Summer’s here and the time is right to get those summer reads started. Not sure what to pick up this month? Well the team here have packed up a picnic, poured the Pimms and pulled out our Best Sci Fi Books for June 2023.
From futuristic military-action to time travelling circuses there’s a little something for everyone. But if we’ve missed anything don’t forget to ping us a message on the socials: Twitter: @SciFiNow Instagram: @SciFiNowagram Facebook: @SciFiNow
6th June – Gollancz
With cursed debutantes and questionable witches, Alexis Hall’s Mortal Follies brings the queer and magical to Bridgerton.
Set in 1814, Miss Maelys Mitchelmore is having a hard time making her debut into Bath high society. Being cursed does have drawbacks (disappearing ball gowns for one). Desperate to be rid of such things, Miss Mitchelmore finds herself resorting to mixing with the most (un)desireable of allies and in doing so finds herself under a more queer spell of regency romance.
While the omniscient narration may not be to everyone’s taste, it sets the stage for a magical tale. Hall’s writing delivers the kind of wit and cadence that should delight historical romance fans. A beautifully inclusive story of love beyond taboo in a world more magical than traditional history allows.
6th June – Titan Books
Space ranger Lieutenant Art Burkett is recruited to carry out an urgent rescue mission involving an innovative orbital insertion tactic, but when things don’t go quite to plan (when do they ever?) rescue vehicle SubOrbital 7, (the titular “space-plane”) finds itself filled with hostages and casualties in a race against time and dwindling oxygen to prevent the advancement of Russia’s plans on space domination.
Falling fast and firmly into the bounds of a near-future military action thriller, author John Shirley’s writing delivers fantastical and technical insight into the demands of low gravity avionics that will delight space science nerds while never letting his foot off the throttle of the soldiers’ intense fight for their lives.
22 June – Tor
A magical circus and a time travelling protagonist? Yes please! This isn’t quite Big-Top Outlander but instead a darker and more thoughtful examination of trauma, survival and family.
Set in 1926 (but flitting between 1914 and 1945), J.R. Dawson’s The First Bright Thing is a genuinely magical tale of misfits, who must channel their art as a powerful catalyst for change. With an unsurprisingly dark tone given the timeframes of its setting, it speaks with sensitive yet uncompromising realism for the struggle to find a home and family in even the darkest of times.
8th June – Orion
Ben Aaronovitch brings us another installment in the brilliant ‘Rivers of London’ series with the standalone novella, Winter’s Gifts. This time, we’re on the other side of the pond following FBI agent Kimberley Reynolds, (who avid fans may remember from Whispers Underground). Reynolds is Peter Grant’s US counterpart for all things magical, though significantly less experienced and still desperately holding onto her Christian upbringing. Grant still makes an appearnce on the other end of the phone but this is Reynold’s story, an American tale that leans into US history and First Nation folklore set in the tundra of Eloise northern Wisconsin.
Fitting well with other Rivers of London novellas like The October Man, Winter’s Gifts adds another accent to a bigger world that Aaronovitch has so expertly crafted. Heading across the Atlantic hasn’t just changed location, there’s a slightly different tone and cadence to the story that lets it feel like a real adventure somewhere new.
8th June – Quercus
A delightful Victorian detective thriller with more than an air of magic and mysticism, author Lisa Tuttle closes out her Jesperson & Lane trilogy with trademark charm with The Curious Affair of the Missing Mummies.
Set in London in the 1890s, detective duo, Miss Lane and Jasper Jesperson become embroiled in what first appears as a harmless prank at the British Museum, but with secret organisations, cults and magical obsessives lurking in the shadows of the city’s fog, it’s not long before things turn to murder and it all seems linked to the British Museum’s latest acquisition; a mystery mummy and its potent curse.
Find more book-related articles, including our top picks from the beginning of this year, at SciFiNow.