The best new science fiction books of July 2024 (2024)

The best new science fiction books of July 2024 (1)

The world of science fiction sees some major celebrity input this month, as Keanu Reeves’s debut novel hits the shelves. We can also look forward to the latest book from one of the UK’s top sci-fi writers, Adam Roberts, and to some quantum fun from Peng Shepherd.

I think I’m most excited about Mateo Askaripour’s This Great Hemisphere, though. It’s a mix of sci-fi and political thriller, and comes highly recommended – just what I need for my holiday reading later in July. I might also pack MJ Wassmer’s Zero Stars, Do Not Recommend, which sees a bunch of holiday-makers going a bit Lord of the Flies when the sun explodes while they are at a luxury resort. Just the ticket to relax with.

The Book of Elsewhere by Keanu Reeves and China Miéville

This is a collaboration between “two genre-bending pioneers”, according to its publisher, inspired by Keanu Reeves’s BRZRKR comic books. It follows an immortal soldier who wants to be able to die, a “tall lean man … looking at them from below a long fringe of black hair”, who clearly is meant to look exactly like Reeves. A US black-ops group says it can help him with that death wish – if he helps the team out first.

Now, I have read some of this already, because I am a big fan of China Miéville (if you haven’t read Embassytown then rush to get a copy – it’s such a clever and mind-bending piece of sci-fi). And obviously, I’m a big fan of Reeves too, because… Keanu Reeves.

But I had to put the book aside because I found it so flowery that I couldn’t keep going. I may well dip back in, though, because if you can’t have faith in Neo, who can you have faith in? Maybe I just need to get into the zone.

Lake of Darkness by Adam Roberts

OK, this one I am definitely up for. Not only does it sound like tons of fun, but Roberts is reliably excellent. This time round, he gives us two starships orbiting a black hole. Both ships’ crews are killed in a single afternoon by Captain Alpha Raine, who says he was commanded to do so by a voice emanating from the black hole. This voice is named, rather enticingly, Mr Modo. Nobody believes Raine, of course, but something seems to be spreading from inside that black hole.

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This Great Hemisphere: A novel by Mateo Askaripour

Set in the future, this novel follows a young woman relegated to second-class citizenship who sets out to find her older brother – someone she had thought was dead, but is now the main suspect in a high-profile murder. Its publisher is comparing it to the work of N. K. Jemisin and Naomi Alderman, and an early review from the book industry site Kirkus called it “a page-turning vision of a future made all too plausible by our volatile present”. I think it sounds really interesting and will definitely be tracking it down.

Toward Eternity: A novel by Anton Hur

This looks super intriguing. It’s set in a near-future world where cancer is being eradicated by a new technological therapy, in which the body’s cells are entirely replaced with “nanites”, robot cells that cure the sick – and, in fact, leave the person almost immortal.

We follow literary researcher Yonghun, who has a lot going on: not only does he create a machine that can think, but he also receives the new nanotherapy. This book promises that it will explore “the nature of intelligence and the unexpected consequences of progress, the meaning of personhood and life, and what we really have to fear from technology and the future” – a lot, for one novel, but I’m willing to give it a go.

The best new science fiction books of July 2024 (3)

The Edge of Solitude by Katie Hale

This eco-thriller is set during “a time of acute climate crisis”, on a ship heading for Antarctica to hopefully save the region. On board is a disgraced environmental activist, Ivy Cunningham, who is trying to rescue her reputation – but is also starting to question the motives of her fellow passengers, and of the project as a whole.

Zero Stars, Do Not Recommend by MJ Wassmer

Dan Foster, a “professional underachiever”, is taking a holiday on an island resort when the sun explodes. He then has to choose whether to save himself or help his fellow guests as the temperature drops and revolution brews. Apocalypse in paradise? I’m there!

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All This and More by Peng Shepherd

At 45, Marsh isn’t pleased with where her life has ended up, from her career to her marriage to her relationship with her teenage daughter. So when she gets the chance to be the star of the TV game show All This and More, which uses “quantum technology” to let contestants revisit their pasts, she seizes it. But – you guessed it – even when she gets everything she wants, it all seems a little off, and Marsh starts to ask if it is worth it. Another one for my holiday reading, I think – I love a good “looking for happy ever after” story, and the addition of time travel and a sprinkle of quantum fairy dust sounds great.

Navigational Entanglements by Aliette de Bodard

This new novella from the author ofThe Red Scholar’s Wakeis a space opera with added martial arts. It is set in an area of space known as the Hollows, which is populated by the mysterious, deadly Tanglers. When a Tangler escapes, it must be captured before it can destroy a civilian city. Two juniors from rival clans, both on missions to stop the Tangler, find their feelings for each other growing.

In This Ravishing World by Nina Schuyler

This short story collection will give us a “kaleidoscopic view of the climate crisis”, promises its publisher, moving from a boy trying to bring the natural world back to his urban life to a ballet dancer trying to inhabit the consciousness of a rat (at this stage, it isn’t clear why – but I’m keen to find out).

The best new science fiction books of July 2024 (5)

Gravity Lost by L. M. Sagas

This is the second in the Ambit’s Run series from Sagas, following Cascade Failure. It sees the crew of the Ambit, fresh from thwarting the destruction of a planet, trying to jailbreak the man they had just handed over to one of the major powers in the Spiral.

The Icarus Changeling by Timothy Zahn

Agent Gregory Roarke has been tasked with finding a teleportation portal on a far-flung colony world. But the former bounty hunter finds himself up against some better-equipped rivals – and then the murders begin… This is the latest in the series.

Two brilliant new novels from Adrian Tchaikovsky show his rangeThe prolific Adrian Tchaikovsky has two terrific sci-fi offerings out this year, one the story of a scientist turned prisoner shipped to a faraway planet, the other a light-hearted tale of robotic murder, says Emily H. Wilson

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