21 magical science fiction and fantasy books to read in summer 2021

The Godstone by Violette Malan. Image courtesy Penguin Random House
The Godstone by Violette Malan. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /
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Rabbits book cover
Rabbits by Terry Miles. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /

Summer 2021 release: Rabbits – Terry Miles

To understand the genesis of Rabbits, you should know that this novel exists in the same universe as a popular podcast of the same name. A pseudo-documentary-style story, it follows narrator Carly Parker’s search for a missing friend, which leads her deep into the world of decades-old alternate reality game known as Rabbits or simply “The Game.”

Now, Carly and her friend Yumiko don’t appear in this novel, but the bones of the story are largely the same. This Rabbits tale takes place during the 11th round of the game after an “obsessive” named K is approached by billionaire Alan Scarpio, who claims to be the winner of the sixth round. He insists something has gone wrong and that K must get to the bottom of what’s happened – or may even still be happening, no one’s really sure about that part. But when Scaprio disappears, K finds themselves taking part in the game for real.

Conspiracies abound in this surreal and yet all-too-real technothriller in which a deadly underground alternate reality game might just be altering reality itself.

The official synopsis describes the story as follows.

"It’s an average work day. You’ve been wrapped up in a task, and you check the clock when you come up for air–4:44 pm. You go to check your email, and 44 unread messages have built up. With a shock, you realize it is April 4th–4/4. And when you get in your car to drive home, your odometer reads 44,444. Coincidence? Or have you just seen the edge of a rabbit hole? Rabbits is a mysterious alternate reality game so vast it uses our global reality as its canvas. Since the game first started in 1959, ten iterations have appeared and nine winners have been declared. Their identities are unknown. So is their reward, which is whispered to be NSA or CIA recruitment, vast wealth, immortality, or perhaps even the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe itself. But the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes. Players have died in the past–and the body count is rising. And now the eleventh round is about to begin. Enter K–a Rabbits obsessive who has been trying to find a way into the game for years. That path opens when K is approached by billionaire Alan Scarpio, the alleged winner of the sixth iteration. Scarpio says that something has gone wrong with the game and that K needs to fix it before Eleven starts or the whole world will pay the price. Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing. Two weeks after that, K blows the deadline and Eleven begins. And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake."

Rabbits is available on June 8.