Summer is the season of sultry nights, beach weekends, arguments over what “the song of the summer” truly is, and alien invasions. Although murder mysteries and suburban dramas typically dominate beach read book lists, there’s something to be said for reading a high-concept sci-fi novel as you sip a drink adorned with a mini paper umbrella.
And June of 2017 is brimming with new sci-fi entries in the book world. Heavyweights like Neal Stephenson, Dean Koontz, and Diana Gabaldon have new releases — plus you can do some side reading for summer’s hottest movies. In order of release date, here are seven titles to keep on your radar, ranging from hard core science fiction to dystopia, to period pieces featuring the occasional time travel jaunt.
1. Valerian: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (Valerian & Laureline)
By Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières, this is a new English compilation of the French Valerian & Laureline comics, which is the basis for the upcoming summer sci-fi movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. Brush up on the origin story about these intergalactic travelers before watching the movie so you can be that guy who yells at the screen, “But in the book!” This new book also includes a lengthy interview with the film’s director Luc Besson.
Release Date: June 1, 2017
2. The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
Dean Koontz is like a weirder and more interesting James Patterson or John Grisham. He’s a prolific author who dominates the bestseller lists, and each new book gives readers a reason to perk up. His upcoming novel The Silent Corner is a genre-crosser. It’s more suspense than hard sci-fi, though it contains a plot about technology gone too far and programming humans for sinister ends. The Silent Corner is also the first in a new series.
Release Date: June 20, 2017
3. The Himalayan Codex by Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch
The Himalayan Codex is The Da Vinci Code meets Sleeping Giants. It’s historical sci-fi, set in 1946, that revolves around the discovery of a previously unknown species of human that inspired Yeti mythology. This secret information traces back to Pliny the Elder — so global conspiracies abound.
Release Date: June 6, 2017
4. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel By Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
Neal Stephenson is a sci-fi giant. He’s responsible for modern classics like Snow Crash and Seveneves that have become staples of the genre in their own right. For his latest novel, he’s teamed up with historical writer Nicole Galland for a story that combines science, magic, history, and conspiracies into a genre-bending romp.
Release date: June 13, 2017
5. Flashmob by Christopher Farnsworth
Christopher Farnsworth’s sci-fi strays the line between intensely adrenaline-fueled action narratives and tongue-in-cheek romps. His stories cast a wide net of conspiracies — but they never take themselves too seriously, whether they’re about the president having a secret vampire on retainer or whether they’re about mind-hacking, like Flashmob.
Release Date: June 27, 2017
6. Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction by Diana Gabaldon
The story of Claire Randall Fraser — a time traveling nurse who finds herself leaping between the 1900s and 1700s — is not hard science fiction. The time travel mostly takes a backseat to the human drama, and there are no aliens or ray guns. But thanks to the television show with the same name, it’s become a sci-fi staple in its own right. Author Diana Gabaldon has a new story collection set in the Outlander world coming out this summer.
Release date: June 27, 2017
7. Twelve Days by Steven Barnes
Twelve Days is a story about ordinary citizens and government agents alike trying to stop an apocalypse. World leaders and notorious criminals are dying worldwide, and the social order is about to collapse. Twelve Days is a high-stakes read that mixes supernatural elements with politics, terrorism, and dystopia.
Release date: June 27, 2017