie Vaughn, Katherine Addison, Zen Cho, S.A. Chakraborty, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Gregory Benford and Larry Niven, and the last new book from Gene Wolfe. Here’s a few of the highlights.

[Click the images to embiggen.]

Stormblood by Jeremy Szal (Gollancz, 544 pages, £26.99 in hardcover, $9.99 digital, June 4, 2020) — cover artist uncredited

In the distant future, Vakov Fukasawa was once a bio-engineered soldier called a Reaper. During a massive, intergalactic war, he fought against an invading empire, and while that war has passed, what the Harmony did to his body has lasting consequences. He left the service, but soon finds that his former Reapers are being picked off one by one. Fighting against addictions and unseen enemies, he’s drawn into an investigation that goes to the heart of his history.

Get all the details at the Gollancz website.

We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson (Orbit, 528 pages, $15.99 paperback/$4.99 digital, June 23, 2020) — cover artist uncredited

Hachette picked up Devin Madson’s self published fantasy novel earlier this year. It’s about a war-torn empire, which is beginning to crumble under constant skirmishes and warring factions. After someone betrays the empire and causes a key alliance to collapse, it threatens the entire system. Within this mess is Princess Miko Ts’ai, who’s been imprisoned and dreams of a day to reclaim the empire, while an assassin named Cassandra Marius contends with voices from the dead that are promising to cure her of her hallucinations should she betray the empire. And finally, Captain Rah e’Torin and his soldiers who are forced to fight in a foreign war.

Grimdark Magazine says that it’s “a visceral, intriguing, intense and emotionally charged ride.”

We Ride the Storm is volume one of The Reborn Empire.

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks (Del Rey, 304 pages, $28 in hardcover/$14.99 digital, June 16, 2020) — cover uncredited

Max Brooks is best known for his zombie book World War Z (and associated books), and is returning to the oral history-narrative with a new subject: Big Foot. Live in the idyllic town of Greenloop in Washington state, is disrupted when Mount Rainier erupts, leaving its residents isolated with no food and few weapons when it suffers a horrific attack.

Publishers Weekly says that “this slow-burning page-turner will appeal to Brooks’s devoted fans and speculative fiction readers who enjoy tales of monsters.”

Read an excerpt at Hollywood Reporter.

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water-small Interlibrary Loan-small A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians-small

Covers by Larry Rostant

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho (, 160 pages, $19.99 hardcover/$9.99 digital, June 23, 2020) — cover art uncredited

Zen Cho’s new fantasy novella is The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, about a nun from the Pure Moon Order who’s rescued by bandits, and she tags along with them on their adventures. They’ve apparently acquired a priceless artifact, and it plunges the band into a series of unexpected problems.

Grimdark Magazine calls it a brilliant novella, and that it “makes you think about people, their lives, their relationships, their motivations, and their futures.”

Zen Cho is also the author of Sorcerer to the Crown, first novel in the Sorcerer Royal sequence.

Interlibrary Loan by Gene Wolfe (Tor Books, 240 pages, $25.99 hardcover/$13.99 digital, June 30, 2020) — cover artist uncredited

Gene Wolfe passed away just over a year ago, but he has at least one more book set to come out: Interlibrary Loan. In the distant future, society runs on some advanced technology, and people can have their personalities uploaded into databases to be borrowed out. One such individual is E.A. Smith, a former mystery writer. He’s not a person: he’s a piece of property, and he’s loaned out to a young girl named Chandra Fevre and her mother. They’re hoping that he can help them piece together a map left behind by her missing father, and along with clones of two other authors, works to bring him home.

Publishers Weekly says that “throughout, Wolfe raises questions about the agency of the clones, challenging whether Smithe is really any less human than his borrowers. It’s a sardonic view of human relationships on offer, leavened with a droll, punny narrative voice. Complex and clever, this last offering from Wolfe is sure to please sci-fi readers.”

Interlibrary Loan is the sequel to A Borrowed Man. Read an excerpt at the Tor/Forge Blog.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Perry (Redhook, 544 pages, $28 hardcover/$14.99 digital, June 23, 2020) — cover design by Lisa Larie Pompilio

In H.G. Perry’s latest novel, magicians leads a series of revolutions throughout Europe and the rest of the colonial world during the Age of Enlightenment, working to free slaves and pushing to allow commoners to use magic in Great Britain and its holdings. But behind the scenes, something is pushing society into conflict, and it’ll be up to a band of magicians and revolutionaries to unravel the plot.

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying that “Parry has a historian’s eye for period detail and weaves real figures from history — including Robespierre and Toussaint L’Ouverture — throughout her poetic tale of justice, liberation, and dark magic. This is a knockout.”

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is the first novel in The Shadow Histories.

Read Andrew’s complete list in his Newsletter — and sign up while you’re there. You’ll be glad you did.

See our discussions of his previous lists here, and all our recent New Treasures here.

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John D.

FYI…My Kirkus Reviews column is on hiatus through the Summer. I will be back in September!

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