Over the last couple of years, I’ve interviewed Adam Savage a few times about making things, his love of space suits, and what he carries around in his bag. He’s a frequent speaker on all of those things, and I was a little surprised that he’s never written a book — until now. In May, he’s publishing Every Tool’s A Hammer: Life is What You Make It, which bounces between a personal memoir and treatise on the maker movement and creativity.
I recently picked up his book on a trip, and I blew through it. I’m a maker and cosplayer, and I felt as though every page spoke to me about something, whether it’s thinking about process and planning, building costumes, or leadership in an organization. It’s a book that’s applicable to more than just people who actively design and build things. It’s also a personal look at the importance of creativity in all walks of life.
Here are 10 science fiction and fantasy books that are coming out in the second half of the month. (Our list of books that are coming out in the first half of April can be found here.)
Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker
Ashok Banker is an Indian thriller and fantasy author, and his latest novel is his US debut. Called Upon a Burning Throne, it’s the first of his Burnt Empire Saga. It’s set in a world where demigods and demons exist alongside regular people. The emperor of the Burnt Empire has died, and his heirs must prove their worthiness to sit atop the throne. But when a girl from a distant kingdom also passes the Test of Fire but is rejected, her father, demonlord Jarsun, declares a war that could tear the empire apart. Publishers Weekly says that Banker “impressively depicts the loyalties and rivalries of a huge cast while moving his enormous story at cinematic pace through scales personal, political, and cosmic.”
Read an excerpt.
The Making of Solo: A Star Wars Story by Rob Bredow
A number of years ago, J.W. Rinzler wrote three stellar behind-the-scenes books about the original Star Wars trilogy. They’re exhaustive volumes about how the films came together, with interviews and concept art. This month, there will be a new one for Solo: A Star Wars Story, which looks like it’ll provide a solid look into how the film came together. Hopefully, there’ll be additional ones at some point for Rogue One and the rest of the new generation of films.
Read an interview with Bredow.
Knight by Timothy Zahn
Timothy Zahn is best known for his Star Wars novels, but he continues to publish a number of his own works as well. His next is a space opera in his Sibyl’s War series. (It follows last year’s Pawn.) Knight tells the story of a woman named Nicole Hammond who was abducted by aliens and enhanced to help control a starship called the Fyrantha. Various factions are fighting for control of the ship, and Nicole and her fellow humans caught in the middle.
Read an excerpt.
Ragged Alice by Gareth L. Powell
Holly Craig is a detective in Wales who can see evil in someone’s soul. Growing up in a small town, she ran away to join the police in London. Now she’s back, investigating a hit-and-run, only to discover that there’s more to this particular crime than meets the eye.
Book of Flora by Meg Elison
Meg Elison’s final installment of her Road to Nowhere trilogy comes at the end of an apocalypse in which most women were killed, making them valuable to communities who are looking to repopulate. A woman named Flora and her friends and family makes their way across the broken land to find a place of their own. When a new hope for the future of humanity comes, it forces Flora to choose between the home she’s built and fighting against oppression. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “a thoughtful extrapolation of contemporary gender and sexuality issues in need of wider discussion and understanding.”
Read an excerpt.
Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse
Rebecca Roanhorse’s debut Trail of Lightning blew us away last year. It introduced a vivid post-apocalyptic world in which magic has reappeared in Dinétah, the traditional homeland of the Navajo tribe. Roanhorse picked up Nebula and Hugo nominations for the book, and its sequel looks just as good. It follows monster hunter Maggie Hoskie as she tracks down her friend Kai Arviso when he falls in with a mysterious cult. The novel has earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which says that “readers who enjoyed Roanhorse’s first book will eagerly blaze through her second.”
Delta-v by Daniel Suarez
With books like Influx and Change Agent, Daniel Suarez has become known for taking on big, complex science topics and building fast-paced popcorn thrillers around them. His next looks like it’ll continue that trend: Delta-v takes place in the near future when a billionaire recruits a team to conduct the first space mining mission on a near-Earth asteroid. The team of soldiers, astronauts, and mountain climbers must deal with the harsh realities of space and each other to kickstart a potential new direction for humanity. Kirkus Reviews says that it’s a “cut above most tech novels,” and that it benefits “from his attention to detail, which boosts the believability of his futuristic vision.”
Read an excerpt.
Emily Eternal by M.G. Wheaton
Scientists designed an artificial intelligence named Emily to help people cope with trauma, and she’s eager to learn and figure out the limits of human empathy and agency. But when scientists discover that the sun will prematurely explode and her servers are destroyed, she survives in a single interface chip of a chemical engineer and discovers a potential unconventional fix that could save everyone. Kirkus Reviews describes it as a novel that “blurs together questions of existentialism, human essentialism, and love.”
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Octavia E. Butler’s classic science fiction novel Parable of the Sower is getting a new edition this year about a dystopian California in the 2020s that follows a girl named Lauren Olamina who is trying to protect her family and community, but she accidentally leads them to the start of a new faith and direction for humanity. The book comes with a new foreword from Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin. The second novel in the series, Parable of the Talents, will get a new edition later this year as well.
Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan and Ken Liu
When he released his Three-Body trilogy a couple of years ago, Cixin Liu made a name for himself and the field of Chinese science fiction around the world. Now, other authors are following in his footsteps. Chen Qiufan’s debut novel, Waste Tide, will be published in English for the first time (translated by Ken Liu). It’s about a woman named Mimi who sorts out discarded electronics on Silicon Isle. She and other workers toil in pollution as a war brews on the island between investors, terrorists, and gangs, who are all fighting for control and profit. Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying that it’s “extremely relevant to the current moment of throwaway culture, increasing income disparity, and technological advances progressing at such a rate that morality and ethics have trouble keeping up.”
Read the prologue and first chapter.