June Sci-Fi/Fantasy Roundup: Undead Armies, Interdimensional Gateways, and the Untold History of Westeros

Rogues

From fantastic fantasy to scintillating sci-fi, we at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog do more than our fair share of browsing in the genre aisles. Whether you’re into urban fantasy, doorstopper epics, or galaxy-spanning space opera, we know just the book for you. Below, find a list of must-read titles released in June.

Unexpected Stories, by Octavia E. Butler
Octavia Butler is unquestionably one of the grand masters of the sci-fi genre, her work revered by literary critics and the genre faithful alike. Which probably explains the excited reaction to the news that two previously unpublished novellas are finally being released (albeit only in a special ebook edition). One of them, “The Childminder,” was among the works commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendarily aborted anthology The Last Dangerous Visions. (Available June 24 for NOOK)

Prince of Fools, by Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence’s name is synonymous with the “grimdark” fantasy movement thanks to his twisted, revenge-themed Broken Empire trilogy, and he’s returning to the same world with a loosely related new series, The Red Queen’s War. This first installment offers everything you’ve come to expect from the author: ruthless characters, a twisting plot, and wickedly bleak humor. (Available June 3 in hardcover and NOOK)

Cibola Burn, by James S.A. Corey
If you haven’t heard of James S. A. Corey yet, you will. The “author” is actually two guys, Ty Franck (previously best known as George R. R. Martin’s assistant) and Daniel Abraham (whose fantasy series The Dagger and the Coin has earned favorable comparisons to the work of…George R. R. Martin), and their ongoing series, The Expanse, is being adapted by the SyFy channel into the next big genre TV event. Cibola Burn is book four, and only improves on what’s come before. Newcomers will want to start with Leviathan Wakes. (Available June 17 in hardcover, audiobook, and NOOK)

The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.J. Carey
This is one of those books I desperately want to recommend, and am desperate not to spoil for you. It’s best to go in knowing as little as possible, so I’ll tell you only what I knew before I started it: this is a zombie novel, but it’s not like any other zombie novel you’ve ever read. It’s about a very special, lovable girl named Melanie, who lives in a cell and is escorted to class at gunpoint every day. She’s gifted, but that doesn’t mean what you think it means. Read it before someone spoils it for you. (Available June 10 in hardcover, audiobook, and NOOK)

On the Steel Breeze, by Alastair Reynolds
U.K. readers have been enjoying this sequel to 2012′s Blue Remembered Earth since last year, but we poor souls in the U.S. have had to endure nearly a year’s extra wait for book two of the Poseidon’s Children trilogy. Luckily, the book was worth it—Reynolds continues to be one of the most compelling wide-canvas sci-fi writers around, and this one is packed with more fascinating details of humanity’s future history (fast-forwarded 200 years from the last book, no less), in which Africa has emerged as Earth’s superpower and is leading us into the stars. (Available June 3 in hardcover and NOOK)

Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Doizos
This volume of short stories and novellas includes tales of villainy (or at least bad behavior) from some of the biggest names in fantasy—including the biggest, George R.R. Martin (also the volume’s coeditor). With season five of Game of Thrones a year away and book six of A Song of Ice and Fire never coming out ever where is it oh the pain still TBA, here’s your one chance to experiences Westeros anew in the near future, via the untold history of one of the saga’s key figures. As if that’s not enough to light your fire, there are also new stories from Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, Scott Lynch, Gillian Flynn (Gillian Flynn?), Connie Willis, and more. (Available June 17 in hardcover and NOOK)

The Madonna and the Starship, by James Morrow

Morrow is one of those writers who comes up with ideas so good, I can’t help but read every one of his books. From the mind that brought you Towing Jehovah (in which God’s massive corpse is found floating in the Atlantic, triggering a massive cover-up by the Catholic Church) and Shambling Toward Hiroshima (did you know Godzilla was produced as a propaganda film to scare the Japanese into surrendering during WWII, lest the U.S. unleash its devastating secret weapon: an army of giant, mutant iguanas? No?) comes the story of a hack writer who is the only one who can stop a looming alien invasion—by writing a television show that makes the inherent absurdities of religious faith seem wholly logical. (Available June 24 in paperback and NOOK)

What sci-fi and fantasy reads are you looking forward to this month?