19 July 2021

12 Science Fiction, Dystopian, & Fantasy Books for July 2021

What's your favorite type of escape reading for hot summer days? I go for either speculative fiction or crime fiction. In today's roundup, I'm sharing some of the science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian books that caught my eye this month. I've already read some of them (reviews to come) and haven't been disappointed yet. All of the following books will be available in July.

The short descriptions are based on the publishers' summaries or from my own impressions, and I've included audiobook information. Thanks to the publishers for the review copies (either print, digital or audio).

Science Fiction Meets Mystery/Thriller

Speculative Fiction for July 2021

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry
(Putnam): Set in an alternate New York City. A space/time-traveling serial killer is perused by the journalist who was assigned to report on the murder of Madison May. The audiobook (Penguin Audio) is read by Helen Laser.

Midnight Water City by Chris McKinney (Soho Crime): First in a science fiction noir trilogy. A kind of police procedural set in the not-so-distant future involving the murder of a space scientist and the detective who will stop at nothing to solve the case. The audiobook (Recorded Books) is read by Richard Ferrone.

We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen (Daw). Set on a space ship. A behavioral psychologist attempts to save her fellow crew members from a mysterious mental breakdown that begins to manifest after the ship was hit by a radiation storm. The audiobook (Recorded Books) is read by Catherine Ho.

It's a Dystopian World

Speculative Fiction for July 2021

Appleseed by Matt Bell
(Custom House). Set in an alternative North America with sci-fi, historical fiction, and fantasy elements. In the past, two brothers plant apple trees in the territories slated for colonists; in the near future, a group of people are devoted to the rewilding of the continent; in the far future an AI being makes a startling discovery. The themes include climate change, survival, and humankind's relationship to the environment. The audiobook (Harper Audio) is read by Mark Bramhall.

Council of Animals by Nick McDonell, illustrated by by Steven Tabbutt (Henry Holt): Set in the future when humans are almost extinct thanks to pandemics, climate change, and more. The fate of the remaining people are in the "hands" of the animals. The audiobook (Macmillan Audio) is read by the author.

East Asian Roots

Speculative Fiction for July 2021

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
(Tordotcom): This hopepunk novel is set on a moon. A tea monk travels the wilderness offering solace to those they talk to; when they cross paths with a sentient robot, the two begin a series of discussions about the nature of humankind and what people need. The audiobook (Macmillan Audio) is read by Emmett Grosland.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor Books): Set in an alternative ancient China. This is a reimagining of the founding of the Ming Dynasty with a young woman, who must pass as male, at the center. The audiobook (Macmillan Audio) is read by Natalie Naudus.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (Knopf BYR): Based on Asian folklore and Western fairy tales. This is the story of a banished and silenced princess who must find a way to save both her cursed brothers and her repressed kingdom. The audiobook (Listening Library) is read by Emily Woo Zeller.

A Return to Camelot

Speculative Fiction for July 2021

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
(Ace): A retelling of the Arthurian legend from the point of view of Elaine, the Lady of Shalott. The audiobook (Penguin Audio) is read by Ell Potter.

Sword Stone Table edited by Swapna Krishan and Jenn Northington (Vintage): A collection of reimaginings of Arthurian tales from a variety of perspectives, times, and places, emphasizing diversity in its many forms. The audiobook (Random House Audio) is read by a stellar cast of narrators.

Strong Young Women

Speculative Fiction for July 2021

Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent
(HarperTeen): A fairy tale retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" in which the wolves have a surprisingly different role to play and a young woman must decide her fate and that of her community. The audiobook (Harper Audio) is read by Taylor Meskimen.

What We Devour by Linsey Miller (Sourcebooks Fire): A young woman is caught between believing what she’s always been taught--that the rulers of her land are evil--and an alternative view presented by the crown prince himself. Down which path will she find the salvation of her land? The audiobook (Recorded Books) is read by Amy Scanlon.


Daryl 7/19/21, 9:45 AM  

so many intriguing books ... have you read/listened to Project Hail Mary? awesome read/listen by Andy Weir who wrote The Martian and Artemis

Laurel-Rain Snow 7/19/21, 9:47 AM  

So many tempting books! I am curious about Appleseed.

Enjoy your week, and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

Yvonne 7/19/21, 10:32 AM  

Interesting looking books. My "go to" genre to escape is cozy mysteries, romantic suspense and sometimes even chick lit.

Have a great week and enjoy your books!

Debra Eliotseats 7/19/21, 10:55 AM  

Have you read North Face of the Heart by Dolores Redondo? It's a mystery thriller with a Basque legend/New Orleans Voodoo twist. I LOVED it! Will check out the others on your list!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 7/19/21, 11:02 AM  

Both Appleseed and Council of Animals look promising to me. I easily found Appleseed, but I will have to look a little harder for Council of Animals.

I'll send a link to your post to a few friends who love sci fi.

thecuecard 7/19/21, 3:43 PM  

Have you finished Appleseed? That one seems to be getting a lot of praise. I'm curious about it. Did you like?

sherry fundin 7/19/21, 6:07 PM  

some great looking books, especially the council of animals. sounds like a hoot
sherry @ fundinmental

Greg 7/19/21, 11:39 PM  

Midnight City look fabulous.

Mae Travels 7/21/21, 9:23 AM  

Around a month ago Slate had an article on choosing culturally authentic readers for audiobooks with a variety of ethnic characters, subtitled "The audiobook industry is collectively squirming through the cultural debate on representation and casting." Your selection today has a lot of ethnic diversity -- how were the narrators and did you find them appropriate?

Interesting book selection!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Slate article here:

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