Make Some Room: September

Header (text): MAKE SOME ROOM (there's always room for one more)

September is set to be a bumper month in publishing – for better or for worse – with a whopping 600 titles getting a same-day release in the UK as schedules all catch up at once. I feel for the poor authors crushed into that press, so here’s a shout out to the ones I want to make some room for…

Unexpectedly, this has been a far easier decision than that terrifying number of simultaneous releases suggests – after all, the lion’s share of those 600 titles aren’t SFF. Sure, there are some big name genre titles due out this month, but many are sequels in series I haven’t yet started so won’t get a look-in here (Carey, Lyons, Butcher), or are by authors I’m just not drawn to read (Novik, Paolini). So what has caught my fancy?

Let’s start with two sequels that I am dying to read and an intriguing re-release. I’ve come late to the Green Man series, Juliet McKenna’s modern rural fantasy, which means – delightfully – I’ve barely had to wait for The Green Man’s Silence, out on September 3rd. This is the third adventure of half-dryad carpenter Dan Mackmain, prodded into various missions by his supernatural sponsor. Highly recommended.

The Bitch Queen of Oren-Yaro returns on September 24th in The Ikessar Falcon by KS Villoso. Talyien must return home to save her throne and her son from a sinister plot, but there are other threats rising. I’m in it for the dragons and the irresistible lure of what terrible decisions Talyien might make next. Forgive me if I hope Rayyel gets what’s coming to him.

The Dragon Waiting by John M Ford is a fantasy classic that one of you – I’m guessing Nicky the Bibliophibian – mentioned to me earlier this year. Byzantines, Italians, Welsh wizards and… Richard III? It seems like a wildly unlikely mix, and I’m curious to explore it. Tor are giving it a shiny new edition on September 29th.

Next up are some titles I’ve been looking forward to for a while. The Birdverse goes full length on September 1st with Rose Lemberg’s first novel, The Four Profound Weaves. Expect musings on identity as two transgender elders go in search of Benesret, weaver of bones in this anti-authoritarian desert fantasy.

Andrea Hairston is back on September 8th with Master of Poisons, an epic African fantasy of an exiled spymaster and a griot (storyteller) in training, whose home is being destroyed by climate change. On point themes? Hell yes, and told in lush prose that I can’t wait to sink into.

The amount of hype for Andrea Stewart’s debut fantasy The Bone Shard Daughter has been intense. It hits the shelves on September 10th, promising a riveting first instalment in a fantasy of rebellion and dark magic as the Emperor’s daughter tries to prove herself worthy of the throne.

I’ve been giggling ever since I first heard about Garth Nix’s new novel, The Left-handed Booksellers of London, out on September 24th. It’s the 80s, but not as we knew it, where magical fighting booksellers keep the mythical world from intruding on the modern. Murder, magic and, um, bookselling.

I’ll finish off with three very different titles that have me thoroughly intrigued.

Adrian Walker was one of our WiFi SciFi panellists, and he was a thoroughly lovely bloke. Naturally I want to read his new book The Human Son, out on September 17th. It promises to be a reflection on parenting and nature vs nurture as aliens raise a single child to determine whether humanity should be reintroduced to an Earth they have spent 500 years rescuing from the brink of destruction.

SL Huang has been on my TBR for years in the sense I’ve wanted to read their work – with Burning Roses, out on September 29th, I won’t be able to put it off any longer. The final novella in a trilogy of fairytale mash-ups (now I need to go read Hunting Monsters and Fighting Demons) sees two middle-aged myths face their past as they confront a new menace. This sounds like it will be wall to wall regret, brooding, queerness and magic and I am here for it.

I’ll close out with the book that was apparently designed purely to get my attention. Well, it worked. I’ve been joking for years that I want to see advertising in fantasy and now here’s a book that not only sells itself with ‘the line between good and evil is only marketing’ it also stars a heroine (called Anna. COME ON) who will discover that ‘the greatest superpower—for good or ill—is a properly executed spreadsheet’. TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY. Natalie Zina Walschots’s debut Hench is out on September 22nd.

And no, I’m not excited about Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Jonathan Strange bored me to tears, and I get wildly frustrated by book blurbs that tell me how I must read this book but tell me nothing about what the book is about. Eh. Reptile yelling at clouds, reporting for duty.

What are you looking forward to in September?

All release dates quoted are for the UK.