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It’s possible I get too excited for new science fiction and fantasy books each month. Space operas? Swords and sorcery? Alternate histories? Cyber/silk/steam/whatever-punk? I’m here for all of it. I like to think I read pretty broadly, but I always come back to science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes it’s just comfortable, sending me on a fantastical adventure through ancient or futuristic lands. Sometimes it’s deeply thoughtful and philosophical, using genre to look at truth from a new angle.
We’re plunging full into summer reading, meaning some lighter books that bring the fun for all ages, though it’s not all fun and games. Kidnapping robots, djinns and their wishes, and extraordinary children are just a sampling of what’s new to science fiction and fantasy bookshelves in June. There are some great LGBTQIA+ offerings, a strong thread of romance woven into some of these books, and more than a little fright in these adventures, too. And this is only a taste of all the great new books hitting shelves on Tuesdays in June.
Whether you’re looking for middle grade, young adult, or adult novels, we’ve got speculative fiction options for everybody. Let’s get a little science-y and a little fantastical, shall we?
June Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy
The Clackity by Lora Senf
This middle grade novel focusing on young Evie is part horror and part supernatural fantasy. She lives in Blight Harbor with her Aunt Desdemona, the local supernatural expert. When Desdemona goes missing at the haunted slaughterhouse, Evie gives chase.
She makes a deal with a shadow creature called The Clackity and is transported to a dangerous, magical land. Evie is searching there for her aunt while being pursued by witches, spirits, and a long-dead serial killer of Blight Harbor.
Molly and the Machine by Erik Jon Slangerup
A ragtag band of pets, a tricked-out bicycle, and a giant robot make this a really great summer adventure read. In 1983, Molly lives with her lazy dad and her goofy little brother. When kids around Molly’s town start disappearing, she fears for her little brother and soon discovers a robot in the woods that is kidnapping children. And of course, there’s someone behind the robot who is the real villain.
Valentina Salazar is not a Monster Hunter by Zoraida Córdova
The Salazar family have been monster protectors for far longer than young Valentina has been alive. When her father dies protecting such a creature, her mother decides it’s time for a change. No more roaming the countryside. She moves the family to a small town, hoping for a normal life. Of course that doesn’t work out. A mythical egg in a viral video makes sure of that, and Valentina’s nature as a protector isn’t something she can just ignore.
June Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
The Dream Runners by Shveta Thakrar
Tanvi is a dream runner in the mythical, underground realm of Nagalok. Separated from her emotions and all memories, her duty is to harvest mortal dreams for the naga court.
Venkat helps shape these harvested dreams, apprentice to a lord working to use these dreams to end an ages-long war between the naga and geruda.
When something goes awry when Tanvi is harvesting dreams, some of her memories return. She turns to Venkat for help, and they’re soon swept up into an adventure that could change Nagalok forever.
The Loophole by Naz Kutub
Sy’s young life isn’t going according to plan. He was happy with his boyfriend, Farouk, but when Farouk broke up with him, Sy found the rest of his life wanting. He wishes for so many things. When a young woman approaches him offering three wishes in exchange for his help, Sy gives it a shot and finds a million dollars in his bank account. Now he’s on the hook, on an adventure, and trying to figure out how best to use those last two wishes.
Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder edited by Saundra Mitchell
This is the third and final collection of queer YA short fiction edited by Saundra Mitchell, and this one goes all-in on science fiction and fantasy. Teen stuck in a time loop, consciousness uploaded to a different body, and a nonbinary person translating binary code are just a taste of what this cool new collection has to offer.
June Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
The City Inside by Samit Basu
In the near future, Joey is the Reality Controller for Indi, a rising celebrity in south Asia and Joey’s ex. Basically, she’s Indi’s social media manager dialed up to 11. Rudra is a recluse suddenly pulled from the shadows by his father’s death, taking a job with Joey as his only possible escape. Under the oppression of surveillance capitalism and spinning conspiracies, Rudra and Joey find themselves pulled into something much larger than they’d imagined.
Garden of Earthly Bodies by Sally Oliver
Marianne wakes one day to find thick, black hairs growing along her spine. Her doctor says it’s a trauma response from the recent death of Marianne’s sister and recommends a New Age facility in Wales for treatment. Once there, Marianne discovers she isn’t the only one undergoing some sort of metamorphosis. The facility offers up one permanent solution to Marianne’s trauma and change: a complete loss of her identity.
Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro
In Victorian London, jaded detective Alice Quick is given a strange job: to transport two children to safety. The children aren’t ordinary. One heals almost instantly from any wound. The other emits a blue light that can melt or mend flesh. They’re being chased by a man made of smoke. They aren’t the only ones. This adventure spans the globe and many such children, all threatened by the smoke man, and Alice might be their only hope.
Speaking Bones by Ken Liu
Ken Liu is definitely the biggest name on this list, and I couldn’t leave off the conclusion to his incredible Dandelion Dynasty series. The term silkpunk has pretty much come from this series alone. Now is the time to catch up on this series so you’re ready for the conclusion on June 21. Will Princess Théra and Pékyu Takval establish their ancestral dream? Will Lyucu’s genocide succeed? This book decides it all.
What other science fiction and fantasy books are you looking forward to this month? Let me know on Twitter @ChrisMArnone.