As June rolls around, people’s thoughts turn to lots of things, but summer vacation is often top of the list. And what is a good summer vacation without a good book or 9 to read at the beach, the cabin, or the staycation at patio beach? June has some great variety, some cool concepts, and some classic authors with new tales of old worlds.
If you haven’t followed the lists of past months, I try and distill the 40-50ish new releases in the genre down to 7-10 “best bets”. They are in order of release date, not my preference.
Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien (June 1)
Christopher Tolkien, the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, has painstakingly restored his father’s work to create this standalone story that had its beginnings in The Silmarillion. Beren is a mortal man, while Luthien is an immortal elf, whose father of Elven royalty, is opposed to her relationship with a human. He imposes an impossible task on the man who would wed his daughter. This story takes us back to the land of Middle Earth that we all fell in love with in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Who wants to go back there to the land of Mordor, and Rohan, and Minas Tirith? I do. I do.
Valerian: The Complete Collection Volume 1 by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres (June 1)
I’m not gonna lie, I had not heard of Valerian until I started seeing the trailers for the upcoming movie, which releases on July 21, 2017. From the first trailer I was excited for the film. Right up my alley. This book is the first in a series of omnibus editions that will be eventually include the entire comic series. It comes with some new art, some interviews with Luc Besson, director of the film, and it also includes Book 0, which has been translated into English for the first time.
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente and Annie Wu (June 6)
Valente is a New York Times Bestselling author. In this book she tells six connected stories of female superheroes or the girlfriends or wives of heroes. Basically, anyone who has had their story lines sacrificed so the male hero can be advanced. With art by Annie Wu, these stories take place in an entirely new superhero universe.
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson (June 6)
The Wolfpack is a group that controls all of the Earth in 2049. Eden is determined not to die at their hands so she escapes to a neutral place called Sanctuary Island. Sadly, she finds that the island not to be as safe as as she expected, and the island is full of traps and an unexpected enemy. Leonardo DiCaprio has already picked up the film options for this book. That’s something, right?
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017 edited by Rich Horton (June 6)
Almost every month, I try to include a book of short fiction or a novella to the list. Short fiction is great for between books, or, during the summer, for a beach read. This month’s anthology has short stories by Charlie Jane Anders, Steven Barnes, Seth Dickinson, Kameron Hurley, Rich Larson, Ian R. MacLeod, Paul McAuley, Adam Roberts, Lavie Tidhar, Genevieve Valentine, Carrie Vaughn, and more. Editor Rich Horton is no newcomer to this series, having selected the best of published sci-fi and fantasy for the collections 7 times since 2009.
The Black Elfstone by Terry Brooks (June 13)
Wait….what? New Tolkien and new Shannara in the same month? My geek dreams have come true. Forty years after the first book (The Sword of Shannara) was published, Brooks has begun a 4 part conclusion to the Shannara series. The Black Elfstone is the first installment. This is a big one for me. Just like the other big ones on this list. Shannara is one of my oldest and dearest reading friends. MTV has the second season the The Shannara Chronicles in production now, but you can catch the first season here.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (June 13)
How about a near future sci-fi novel that includes history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure? After some ancient documents are discovered, it turns out that magic existed in the world, and the Industrial Revolution weakened it. Enter the Department of Diachronic Operations or D.O.D.O., whose first mission is to develop a time travel device that allows operatives to go back in time to bring magic back and to keep it alive.
Indigo, a collaborative novel (June 20)
What do you get when you have 10 incredibly versatile speculative fiction authors working together? You get investigative journalist, Nora Hesper, who also happens to be a brutal vigilante who can “forge darkness into weapons”. As both journalist and crime stopper she is laser focused on criminal cult that kills kids called the Children of Phonos. After a particularly gory battle, a dying member of the Children of Phonos makes a claim that hits very close to home, making Nora question her own past. A collaboration of Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden, Kelley Armstrong, Jonathan Maberry, Kat Richardson, Seanan McGuire, Tim Lebbon, Cherie Priest, James Moore, and Mark Morris gives us potential for an exciting story of magic and mystery.
Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory (June 27)
In need of cash, Teddy Telemachus, a con artist who can do simple magic tricks, talks himself into a secret government study about using telekinesis for intelligence gathering. He meets Maureen McKinnon, and actual physic. They end up marrying and having 3 kids who inherit things both parents and eventually they take their show on the road like the Flying Wallendas of magic. Sadly, tragedy strikes and the family is broken. While that sounds awful, this book is called a laugh out loud funny story, so apparently the tragedy is just a little seasoning… like pepper on steak, which I don’t really like either.
Well, that’s the 9 books I am most excited for this month. Normally, I pick one that is my overall best bet from the list, but I can’t do it this month (making the “L” sign on my forehead). This list is so good, I cannot just choose one. If you want to look at the other things being released this month, here is the total list of sci-fi and fantasy new releases this month on Amazon. There’s so many great ones to choose from.
What do you think? Did I leave anything off the list? What are you reading right now? Share it with the Geekiverse by leaving a comment below.
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The Grumpy Geek, Pete Herr is the author of “10 Things We Should Teach You In High School and Usually Don’t”. He is the oldest geek in the Geekiverse by a factor of two. Follow Pete Herr on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram . If you don’t he gets Grumpy. You don’t want to see him Grumpy.