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22 SFFH Books We’re Looking Forward to in June 2024

Written By Maria Haskins

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and reviewer of speculative fiction. She lives just outside Vancouver with a husband, two children, several birds, a snake, and a very large black dog. Her work has appeared in several publications, and is also available in her short story collections Wolves & Girls (2023), and Six Dreams About the Train (2021).

Lockjaw, by Matteo L. Cerilli

Death is neither the beginning nor the end for the children of Bridlington in this debut trans YA horror book for fans of Rory Power and Danielle Vega.” With a tagline like that, this book sounds like it was made to order for us here at Psychopomp. When one of the kids in the small town of Bridlington dies at the community’s abandoned old mill, his friend Paz Espino knows it was no accident. Paz knows she has to hunt down a monster, but she’s up against a bigger kind of evil than she imagines, and she has to deal with all the monsters (both living and dead) that haunt people’s minds as well as the streets.

Moonstorm, by Yoon Ha Lee

A new book by Yoon Ha Lee is always a reason to be excited, and Moonstorm is a brand-new sci-fi adventure/space opera set in a society where conformity isn’t just valued above all else, but where that conformity shapes reality. Oh, and there’s an empire, there are rebels trying to save their world, there are giant fighting robots, and there are lancer pilots who fly into battle with those robots. Hwa Young, a girl with a rebel past who is now part of the empire’s forces, dreams of becoming a lancer pilot, but once she gets into training, there are secrets and conspiracies aplenty.

The Wren in the Holly Library, by K.A. Linde

The Wren in the Holly Library is the first book in Linde’s new book series, The Oak & Holly Cycle. It takes place a New York City that has been irrevocably changed by the emergence of monsters and the destructive war that followed. A truce was worked out, years ago, but Kierse, a thief, is about the break the truce and will end up making a dangerous bargain with a charming, alluring, and terrifying monster hiding inside the Holly Library.

Mirrored Heavens, by Rebecca Roanhorse

This is the final book in Roanhorse’s Between Earth and Sky trilogy, a book series which is heavily inspired by the culture of the Pre-Columbian Americas. What to expect from the finale? Political intrigue, magic, and the looming threat of war. There’s also a new and ominous prophecy by the Coyote God, the avatar of the Sun God has visions of fire, and the Jaguar God is on the hunt. If you want a taste of Roanhorse’s latest, you can read an excerpt on the publisher’s website.

Grim Root, by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

I read an advance reading copy of this entertaining horror novel, and if you like your horror gothic and twisted with some dark humor in the mix, then this is for you. It’s pitched as “The Bachelor meets The Haunting of Hill House” and that captures the book’s set-up and essence pretty well. The cast of a Bachelor-like reality TV-show end up in a haunted house where things get weird, gory, and very very bloody. The interactions (friendly, more than friendly, and downright hostile) off-camera between the female contestants was one of my favorite parts of the book, and the story just gets better the more grisly and twisted things get in the mansion.

Song of the Tyrant Worm, by Hailey Piper

This is the final instalment in Piper’s cosmic horror series The Worm and His Kings, and it sure sounds like we’re in for a horror-ifically awesome time where “time breaks and starlight dies beneath uncompromising gods.” As in the two previous books (The Worm and His Kings and Even the Worm Will Turn), Song of the Tyrant Worm is set in 1990s New York City, where a hungry and terrifying monster stalk the streets and the underworld. A sinister presence lurks beyond the universe’s skin, and the whole world, and any hope of a future, might already be doomed.

Lovely Creatures, by K.T. Bryski

This novella comes to you right from Psychopomp’s own ghostly and gorgeous novella series, and it is an exquisitely wrought, dark, and unsettling twist on folklore and fairytales. I read an early review copy and found myself pulled right into Bryski’s haunting tale where the Devil stalks a storm-whittled landscape while a woman called Bryony searches for her long-lost sister. The story is written as a dark and devastating weave of tales, centered on a small group of travelers, journeying together in the belly of a wooden whale (!) toward a distant, mythical river. A woman finds her sister sleeping in a glass coffin. There’s a wolf and swan-maiden, and there is a man who holds everyone in thrall with his stories. Bryski delves deep in heartache and guilt, love, and friendship.

The Stars Too Fondly, by Emily Hamilton

Hamilton’s debut novel is described as “part space odyssey, part sapphic rom-com” and as “a suspenseful, charming, and irresistibly joyous tale of fierce friendship, improbable love, and wonder as vast as the universe itself.” All that  sounds pretty darn delightful to me. The book is about Cleo and her friends who steal a dark-matter powered spaceship (even if they didn’t mean to) and end up on voyage to Proxima Centauri. Along for the ride is a hologram version of the ship’s captain, Billie, and things heat up in more ways than one the deeper Cleo’s crew gets into space.

The Stardust Grail, by Yume Kitasei

After reading an advance reading copy of this book, I am happy to report that it is a rollicking ride through a universe full of various kinds of aliens, lots of mysterious artifacts, a deep-dive into space-archeology, fascinating spaceships, and featuring multiple high-stakes heists and battles. Kitasei has described The Stardust Grail as “an anti-colonial space heist book” and it has a bit of an Indiana Jones/anti-Indiana Jones vibe. We find ourselves in the company of Maya Hoshimoto, once the best art thief in the galaxy, now a graduate student of anthropology. She has tried to live a quiet life of academia after a disastrous incident ten years ago and isn’t really looking to return to her art-thieving ways, but when an old (alien, tentacled) friend asks for help, she can’t say no. As it turns out though, while the job might help save an alien race from extinction, it could also spell doom for humanity.

The Afterlife of Mal Caldera, by Nadi Reed Perez

Mal’s life is over. Her afterlife is only just beginning…” A book about the afterlife, and about ghosts either abandoning or clinging to their old lives, is right up Psychopomp’s alley of course. In this contemporary fantasy, former rockstar Mal Caldera has died, and while she could be partying the afterlife away at an abandoned mansion called the Haunt, she is still worried about her younger sister, Cris. Mal gets in touch with a medium, hoping to get a message through to Cris, but this only leads to further complications. Described as “funny and life-affirming”, this book sounds like an entertaining take on life after death.

Running Close to the Wind, by Alexandra Rowland

I don’t know about you, but the phrase “queer pirate fantasy standalone adventure” sounds absolutely freaking awesome to me.  On Instagram, Rowland describes Running Close to the Wind as “a comedy adventure about a heist on the high seas, featuring queer pirates, sea monsters, a plot relevant cake competition, and wall-to-wall gremlin hijinks” and heck yeah, now I’m even more excited. You can read an excerpt from this book (which is all about the adventures of Avra Helvaçi, former field agent of the Araşti Ministry of Intelligence) at Gizmodo.

Moonbound, by Robin Sloan

Sloan’s Moonbound, takes place eleven thousand years from now, and it’s set in a world where fantasy mixes with science fiction. After reading an excerpt, I am utterly intrigued: the narrator is “a sentient, record-keeping artificial intelligence that carries with it the perspective of the whole of human history.” A boy named Ariel, destined for adventure, comes across this AI, and while the boy doesn’t know what he’s found, the AI literally jumps on board, into Ariel: “His heart whomped and his blood crackled. I knew, because I was in it; I had caught the train. Brave, curious, a bit morbid, and, best of all: alive.” Moonbound is part of Sloan’s Penumbraverse books, which also include The Suitcase Clone and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

The Runes of Engagement, by Tobias S. Buckell & David Klecha

I read an advance reading copy of this book and I could say a lot about it, but my main takeaway was that it was so much fun to read. Buckell and Klecha have dreamed up a far-out/awesome premise: portals to a fantasy/LOTR/D&D-like world have opened up in various places in our world and now, soldiers and marines from the US to Finland and elsewhere, are on the ground through the portals, fighting orcs, trolls, elves, and other fantasy monsters to protect Earth from incursions and invasion. We follow a group of marines as they try to escort a very important elf on a mission that might turn the tide of the conflict. Along the way they run into several epic monsters and more than one enemy trying to stop them. It’s fast-paced, it’s action-packed, and Buckell and Klecha tell their story with so much humor and so much wonderful, pure fantasy-nerd joy. You can read an excerpt (that includes a tavern and a mysterious, stealthy stranger) at Civilian Reader.

Rakesfall, by Vajra Chandrasekera

Chandrasekera’s Saint of Bright Doors was one of the best books I read in 2023 so you’d best believe that I’m counting the days until I can read his brand new novel Rakesfall. It’s described as “a science fiction epic about two souls bound together from here until the ends of time” and follows Annelid and Leveret, who meet as children during the Sri Lankan civil war. There’s a great interview with Chandrasekera at Five Books where he talks about his favorite science fantasy books and also about Rakesfall: “Rakesfall is about people being reincarnated, but it’s also a critique of the whole concept of reincarnation—of what it actually means to have other people who are ‘you’ in the future or in the past.” Curious? I certainly am, and if you want a sneak peek, you can check out an excerpt at Civilian Reader.

Craft: Stories I Wrote for the Devil, by Ananda Lima

Ananda Lima is a poet, fiction writer, and translator whose work has appeared in several chapbooks and publications, including The American Poetry Review, Poets.org, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, and Witness. She’s originally from Brazil, and currently lives in Chicago. The stories in Craft are threaded together by what happens in the first story: at a Halloween party in 1999, a writer sleeps with the devil, and through her life she then writes stories for him. There’s a surreal, dreamlike tilt to the world and reality in this collection and Lima’s stories are beautifully dark, wickedly sharp, and they all have such lovely teeth.

We Speak Through the Mountain, by Premee Mohamed

Mohamed’s new novella is a sequel to her award-winning The Annual Migration of Clouds, and if it’s not one of your most highly anticipated books of 2024, it should be (and not just because it’s science fiction set in Canada, though that is a good reason too.) The novella is set in the climate-crisis-ravaged wilds of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains where Reid Graham is doing everything she can to reach the domes of Howse University, home to “the last remnants of pre-collapse society.” But once Reid gets there, the university turns out to be much different than what she had expected and she is faced with a choice “between herself, her family, and the broken new world.” Oh, and while you’re waiting for We Speak Through the Mountain, you can read Mohamed’s wonderful novelette “Not Lost (Never Lost)” here at Psychopomp.

Hollow Tongue, by Eden Royce

Hollow Tongue is part of The Selected Papers from the Consortium for the Study of Anomalous Phenomena (CSAP), a line of novellas curated by R.J. Joseph where each tale is introduced as a document and part of the fictional journal produced by the CSAP society. Royce’s novella tells the story of Maxine Forest who returns to her childhood home after a serious accident. Her parents are gone but the house holds a lot of memories and while “escape is impossible—succumbing, and metamorphosis, are inevitable.” I do love books with an epistolary/found document angle, and I also love Royce’s writing, so this one is going into my TBR-pile.

Echo of Worlds, by M.R. Carey

This is the second book in the Pandominion duology (the first book is Infinity Gate), by M.R. Carey who is probably best known for The Girl With All the Gifts. I’ve read both books, and if you’re into science fiction in general and multiverses in particular, I highly recommend them. They’re set in a multiverse where an alliance called the Pandominion rules a million worlds that are all the same world—Earth—in many different dimensions. Their new-found nemesis is another multiverse-alliance consisting of mechanical beings connected by a hive-like intelligence. Caught in the middle of an escalating, potentially multiverse-destroying conflict is a scientist from Nigeria, a rabbit-girl and her robot, a cat-human warrior, and a human cyber-soldier. (There’s also a sort of sentient moss involved.) Along the way, Carey explores the ramifications of colonialism in a multiverse and what happens when radically different lifeforms/intelligences meet, among other things. It’s action-packed, it’s slightly bonkers, and there’s a rabbit-girl vs. cyber-soldier chase scene that had me falling off the edge of my seat.

Foul Days, by Genoveva Dimova

Described by the publisher as “The Witcher meets Naomi Novik”, Foul Days is a fantasy novel inspired by Bulgarian folklore (Dimova grew up in Bulgaria before moving to Scotland), and the author has also said in interviews that it draws inspiration from recent European history including the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. Add all that up and well, I’m definitely intrigued. On Instagram, Dimova describes her book as a “Balkan fantasy about impossible to escape, monster-filled cities and impossible to escape, monstrous exes.” There’s a witch named Kosara, there’s a suspiciously honorable detective, there’s lycanthropes, kikimoras, bloodsucking upirs, and there’s a man known as the Tsar of Monsters. You can read an excerpt at Tor/Forge Blog.

Invaginies, by Joe Koch

This new short story collection from Koch contains “17 disturbing tales exploring plagues, possessions, gender & corruption set in apocalyptic eras not much unlike our own.” The title-word, Invaginies, is defined by Koch as “an invasion, it is a perception that is bodily and transcendent creating holes, paths, or pockets of alternate truth—and not always voluntary—enlightenment.” What to expect from this collection? Horror, queerness, the grotesque and the weird and the strange, plus: references to “the early work of Kenneth Anger and David Cronenberg, film noir, Herzog’s Nosferatu remake, and the notorious lost film footage from Event Horizon.” If that whets your appetite and you want to read some of Koch’s short fiction, check out Oakmoss and Ambergris” in Three-Lobed Burning Eye or “Coneland” at Shortwave Magazine.

Incidents Around the House, by Josh Malerman

A new book by Malerman (author of Bird Box) about a haunted house and a haunted family would likely catch my attention no matter what, but this bit from the publisher’s description clinched the deal: “To eight-year-old Bela, her family is her world. There’s Mommy, Daddo, and Grandma Ruth. But there is also Other Mommy, a malevolent entity who asks her every day: “Can I go inside your heart?” The story is told from the perspective of Bela herself, and it seems that Malerman is doing something quite interesting, prose-wise and formatting-wise, while using Bela as the story’s narrator. To see what I mean, head over to the publisher’s website and click the “Look Inside” link beneath the book cover.

The Bound Worlds, by Megan E. O’Keefe

This is the third and final book in O’Keefe’s space opera trilogy, the Devoured Worlds series. It’s a series incorporating some pretty awesome ingredients, including secret identities, space empires, revolutionaries, alien intelligences, and forbidden love. The first two books about Naira and Tarquin (who first meet as enemies when they’re stranded on a dead planet) are The Blighted Stars and The Fractured Dark, and after reading up on this series, and after listening to an excerpt of The Blighted Stars on Soundcloud (read by Ciaran Saward), I am now making space in my TBR pile for this trilogy.