Top Twenty Most Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy Releases of July 2012

It’s been a while since we last looked at science fiction and fantasy’s most anticipated releases. In fact, the last time we published a list was in April. That means it’s high time for another list. However, with all the great books coming out each month, we felt that the old style—with a simple top five list—just wasn’t enough. Therefore, we have changed our list around a bit for this month, and we’re planning to post this new style of list every month from now on.

Below is a list of the twenty novels released in July 2012 that we look forward to most. With over fifty books coming out next month, this list is by no means all-encompassing. Yet, we have striven to present you with a sufficient overview of books coming out next month in all speculative subgenres.

So here they are, the twenty novels coming out in July that we anticipate most:

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1. Sharps by K.J. Parker
K.J. Parker’s new novel is a perfectly executed tale of intrigue and deception.

For the first time in nearly forty years, an uneasy truce has been called between two neighbouring kingdoms. The war has been long and brutal, fought over the usual things: resources, land, money…

Now, there is a chance for peace. Diplomatic talks have begun and with them, the games. Two teams of fencers represent their nations at this pivotal moment.

When the future of the world lies balanced on the point of a rapier, one misstep could mean ruin for all. Human nature being what it is, does peace really have a chance?
Published by Orbit on July 17. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
2. Chimera by T.C. McCarthy
Escaped Germline soldiers need to be cleaned up, and Stan Resnick is the best man for the job. A job that takes him to every dark spot and every rat hole he can find.

Operatives from China and Unified Korea are gathering escaped or stolen Russian and American genetics, and there are reports of new biological nightmares: half-human things, bred to live their entire lives encased in powered armor suits.

Stan fights to keep himself alive and out of prison while he attempts to capture a genetic, one who will be able to tell them everything they need to know about this new threat, the one called “Project Sunshine.”

Chimera is the third and final volume of The Subterrene War Trilogy which tells the story of a single war from the perspective of three different combatants.
Published by Orbit on July 31. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
3. Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson
Boston, 1767: In D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker, revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others…until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family.

Suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. His adversary has already killed—and not for his own gain, but in the service of his powerful masters, people for whom others are mere pawns in a game of politics and power. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can’t stop now, for his magic has marked him, so he must fight the odds, even though he seems hopelessly overmatched, his doom seeming certain at the spectral hands of one he cannot even see.
Published by Tor on July 3. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
4. Tin Swift by Devon Monk
In steam age America, men, monsters, machines and magic battle to claim the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, one man fights to hold on to his humanity–and his honor…

Life on the frontier is full of deceit and danger, but bounty hunter Cedar Hunt is a man whose word is his bond. Cursed with becoming a beast every full moon, Cedar once believed his destiny was to be alone. But now, Cedar finds himself saddled with a group of refugees, including the brother he once thought lost.

Keeping his companions alive is proving to be no easy task, in part because of the promise he made to the unpredictable Madder brothers—three miners who know the secret mechanisms of the Strange. To fulfill his pledge, Cedar must hunt a powerful weapon known as the Holder—a search that takes him deep into the savage underbelly of the young country and high into the killing glim-field skies defended by desperate men and deadly ships.

But the battles he faces are just a glimmer of a growing war stirring the country. To keep his word Cedar must navigate betrayal, lies, and treacherous alliances, risking everything to save the lives of those he has come to hold dear…
Published by Roc on July 3. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
5. Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper
The future holds nothing but blood and death… and Teia fears there is nothing she can do about it. Her clan is riding to war, but her secret, untrained gift of foretelling has shown her they are riding to their doom. If she cannot turn them from their course, her only hope of saving them will be to betray them to their sworn enemies.

Gair is mourning his past… but there is no time to dwell on his grief or hunger for revenge. Pursuing an artefact from the Founding Wars, he travels deep into the hostile southern deserts. As religious tensions erupt into bloody violence around him, he must make an impossible choice: save innocent lives or sacrifice them in the hope that thousands more can be saved later.

And all the while, his grip on his powers is failing.
Published by Gollancz on July 26. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
6. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.
Published by Orbit on July 3. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
7. vN: The First Machine Dynasty by Madeline Ashby
Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot known as a VonNeumann.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that she alone can kill humans without failsafing…
Published by Angry Robot on July 31. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
8. Year Zero by Rob Reid
In the hilarious tradition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Rob Reid takes you on a headlong journey through the outer reaches of the universe—and the inner workings of our absurdly dysfunctional music industry.

Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news.

The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity’s music ever since “Year Zero” (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang. The resulting fines and penalties have bankrupted the whole universe. We humans suddenly own everything—and the aliens are not amused.

Nick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly, and he’s an unlikely galaxy-hopping hero: He’s scared of heights. He’s also about to be fired. And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy. But he does know a thing or two about copyright law. And he’s packing a couple of other pencil-pushing superpowers that could come in handy.

Soon he’s on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner. With Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick now has forty-eight hours to save humanity, while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.
Published by Del Rey on July 10. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
9. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
Published by HarperTeen on July 24. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
10. Energized by Edward M. Lerner
No one expected the oil to last forever. How right they were….

A geopolitical miscalculation tainted the world’s major oil fields with radioactivity and plunged the Middle East into chaos. Any oil that remains usable is more prized than ever. No one can build solar farms, wind farms, and electric cars quickly enough to cope. The few countries still able to export oil and natural gas—Russia chief among them—have a stranglehold on the world economy.

And then, from the darkness of space, came Phoebe. Rather than divert the onrushing asteroid, America captured it in Earth orbit.

Solar power satellites—cheaply mass-produced in orbit with resources mined from the new moon to beam vast amounts of power to the ground—offer America its last, best hope of avoiding servitude and economic ruin.

As though building miles-across structures in space isn’t challenging enough, special interests, from technophobes to eco-extremists to radio astronomers, want to stop the project. And the remaining petro powers will do anything to protect their newfound dominance of world affairs.

NASA engineer Marcus Judson is determined to make the powersat demonstration project a success. And he will—even though nothing in his job description mentions combating an international cabal, or going into space to do it.
Published by Tor on July 17. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
11. House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier
Orphaned, two sisters are left to find their own fortunes.

Sweet and proper, Karah’s future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life… if she agrees to play their game.

Nemienne, neither sweet nor proper, has fewer choices. Left with no alternative, she accepts a mysterious mage’s offer of an apprenticeship. Agreeing means a home and survival, but can Nemienne trust the mage?

With the arrival of a foreign bard into the quiet city, dangerous secrets are unearthed, and both sisters find themselves at the center of a plot that threatens not only to upset their newly found lives, but also to destroy their kingdom.
Published by Orbit on July 10. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
12. Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
The mining ship El Cavador is far out from Earth, in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Pluto. Other mining ships, and the families that live on them, are few and far between this far out. So when El Cavador’s telescopes pick up a fast-moving object coming in-system, it’s hard to know what to make of it. It’s massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light.

El Cavador has other problems. Their systems are old and failing. The family is getting too big for the ship. There are claim-jumping corporate ships bringing Asteroid Belt tactics to the Kuiper Belt. Worrying about a distant object that might or might not be an alien ship seems…not important.

They’re wrong. It’s the most important thing that has happened to the human race in a million years. The first Formic War is about to begin.
Published by Tor on July 17. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
13. The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
Someone is killing Britain’s warlocks.

Twenty-two years after the Second World War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Great Britain and the USSR. For decades, the warlocks have been all that stand between the British Empire and the Soviet Union– a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. But now each death is another blow to Britain’s security.

Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret research facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary humans with extraordinary abilities, then prisoners of war in the vast Soviet effort to reverse engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England.

Because that’s where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.

As Marsh is drawn back into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain’s darkest acts didn’t end with the war. And as he strives to protect Queen and country, he’s forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.
Published by Tor on July 17. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
14. Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects… except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful… and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.
Published by Del Rey on July 31. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
15. Cuttlefish by Dave Freer
The smallest thing can change the path of history.

The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery and capture. Under flooded London’s canals they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty – the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no further than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.
Published by Pyr on July 24. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
16. War Maid’s Choice by David Weber
In Wind Rider’s Oath, Bahzell became a wind rider—the first hradani wind rider in history. And, even if Bahzell is the War God’s champion, because the wind riders are the elite of the elite among the Sothoii, Bahzell’s ascension is as likely to stir resentment as respect. What’s more, Baron Tellian’s daughter, the heir to the realm, seems to be thinking that he is the only man—or hradani—for her. Now, War Maid’s Choice continues the story—and things really get complicated./td>
Published by Baen on July 3. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
17. Last Man Standing by Davide Longo
Italy is on the brink of collapse. Borders are closed, banks withhold money, the postal service stalls. Armed gangs of drug-fuelled youths roam the countryside. Leonardo was a famous writer and professor before a sex scandal ended his marriage and career. Heading north in search of her new husband, his ex-wife leaves their daughter and her son in his care. If he is to take them to safety, he will need to find a quality he has never possessed: courage.
Published by MacLehose Press on July 5. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
18. The Hollow City by Dan Wells
Dan Wells won instant acclaim for his three-novel debut about the adventures of John Wayne Cleaver, a heroic young man who is a potential serial killer. All who read the trilogy were struck by the distinctive and believable voice Wells created for John.

Now he returns with another innovative thriller told in a very different, equally unique voice. A voice that comes to us from the realm of madness.

Michael Shipman is paranoid schizophrenic; he suffers from hallucinations, delusions, and complex fantasies of persecution and horror. That’s bad enough. But what can he do if some of the monsters he sees turn out to be real?

Who can you trust if you can’t even trust yourself? The Hollow City is a mesmerizing journey into madness, where the greatest enemy of all is your own mind.
Published by Tor on July 3. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
19. Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde
Grace Pizzelli is the average one, nothing like her brilliant older sister, Emily, who works for Rasmussem, creators of the world’s best virtual reality games. The games aren’t real, though—or at least they weren’t. Now Emily has hidden herself inside a pink and sparkly game meant for little girls. No one knows why, or how to convince her to come back out, and the technology can’t keep her safe for much longer. Grace may consider herself average, but she’s the only one who can save Emily. So Grace enters the game, hoping to talk her sister out of virtual suicide before time runs out. Otherwise Emily will die—for real.
Published by Harcourt Children’s Books on July 10. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
20. So Close to You by Rachel Carter
Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who’ve disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather.

When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she’s ever heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she’s in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices–and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them… and herself.
Published by HarperTeen on July 10. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads

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What do you think? Any books you are particularly looking forward to? Which are your favorites? Did we miss a book? Let us know in the comments below!

About Stephan van Velzen

Stephan van Velzen
A 29 year-old Communications student, Stephan loves publicity and design, particularly web design. When he’s not designing websites, he’s busy being a total geek for fantasy. In The Ranting Dragon, he has found a way to combine these passions and discover a new love for writing too. Most of all, though, Stephan is just a crazy Dutch guy who enjoys doing things that people don’t expect.

View all articles written by Stephan van Velzen.

16 comments

  1. I have had my eyes on Thieftaker for quite a while. Definitely, my most anticipated.  

  2. Nice list :o) Some guy on Reddit Fantasy called it part of a Tsunami of Cack, though, but I think that was because he doesn’t like commercial fiction. Or John Scalzi.  Or, apparently, any books that aren’t by Stephen Baxter or Al Reynolds. I struggled to see the fantasy connection there.

  3. That novel translated from the Italian is very interesting, and I had certainly not heard of it nor would I likely have heard of it without this post, so, thanks!
    Here’s a few more — definitely excited about Chimera, Sharps, and vN on this list, will give Thieftaker a look as well.

    The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter (Knopf,
    Random House Audio, July 10) — alternate history exploring politics and
    law in a post-Civil War era where Lincoln survives assassination only to
    face impeachment

    A Million Heavens by John Brandon (McSweeney’s, Jul 10, 2012)

    Some Kind of Fairy Tale: A Novel by Graham Joyce (Doubleday, Jul 10, 2012)

    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni and translated by Rhett McNeil (Dalkey Archive Press, Jul 10, 2012)

    Dark Reading Matter (Thursday Next, #7) by Jasper Fforde (July 12th 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton)

    Anthology: Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray
    Bradbury edited by Sam Weller & Mort Castle (William Morrow, July
    10, 2012) — “The recent passing of literary legend Ray Bradbury was a
    blow to field of fiction. This tribute collection, started before his
    passing, features the talents of just a small portion of writers whose
    lives he affected: Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Robert McCammon, Ramsey
    Campbell, Alice Hoffman, Audrey Niffenegger, Kelly Link, Harlan Ellison
    and 18 more. This must-have anthology also features an essay, “Second
    Homecoming,” written by Bradbury specifically for this publication.”
    (via Kirkus Reviews)

    Empty Space by M. John Harrison (Gollanz, Jul 19, 2012) — “Harrison’s
    literary space opera, The Kefahuchi Tract (which began with Light and
    Nova Swing), was met with wide acclaim. Now, the third book in the
    trilogy is finally here. Empty Space, structured in three alternating
    stories that merge to its grand conclusion, promises to mess with your
    head, but in a good way.” (via Kirkus Reviews)

    Collection: Sorry Please Thank You: Stories by Charles Yu (Pantheon, Jul 24, 2012)

    Jack Glass by Adam Roberts (UK only so far, like the new Elspeth Cooper book here)

    • Those are some great additions. Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Sorry Please Thank You, and Dark Reading Matter didn’t make the cut, but I hadn’t heard of some of the other books.

      Especially Empty Space sounds well worth checking out.

  4. What, no Red Country?  ;)

    In all seriousness this list has given me a few things to pick up.  Year Zero sounds hilarious.

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