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8 New Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Reads I Can’t Wait for This Summer

by  | May 8
Person standing in magical library

“Escape” and “uncertainty” are the words of the day. There exist plenty of good tips on how to self-care: maintain routine, get enough sleep (but not too much), engage in some socially distanced outdoor time, turn off your push notifications, and so on.

I can’t advise you on any of those things (although they all seem like great ideas). I’m not a therapist or a clinical researcher or any sort of expert on those topics. I am, however, an expert on genre (it’s practically written on my business card), and I know that, from experience, reading a good sci-fi/fantasy or horror book has always helped me through tough times.

So, if you’re having a day where nothing else seems to be working, try my self-care method on for size. To help you get started, here’s a list of my most anticipated sci-fi/fantasy/horror books of the summer. Although there is no cookie-cutter self-care prescription, these books are really great; I promise.

Check out Simon & Schuster’s In Other Worlds page for even more summer must-reads.

The First Sister

The First Sister

by Linden A. Lewis

August 4

The First Sister is a sci-fi novel made for mainstream readers who want the sociopolitical narrative of The Handmaid’s Tale and for classic sci-fi readers who want the fast-paced thrills of The Expanse. With excellent LGBTQIA+ representation, this futuristic fantasy dives into topical themes such as colonization, corruption, and oppression. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy, alternating perspectives from a servant trying to reclaim her freedom and a young soldier questioning his allegiances. The plot continues to grow in intensity as they both get caught in a shadowy, political web.

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The Only Good Indians

The Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones

July 14

I’m a frighteningly rabid consumer of all things horror-related, and I have to say The Only Good Indians is one of the best horror novels I’ve read in a while. Why? Because it’s not just about the scares. This novel is also a cutting social commentary on identity politics and the American Indian experience, mixed with moments of hope and a struggle for survival, in a Jordan Peele-esque psychological horror.

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The Kingdom of Liars

The Kingdom of Liars

by Nick Martell

June 23

As you can see on the cover of The Kingdom of Liars, Brandon Sanderson calls this book “an excellent fantasy debut,” and when a legendary author like him gives praise like that, people should listen. Imagining a unique world where memory is used to create magic, author Nick Martell mixes the taut crime drama of a show like The Wire with all the trappings of a classic fantasy, producing smart, action-packed results.

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The Vanished Queen

The Vanished Queen

by Lisbeth Campbell

August 18

Thanks to Game of Thrones, the world is flush with great epic fantasy stories lately. But Lisbeth Campbell’s smart, feminist novel eschews genre tropes as it tells a story of political resistance that parallels our own world. This one’s perfect for fans of Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver or R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War.

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Network Effect

Network Effect

by Martha Wells

May 5

I identify so strongly with the protagonist of this book/series. Murderbot is the name of a misanthropic, socially awkward AI who defies its programming and becomes self-aware. Even though all it wants to do at first is binge TV shows and be left alone, Murderbot grows to like tolerate the humans it interacts with as they go on quest after quest together to save the world. Network Effect can be read as a stand-alone, but it is also the fifth book in this Hugo award-winning series.

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Survivor Song

Survivor Song

by Paul Tremblay

July 7

Out this July, Tremblay’s latest novel is eerily prescient. Set in Massachusetts, it follows two friends—a pregnant woman and her doctor—as they fight their way through a “super rabies” epidemic where basically humans turn into rageful biting monsters. In the hands of Tremblay, this horror story premise is sure to level up. He showed readers in his breakout novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, that he can throw together the distinctly modern (reality TV) with classic horror (see: exorcisms). This galley is sitting at the top of my TBR pile right now.

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Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

June 30

Don’t tell my high school English teacher, but the only book I ever truly enjoyed in class was Rebecca. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic captures Daphne Du Maurier’s classic novel’s spooky, secretive vibe in an exciting new setting: Mexico in the 1950s. I cannot wait to pick this one up.

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Sensation Machines

Sensation Machines

by Adam Wilson

July 7

Originally, I was just intrigued by the cover of Sensation Machines, but then I read its incredibly terrifying description and was completely sucked into this twisty, psychological novel and its relatable characters: a couple set in Brooklyn (where I grew up) who work on Wall Street and in digital marketing. I just finished Devs on Hulu (side note: go watch it right now), and this novel hits similar themes of data mining, shadowy corporate machinations, privacy, and deep, personal loss.

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Lauren Jackson (also known as LJ) is the marketing and publicity manager for all Saga Press and Star Trek titles. During her nine years in publishing, she has held positions at Tor Books, William Morrow, and Penguin Random House, and has enjoyed working with an array of authors, from punk music legends to Michelin-starred chefs to cat whisperers. She is a huge fan of Star Trek, horror movies, true crime anything, and behavioral science. A proud born-and-bred Brooklynite, she still resides in that borough, and serves two cats named Jaime and Cersei.