John Appel, Assassin’s Orbit (Solaris 7/21) SF mystery novel about an assassination that could spark interplanetary war, investigated by some older, kick-ass women. ‘‘A compelling, explosive debut…. its layers of multiple competing agendas only get more interesting, and its protagonists – cranky, uncompromising, old enough to have any number of skeletons hidden under their floorboards – come across as very interesting people…. I couldn’t put it down.’’ [Liz Bourke]Read more
Matt Bell, Appleseed (Custom House 7/21) A tripartate literary science fantasy novel that imagines Chapman/Johnny Appleseed as a faun, and spans the centuries from 18th-century Ohio to a climate-change-wracked wasteland in 2070 to a high-tech ice age 1,000 years in the future. ‘‘A thoughtful, energetic, and at times almost visionary achievement.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Octavia Cade, The Impossible Resurrection of Grief (Stelliform 5/21) Climate change causes an epidemic of ...Read MoreRead more
Kalynn Bayron, This Poison Heart (Bloomsbury US & UK 6/21) Black girl magic and Greek myth infuse this young-adult contemporary fantasy novel about Briseis, an adopted teen with a power over plants that she hopes to learn to control when an unexpected inheritance gives her an estate full of deadly plants and secrets about her birth family.
J.S. Breukelaar, The Bridge (Meerkat Press 6/21) Meera, a part-human Made created ...Read MoreRead more
Sue Burke, Immunity Index (Tor 5/21) Near-future hard SF novel, a dystopian biothriller about three young women who discover they were illegally genetically engineered, even as the scientist who cloned them tries to find a cure for a deadly new disease and discovers a conspiracy. Though written before COVID-19 struck, this offers an insightfully familiar look at politics and pandemics – with some refreshing differences.
David Ebenbach, How to ...Read MoreRead more
Charlie Jane Anders, Victories Greater Than Death (Tor Teen 4/21) Midwestern high-school student Tina Mains learns that she is actually the clone of a legendary space warrior, and must lead her people into battle against an alien tyrant. The first in a new YA trilogy with all the glitz and color of the MCU. “A slam-bang space opera.” [Gary K. Wolfe]
Akemi Dawn Bowman, The Infinity Courts (Simon & ...Read MoreRead more
Wendy Aldiss, My Father’s Things (Pannoval Press 12/20) Brian Aldiss’s daughter Wendy took still-life photos of her father’s things after he died – everything from art and books (and a few issues of Locus) down to the junk drawer and garden shed – and put a substantial selection of them in this photography/art book for a fascinating, quirky portrait of an influential author.
C.L. Clark, The Unbroken (Orbit US 3/21) ...Read MoreRead more
Cristina Bacchilega & Jennifer Orme, eds., Inviting Interruptions: Wonder Tales in the 21st Century (Wayne State University Press 2/21) This anthology has a mix of 24 art and fiction pieces, with critical notes, each challenging our familiar fairy tale narratives of heteronormative happy endings. Contributors include Susanna Clarke, Nalo Hopkinson, Kelly Link, Sofia Samatar, Veronica Schanoes, Nisi Shawl, Shaun Tan, and more.
L.X. Beckett, Dealbreaker (Tor 1/21) In this ...Read MoreRead more
M.A. Carrick, The Mask of Mirrors (Orbit 1/21) Marie Brennan & Alyc Helms join together under the Carrick pen name to bring us this first in the Rook & Rose trilogy. Con artist Ren comes to Nadezra, the City of Dreams, and gets swept up in its aristocratic glamor and nightmare magic for a captivating fantasy adventure.
Kristin Cashore, Winterkeep (Dial 1/21) Cashore returns to the world of her ...Read MoreRead more
Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind (Ecco 10/20) This paranoid, apocalyptic SF novel is generating a lot of buzz and ending up on Best of Year lists. Who do we trust when the power goes out? Vacationing in a rented home, Amanda and Clay are about to find out when a couple, claiming to be the owners, knock on the door and say New York City is under blackout.Read more
Aliette de Bodard, Seven of Infinities (Subterranean 10/20) A scholar investigates murder in a house designed by an architect fond of puzzles in this engaging far-future SF mystery novella set in the Xuya universe. “It’s a tightly written jewel of a story, intense and full of feeling, and I recommend it highly.” [Liz Bourke]
Scott Edelman, Things that Never Happened (Cemetery Dance 9/20) Edelman’s latest collection offers 13 eerie ...Read MoreRead more
A. Deborah Baker, Over the Woodward Wall (Tor.com Publishing 10/20) Baker is an open pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, and Over the Woodward Wall began as a book-within-a-book, a middle-grade fantasy discussed in McGuire’s 2019 novel Middlegame. The full-length version is a deliberately classic children’s fantasy and begins the Up-and-Under series. “Delectable, a ripe treat for lifelong readers…. It’s filled with adventure and wisdom, and navigates well-worn ideas with fresh ...Read MoreRead more
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi (Bloomsbury US 9/20) This much-anticipated new novel from the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell departs from Clarke’s magical 19th century to follow the ingenuous title character for whom the massive House is the entire world, with halls and rooms that go on forever, an ocean in the lower floors, and only a mysterious Other and corpses for company. “The elegant and ingenious structure of the ...Read MoreRead more
Mike Allen, Aftermath of an Industrial Accident (Mythic Delirium 7/20) Small-press publisher and editor Allen demonstrates his own wide-ranging writing talents in this collection of 16 stories and seven poems, three brand new, most horror, but in a variety of styles, including from psychological and body horror to ghosts and nightmares.
Marie Brennan, Driftwood (Tachyon 8/20) Brennan’s powerful new fantasy novel, the first in a series, introduces the world ...Read MoreRead more
Kate Elliott, Unconquerable Sun (Tor 7/20) This buzzed-about novel, first in the Sun Chronicles series, is described by the author as “gender-swapped Alexander the Great in spaaaace.” Princess Sun has come of age, but palace and political intrigues threaten to end her life before it properly begins, unless she can rally allies – and rivals – to her side.
Stephen Graham Jones, The Only Good Indians (Saga 7/20) A ...Read MoreRead more
Gregory Benford & Larry Niven, Glorious (Tor 6/20) Two legends of hard SF reunite for the third (and possibly final) book in the Bowl of Heaven series, about humans on a colony ship contending with an immense extraterrestrial artifact – and dealing with some truly alien aliens.
Max Brooks, Devolution (Del Rey 6/20) Brooks is best known for World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, ...Read MoreRead more
Neal Asher, The Human (Night Shade 5/20; Macmillan UK 4/20) The master of weird SF returns to the Polity universe in this concluding volume of his Rise of the Jain trilogy, “full of outsize heroes and monsters, gigantic spacecraft, godlike artificial intelligences, and horrific large-scale and close-up combat sequences…. I declare myself satisfied and entertained and impressed.” [Russell Letson]
Algis Budrys, Beyond the Outposts: Essays on SF and Fantasy ...Read MoreRead more
Afia Atakora, Conjure Women (Random House 4/20) This ambitious historical fantasy novel is set before, during, and after the Civil War in the American South, with a focus on folk healer Miss May Belle, her daughter Rue, and Varina, their master’s daughter. This impressive debut is already widely acclaimed and has drawn comparisons to the work of Toni Morrison.
James Blaylock, The Gobblin’ Society (Subterranean 3/20) Blaylock returns to ...Read MoreRead more
Max Barry, Providence (Putnam 3/20) Barry mingles classic SF ideas, touches of satire, and deeply drawn characters in this entertaining SF thriller of war with aliens, a four-man mission sent to fight them, and the realization that their ship – and the people who sent them – are unreliable.
Elizabeth Bear, The Best of Elizabeth Bear (Subterranean 1/20) Bear’s wide-ranging skill is displayed in this collection of 27 stories, ...Read MoreRead more
Andy Davidson, The Boatman’s Daughter (MCD x FSG Originals 2/20) This atmospheric supernatural fantasy follows Miranda Crabtree, a smuggler on the bayou, whose life intertwines with those of a mad preacher, an old witch, and a secret child. With various forces, human and otherwise, arrayed against her, Miranda may have to sacrifice all to protect the ones she loves.
Marina & Sergey Dyachenko, Daughter from the Dark (HarperCollins 2/20) ...Read MoreRead more
Sean Adams, The Heap (Morrow 1/20) Debut novel about the collapse of “Los Verticalés” – a socially stratified high-rise that once stood 500 stories tall – and the survivors who search for family among its rubble. A social commentary that’s as incisively satirical as the best of Thomas Pynchon and J.G. Ballard.
Mike Chen, A Beginning at the End (Mira 1/20) You don’t often come across post-apocalyptic tales full ...Read MoreRead more
Ilona Andrews, Small Magics (Subterranean 12/19) Limited edition collection of five previously published stories from the husband-and-wife writing team behind the bestselling Kate Daniels series, also includes full-color interior illustrations and, for the first time in print, the entire collected “Curran’s Point of View” pieces.
Deborah Teramis Christian, Splintegrate (Tor 12/19) The long-awaited return to the Sa’adani Empire is finally here in a standalone sequel to 1996’s Mainline (as ...Read MoreRead more
Julie C. Dao, Song of the Crimson Flower (Philomel 11/19) Dao returns to her acclaimed, Asian-inspired world of the Rise of the Empress series for this new young-adult tale of a noble girl who rejects a poor apprentice, then regrets it – and finds his flute with his soul trapped inside it, and decides to break the curse. A beautifully woven story of magic, adventure, and the power of true ...Read MoreRead more
Nina Allan, The Dollmaker (Other 10/19) Allan’s Gothic and experimental novel concerns a man who falls in love with an institutionalized woman he knows only through her letters and contains multiple nested short stories by a (fictional) writer and dollmaker named Ewa Chapman, which tend more overtly toward fantasy, horror, and even dystopian SF – “disturbing non-fairy tales that occupy a territory somewhere between Angela Carter and the more mordant ...Read MoreRead more
Joe Abercrombie, A Little Hatred (Orbit US 9/19) Abercrombie makes a welcome return to the grimdark world of the First Law trilogy, giving it fresh flavor as he picks up with a new generation in this first book in the Age of Madness trilogy. Industrial revolution has dawned, with accompanying social change and unrest, leaving young people to find new ways to prove themselves – but trouble always remains.Read more
Marie Brennan, Turning Darkness Into Light (Tor 8/19) Brennan returns to the world of her popular Memoirs of Lady Trent series for this new novel following that lady’s granddaughter, an archaeologist investing an ancient Draconean civilization, and uncovering a dangerous conspiracy.
Kira Jane Buxton, Hollow Kingdom (Grand Central 8/19) A perplexed domesticated crow seeks to stop a plague turning humans into zombies – and save his junk-food addiction – ...Read MoreRead more
Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory (Knopf 6/19) Offbeat, absurd, and often hilarious looks at love fill this original collection of 16 stories, a long poem, and a set of vignettes. Several stories fall into the realm of SF or fantasy, with such elements as superheroes, alternate realities, and a canine narrator. This is the first collection from Bob-Waksberg, better known as the creator ...Read MoreRead more
David Afsharirad, ed., The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF, Volume 5 (Baen 6/19) Exactly what it says on the tin, with a dozen thrilling tales from the top writers in the field, including Suzanne Palmer, Christopher Ruocchio, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and others, and an introduction by David Weber. Plus, readers choose one story from the anthology for The Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Readers’ Choice Award, presented at ...Read MoreRead more
Ted Chiang, Exhalation (Knopf 5/19) The second collection (after 2002’s Stories of Your Life and Others) by one of our most celebrated and award-winning writers features nine stories (a third of them Hugo Award winners), including originals “Omphalos” and “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom”. These stories “have much the same kind of appeal of Borges’s most provocative tales – not without feeling and empathy, but, fundamentally, explorations of ...Read MoreRead more
Nathan Ballingrud, Wounds (Saga 4/19) This collection – “Six Stories from the Border of Hell” – gathers some of the author’s best dark work, including original story “The Butcher’s Tale” and “The Visible Filth” (2015), adapted as 2019 horror film Wounds. His first collection, North American Lake Monsters (2013), won a Shirley Jackson Award and was nominated for British Fantasy, Stoker, and World Fantasy Awards.
Ashok K. Banker, ...Read MoreRead more
Elizabeth Bear, Ancestral Night (Saga 3/19) A thrilling space adventure from the Hugo Award-winning author, following salvagers Connla and Haimey Dz (and their cats) from the black hole at the center of the Milky Way to the galactic fringes as they encounter pirates, the corpse of a giant space-dwelling alien, and agents of the galaxy-spanning Synarche. The first in the new White Space series.
Zen Cho, The True Queen ...Read MoreRead more
Charlie Jane Anders, The City in the Middle of the Night (Tor 2/19) Charlie Jane Anders’s new SF novel about humans who colonize the narrow temperate zone of a tidally locked planet is a change of pace from her Nebula Award winning debut, All the Birds in the Sky, but still showcases one of Anders’s main strengths – complex characterization. “The real energy of the novel derives from the ...Read MoreRead more
Katherine Arden, The Winter of the Witch (Del Rey 1/19) In the concluding volume of the Winternight Trilogy, following The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, a young witch named Vasilisa Petrovna and Morozko the winter-king battle evil forces in order to save a magical 14th-century Russia.
Josiah Bancroft, The Hod King (Orbit 1/19) Third in the Books of Babel quartet in which a ...Read MoreRead more