There are 14 debuts for September 2020.
Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.
The September debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite September cover for the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on or about September 15, 2020.
Nadia AfifiThe Sentient
Flame Tree Publishing, September 8, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
"Afifi’s staggering and un-put-downable debut offers a fresh and feminist-forward take on cloning [...] This riveting debut is a must-have for any sci-fi fan."— Publishers Weekly starred review
Included in Library Journal's "Rise of the Monsters: Top Horror Titles and Trends Coming This Season
Amira Valdez is a brilliant neuroscientist trying to put her past on a religious compound behind her. But when she’s assigned to a controversial cloning project, her dreams of working in space are placed in jeopardy. Using her talents as a reader of memories, Amira uncovers a conspiracy to stop the creation of the first human clone – at all costs.
As she unravels the mystery, Amira navigates a dangerous world populated by anti-cloning militants, scientists with hidden agendas, and a mysterious New Age movement. In the process, Amira uncovers an even darker secret, one that forces her to confront her own past.
Natalka Burian Daughters of the Wild
Park Row, September 22, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
(D - Adult)
“A gorgeous, different, and completely engrossing book. Burian’s writing is transporting -- and exactly what I needed right now.”
— Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object: A Memoir
In rural West Virginia, Joanie and her foster siblings live on a farm tending a mysterious plant called the vine. The older girls are responsible for cultivating the vine, performing sacred rituals to make it grow. After Joanie’s arranged marriage goes horribly wrong, leaving her widowed and with a baby, she plots her escape with the help of her foster brother, Cello.
But before they can get away, her baby goes missing and Joanie, desperate to find him, turns to the vine, understanding it to be far more powerful than her siblings realize. She begins performing generations-old rituals to summon the vine’s power and goes on a perilous journey into the wild, pushing the boundaries of her strength and sanity to bring her son home.
Daughters of the Wild is an utterly absorbing debut that explores the female mind in captivity and the ways in which both nature and women fight domination. Like The Bell Jar set in rural Appalachia, Daughters of the Wild introduces a fierce new heroine and a striking new voice in fiction.
One World, September 29, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages
Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this spellbinding, visceral debut about one family’s queer desires, violent impulses, and buried secrets.
LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE • “Epic and intimate at once, Bestiary brings myth to visceral life. K-Ming Chang’s talent exposes what is hidden inside us. She makes magic on the page.”—Julia Philips, author of Disappearing Earth
One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman’s body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. All the while, Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother’s letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth—and that she will have to bring her family’s secrets to light in order to change their destiny.
With a poetic voice of crackling electricity, K-Ming Chang is an explosive young writer who combines the wit and fabulism of Helen Oyeyemi with the subversive storytelling of Maxine Hong Kingston. Tracing one family’s history from Taiwan to America, from Arkansas to California, Bestiary is a novel of migration, queer lineages, and girlhood.
Hannah Abigail ClarkeThe Scapegracers
The Scapegracers 1
Erewhon, September 15, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for bottles of Coke.
As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her forty dollars to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now—unbelievably—Sideways’ best friends.
Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witchfinders hell-bent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole “having friends” thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?
Rich with the urgency of feral youth, The Scapegracers is an atmospheric, voice-driven novel of the occult that explores magic, growing up, and complex female friendship with all the rage of a teenage girl.
Dan HanksCaptain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire
Angry Robot, September 8, 2020
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 394 pages
An ex-Spitfire pilot is dragged into a race against a shadowy government agency to unlock the secrets of the lost empire of Atlantis…
In the post-war peace of 1952, ex-Spitfire pilot Captain Samantha Moxley should be done fighting bad guys. Instead, she finds herself dragged into a clash with a mysterious US government agency known as The Nine, when they take an interest in the work of Jess, her archaeologist sister.
Pursued by The Nine, former Nazis, and a host of otherworldly monsters, Sam must fight to protect her sister and uncover two hidden keys which promise to unlock the greatest archaeological find in history: the fabled Hall of Records.
From the skies over New York, to the catacombs of Paris, and finally to the ruins of Ancient Egypt, her quest takes her into the ashes of the past in search of the dying embers of an empire….and a discovery that could transform the world, or bring it to a terrible end.
File Under: Fantasy [ Top Women | Riff-RAF | Pyramid Scheme | Bash the Fash ]
Alice JamesGrave Secrets
The Lavington Windsor Mysteries 1
Solaris, September 1, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 300 pages
Agatha Raisin meets Sookie Stackhouse, with croquet and zombies.
"Fun, fast debut... Fans of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse will want to check out Toni." -- Publishers Weekly
Toni Windsor is trying to live a quiet life in the green and pleasant county of Staffordshire. She'd love to finally master the rules of croquet, acquire a decent boyfriend and make some commission as an estate agent.
All that might have to wait, though, because there are zombies rising from their graves, vampires sneaking out of their coffins and a murder to solve.
And it's all made rather more complicated by the fact that she's the one raising all the zombies. Oh, and she's dating one of the vampires too. Really, what's a girl meant to do?
"Raises the zombie genre from the grave."- Jack Hayes
"Dead funny."- Mark Beech
Readers are loving the newest necromancer in town. Read advance praise for Grave Secrets from NetGalley:
"Heads up to all fans of True Blood and Buffy, our new favourite heroine is here, she's a necromancer, and she's kind of a hot mess!"- NetGalley review
"A thrilling five-star read."- NetGalley review
"A fun filled, laugh out loud page turner."- NetGalley review
R.B. LembergThe Four Profound Weaves
Tachyon Publications, September 1, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 192 pages
Two transgender elders must learn to weave from Death in order to defeat an evil ruler―in the debut full-length work set in R. B. Lemberg’s award-winning queer fantasy Birdverse universe
“The Four Profound Weaves is the anti-authoritarian, queer-mystical fairy tale we need right now.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline
“A beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage.” ―Library Journal, starred reviewThe Surun’ nomads do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But aged Uiziya must find her aunt in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.
Among the Khana in the springflower city of Iyar, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter, as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.
As his past catches up, the nameless man must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya―while Uiziya must discover how to challenge the evil Ruler of Iyar, and to weave from deaths that matter.
In this breathtaking debut set in R. B. Lemberg’s beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one's identity in a hostile world.
About the Birdverse: The Birdverse is the creation of fantasy author R. B. Lemberg. It is a complex, culturally diverse world, with a range of LGBTQIA characters and different family configurations. Named after its deity, Bird, Birdverse shorter works have been nominated the Nebula, Hugo, Tiptree award, and Rhysling awards. The Four Profound Weaves is the first full-length work set in the Birdverse.
Mark David Myers (Tr)The Peace Machine
Pushkin Press, September 22, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages
We’ll create a machine. A peace machine that will put an end to all wars.
As the twentieth century dawns the world stands on the brink of yet another bloody war. But what if conflict were not inevitable? What if a machine could exploit the latest developments in electromagnetic science to influence people’s minds? And what if such a machine could put an end to violence for ever?
The search for the answer to these questions will lead our hero Celal away from his unassuming life as an Istanbul-based writer of erotic fiction, and on a quest across a continent stumbling headlong towards disaster, from Istanbul to Paris and Belgrade, as he struggles to uncover the mystery of The Peace Machine before time runs out for humanity.
Karen OsborneArchitects of Memory
The Memory War 1
Tor Books, September 8, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
Millions died after the first contact. An alien weapon holds the key to redemption—or annihilation. Experience Karen Osborne's unforgettable science fiction debut, Architects of Memory.
Terminally ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson lost everything in the war with the alien Vai, but she'll be damned if she loses her future. Her plan: to buy, beg, or lie her way out of corporate indenture and find a cure. When her crew salvages a genocidal weapon from a ravaged starship above a dead colony, Ash uncovers a conspiracy of corporate intrigue and betrayal that threatens to turn her into a living weapon.
Chris PanatierThe Phlebotomist
Angry Robot, September 8, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 344 pages
In a near future where citizens are subject to the mandatory blood draw, government phlebotomist Willa Wallace witnesses an event that makes her question her whole world…
To recover from a cataclysmic war, the Harvest was instituted to pass blood to those affected by radiation. But this charitable act has led to a society segregated entirely by blood type. Government blood contractor, Patriot, rewards you generous gift based on the compatibility of your donation, meaning that whoever can give the most, gets the most in return.
While working as a reaper taking collections for the Harvest, Willa chances upon an idea to resurrect an obsolete technique that could rebalance the city. But in her quest to set things into motion, she uncovers a horrifying secret that cuts to the heart of everything.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Blood Will Out | This Might Hurt a Bit | Be positive | Bloody Nightmare ]
Christopher PaoliniTo Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Tor Books, September 15, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 880 pages
(D - Adult)
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eragon, Christopher Paolini.
Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.
Now she's awakened a nightmare.
During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she's delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.
As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn't at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.
While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity's greatest and final hope . . .
Simon StephensonSet My Heart to Five
Hanover Square Press, September 1, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
*SET TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY EDGAR WRIGHT (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD)*
‘A beautiful, funny, heartfelt analysis of what it means to be human.’—Simon Pegg
‘One of the most unique books ever crafted.’—Mike Chen, author of A Beginning at the End
Set in a 2054 where humans have locked themselves out of the internet and Elon Musk has incinerated the moon, Set My Heart to Five is the hilarious yet profoundly moving story of one android’s emotional awakening.
One day at a screening of a classic movie, Jared notices a strange sensation around his eyes. Bots are not permitted to have feelings, but as the theater lights come on, Jared discovers he is crying.
Soon overwhelmed by powerful emotions, Jared heads west, determined to find others like himself. But a bot with feelings is a dangerous proposition, and Jared’s new life could come to an end before it truly begins. Unless, that is, he can somehow change the world for himself and all of his kind.
Unlike anything you have ever read before, Set My Heart to Five is a love letter to outsiders everywhere. Plus it comes uniquely guaranteed to make its readers weep a minimum of 29mls of tears.*
*Book must be read in controlled laboratory conditions arranged at reader’s own expense. Other terms and conditions may apply to this offer.
Andrea StewartThe Bone Shard Daughter
The Drowning Empire 1
Orbit, September 8, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
Introducing a major new voice in epic fantasy: in an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor, will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne.
The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.
Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.
Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.
Natalie Zina WalschotsHench
William Morrow, September 22, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
“This book is fast, furious, compelling, and angry as hell." -- Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author
The Boys meets My Year of Rest and Relaxation in this smart, imaginative, and evocative novel of love, betrayal, revenge, and redemption, told with razor-sharp wit and affection, in which a young woman discovers the greatest superpower—for good or ill—is a properly executed spreadsheet.
Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy?
As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called “hero” leaves her badly injured. And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she’s the lucky one.
So, of course, then she gets laid off.
With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realizes she might not be as powerless as she thinks.
Because the key to everything is data: knowing how to collate it, how to manipulate it, and how to weaponize it. By tallying up the human cost these caped forces of nature wreak upon the world, she discovers that the line between good and evil is mostly marketing. And with social media and viral videos, she can control that appearance.
It’s not too long before she’s employed once more, this time by one of the worst villains on earth. As she becomes an increasingly valuable lieutenant, she might just save the world.
A sharp, witty, modern debut, Hench explores the individual cost of justice through a fascinating mix of Millennial office politics, heroism measured through data science, body horror, and a profound misunderstanding of quantum mechanics.