Do you remember, the 21st night of September? Probably not, seeing as we’re not there yet. So while you wait in anxious anticipation, here’s our rundown of the best Sci Fi books for September 2023.
From Stephen Baxter’s latest exploration of the wonders of space, through to the sequel to the critically-acclaimed The Children of Gods and Fighting Men, we have science fiction and fantasy reads well and truly covered. And for those of you with a penchant for horror, Chuck Wendig’s new tale of poisonous apples is sure to whet your appetite.
Don’t forget to let us know what made your list this month by reaching out to us on our social channels. We love hearing what you think.
5 September – Titan Books
Bad Dolls by Rachel Harrison is a collection of four short stories that delve into a variety of topics, including female friendships, queer relationships, the supernatural, bachelorette parties, ritualistic sacrifice and, of course, some creepy dolls.
From the best-selling author of Such Sharp Teeth (which made our May top books), Harrison returns with more empowered female leads delving into the relatable anxieties that lurk within the hearts of modern women. Each story resonates with emotional authenticity, tackling complicated friendships, struggles with body image and eating disorders as well as the slippery slope to self-sabotage. Harrison once again manages to make us flinch while laughing out loud, exploring the darkest sides of feminine horror.
21 September – Gollancz
In the year 2255, 20-year-old Salma becomes the first woman to witness the enigmatic entity, ‘Planet Nine’ via her ship’s advanced sensors. Initially misidentified as a black hole, it soon transforms and starts communicating, unveiling an extraterrestrial enigma shrouded in mystery.
This cosmic bombshell triggers worldwide turmoil, and bizarrely coincides with the awakening of a distant quasar, threatening and heating our solar system. Humanity’s destiny now hinges on Salma solving this celestial puzzle in a race against time to decode its secrets before it’s too late.
Creation Node is a standalone novel from sci-fi fan favourite, Stephen Baxter, and this time he’s tackling the very real threats of climate change and the toll of exploitation and exploration. Always eye-opening and starkly incisive with the topics at hand, Creation Node is the perfect gateway for newcomers to Baxter’s writing and a welcome new story for existing fans.
26 September – Orbit
The Hexologists – Iz and Warren Wilby – are seasoned experts in unraveling the supernatural dilemmas of city life. With an arsenal of hexes and a trove of bewitched artifacts, they confront the extraordinary, thriving on the most perplexing cases.
In this first book in Josiah Bancroft’s new series, the Hexologists are summoned by the royal secretary to handle an astonishing request from the king himself: to be baked into a cake. (something he’s so determined on he even crams himself into a lit oven!). As the Wilbies delve into a royal secret buried for decades, they confront a host of challenges: from fervent anti-royalists to insatiable ghouls, and even dimension-hopping alchemists. Not to mention a dragon with the occasional taste for eating people.
Bancroft’s writing shines throughout the book, with an entertaining balance of delightful wordplay and down-to-earth storytelling. He has created a Victorianesque world filled with magic, creatures, spells, and relics, blending elements of mystery, fantasy, and steampunk, to create a real sense of wonder and excitement.
28 September – Del Rey
In the quiet town of Harrow, an eerie shift in the nature of the townsfolk begins when an unusual apple tree starts producing bewitching fruit. These apples, with their deep red hue, promise newfound strength and vitality to those who eat them. However, the more they indulge, the deeper the consequences grow, ensnaring them in an insatiable obsession that offers happiness, confidence, and power but leads to something much darker. As autumn casts its shadow, a mysterious stranger arrives in Harrow and must help prepare the town for an impending reckoning.
Renowned author Chuck Wendig, (known for Wanderers and The Book of Accidents) returns with a chilling new masterpiece. Black River Orchard is a subtle and textured horror tale; its underlying social commentary evolving into a nuanced exploration of human nature. A dark parable that examines the slippery slope to exposing the darkness that lies within all of us.
14 September – Head of Zeus
The Words of Kings and Prophets by Shauna Lawless is a gripping historical fantasy set in 1000 AD Ireland. Gormflaith, an immortal Fomorian and queen, is driven to locate and destroy her sworn enemies, the Descendants, while grappling with her constrained role as the wife of High King Brian Boru. Possessing the gift of magic, Gormflaith discovers herself more powerful than she realised and must question her ability to use them responsibly.
Meanwhile, Fódla, a Descendant’s healer, safeguards her banished sister’s son, harboring secrets that could jeopardise their safety. Their lives intersect with the arrival of Tomas, an ambitious and unscrupulous immortal, whose presence at King Brian’s court holds the potential for both salvation and calamity. As tensions escalate, mortals and immortals converge in a fateful clash that will shape the destiny of Ireland and its people.
A sequel to the celebrated The Children of Gods and Fighting Men, Lawless continues to weave a tale of power, magic, and ambition. A captivating continuation of the Gael Song series, the story picks up the flowing narrative we loved in the first book. Steering the reader through Viking raids, political maneuvering, and religious conflicts, and brimming with tension and a real love of Ireland and its history, The Words of Kings and Prophets is a welcome return to a world of enthralling historical fantasy.
If this sounds like a bit of you, then why not check out Shauna’s guest post where she counts down five books that use Irish mythology as inspiration? Read it here.
7th September – Hodder & Stroughton
Following a car accident that leaves her daughter Phoebe comatose, Ceres resorts to reading Phoebe’s cherished fairy tales in hopes of reawakening her and reuniting her disembodied spirit. Meanwhile, an old house on the hospital grounds begins to beckon to Ceres. Intrigued, she steps inside, falling into a realm steeped in childhood memories and folklore. Here she must confront witches, dryads and giants while old adversaries lurk in the shadows.
Land of Lost Things marks Author John Connolly’s long-awaited return to the literary landscape of his acclaimed novel The Book of Lost Things. Weaving a heart-wrenching tale of loss, longing and magic, while deftly blurring the boundaries between reality and imagination, Conolly’s new standalone novel doesn’t require prior reading and instead unwraps as a beautifully dark tale that pulls on the human heart.