This time of year, whether it’s the cooling weather or the “back to school” vibes of September, I always find myself looking for new books. CBC often puts out great lists, but they didn’t have a speculative fiction list for this fall, so I decided to create one of my own!
In creating this list, I specifically looked for books with publication dates between September and December 2020. I’m sure I missed a few! Let me know which books I should add in the comments below.
by Kelly Powell
Available: October 27, 2020
Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final goodbye. But this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life.
When Catherine is given the unusual task of collecting a timepiece from an old grave, she is sure that the mysterious item must contain some kind of enchantment. So she enlists Guy Nolan, the watchmaker’s son, to help her dig it up. But instead of a timepiece, they find a surprise: the body of a teenage boy. And as they watch, he comes back to life—not as the pale imitation that Catherine can conjure, but as a living, breathing boy. A boy with no memory of his past.
This magic is more powerful than any Catherine has ever encountered, and revealing it brings dangerous enemies. Catherine and Guy must race to unravel the connection between the missing timepiece and the undead boy. For this mysterious magic could mean the difference between life and death—for all of them.
by Neal Shannacappo
Available: October 31, 2020
“My million years of immortality have barely begun…” Pursued by warring human/alien hybrids, the immortal Kyrill, also known as Salamander, is the key to a prison forged by the seven gods of creation. While one of the warring factions moves to protect him, the other seeks to use him to open the prison. The Krillian Key, Salamander Run is a sassy, fast-paced Indigenous-themed graphic novel set in the post-apocalyptic future of Neo-New York circa 2242, with flashbacks to modern-day Canada.
by Randal Graham
Available: September 8, 2020
Something’s rotten in the afterlife. At least that’s how it seems to Rhinnick Feynman, the one man who perceives that someone in the afterlife is tugging at history’s threads and retroactively unraveling the past. Doing his best to navigate a netherworld in which history won’t stop changing for the worse, Rhinnick sets off on a quest to put things right.
This would be a good deal easier if Rhinnick didn’t believe he was a character in a novel and that the Author was changing the past through editorial revision. And it’d be better if Rhinnick didn’t find himself facing off against Isaac Newton, Jack the Ripper, Ancient Egyptians, a pack of frenzied Napoleons, and the prophet Norm Stradamus. Come to think of it, it’d be nice if Rhinnick could manage to steer clear of the afterlife’s mental health establishment and a bevy of unexpected fiancées.
by Adan Jerreat-Poole
Available: September 12, 2020
Even teenage assassins have dreams.
Eli isn’t just a teenage girl — she’s a made-thing the witches created to hunt down ghosts in the human world. Trained to kill with her seven magical blades, Eli is a flawless machine, a deadly assassin. But when an assignment goes wrong, Eli starts to question everything she was taught about both worlds, the Coven, and her tyrannical witch-mother.
Worried that she’ll be unmade for her mistake, Eli gets caught up with a group of human and witch renegades, and is given the most difficult and dangerous task in the worlds: capture the Heart of the Coven. With the help of two humans, one motorcycle, and a girl who smells like the sea, Eli is going to get answers — and earn her freedom.
Available: October 27, 2020
Acclaimed writer, David A. Robertson, delivers suspense, adventure, and humour in this stunningly illustrated graphic novel continuation of The Reckoner trilogy.
After the events in Wounded Sky, Cole and Eva arrive in Winnipeg, the headquarters of Mihko Laboratories. They are intent on destroying the company once and for all, but their plans are thwarted when a new threat surfaces. When Cole becomes mired in terrifying visions, Eva must harness her newly discovered powers to investigate Mihko without him. Are Cole’s visions just troubled dreams or are they leading him to a horrible truth?
edited by Joshua Whitehead
Available: September 1, 2020
This exciting and groundbreaking fiction collection showcases a number of new and emerging 2SQ (Two-Spirit and queer) Indigenous writers from across Turtle Island. These visionary authors show how queer Indigenous communities can bloom and thrive through utopian narratives that detail the vivacity and strength of 2SQness throughout its plight in the maw of settler colonialism’s histories.
Here, readers will discover bioengineered AI rats, transplanted trees in space, the rise of a 2SQ resistance camp, a primer on how to survive Indigiqueerly, virtual reality applications, mother ships at sea, and the very bending of space-time continuums queered through NDN time. Love after the End demonstrates the imaginatively queer Two-Spirit futurisms we have all been dreaming of since 1492.
by Brenden Carlson
Available: October 17, 2020
Manhattan. The year is 1933. Even in a world with free energy, robot labour, and megacorporations, nothing could stop the collapse of the American Dream. As the world-spanning Great Depression rages on, the remaining New York–based mafias clash with police for control of the broken city. Elias Roche, former police officer turned Mafia enforcer, works to maintain a tenuous peace between the two parties.
Accustomed to settling disputes with the business end of a gun, Roche must expand his repertoire after a violent murder is covered up by the FBI. With the Mafia insisting they’re innocent of the crime and the police powerless to help, Roche and his new Automatic partner, Allen, must root out those responsible before the situation sparks a war in the city streets.
What books are you looking forward to this fall? Are there any that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!
Laura McKay is a speculative fiction writer whose work leaves you wondering and your mind wandering. Inspired by the Dresden Files, her current work-in-progress brings fast-paced, thought-provoking mystery and magic to the streets of Winnipeg.
Laura is also an Assistant Editor at Portage & Main Press and freelances on various writing and editing projects.