Another stack of books to pick up this October
15 new science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction books to check out this month
The book onslaught continues! October saw a ton of books slated for release, and with that in mind, it's time for another roundup. (As always, you can check out the other big book lists here.)
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Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder by William Shatner and Joshua Brandon (October 4th)
A little over a year ago, Blue Origin sent William Shatner to space. It was a fitting thing: the famed captain of the Enterprise finally making it above the atmosphere, and he had some profound thoughts about the experience. He's since released a new book looking back on his life and experiences, including that trip into space.
Dead Man's Hand by James Butcher (October 11th)
The name James Butcher might seem familiar, but it's not Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files. His son has made is own foray into the writing world, kicking off a new fantasy series called The Unorthodox Chronicles.
Set in Boston, it follows Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby, a magically-inclined wizard who flunked out of Auditor (a sort of magical authority) school and has been looking for a chance at redemption when a mentor of his is murdered, and he's labeled as the prime suspect. To prove his innocence, he'll have to team up with a mysterious and retired legend nicknamed the Huntsman, and has to stay two steps ahead of the Auditors on his tail.
The Scratch Daughters by H.A. Clarke (October 25th)
H.A. Clarke follows up their debut fantasy novel Scapegracers, about a young woman/witch/lesbian/outsider named Sideways Pike who finds herself in a new clique after casting a spell at a Halloween party. She and her new friends hit it off, casting spells and trying to avoid some religious fundamentalists bent on stealing their magic.
In this new installment, Sideways is reeling from the revelation that the woman she had a crush on, Madeline, had ulterior motives of her own: stealing Sideways's Specter – a force that allows her to cast magical spells. Despite that, she sets off to track down Madeline and reclaim what was hers.
Monster Kids: How Pokémon Taught a Generation to Catch Them All by Daniel Dockery (October 4th)
I was never into Pokémon as a kid, and it wasn't until I watched KaptainKristian's excellent video essay about the game franchise (and my son's interest in Pokémon Go) that it really clicked for me. It looks like Daniel Dockery's book about the franchise could do the same thing: a deep dive into the history of Pokémon and how it's become one of the biggest games in the world, decades after its initial release.
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (October 11th)
The Folio Society turns 75 this year, and to commemorate the occasion, the high-end publisher has released a new edition of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, complete with some beautiful artwork from Marie-Alice Harel. This is one of the finer editions that they've released, in my opinion: the edges of the pages have some beautiful artwork, each chapter comes with elegant drop-caps, and two font colors.
Star Trek: First Contact: The Making of the Classic Film by Joe Fordham (October 11th)
I recently finished Ryan Britt's history of Star Trek, Phasers On Stun!, and it helped to put some of the story of the franchise into context for me — and has inspired me to go back and give some of the earlier series another try after bouncing off of them for years. This new behind-the-scenes look at the making of Star Trek: First Contact looks like it could be a good chaser, and an interesting read to toss onto my growing pile of comprehensive, behind-the-scenes looks at some of the genre's best-known films.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (October 11th)
Another new edition from The Folio Society is Neil Gaiman's fantasy Neverwhere, which follows editions of American Gods and Anansi Boys. This volume comes with an introduction by Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell author Susanna Clarke, as well as art from Chris Malbon.
The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin (October 11th)
A number of years ago, I wrote about Folio Society's beautiful edition of Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. The novel's one of my favorite fantasies, and this edition was a wonderful one to hold. The publisher has since published its own edition of the second volume in the cycle, Tombs of Atuan (as well as The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed), and I'm pleased to see that they're sticking with her, continuing her Earthsea Cycle with The Farthest Shore. This looks like it's a beautiful edition to prize on one's bookshelf.
If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang (October 11th)
In this debut novel, a young Chinese-American girl named Alice Sun discovers that she has special powers: she can turn invisible. Alone at a high-profile boarding school in Beijing, she's surrounded by some of the country's best and brightest.
When her parents tell her they can no longer afford to send her to the school, she decides to take matters into her own hand and begin spying on her classmates – for a price, and will then have to contend with the slippery slope from trading gossip to committing actual crimes.
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (October 11th)
The Folio Society's Christmas Collection includes another fantasy heavyweight: George Martin's fifth installment of his Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance With Dragons. Like the prior installments, it features art by Jonathan Burton, comes in two volumes, and a fantastic slipcase with some additional interior art.
Nerd: Adventures in Fandom from This Universe to the Multiverse by Maya Phillips (October 11th)
I've got a soft spot for nonfiction books that look at the history of genre and fandom (I've got an entire, dedicated bookshelf for such books), and this one caught my eye the other day: New York Times critic-at-large Maya Phillips looks back on her life and her relationship with genre fandom in this collection of essays that spans the 1990s up to the modern day.
The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series by Jessica Radloff (October 10th)
A couple of years ago, I watched the entirety of The Big Bang Theory. It was a light and breezy sitcom that I'd watched off and on over the years, but as I wrote Cosplay: A History, I began to realize just how much of an impact it had on bringing nerd pasttimes like comic books and D&D into the mainstream spotlight. This book by Jessica Radloff takes a look at how the series came about and evolved, and it looks like a fascinating story of how an unlikely series became such a big hit.
Salvage by Nanci Schwartz (October 11th)
Nanci Schwartz follows up last month's debut, Robber Barrons, with a sequel: Salvage. In the first one, the daughter of a genetically-modified super soldier reluctantly sets out to complete her father's last mission.
In this book, she's reunited with her parents, but learned some new things about herself: she can have her abilities removed, something that won't help the Mahjins and Colonies, but would allow her to live life as a normal human. When she and her ship come across a Janusian gunship with a defector onboard, they discover a plot that could change the balance of power in the galaxy.
Lute by Jennifer Thorne (October 4th)
October's the best time for some horror and ghost stories, and one that caught my eye was Jennifer Thorne's Lute. On a distant, idyllic island, every seven years, seven people have to die. Those who survive live the perfect life: they enjoy pleasant weather, health, and wealth.
Nina Treadway is a newcomer to the island, having left her home state of Florida when she married Lord Treadway, one if the island's protectors. She thought that the deaths were just superstitions, but when the day begins, she has to reckon what the island takes from those who inhabit it.
The Tangled Stars by Edward Willett (October 18th)
A century ago, a network of tunnels in space time that allowed for interstellar travel (MASTTs) collapsed, upending civilization. In the aftermath, a thief name Cooper Douglas, trying to get out from under a pile of debt owed to a crime lord, discovers that the original MASTT tunnel, which led to New Earth, has reopened.
He decides to escape and head to a new world where he can start over, but first, accompanied by his AI-uplifted first mate, a genetically-modified cat named Thibauld, and an ex / former cop named Luna, he has to steal Earth's last spaceship.
As always, thanks for reading. Let me know what caught your eye, and what you've been reading lately.