Wow, take a couple months off and you get blindsided. There is a ton of awesome coming this month, from gamers battling aliens to dinosaur-riding knights. This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are some of the highlights coming to bookstores near you in July.
Time Salvager — Wesley Chu (Tor)
Chu wrapped up his “Tao” series a couple months ago and is right back with this new offering. Set in a dismal future where the Earth is hopelessly polluted and humanity is vainly trying to survive in space, the story follows a time-traveler who brings technology from the past in an attempt to stave off humanity’s demise. Things get complicated when he brings back more than he planned.
Aurora — Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
One of the modern masters of sci-fi returns with this story of interstellar colonization. Aurora follows a group of travelers on an ark ship travelling to the Tau Ceti system. It follows them through generations on the journey, and examines how they are changed along the way.
The Price of Valor — Django Wexler (Roc)
The third entry in Wexler’s “Shadow Campaigns” series of flintlock fantasy, The Price of Valor deals with the aftermath of the death Vordan’s king. Queen Raesina has a tenuous grip on the kingdom and faces enemies within and without. General Janus Vhalnich must defend his kingdom against the dark magic of the Sworn Church.
The Annihilation Score — Charles Stross (Ace)
The latest entry in Stross’s award-winning “Laundry Files” series, a supernatural mix of X-Files and John LeCarre, finds Dr. Mo O’Brien acting as a police liason when ordinary citzens in England start developing super powers. There’s also the business of Dr. Freudenstein, a mysterious antagonist sending cryptic, threatening messages to the police.
A Murder of Mages — Marshall Ryan Maresca (DAW)
Maresca returns to the city of Maradaine for a new series of adventures. Unrelated to his debut The Thorn of Dentonhill, this novel follows a pair of police investigators, a former street urchin and a brilliant, Uncircled mage, on their first case together —tracking down the killer behind the ritual murder of a powerful mage.
Last First Snow — Max Gladstone (Tor)
The fourth book in Gladstone’s acclaimed “Craft Sequence” blends epic magic, dead gods and modern business. 40 years after the God Wars, the impoverished district of Skittersill is kept intact by the powerful wards of the fallen gods. But those wards are failing and members of the Craft firm Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao are called to fix them. But a warrior-priest turned community organizer has other ideas.
Alive — Scott Sigler (Del Rey)
A girl wakes up trapped in a box with no idea where she is or how she got there. She then has to lead a group of other teens on a harrowing journey to escape this mysterious prison. So begins Sigler’s new YA “Generations” trilogy, which is sure to find fans among lovers of Divergent and The Maze Runner.
Armada — Ernest Cline (Crown)
The author of Ready Player One is back with another video-game tribute to ’80s geek culture. Zack Lightman is one of the best gamers in the world, an expert at the space-flight simulator “Armada”. But when a spaceship lands at his high school, he learns that the game is all too real and he must join an interplanetary war to save mankind.
Lagoon — Nnedi Okorafor (Saga Press)
Okorafor’s acclaimed novel earned plenty of accolades when it was released in England last year. Now Americans get to see what all the fuss was about. Lagoon follows a first contact event in Lagos Nigeria, witnessed by a soldier, a rapper and a marine biologist. The three attempt to introduce the mysterious alien visitor to their president as chaos erupts around them.
Half a War — Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey)
The Shattered Sea trilogy comes to a grand conclusion as Father Yarvi’s machinations come to fruition. Gettland has gone to war against the mighty army of Grandmother Vexen. Princess Skara, however, must use her words and wits to fight, because only half a war is fought with swords.
The Dinosaur Lords — Victor Milán (Tor)
Knights. Dinosaurs. Knights riding dinosaurs. How can this go wrong, especially with that awesome cover. The story takes place on Paradise, a planet where humanity and other mammals evolved but dinosaurs are still the dominant species. Within this world feudal rivalries and grand wars take place and the Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky must reclaim his memory and seek revenge for his betrayal.
Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych — N. K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Jemisin is moving on from her popular “Inheritance” trilogy next month with The Fifth Season, which kicks off the “Broken Stone” trilogy. But before she moves on there is this final collection of short works set in the “Inheritance” universe.
Killing Pretty — Richard Kadrey (HarperVoyager)
The latest Sandman Slim novel features the hitman from Hell as he teams up with a mysterious damsel on a journey through LA’s undead underground to find out who tried to murder Death.