Science fiction is a genre that's always forward-looking, whether it's tackling technology, civilization, social issues, or simply survival. We decided to ask four of those forward-looking science-fiction authors for their suggestions on new writers to read in the new year.
Martha Wells, John Scalzi, Yoon Ha Lee, and Delilah S. Dawson told us which newcomers have caught their attention, and we loved their enthusiastic responses.
I've just read The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera, and absolutely loved it. The worldbuilding, the characters, the voice, the way the story was told, everything about it felt new and tremendously exciting to me. I also loved the fact that while I think it's the first of a series, it also works perfectly well as a single volume epic fantasy. I think she has a brilliant career ahead of her and I can't wait to read what she does next.
Martha Wells's All Systems Red was named in June 2017 by Amazon's book editors as the best science fiction book of the year so far. The next installment of her Murderbot Diaries saga is Artificial Condition, releasing in May.
A couple of years ago Fran Wilde made a splash with her debut novel, Updraft, which created a fantasy world of flight and bone and wonder and terror. It won a Norton Award (for best fantasy/YA), and a legion of fans waiting to discover what happens next in Wild's Bone Universe. In the two books since (including Horizon, which came out this year), Wilde shows that her early success is not a fluke. This is a rich, beautiful and terrifying universe. Go explore it.
Delilah S. Dawson
For me, 2017 was an adventure into real life grimdark, which means I've naturally turned away from stories of dread and darkness and toward lighthearted fun. One of my favorite reads was Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger, a fresh take on Urban Fantasy. Here's the pitch: The magic system is based on mixology. No vampires, no werewolves, no angels--just an interesting and diverse cast of characters fighting demons with well-mixed drinks, kind of like Harry Potter goes to a keg party. I read it in one day, and I still smile every time I taste an Old Fashioned.
If you do want something more heart wrenching, however, I highly recommend The Only Harmless Great Thing, a novella by Brooke Bolander, which is out January 23. Gorgeous prose and a story merging elephants and the radium girls? Sold! And sniffling.
Yoon Ha Lee
I've had a fondness for vampire novels since high school, but Vivian Shaw's debut, Strange Practice, captured my interest because it's about a doctor for supernatural creatures--"monsters." What's more, these "monsters" are her family, and when they come under attack, she'll do whatever it takes to protect them. I was particularly captivated early on when she shows up at a vampire friend's house and he sees how tired she is and makes her espresso with latte art, because it will cheer her up. I needed this story of friendship and mystery; perhaps you do too.
Yoon Ha Lee was a Locus Award winner and Hugo Award finalist in 2016 for Ninefox Gambit, and both Ninefox Gambit and its sequel, Raven Stratagem, were named by Amazon as among the best science fiction books of the year.
Sign up for the Amazon Book Review: Best books of the month * author interviews * the reading life * and more