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Summer Reading List: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Edition

The Hottest New Titles in Speculative Fiction

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 22, 2021

Literature always has the ability to transport us to new and different experiences, but speculative fiction takes us into worlds and realities that are entirely original, utterly thrilling, and, often, oddly prescient. From rogue robots to astral expeditions to immersive alternate worlds, we are reveling in these exciting, new sci-fi and fantasy books that have come out in 2021.

Space Adventures

Project Hail Mary
Andy Weir's newest interstellar journey has been flying off the shelves. At its center is a lone astronaut who must save the earth from destruction. If only he could remember how that's supposed to happen.

The Last Watch
The Expanse meets Game of Thrones in this fast-paced sci-fi thriller by J. S. Dewes. Set at the edge of the universe, a rag-tag army of soldiers that nobody wanted is the only thing standing between humanity and annihilation.

Hard Reboot
Django Wexler gives us the story of Kas, a junior researcher on a fact-finding mission to old Earth. But when a con-artist tricks her into wagering her budget on a robot arena battle she becomes drawn into a seedy underworld.

Futuristic Forays

Future Feeling
This inventive, subversive, genre-nonconforming debut novel by Joss Lake explores illusion, magic, technology, and kinship, in an emergent future society where everyone's emotional frequencies are monitored though Bio-meters.

A Psalm For the Wild-Built
Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers's new solarpunk series offers hope for the future. It's been centuries since robots gained self-awareness and disappeared into the wilderness. But now one has returned asking: What do humans need?

Based on a popular podcast, this graphic novel by Jordan Morris offers a satirical, futuristic vision of the gig economy. Morgan has a chill day job and a lucrative side hustle killing the monstrous Imps that lurk in the wilderness surrounding her city.

YA Fantasies

Gear Breakers
An impressive debut from Zoe Hana Mikuta features two young female soldiers who find themselves on common ground while fighting a tyrannical leader. The novel balances high-octane action with intimate character development.

The Gilded Ones
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village or face a fate worse than death. This debut by Namina Forna is the first in a series.

The Witness for the Dead
A stand-alone sequel by Katherine Addison that recreates the glittering world from The Goblin Emperor. On the search to find out who killed his father and brothers, Emperor Maia turns to an obscure member of his court.

Expansive Epics

The Jasmine Throne
The first installment of a trilogy by Tasha Suri immerses readers into an India-inspired world featuring a long-imprisoned princess and a maidservant with forbidden powers who come together to rewrite the fate of an empire.

The Shadow of the Gods
In the Norse-inspired world of John Gwynne's new fantasy saga where the gods have driven themselves to extinction and fearsome monsters terrorize their human descendants, it falls to three people to shape the fate of the world.

In Rivers Solomon's genre-bending novel, a pregnant teenager flees the restrictive compound where she grew up, giving birth to her twins in the woods. There, forced to fight her pursuers, her body begins to undergo mysterious changes.

We're certainly adding some of these intriguing titles to our summer reading lists! Hopefully something here has caught your eye. If not, check out one of our other Summer Reading lists, including Historical Fiction, Classics Edition, or any of our monthly Most Anticipated blogs for more suggestions. And let us know what kind of summer reading lists you'd like to see.

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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