Who’s ready for some amazing sci-fi and fantasy summer reads? I AM! These genres are always so much fun, because they’re so extra, in the best way. They’re like, “We’re like regular fiction, buuut with wilder, weirder stuff. You have a house? We have a house with a fairy infestation. Our cars can fly, our vacations are in space, and some of us have tentacles.” That’s what makes SFF so fun — anything can happen! And you can read about some of those wild stories in this list of eight notable new sci-fi and fantasy books to read in July 2023!
In this list, you’ll find a debut space opera, a mission to find a new inhabitable planet gone wrong, a story of gods and magic inspired by colonial South America, an Egyptian-inspired fantasy debut that is taking TikTok by storm, and more! And if you need even more SFF reads, be sure to pick up To Shape a Dragon’s Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose, The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown, and The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty. Now drink your potions, gather your familiars, and ready your spacecrafts* to blast off with these awesome books! (*Spacecraft not included.)
The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa (Gallery / Saga Press, July 11)
A young scribe and tea expert seeks revenge after her lover is murdered and her sister is kidnapped by a soldier of the new government. Enitan once had dreams of a quiet life and a tea shop. Now she’s planning to kill the people responsible for her lover’s death and get her sister back — if she doesn’t get captured first.
Counterweight by Djuna, Anton Hur (translator) (Pantheon, July 11)
Djuna is one of South Korea’s most beloved writers of science fiction. This is an exciting novel about an island where a company is building an elevator to the stars, the people building this invention, and the importance of what makes up the counterweight holding the other end up in space. Sounds bananapants — I’m in!
The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera (Tordotcom, July 11)
A young trained killer deals in gods, devils, and divinity, while also living the mundane tasks of his day-to-day life. After fleeing his small hometown for the big city, Fetter learns that destinies are everywhere, he just has to pick a door and walk through. When he isn’t in therapy, that is. This is a fun, wildly imaginative debut!
The Jasad Heir (The Scorched Throne, 1) by Sara Hashem (Orbit, July 18)
This debut fantasy novel has had BookTok buzzing with excitement! Inspired by Ancient Egyptian mythology, The Jasad Heir follows a dangerous game of politics when an exiled queen strikes a bargain with her enemy. When Arin accidentally sees Sylvia’s magical abilities, he insists she help him hunt rebels, or lose her life. But he doesn’t know she’s the queen of the people he’s looking for.
The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei (Flatiron Books, July 18)
This is one of the best debuts of the year, in the ever-expanding sci-fi sub-genre of “this planet sucks, let’s go find a new one.” The inhabitants of The Phoenix are on a mission to find a new place for humanity to live. But an explosion rocks their ship shortly after they wake from cryo-sleep, killing their captain and knocking them off course. Now it’s a rush to find out who is responsible and, maybe more importantly, figure out how to get back on track before they’re left adrift forever.
Emergent Properties by Aimee Ogden (Tor.com, July 25)
This novella covers a hot topic: AI! An AI investigative journalist named Scorn discovers ze has no memory of a 10-day period spent on the moon, investigating a story. Ze must find out what happened during those 10 days if ze wants to be successful in zir career…and also because of the danger of not knowing. Ignorance is only bliss sometimes.
The Possibilities by Yael Goldstein-Love (Random House, July 25)
There is nothing a parent won’t do for their child. Which is exactly what a mother does in this suspenseful novel about being a parent. Hannah has been having strange feelings about her son Jack since he was born eight months ago. Like the sensation that things aren’t really how they are. And when he goes missing from his crib, she will have to travel not just this world, but parallel worlds to find out who took him and get him back. (Spoiler: It wasn’t the Goblin King.)
The Sun and the Void (The Warring Gods, 1) by Gabriela Romero Lacruz (Orbit, July 25)
And last, but not least, a debut series starter inspired by the stories of colonial South America. In this imaginative fantasy, Reina and Eva are two women whose paths will cross and whose lives will be filled with magic and dark sorcery when they join together for a quest. But it’s a quest that may cost them their lives.
For more sci-fi books to add to your TBR, there are The Most Influential Sci-Fi Books of All Time and 21 of the Best Award-Winning Sci-Fi Books. And for more science fiction reads and news, check out the SFF Yeah! podcast and sign up for our SFF newsletter Swords & Spaceships.
Can’t get enough new books? Join the club. You can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date.