This fall is bursting with promising science fiction and fantasy. While many of the authors are familiar--think N. K. Jemisin, James S.A. Corey, and George R.R. Martin--there is also a cadre of talented newcomers whose fresh takes promise to open up new worlds.
From Murderbots to magical landmines, and from math geniuses to a young woman who can touch the past, these fifteen new books and their heroes shouldn't be missed.
Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition by Mur Lafferty
This expanded novelization of the Solo movie promises to include scenes from alternate versions of the script. That, plus Lafferty as the novel's author, has me looking forward to learning more about the man who dubbed himself Solo. Available September 4.
Rosewater by Tade Thompson
Previously published with limited distribution, this winner of the 2017 Nommo Awards for African speculative fiction has authors Ann Leckie, Annalee Newitz, and M.R. Carey singing its praises. This trilogy-launcher centers on an alien dome in Nigeria and the humans surrounding it, desperate for the healing powers that supposedly lie therein. Kaaro has been inside the dome, and he doesn't want to return, but a series of killings forces him to confront not only the past but his people's future. Available September 18 in print; available now in Kindle.
Vengeful by V. E. Schwab
Since the publication of Villains five years ago, Schwab's readers have been awaiting another book with Victor Vale and Eli Ever: sometimes archenemies, sometimes super-villains, always interesting. Schwab delights in superhero tropes even as she tramples them. Available September 25
A Winter's Promise: Book One of The Mirror Visitor Quartet by Christelle Dabos
This new novel had me glued to the couch as I flipped pages like mad. A debut novel by a French author, A Winter's Promise begins a four-book fantasy series that vibrates with the wonder of Harry Potter's magical world and has all the dark, opaque shadows of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. Ophelia can read an object's history just by touching it, which is perfect for her job in a museum but not at all a good match for being the wife of a distant, frozen island's financial director. Or so she thinks. When Ophelia reaches her new home, she learns her fiancé is hated by just about everyone, and just about everyone would also be pleased as punch to see her hurt or dead. Ophelia is a hero for the ages, and I hope this series becomes the next big one that grabs the imaginations of young adults and adults alike. Available September 25
Exit Strategy: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
Book four in Wells' Murderbot series promises to resolve Murderbot's questions about the massacre in Murderbot's past as well as what the security company has in store for the friends that Murderbot has reluctantly picked up during the past three books. If you haven't started this series yet, there's still time to catch up before it ends. Available October 2
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
Harris, best known for her Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood books, delivers a new heroine named Lizbeth Rose, who is a gunslinger in an America altered by magic as well as the assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Harris knows how to create characters that stick with you, and this book's original premise gives it a leg up on the many, many other books in my TBR pile. Available October 2
Street Freaks by Terry Brooks
I swear, I never get on a bus in Seattle without seeing someone who is reading a Terry Brooks book. This fall, Brooks releases his first science fiction novel, Street Freaks, about a teen chased by government officials into a lawless part of town. Ash finds refuge with a bunch of "freaks," people who have gone through various major or minor augmentations, and uncovers a world hidden from his previously privileged life. Action and heroism intertwine as Ash tries to figure out where he stands and what he should do. Available October 2
Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huang
Math genius Cas Russell can practically see the calculations necessary to dodge bullets and take down guys heavier than her. But she's not the only one in the galaxy with special powers, and those other people have the potential to be a lot more scary…. Huang herself has a math degree from MIT and has worked as a stuntwoman on Battlestar Galactica, so the math-action mashup should be a good one. Available October 2
The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant out-Martined George R. R. Martin with its political turmoil and surprise backstabbings, and I've been on the edge of my seat for three years now, waiting for the sequel. Baru is playing a complex, long game as she seeks to destroy from the inside the empire that decimated her family and her culture, but she's been damaged and has damaged herself along the way. I can't wait to see what Dickinson has in store for Baru in book two. Available October 30
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
I've been so impressed with the debut fantasy novels of the past several years, and I have high hopes for Tasha Suri's forthcoming Empire of Sand. Desert nomad Mehr inherited magical powers from her nomad mother, but her father's ties to the imperial government might have just as deep an influence on her future as the empire learns of Mehr's abilities and wants to bend them to their goals. Available November 11
City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender
An infestation that feeds on magical humans is approaching a major city, and only non-magical humans have the ability to defuse and dispose of the danger. It's a dangerous job anyway, but when Laura is the last living sweeper who stands between the city and a massive infestation, the odds look pretty bad indeed. Magical mayhem and action-adventure form the core of this debut novel. Available November 20
How Long 'til Black Future Month?: Stories by N. K. Jemisin
Jemisin's award-winning Broken Earth novels showcased her outstanding creativity and thoughtful, complex characters. These new stories examine modern society through the lens of alternate history, dragons, fairies, and more. This short-story collection's title alone is a wake-up call to embrace and echo. Available November 27
Tiamat's Wrath by James S. A. Corey
The Rocinante's crew continues to fight the good fight against all odds while the galaxy—and its dangers—grows ever bigger in the eighth Expanse novel by writing team James S.A. Corey. Available December 4
Agency by William Gibson
William Gibson (Neuromancer) returns with his first new novel in four years. When an "app-whisperer" begins beta testing a new product, her digital assistant starts to make her life a lot more complicated…and a lot more dangerous. Available December 31
Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Last but not least, Martin's latest Westeros-related book takes us 300 years back before Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen, and gives readers a glimpse of the turmoil that sparked the events that we've been obsessed with for years. Although everyone's waiting for the new novel, not the new "nonfiction" book, it's always a thrill to return to Westeros. Available November 20
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