10 Highly Anticipated New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Adrian Liang on February 12, 2018
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The future is dark.

Or rather, the future of science fiction and fantasy book covers is dark, as you can see by scrolling through my list of my most anticipated SF and fantasy reads of the next several months. (I swear, I wasn't in a bad mood when I picked the books. In fact, I'm ecstatic.)

But the reading future is bright indeed, and bursting with fresh new talent. A good percentage of these upcoming books are from debut authors bringing their own voices and ideas to a field that revels in new voices and ideas.

Read on for ten books publishing from March through May that have caught our attention.


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Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi - This dark, powerful YA fantasy should appeal to older readers as well, based on the response by readers in our office to Children of Blood and Bone. Magic is underground and punished in this western Africa-inspired tale, but Zélie has nothing left to lose. Her maji mother has been killed, her community is practically enslaved, and Zélie sees no future for herself--until she meets someone else who wants to change the world as well. This seems like a good match for those who liked Naomi Alderman's The Power. (March 3, 2018)

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Head On: A Novel of the Near Future (Lock in) by John Scalzi -Scalzi's novels are often a joy, and I have high hopes for this follow-up to Lock In, his 2014 novel in which a small percentage of society is locked into their bodies and steer robot-like shells from their hospital beds. Half mystery, half exploration of minority rights and identity, Lock In did what I think great sci-fi does: entertain you while you reexamine tough social questions. Fingers crossed that Head On leaps that bar again. (April 17, 2018)

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Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells - Martha Wells' All Systems Red was (unofficially) my number-one science fiction pick of 2017, told from the point of view of Murderbot, a lethal security android who has hacked its own system so it won't harm anyone again. Then something or someone starts to attack the civilians Murderbot is protecting. Lots of action plus good-intentioned scientists who try to treat Murderbot—for the first time—like a creature with agency make this a breathtaking read, and I've been waiting on the edge of my seat for months for the next Murderbot book. (May 8, 2018)

Blackfish City: A Novel by Sam J Miller - Set off Greenland and in the Arctic circle, the floating city of Qaanaaq is a destination for refugees--both wealthy and poor--who are fleeing the devastation enveloping the rest of the world. A woman who arrives on a boat with a polar bear and escorted by an orca is either a harbinger of hope or will trigger the destruction of Qaanaaq. Bleak, gut-wrenching, yet beautifully written, Blackfish City ponders what makes a society thrive or die. (April 17, 2018)

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Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente - I can't do this book any more justice than the cover copy does: " The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top galactic science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne Valente where sentient races compete for glory in a universe-wide musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth." Bring it on! (April 3, 2018)

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Good Guys by Steven Brust - What would happen if you discover that instead of being superheroes working on the side of good, you're actually henchmen working for the bad guys? This is the premise of the first standalone novel from Steven Brust (Vlad Taltos series) in a long, long time, and I'm already looking forward to reading it...and laughing. (March 6, 2018)

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The Poppy War: A Novel by R. F Kuang - When poor orphan Rin tests into the elite military academy, she thinks her dead-end life has finally taken a positive turn. But more trials await her as she must prove to herself and others how capable she is on a battlefield. This looks like a good match for readers of Red Rising who especially enjoyed the training scenes at the Institute (guilty!), but this novel gives a nod to Asian culture instead of Roman. (May 1, 2018)

Unbury Carol: A Novel by Josh Malerman - The author of The Bird Box gives us a new, dark twist on the Sleeping Beauty tale. Instead of dying like normal people, Carol falls into a deep coma before becoming renewed. But her current husband wants her really dead this time and plots to bury her alive. Literary horror fans, this should go right on your Wish List. (April 10, 2018)

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84K by Claire North - North's past novels ( The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August; The Sudden Appearance of Hope) merged literary fiction with science fiction into evocative, thought-provoking stories, and at this point I'll read anything she writes. 84K centers on a world in which all crimes are assessed a fee that the criminal has to pay. £84,000 is the penalty for murder. The wealthy can now get away with literally anything they can afford, at least until someone from the Criminal Audit Office decides things must change.... (May 22, 2018)

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The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky) by Leo Carew - First-time author Carew crafts a military and political fantasy set in the cold north, with one kingdom struggling to fight off its bigger, wealthier southern neighbor. Publishers Weekly gave The Wolf a starred review, saying, "Gripping and ambitious...twisty in its political maneuverings, gritty in its battle descriptions, and rich with a sense of heroism and glory." Plus, I really like the cover. (April 3, 2018)

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And keep your eyes open for these new books in established series: Traitorborn by Amy A. Bartol, Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence, Only Human (The Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel, Tricks for Free (Incryptid) by Seanan McGuire, Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega) by Patricia Briggs, If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress, and The Wonder Engine (Clocktaur War) by T. Kingfisher.


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