All the New Scifi and Fantasy Books You Absolutely Must Read This Autumn

By Cheryl Eddy on at

The weeks between September and mid-November are a bountiful time for book releases, with new works from Alan Moore, Connie Willis, Christopher Priest, Ken Liu, Margaret Atwood, and Fran Wilde, to name just a few. Clear some space in your schedule, and on your shelves—you’re going to need it.


September

MJ-12: Inception by Michael J. Martinez

Release date: September 6th

Martinez (The Daedalus IncidentThe Enceladus Crisis) returns with the first in a new series; he describes it to io9 as “a paranormal Cold War spy-fi thriller. Think Bond meets X-Men during the height of the Cold War.”

Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Release date: September 13th

The acclaimed comics author (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) finally releases his long-awaited second novel, which has over 1,000 pages and approximately one million words. It’s set in Moore’s stomping grounds of Northampton, and is described as “an opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in” and “the tale of everything.”

Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson

Release date: September 13th

Set 10,000 years before Frank Herbert’s Dune, Navigators of Dune wraps up the Great Schools of Dune trilogy, which is itself the prequel to the authors’ Legends of Dune trilogy. Co-author Brian Herbert is, of course, Frank Herbert’s son.

Death’s End by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)

Release date: September 20th

A 21st-century engineer awakens hundreds of years in the future, after Earth has forged a tentative alliance with an invading alien race... emphasis on “tentative.” The final book in the Three-Body Trilogy concludes the story Chinese author Liu began with his smash hit The Three-Body Problem.

The Gradual by Christopher Priest

Release date: September 20th

The latest from the author of The Prestige is about a composer who lives in a fascist country that’s locked into a perpetual war—and the strange journey he takes while looking for his missing brother (including some drifts through time).

The Warren by Brian Evenson

Release date: September 20th

This novella from Evenson (Last Days) runs just 96 pages. It’s about a character called X who may or may not be human, and who may or may not find the answers he seeks (an early online review describes it as “deliciously frustrating”).

Cloudbound by Fran Wilde

Release date: September 27th

Wilde’s sequel to her Nebula Award-winning Updraft returns to that book’s city filled with towers made of growing bones, whose citizens use mechanical wings to fly wherever they need to go. There’s a new young hero this time: Naton, who uncovers surprising secrets as he tries to help the city rebuild.

A Night Without Stars: A Novel of the Commonwealth by Peter F. Hamilton

Release date: September 27th

A biologically-enhanced human on an isolated planet fights government prejudice and invading aliens in this sequel to Hamilton’s The Abyss Beyond Dreams.

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick

Release date: September 27th

Science and tech writer Gleick has investigated chaos, genius, speed, and information in his previous books—which makes his current topic, time travel, a perfect next step. This is not a novel; it’s more of a history and cultural study of how we perceive time travel, and how the concept has affected the way we view real time, too.


October

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Karen Joy Fowler and John Joseph Adams

Release date: October 4th

The co-founder of io9, Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky), has a short story in this collection, which also features works by Salman Rushdie, Kelly Link, Ted Chiang, and more. Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club) serves as guest editor.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

Release date: October 4th

A pair of lovebirds who both work in tech—and have a woefully bad understanding of the value of privacy—decide to undergo a simple medical procedure that will enable them to hear each other’s thoughts. What could possibly go wrong?

A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky

Release date: October 4th

An ageless magician fond of drinking beer and sleeping late visits New York City to visit old friends, only to find the city has changed in unexpected ways—and a supernatural war is brewing on its fringes.

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Release date: October 4th

This tale about artificial humans follows a pair of young women whose stories eventually become intertwined. The design of the book matches the concept; once readers finish one tale, they can flip the book over and begin the new tale starting from the other cover.

The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu

Release date: October 4th

Translating the work of Cixin Liu is only a small part of much-lauded author Ken Liu’s literary output. This sequel to the very well-received “silkpunk epic fantasy” Grace of Kings promises more adventures and treachery in the island nation of Dara.

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Release date: October 11th

It’s an especially good time to be an Atwood fan, between her graphic novel, Hulu’s upcoming Handmaid’s Tale adaptation, and novel Hag-Seed—the author’s fresh spin on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film by Mel Brooks

Release date: October 18th

If you’re a fan of Mel Brooks (who isn’t?), this is gonna be a must. Judd Apatow wrote the forward; the book contains over 225 photos and presumably just as many juicy behind-the-scenes stories.

A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition by George R.R. Martin

Release date: October 18th

We sure wish we could include a little something called The Winds of Winter on this list. But circumstances being what they are, this deluxe, illustrated first volume in GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire will have to do.

Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny

Release date: October 18th

This dystopian tale imagines a not-all-that-far-fetched future in which rich people are able to purchase special treatments that allow them to live forever.

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost

Release date: October 18th

Twin Peaks returns to the airwaves next year, and David Lynch’s co-creator has written this novel to further fan the flames, promising a deeper examination of the tiny town’s history and its many deep and troubling mysteries.

The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin By Ursula K. Le Guin

Release date: October 18th

Every single Le Guin novella, collected in a single book for the first time—plus a new introduction by the iconic author.

Certain Dark Things: A Novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Release date: October 25th

Moreno-Garcia (Signal to Noise) returns with another fantasy tale set in Mexico City. This time, the main character is a vampire who falls for the young man she’s earmarked as her next victim.

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

Release date: October 25th

A new novella set in the same world as the author’s epic fantasy The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.

The Terranauts by T.C. Boyle

Release date: October 25th

Circa 1994, a group of scientists move into a series of glassed-in biomes, under close scrutiny of the media and the project’s creator, who has a bit of a God complex. Things soon go awry in this latest novel from the author of World’s End and The Road to Wellville.

Pirate Utopia by Bruce Sterling

A gaggle of ne’er-do-wells plot global chaos in this new satire from the editor of the seminal Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology.


November

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

Release date: November 14th

This is the prequel novel to that new stand-alone Star Wars movie you might have heard a thing or two about around these parts.