Things are hard right now for so many of us. Books, and the worlds that sci-fi and fantasy take us to, are more than just entertainment. They're escapism. They're a reminder that things can and will get better if we work for them. But also, as Preeti Chhibber said in a FANGRRLS interview, we can't be activists all the time. It's important to remember we all need some time to recover, even when the world feels like it's on fire. Here are some new releases in July that can hopefully help with that.
Caught in Time by Julie McElwain (July 3)
When I heard about the first book in Julie McElwain’s series, A Murder in Time, I was instantly hooked. It features Kendra Donovan, an FBI agent who’s somehow transported to the 18th century and uses her training to solve crimes. And it’s just as much fun as it sounds. I devoured the second installment as eagerly as I read the first, and now I’m so excited to pick up the third novel in the series.
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (July 3)
This alternate history novel is pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted. It reimagines the history of the United States, but with women taking the first steps in the nation’s fledgling space program. It begins with the premise that a meteorite that impacts the eastern United States and spells eventual catastrophe. As a result, humanity must take to the stars and colonize other worlds if we are to survive. Elma York is a pilot and mathematician who works as a human calculator, trying to put a man on the moon. But, she asks herself, why not a woman? And why not her?
Heroine’s Journey by Sarah Kuhn (DAW, July 3)
If you haven’t read Sarah Kuhn’s superhero romance series, you’re missing out. The first in the series, The Heroine Complex, featured Evie Tanaka, the assistant to self-involved superhero Aveda Jupiter. The second focused on Aveda herself, and now the final book in the trilogy centers on Bea Tanaka, Evie’s little sister, who is grappling with her powers of emotional projection while trying to prove herself as a superhero.
A Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim (July 10)
I can’t wait to pick up this thought-provoking novel in which Polly makes a huge sacrifice for her boyfriend, Frank. He’s dying of a pandemic and the only way she can afford to pay for the cure is to commit to 10 years of indentured servitude in the future. When she returns, she discovers she’s accidentally missed 15 years, not 10, and she can’t find Frank. The country around her is in shambles. Polly must figure out if Frank is even still alive and how to start a new life in place she doesn’t recognize.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, July 10)
Naomi Novik’s Uprooted is an incredibly well-loved novel that serves as a brand new fairy tale for the ages. Now she’s back with a follow-up that is a spiritual successor, if not a direct sequel. It’s a reimagining of the tale of Rumplestiltskin, following the story of a young woman named Miryem who decides to save her poverty stricken family. She gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold, which attracts unwanted attention, and Miryem must figure out how to navigate treacherous waters and save herself.
Suicide Club by Rachel Heng (Henry Holt, July 10)
What would happen if you could live forever? That’s just what Lea Kirino is working towards. With the right combination of tech, diet, and exercise, she could never see the last day of her life. It’s a society where death is taboo and everyone is expected to want immortality. That’s why Lea is so shocked when she discovers her estranged father is part of the Suicide Club, a powerful group of people who want nothing more than to die on their own terms.
Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn (Del Rey, July 24)
I really enjoyed Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars novel Thrawn (not to be confused with the Thrawn trilogy that’s now a part of the Legends universe and doesn’t apply to the current canon), so I can’t wait to pick up this new novel. Thrawn was an incredible origin story for an iconic character, and I’m so excited for what this sequel, in which Thrawn teams up with Darth Vader, holds.
A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell (Harper Voyager, July 31)
Sherlock Holmes (and Dr. Watson) stories will never go out of style, but I’m loving Claire O’Dell’s reinterpretation of the classic characters. Set in the near future during a bloody American civil war, Dr. Janet Watson must readjust to civilian life after a bullet ended her career healing soldiers on the battlefield. She meets Sara Holmes, a covert agent, who gives her a place to stay, and they work together to try and figure out what’s killing soldiers at an unprecedented rate.