Skip to content
Answering Your Questions About Reactor: Right here.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter. Everything in one handy email.

Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for May and June 2023


Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for May and June 2023

Home / Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for May and June 2023
Books book recommendations

Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for May and June 2023


Published on May 19, 2023


What do indie presses have in store for readers this May and June? There don’t seem to be any overarching themes that dominate the next two months of the year, except for the fact that there are a whole lot of short story collections due out soon. Given who the writers of those collections are, though, that’s hardly a bad thing.


File Under: Strange Landscapes

Claire Fuller’s bibliography includes both works of realism and forays into the speculative, including 2015’s Our Endless Numbered Days. Her new novel The Memory of Animals falls into the latter category: it’s set during a pandemic that might end human civilization as we know it. But even the survivors of the plague face shifting group dynamics and a shifting sense of past and present, making for an unsettling search for survival. (Tin House; June 6, 2023)

I don’t normally quote directly from book descriptions, but in this case, the description of “a one-of-a-kind collective of authors building a shared multiverse” sounds especially intriguing. (Wild Cards meets Everything Everywhere All at Once, then?) ​​Cadwell Turnbull and Josh Eure are the editors behind the anthology Many Worlds, and there’s more information on the concept behind it here. (Radix Media; June 12, 2023)

In his new novel Allah’s Spacious Earth, Omar Sayfo (here translated by Paul Olchváry) envisions a world where Islamophobia has led governments to isolate their Muslim populations in specific areas that they are not permitted to leave. Sayfo’s novel tells the story of a young man growing up in one such space and how he interacts with the world around him. (Syracuse University Press; May 2023)

Pro tip: if the description of your book cites both Swamp Thing and the film Stalker, it’s going to get my attention. That’s the case for Garth Graeper, whose new collection of poems The Sky Broke More abounds with transformations, possessions, and immersion in ever-changing landscapes. (Winter Editions; May 19, 2023)


File Under: City Life

There’s a time-honored tradition of writing near futures in which some aspect of the current time and place is magnified into something uncanny. That’s certainly the case for Amy Grace Loyd, whose novel The Pain of Pleasure chronicles the halting connections among several people even as apocalyptic weather makes itself known across Brooklyn. (Roundabout Press; June 13, 2023)

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the world of mid-20th century Weird fiction, the works of Jean Ray are highly recommended. (See also: Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth revisiting Ray’s excellent “The Mainz Psalter.”) His 1943 novel The City of Unspeakable Fear, translated by Scott Nicolay and newly republished, follows a retired detective to a small town where bizarre happenings and cosmic horrors lurk below the surface. (Wakefield Press; June 2023)

Mysterious city in the mountains? Check. Clockwork figure coming to life? Check. In Dorothy Tse’s new novel Owlish, translated by Natascha Bruce, we’re in the realm of fairy tales and archetypes. Add some contemporary political resonance into the mix and you have a decidedly compelling combination. (Graywolf Press; June 6, 2023)


File Under: Haunted Art and Artistic Hauntings

It’s worth stating from the outset that the title of Caroline Hagood’s novel Filthy Creation comes from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein — and that this novel has no small amount of bizarre science present in its pages as well. Hagood here tells the story of a young woman finding her voice as an artist. Also, there are ghosts. What’s not to like? (Mad Hat Press; May 1, 2023)

It’s always intriguing to see what kind of stories can use the art world as a backdrop. Virtually every genre has found a way to work within the boundaries of the scene in question, and in his novel Pure Cosmos Club, Matthew Binder pushes towards the surreal and satirical. Then again, a novel about artists and cults has plenty of room for things to get weird. (Stalking Horse Press; May 15, 2023)

Young love and a mysterious disappearance are at the center of Jessica Alexander and Katie Jean Shinkle’s novel None of This Is An Invitation. Its narrator must face the return of her lost love —and reckons with bizarre and menacing circumstances both earthbound and uncanny. (Astrophil Press; June 2023)


File Under: Uncanny Investigations

Jeremy P. Bushnell moves back and forth between the magical and the mundane; his earlier novel The Insides offers ample evidence of that. Bushnell’s new novel Relentless Melt takes the reader back to Boston in the early days of the 20th century, where a pair of unlikely allies find themselves investigating a series of bizarre supernatural happenings. (Melville House; June 2023)

Reading Jessica Leonard’s previous novel Antioch made for an unsettling experience, as Leonard took familiar elements and reassembled them in ever-shifting ways. That’s set a high bar for her new novel Conjuring the Witch, about a woman whose encounter with something strange in the woods near her community changes her forever. (Ghoulish Books; May 2, 2023)


File Under: Story Collections

Premee Mohamed is in the midst of an absolutely fantastic run of work right now, from the eldritch horrors of the Beneath the Rising trilogy to the hopeful post-apocalypse of The Annual Migration of Clouds. Her new book No One Will Come Back for Us collects her short fiction, and offers readers an even greater array of what she’s capable of. (Undertow Publications; May 2023)

Several years ago, Geoff Ryman hailed Dilman Dila’s ability to tell thought-provoking science fiction stories in both prose and film. Dila’s latest collection, Where Rivers Go to Die, is further demonstration of the range and skills as a writer that have won him a host of awards to date. (Rosarium Publishing; June 6, 2023)

And while we’re on the subject of writers and awards: hey, there’s a new Sarah Pinsker collection due out this month! Lost Places includes a host of acclaimed stories, including the monumentally unsettling “Two Truths and a Lie.” Whether she’s uncannily anticipating the future or veering into more fantastical realms, Pinsker is constantly doing essential work. (Small Beer Press; May 2, 2023)

Much of my exposure to B.R. Yeager’s fiction comes via his novel Negative Space, which summons the suburban apocalyptic better than almost anything else I’ve read. His new book Burn You the Fuck Alive is labeled as “collection fiction,” and exploring the boundaries of his fiction sounds like a trip worth taking. (Apocalypse Party; May 1, 2023)

What happens when you apply what the publisher dubs “the logic of childhood” to a host of situations that might have nothing to do with growing up? That’s one of the questions that runs through Tucker Leighty-Phillips’s collection Maybe This Is What I Deserve. “I like to write about kids’ games with the gravitas that kids place upon them – so I try to hold the suspension of disbelief whenever possible, even if some of my characters aren’t,” Leighty-Phillips said in a recent interview. (Split Lip Press; June 20, 2023)

This year brings with it the first collection from the Shirley Jackson Award-winning author J. Ashley-Smith. The Measure of Sorrow abounds with stories in which places exhibit uncanny properties and communal events turn monstrous. Throw the Garden of Eden into the mix and you have a compelling book for perusal. (Meerkat Press; June 2023)

Robert Levy’s debut collection features twelve stories and an introduction by the great Paul Tremblay. Open No One Dies from Love: Dark Tales of Loss and Longing and you’ll also find “DST (Fall Back),” which Anne M. Pillsworth and Ruthanna Emrys covered in their Reading the Weird series in 2021. (Word Horde; May 2023)

If you’re fond of seeing a fresh spin on the gothic, might I suggest María Fernanda Ampuero’s Human Sacrifices, translated by Frances Riddle? It’s gotten plenty of acclaim in the lead-up to its publication, along with descriptions of stories in which uncanny horrors await the reader. Plus: leeches. (Feminist Press; May 16, 2023)

In his new collection The Last Vanishing Man, Matthew Cheney—whose nonfiction has appeared on this very site—takes readers to places as wide-ranging as a post-apocalyptic landscape and the heyday of Andy Warhol’s Factory. Throughout, he addresses questions of power, desire, and human connection. (Third Man Books; May 2023)


reel-thumbnailTobias Carroll is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn. He is the author of the short story collection Transitory (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and the novel Reel (Rare Bird Books).

About the Author

Tobias Carroll


Learn More About Tobias
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments