Fall 2015’s Can’t-Miss Science Fiction & Fantasy Books: Wonderland, Night Vale, and More

Fall 2015’s Can’t-Miss Science Fiction & Fantasy Books: Wonderland, Night Vale, and More

Fall down the rabbit hole this season, or perhaps launch yourself into a new out-of-this-world series. Gregory Maguire (Wicked) returns this fall and takes readers on a journey through Wonderland. Ann Leckie is also back and with the final book in her Imperial Radch series. Plus we’re seeing more and more titles that explore racial, gender, and sexuality diversity this season! We’ve ensured that you won’t be late for any of these very important publication dates, but the rest is up to you.


Sorcerer to the Crown

We need a little magic

Zacharias Wythe is prepared to take the place of his adopted father as a member of England’s Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers. Unfortunately, other members of the committee are not too keen on having a black man and former slave join their ranks. Rather than admit this, they blame the long-time problem of magic disappearing on the color of Zacharias’ skin. Faced with few options, Zacharias embarks on a journey to the border of Fairyland in an attempt to solve the magical crisis. Along the way, he meets Prunella Gentlewoman, a girl who has been taught to suppress her magical abilities by men who believe that women lack the intelligence to be sorcerers. Prunella proves to be more than capable though, in fact she may be guarding a secret that could turn their entire world upside down.

On shelves: September 1


The Traitor Baru Cormorant


When invasion is imminent, Baru Cormorant does not fight. She waits. While her people are conquered, her land taken, and her customs outlawed, she waits and then joins her conquerors. Pushing down her hate, she rises through their ranks with swift determination. One day Baru will ruin them all, of that she is certain. But until then she must hide her every traitorous thought, including her love of other women. Her final test sends her to the land of Aurdwynn, a violent place that overrun with rebels who refuse to be ruled. As she continues to climb the ranks, Baru must decide who she truly is: a traitor to the crown or to herself and her people.

On shelves: September 15



The moon is mine

Five families rule Earth’s moon… for now. Adriana created an empire for the Corta family: They control the moon’s helium and they are one of the Five Dragons, the rulers of the satellite. Now in her final years, her legacy must be passed on to one of her five children. But there are those out there who would prefer to see the family fall from grace and power. And even though they share blood, the children each want to rule for their own reasons. This is a thrilling family saga that’ll leave readers craving book two the second they finish.

On shelves: September 22


The Heart Goes Last

Wife swap

Even though some of the early reviews are mixed, we can’t help ourselves: We have to read this new dystopian from Margaret Atwood. Couple Charmaine and Stan have fallen on hard times. They sign up for a new social program called Consilience. The setup is simple (if not odd): They spend a month living in a suburban home provided to them, and the next month they spend in prison doing labor. While they’re away another couple will take their place in their home, and when they return that couple will go to jail to work. The setup satisfies the two for the moment, until they begin to fall in love with the couple they share a home with.

On shelves: September 29


Ancillary Mercy

A person’s a person

Buckle up, readers. The final book in the Imperial Radch trilogy is one wild ride. Fleet Captain Breq Mianaai is back and fans will be excited to learn that she’s itching to go up against Anaander Mianaai, her sworn enemy and ruler of the empire. Breq is still the angry girl who readers first met in Ancillary Justice, but she’s grown up too and has learned to transform that anger into a fierce determination. This is a book of evolution and of the importance of the individual. “What [Ann] Leckie is saying is that individual people matter,” Kirkus writes in their starred review. “Personhood matters.” The most any reader can hope for a series that they love is a satisfying ending, and fans will not be disappointed with this finale.

On shelves: October 6


Saturn Run

Eat my space dust

Sanders is killing time until his inheritance kicks in, and takes an internship position at Caltech Astrophysics Working Group. It’s keeping him occupied for the time being, especially when he’s the first person to notice an object approaching Saturn and decelerating. Only a spaceship could decelerate, and the American government quickly puts together a team to launch into space and investigate. The only problem? The Chinese government has exactly the same idea. The race is on to reach the ringed planet and claim the foreign craft. This thriller is the product of a collaboration between Pulitzer Prize-winner John Sandford and photo-artist Ctein—a pair we hope continues to work together.

On shelves: October 6


Welcome to Night Vale

You’re not in Kansas anymore

If you listen to podcasts, you’ve likely come across Welcome to Night Vale, a show by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor that gives twice-monthly updates on the fictional, fantasy town of Night Vale. This is a place of conspiracies, mysteries, and unsettling goings-on. If you’re brand new, never fear—this book is a standalone and excellent introduction to this creepy and beguiling town. The story centers around Jackie Fierro (a pawn shop owner who was visited by a man with a deer-skin suitcase) and Diane Crayton (a PTA treasurer and mother to a shape shifting son). As each woman investigates the strange events in her own life, their paths become more and more intertwined.

On shelves: October 20



Ready for my closeup

In an alternate 1986, space travel is common and movies with sound are not. Severin Unck is the daughter is a famous director of Gothic romances. Severin always found real life to be far more interesting than mere stories, however, and sets out to make a name for herself as a documentarian. Her latest film investigates the disappearance of a diving village on Venus. She doesn’t know it, but the trip is to be her last. Told through film notes, audio transcripts, interviews with surviving crew members, and press materials, readers piece together the story of a girl who prefered reality to her father’s fantasy, and learn just what happened to her when she traveled to Venus. Readers with middle grade children may recognize Catherynne M. Valente from her Fairyland series, while older readers are sure to rejoice for her first adult novel in three years.

On shelves: October 20

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Wake of Vultures

The good, the bad, and the downright frightening

Nettie Lonesome has never felt like she’s fit in anywhere. She was born a girl but finds herself more comfortable dressing and living as a man, she’s unsure of what to make of her attraction to both men and women, and being raised by foster parents means that she’s always felt disconnected from her Native American and African American heritage. Other kids might be able to turn to their guardians with their concerns, but Nettie’s foster parents treat her more like a servant than a child. When she starts seeing monsters no one else can see, she knows she can’t go to them for help and instead starts out on a journey to find out who she really is. There’s something for everyone in this series starter and debut from Lila Bowen: battle scenes, horrifying monsters, a moving coming-of-age story, and the mixing of Western and Native American legends.

On shelves: October 27


After Alice

Curiouser and curiouser

Gregory Maguire goes from Wicked to Wonderland in his new book. Ada, Alice’s closest friend and a character briefly mentioned in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, arrives for a visit only to find her friend missing. Ada takes a tumble down the whimsical rabbit hole herself in the hopes of finding Alice and bringing her back home. Maguire ensures that all of your old favorites are here (including the smoking caterpillar), as well a few of his own playful creations. And what of the rest of the world? Ada’s nanny searches for her lost charge with little help from Alice’s older sister Lydia. The chapters alternate between a world that is real and one that we all wish was.

On shelves: October 27


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