Nerd Culture

Add These 10 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books by Phoenix Authors to Your Reading List

Valley actor and author Tom Leveen.
Valley actor and author Tom Leveen. Alecia Brouwer.
Last year was a good one for Valley sci-fi and fantasy writers. Beth Cato earned a surprise Nebula nomination for her novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone, and YA author Tom Leveen scripted Todd McFarlane’s legendary comic Spawn.

Alyssa Wong became the first Filipina to win a Nebula Award, for her short story “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” which also earned a World Fantasy Award and nominations for the Locus and Shirley Jackson award. Wong was nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the Hugo Awards, but ultimately had to settle for an Alfie Award, better known as a hood ornament, at George R.R. Martin’s Hugo Losers Party.

Kevin Hearne hit the New York Times best-seller list in January with Staked, and Stephenie Meyer returned with the adult thriller, The Chemist.

A luck would have it, 2017 looks like it'll be yet another strong year for Phoenix-area sci-fi and fantasy authors. Here’s a look at some of the exciting books coming this year from our stable of local authors (and one who left us, but we still love anyway).

click to enlarge Tom Leveen's Hellworld is an Arizona-based YA thriller. - SIMON PULSE BOOKS
Tom Leveen's Hellworld is an Arizona-based YA thriller.
Simon Pulse Books
By Tom Leveen
Release date: March 21

The former Valley theater director and recent scriptwriter for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn is back with this YA horror novel. Hellworld follows Abby, an Arizona teenager whose mother disappeared while filming a ghost-hunting reality TV show. Determined to put her past nightmares behind her, she, along with the children of other missing members from the TV show, set out to discover what happened in that foreboding cave so many years ago.

Leveen will host a writing workshop at Changing Hands Phoenix on Monday, March 20, a release party at Changing Hands Tempe on Tuesday, March 21, and "Lit Out Loud," an evening of horror readings, at the Poisoned Pen on Monday, March 27.

The Adjustment
By Suzanne Young
Release date: April 18

Young concludes the dystopian “Program” series with her latest. After a prequel duology, The Remedy and The Epidemic, The Adjustment picks up the series following the events of the 2014 bestseller The Treatment. The controversial “program” that stopped a teen suicide epidemic by blocking bad memories and implanting false ones has ended, and now former patients are having trouble readjusting to their new life. One such patient is Nathan, who no longer remembers his girlfriend Tatum and is starting to show symptoms of this memory disconnect, or crash back.

The Black Tempest
By Ryan Dalton
Release date: April 25

Dalton kicked off 2016 with his well-received YA debut The Year of Lightning. But his "Time Shift" trilogy was briefly thrown into writer's limbo when his publisher, Jolly Fish Press, closed its doors in October. Fortunately, a buyer for the imprint was found within a couple of weeks, and Dalton's second novel, following the continuing adventures of twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert as they face an ancient evil who can control the weather, will be released, albeit a few months later than expected.

Dalton is hosting a signing at Changing Hands Phoenix on Thursday, April 27, and another at the Poisoned Pen on Thursday, May 11.

click to enlarge Gini Koch's latest "Kitty" Katt novel, Alien Education. - DAW BOOKS.
Gini Koch's latest "Kitty" Katt novel, Alien Education.
DAW Books.
Alien Education
By Gini Koch
Release date: May 2

Didn’t we just have a new “Kitty Katt” novel a few months ago? Alien Nation may still be warm, but the prolific Koch is back with another romantic adventure featuring the alien-loving first lady and her Alpha-Centaurian husband. This time, Kitty Katt is off on a diplomatic mission, which takes a comic turn into reality-show territory. There’s still plenty of time for romance between high jinks and galaxy-saving, however. And fans won’t have to wait long for a follow-up — Aliens Abroad is due in December.

Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
By Diana Gabaldon
Release date: June 27

Outlander fans will have to wait at least another year for the next doorstop, Go Tell the Bees That I’m Gone. However, Gabaldon does have a nice placeholder for those who need their annual dose of Outlander. Seven Stones collects five novellas that Gabaldon has written for recent anthologies including the Edgar Award-nominated A Plague of Zombies, as well as two new novellas — A Fugitive Green and Besieged.

Read on for books from Beth Cato, Rae Carson, and more.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and volunteers at local pop-culture conventions. He can be found at the occasional prog-rock concert.
Contact: Michael Senft