Check out all the SF/F books hitting stores this June

21 new books to check out this month!

Check out all the SF/F books hitting stores this June
Image: Andrew Liptak

Somehow, the year is half over. I've been enjoying the summer weather and I've been working on catching up with my reading outside in our yard. It's been delightful, and a nice change of pace from the couch while I fight for space with my kids and the TV.

June also brings a ton of new books to bookstore shelves, and I've rounded up 21 books that caught my eye. In case you missed them, you can find other recommendations from past months via the Book List tag. This is just the first list of the month: I've got another one coming in a couple of weeks.

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Okay, here are 21 new books that you should check out this month:

Star Wars Legends: Iron Fist by Aaron Allston (June 4th)

I was in middle school when I first got into Star Wars, thanks to the re-release of the special editions. After watching the films, I began seeking out the expanded universe novels, and one of the very first that I picked up was Aaron Allston's Iron Fist, the second installment of his Wraith Squadron series.

I bounced off it hard. It was the middle of the series and I didn't know any of the characters, so I set it aside. Later, when I began reading Michael A. Stackpole's X-Wing series, I went back and gave the books another shot and fell in love with them. Allston had a fun challenge here: making some connections between his books and the events surrounding Dave Wolverton's The Courtship of Princess Leia [interview!], all while playing out an entertaining heist and attack against Warlord Zsinj. As a bonus, there's also a new audiobook as part of the release.

The Singularity by Dino Buzzati, translated by Anne Milano Appel (June 4th)

Originally published in 1960, Dino Buzzati's novella The Singularity is considered one of the first major Italian works of science fiction. Now, the New York Review of Books has reissued it with a new translation by Anne Milano Appel. It follows a professor named Ermanno Ismani, who has been tasked with his country's minister of defense for a top-secret mission to Experimental Camp of Military Zone 36, located in the middle of nowhere. What he's supposed to do and when isn't clear.

Upon his arrival, he discovers a mysterious white wall that his new colleagues assure him isn't part of a nuclear program: it's far more powerful than that, and as he spends more time there, he discovers that it might have something to do with the nature of intelligence and consciousness itself.

Writing for Speculative Fiction in Translation, Rachel Cordasco says "Beautifully translated by Anne Milano Appel and a fascinating exploration of hubris and obsession, The Singularity is a must-read as we continue, in the 21st century, to strive for ever-more aware artificial intelligence and learn, at the same time, that we must tread carefully."

The Fireborne Blade by Charlotte Bond (May 28th)

Maddileh is a rare female knight, and has put her efforts into slaying dragons, even if it's almost as difficult as putting up with the crap that her male counterparts have sent her way over the course of her life. When she's forced to redeem her honor, she's tasked with retrieving the Fireborne Blade from a legendary dragon known as the White Lady, or die trying.

Reviewing the book for Locus Magazine, Liz Bourke notes that it "harks back to the adventure style of sword-and-sorcery fantasy that had its most recent great flowering (to the best of my knowledge) in the 1980s," and that while it's not terribly deep, "it’s fun. A breath blowing straight in from the D&D-esque sword-and-sorcery of yesteryear."

Rebel Moon Part Two - The Scargiver by V. Castro (June 4th)

Zack Snyder's big space opera epic for Netflix stretched across two bloated installments, the first of which dropped late last year, and the second earlier this spring. Following its release is a novelization of Part 2: The Scargiver (which follows Part One: A Child of Fire), in which we return to the world of Veldt as we follow Kora and her band of rebels as they work to fight against the forces of the Realm.

Snyder’s Star Wars
Zack Snyder’s failed Star Wars pitch is now headed to Netflix. It could prove to be the start of something interesting, or at the very least, somewhat entertaining

Eruption by Michael Crichton and James Patterson (June 3rd)

The author of such hits as Jurassic Park, Sphere, Timeline, and The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton was a huge and influential figure in the bookselling world, and after his death in 2008, it seemed like his name would vanish from bookstores. That didn't happen: after his death, his wife began looking through his papers and began discovering a number of unfinished manuscripts. Some books, like Pirate Latitudes and Dragon Teeth were released without too much extra work, while others, like Micro and now Eruption were completed by another author selected by the estate.

Expanding the Crichtonverse
In November 2019, a familiar name appeared in bookstores: Michael Crichton. Crichton had died at the age of 66 in 2008 after a brief battle against lymphoma, but there his name was emblazoned in red on the cover of a new novel called The Andromeda Evolution [

Eruption was completed by bestselling author James Patterson, and it's about a volcanic eruption that threatens Hawai'i, and because of some of the US Army's long-held secrets (some nuclear waste and some nasty chemical weapons), the consequences of that eruption will be devastating on a planetary level. I've already finished this one (I listened to the audiobook on a recent trip) and it's a bombastic, dumb, and mostly entertaining book.

Apostles of Mercy by Lindsay Ellis (June 4th)

Lindsay Ellis rounds out her Noumena series (which began with Axiom's End and Truth of the Divine) with Apostles of Mercy. In this trilogy, we follow Cora Sabino as she discovers that the US has made contact with extraterrestrial life, and becomes an emissary to the alien civilization via an entity known as Ampersand.

In this latest installment of the series, first contact hasn't gone well for humanity. Governments around the world are preparing for the arrival of the Superorganism, which threatens to take us out before we can threaten it. While Cora's ready to throw humanity under the bus, she begins to realize that her blind faith in Ampersand might be misplaced, and that humanity faces some other threats that could devastate the world.

Publishers Weekly says "Ellis ratchets up the political intrigue, fear of alien invasion, and family drama as Cora reconnects with Nils, all while posing a moral question of whether humanity deserves saving at all."

Star Wars: Temptation of the Force by Tessa Gratton (June 11th)

The latest installment of The High Republic series arrives just in time for the new Disney series Star Wars: Acolyte. In this latest adventure (Set after the events of George Mann's The Eye of Darkness), Jedi Masters Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann have been separated by the Nihil's Stormwall, but have since reunited after Avar's daring escape.

Now, accompanied by Jedi Knights Bell Zettifar, Burryaga, and Vernestra Rwoh, they're off to lead a mission to liberate the planet of Naboo and show the planets trapped behind the Stormwall that they haven't been forgotten and abandoned by the Jedi.

The Stars Too Fondly by Emily Hamilton (June 11th)

It's always cool to see a Vermont author on this list: Emily Hamilton's debut novel is The Stars Too Fondly, a space opera that follows Cleo and her friends after they steal a spaceship while trying to get to the bottom of a mystery: the disappearance of a crew twenty years ago. When they went aboard, the ship's engines activated on their own and now they're off to Proxima Centauri, unable to stop the ship.

In some ways, it's a dream come true: Cleo had long wanted to become an astronaut. But as their journey stretches out, the mysteries and her relationships with her friends become far more complicated as the ship's dark matter engines begin to transform them.

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying "This Star Trek-inspired space adventure has something for everyone—heartwarming romantic comedy, cosmic superpowers, and humanity’s future at stake. It should win plenty of fans."

The Stardust Grail by Yume Kitasei (June 11th)

Maya Hoshimoto was once known as one of the best art thieves in the galaxy, repatriating stolen objects to their home civilizations, only to go into hiding after one job went wrong. She's been enjoying life ever since as a graduate student, but she's been haunted by visions of the future.

When a friend from her former life reappears with a new job, she can't refuse: find an ancient artifact that could save an alien civilization from extinction. It's been lost for centuries, and there are other treasure hunters after it.

Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review, saying "Broad in scope, covering everything from the rise and fall of alien civilizations to what it means to be a person, this is a luminous work, vacillating between the highs and lows of human experience and how they might translate across alien worlds. Sympathetic, flawed characters demonstrate how individual actions can reverberate through the past and future."

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (June 11th)

Originally published by Small Beer Press back in 2010, Karen Lord's acclaimed debut novel is set in the Caribbean about a woman named Paama whose gluttonous husband has followed her to her parent's home and caused problems by killing livestock and stealing. She's left him, and in doing so attracted the attention of the djombi – spirit creatures – who present her with a gift: a Chaos Stick. It allows her to manipulate the world. The stick's original owner wants it back, and will stop at nothing to retrieve it.

Stories Are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind by Annalee Newitz (June 4th)

Annalee Newitz is one of my favorite writers: their novels, like The Terraformers, Autonomous, and The Future of Another Timeline have been excellent, and I've also really learned a lot from their nonfiction books Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, and Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age.

Review: Annalee Newitz’s The Terraformers
An outstanding book about the power of communal action in the face of overwhelming odds

Their next book is all about the power of storytelling through channels like disinformation and propaganda, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War and coming up to the modern day era of online information campaigns. It looks like an absolutely essential book if you want to spend any amount of time online in the present day.

Daughter of the Merciful Deep by Leslye Penelope (June 4th)

Jane Edwards, her family, and her neighbors were forcibly expelled from their community when she was eleven, and she hasn't said a word since. A little over a decade later, she found a safe haven in the all-Black town of Awenasa, but the construction of a new dam threatens her new home.

She's willing to do anything to save Aawenasa, and when a man with strange abilities arrives, she suspects that he might be the key aiding her in her quest. She's shocked to learn that she knows him, and he was supposed to be dead, his bodied laid to rest in a river. To find answers to this mystery, she ventures into a sunken world full of unpredictable gods and myths, and will have to find her voice in order to save her community.

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying "Jane’s character leaps off the page, buoyed by a supporting cast who breathe life into the narrative. Meanwhile, the romance that develops between Jane and Daniel adds sweetness. This potent work packs a punch."

Cinderwich by Cherie Priest (June 11th)

Years ago, some children discovered a body wedged into a tree in Cinderwich, Tennessee, but the identity of the body has long remained a mystery. Decades later, Kate Thrush and her former college professor Dr. Judith Kane travel to Cinderwich in hopes that it might be a woman they knew, Ellen, Kate's lost aunt and Judith's former partner.

When they arrive, they find a desiccated town that's resistant to answering their questions, and as the two women dig for clues, they find more questions and rot underneath the town.

Inland by Kate Risse (June 15th)

In this debut novel, Kate Risse jumps a couple of years into 2026, as climate change has gripped the planet, following Julia and her friend Martin as they flee their coastal home on Florida's Panhandle to the northeast to try and find her son Billy, who's found Martin's daughters Lana and Agnes, who are also escaping as the seas overtook their homes. As they all escape the flooded coast and head for higher ground, they have to contend with a world that's changed.

Mirrored Heavens by Rebecca Roanhorse (June 4th)

Rebecca Roanhorse's acclaimed Between Heaven and Earth trilogy (preceded by Black Sun and Fevered Star) comes to an end with Mirrored Heavens. Set in a civilization inspired by ancient central America, the story has followed a delicate balance of power that's been undermined by prophecy and revenge. Serapio is the avatar of the Crow God Reborn and now rules all of Tova, only to face a new prophecy and new enemies that could destroy him.

Meanwhile, ship captain Xiala has returned home to the island of Teek, their only hope as their way of life and magical powers come under threat. However, she faces new challenges of her own and will be forced to make sacrifices to unleash her powers and become queen.

Kirkus Reviews awarded the book a starred review, saying "Roanhorse’s fans won’t be surprised to hear that she’s crafted a complex, suspenseful, and ultimately satisfying ending to her masterful trilogy."

Moonbound by Robin Sloan (June 11th)

One of the books that I've been looking forward to the most this year is Moonbound, by author (and friend of Transfer Orbit) Robin Sloan. Set eleven thousand years from now, a boy named Ariel lives in a village under the rule of a wizard. He's called to a life of adventure and while on a quest, encounters an strange artifact: an artificial intelligence that has been tasked with recording the entirety of human history. When Ariel accidentally angers the wizard Malory, he concocts a plan to defeat him, aided by some unlikely allies.

Another TO friend, Eliot Peper, wrote a glowing review in his newsletter: "There’s nothing quite like a good story well told. Moonbound is one of those. I wish I could read it again for the first time."

The Book-Makers: A History of the Book in Eighteen Lives by Adam Smyth (May 28th)

I'm a big fan of books about books, and this one recently caught my eye at the local bookstore: Smyth explores the evolution of the book by looking at the lives of the people who helped influence its creation, from printer Wynkyn de Worde to John Baskerville to Benjamin Franklin, and more.

Blake Morrison writes in The Guardian that "Smyth’s tone is jaunty, but there’s no doubting the breadth of his knowledge and love of the business."

Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky (June 4th)

There's a running joke in the Transfer Orbit slack channel about how Adrian Tchaikovsky finds the time to write all of the books he has coming out at any given time. His latest is called Service Model, set in a future when humanity is reliant on robots. When one robot gets an idea downloaded into its programming, it murders its owner and runs away, and finds a much wider world: a crumbling human empire where robots are forced to find a new purpose for their existence.

Library Journal gave the book a starred review, saying "A surprisingly thoughtful and compelling story from Tchaikovsky about one robot’s journey through their own version of Dante’s circles of hell, complete with all the other hells they’d rather never have imagined."

Rogue Sequence by Zac Topping (June 11th)

Decades from now, militaries around the world use genetically-engineered soldiers to carry out their deadly work. Ander Rade is one such soldier who volunteered for Xyphos Industries' Gene-Mod Program years ago. He's faithfully served, but when a mission goes catastrophically wrong, he's captured and imprisoned, and is forced into fighting pits for the next decade until agents from the Genetic Compliance Department of the United American Provinces turn up.

Since his capture, genetic engineering has been banned by the World Unity Council and people like Ander are deemed a threat to society. The agents have a deal for him: track down a former teammate, and they'll grant him his freedom. He can't refuse the opportunity, but it comes with some significant strings attached.

Star Wars Legends: 501st: Imperial Commando by Karen Traviss (June 4th)

Another re-release in the Star Wars Legends series is the final Commando novel written by Karen Traviss (preceded by Hard Contact, Triple Zero, True Colors, and Order 66), which finds the members of Delta and Omega Squads dealing with the aftermath of Order 66 and their new role in the Empire.

Horror Movie by Paul Tremblay (June 11th)

I'm a big fan of Paul Tremblay's horror novels: he has an excellent light touch on the supernatural, which makes you wonder if, say, ghosts are real or what a zombie outbreak might look like. His next is called Horror Movie, and as the title suggests, it's about a horror film.

Pushing against nostalgia
Paul Tremblay on his next horror novel, The Pallbearer’s Club

Back in 1993, a group of filmmakers set out to make a horror film. While the film was never released, it garnered a massive fanbase, and decades later, a Hollywood studio is looking to remake it. Only one of the film's original cast members is still alive, and he witnessed firsthand the troubling elements in the script and the disturbing things that happened during the shoot, and this remake is threatening to bring back some horrifying memories.

Library Journal gave the book a starred review, saying "Unease and terror rapidly build in the book as readers learn details of what happened on the original set and how it threatens the present. The novel is as unsettling and gripping as a slasher while also managing to be funny and thoughtful."

That's all for now: thanks as always for reading. Let me know what caught your eye and what you're currently reading!