The best science fiction and fantasy books for October ‹ Literary Hub

The best science fiction and fantasy books for October ‹ Literary Hub

I knew from the beginning of the year that October would be a strong month for SFF Our 2023 preview Molly McGee included Jonathan Abernathy You are kind. But that was before I knew what spooky tales would be coming in this very cozy Halloween book edition, like a spooky post-Covid update Rosemary’s baby And gothic fantasy with whispers The Hazelwood. Not to mention the retelling Aladdin, The Count of Monte CristoAnd Beowulf!

Although they’re not books, a special shoutout this month is to two graphic novels: long story Volume 11, the brilliant and always subversive space opera by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples; And ParasocialAlex de Campi and Erica Henderson’s provocative cautionary tale about both sides of SFF fandom, from those who place too many expectations in their idols as well as the lonely ones who embrace misguided fan interest.

Hurricane Wars

thea guanzon, Hurricane Wars
(Harper Voyager, October 3)

Years ago, I discovered a Star Wars novel that recast Kylo Ren and Rey in a retelling of one of my favorite Star Wars novels, Courting Princess Leia. This saga has been called, Arranged Marriage, Romance between Enemies and Lovers Landscape with blur of conquerorsAnd I devoured it on my desk at work. Thea Guanzon has demonstrated her skills at keeping readers hooked with weekly installments, so it’s no surprise that she took advantage of that in her first novel, Hurricane Wars. It’s a Southeast Asian-inspired magical fantasy in which orphaned soldier Talasin must learn how to harness her light magic against the mystical power of Alaric, heir to the Night Emperor – but to use that magic for good, because in the wrong hands, she could create hurricane wars once again.


nicola griffiths, Meanwood
(MCD, October 3)

After an amazing decade Hild, Nicola Griffiths presents the next four years in the life of Hilda of Whitby, in a medieval historical fantasy epic so meticulously researched and richly presented that it reads like a fantasy doorstop. As a child, Hilde used her keen intuition to stay one step ahead of the murderous king in his court. Now, at eighteen, she will experience a lifetime of bloody revolutions as six different men claim to be the true king of seventh-century Britain. However, Hild will continue to provide moments of peace and protection to those she loves, as she builds her stronghold in Meanwood. Griffith describes it as: “A trilogy in one volume,” so pack it in.

Starling house

Alex E. Harrow, Pete Starling
(Toor Books, October 3)

No one in the ironically named town of Eden, Kentucky, has known anything but misfortune from the thriving and toxic coal mining business that makes up the town; And no one has ever seen the inside of Starling House. Until Opal, constantly striving to place her brother Jasper into a prestigious boarding school, accepts a job as housekeeper from Arthur Starling, who intends to be the final guardian of the Starling household. Because we mentioned that it is a conscious palace? Someone who loves Opal very much, and wants to keep her close. As Opal struggles to escape the clutches of the house and accept its attentions, she will learn more about the unofficial history of Eden, and what constitutes a better life for herself and those she loves.

Gin-Bot in Shantiport

Samit Basu, Gin-Bot in Shantiport
(Published by Tordotcom, October 3)

Aladdin In Space is already an excellent showcase for Samit Basu’s standalone novel, but he looks to explore every angle of the familiar story in this adventure set in a collapsed spaceport. Shantiport is a shadow of its former self, but Lena, a street-smart tour bus driver, is determined to save her home. With the help of her brother, Monkbot Badur, and storyteller Moko (also our narrator), Lena takes on the dangerous task of purchasing an ancient, life-like relic of corrupt high-ranking officials. But when this trio encounters a robotic djinn who will grant three wishes, it challenges the narrative they’ve already been following and offers a new opportunity for revolution and change.

Shield of the Virgin

sharon Emerichs, Shield of the Virgin
(Redhawk, October 3)

If you’re like me, the only female character from… Beowulf The one you may remember is Grendel’s mother. But here Dr. Sharon Emmerichs introduces us to Frieda, niece of the great warrior king, in this stirring retelling of the last third or so of the epic poem. Despite a childhood injury that left her with a broken hand, Frida is determined to train as a shield maiden, against her father’s wish to marry her into a political alliance instead. But as the celebration of Beowulf’s fiftieth anniversary as king begins, Frieda realizes a growing power within herself…which may be connected to Frederaka, a fearsome dragon awakening from her long slumber.

Aliette de Bodard, a fire born of exile

Aliette de Bodard, A fire born from exile
(Gollancz, October 12)

I recently got a very specific yen that I have to rewatch The Count of Monte Cristo, something about all the dark drama of a humble man betrayed and imprisoned by his best friend, only to escape and transform into a wealthy melodramatic hero in order to take revenge on those who left him to die in the dark. So when I heard that the latest installment in Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya series counts Alexandre Dumas among its influences, I was flabbergasted: a world long thought dead returns disguised as Quynh, the alchemist of streams and hills. While her mysterious presence fascinates the scattered inhabitants of the Pearl Belt, she hunts down two people in particular: the noble daughter Minh, and the engineer Hoa, someone she knew from her old life. Oh, I can’t wait! And while this is set in Xuya’s world, it’s standalone, so it’s a perfect entry point.

Ai Zhao, Shanghai Immortal

i chow, Eternal Shanghai
(Hodder and Stoughton, October 17)

AY Chao’s adult fantasy debut weaves together two Shanghai: Hell version, in which the half-vampire, half-fox spirit (or Hui Jing) runs errands for the King of Hell; and Human Shanghai, set in the Jazz Age of the 1930s. When Jing discovers that other courtiers are planning to steal a priceless dragon pearl from the king, she teams up with kindly mortal Tony Lee (who is supposed to be creating Hell’s Central Bank) to maintain the fragile balance between the worlds, even as she discovers a world she has never known.

Jewel box

Hey, Lily, are you? Jewel Box: Stories
(Erion Books, October 24)

Despite the pretty title of E. Lily Yu’s first short story collection (comprising 22 stories old and new over 16 years), these trinkets seem to lean more toward the bizarre and often surreal. There is a love story between a street lamp and a man who always passes under it; Adaptations Orpheus and Eurydice (Its events take place in an underground prison) and Pussy in shoes; and a dystopian one percent wedding story about tracking down impossible vanilla ice cream in a radioactive near future. These superstitions are prevalent with birds, crabs, lions, and, obviously, unicorns. Speaking of animals, Get a load of awesome cover (Revealed on Lit Hub) And all the 3D work that went into it!


nat Cassidy, Chicks
(Tor Nightfire, October 31)

in Maryam: The Awakening of Terror, Nat Cassidy delved into the horrors of the way society treats middle-aged women and mined a familiar darkness that was incredibly satisfying in its bloody resolution. I’m most intrigued by his follow-up, which is a modern take on a premise Rosemary’s baby: A beautiful young couple moves into the apartment of their dreams, but this threatens their first child. Except in this case, Anna and Red are still recovering from a traumatic birth that left Anna paralyzed from the waist down, only to have their fortunes quickly reversed when they land a coveted spot in a coveted Deptford building via the New York City housing lottery. But when things look different from the first meeting with the creepy concierge, Anna—already suffering from postpartum depression that Reid, among others, has dismissed—worries about why their daughter Charlie wakes up screaming in the night, and what’s causing the needle-like bite marks. All over her.

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