Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of February

Adrian Liang on February 05, 2018

A murder on the moon, a young man whose dream is to fly into battle like his mom, a new YA contemporary fantasy series-starter, a philosophical tale of humanity, and two very, very different time-travel adventures are among our top picks for the best science fiction and fantasy novels of February.

Gunpowder Moon by David Pedreira - This Moon-set action novel is what I hoped Andy Weir’s Artemis would be, though Gunpowder Moon has a wee bit less science and a lot more shooting. A mining crew on the surface of the moon is attacked at first indirectly and then fatally by an unknown saboteur. Who is responsible? The Chinese, only a few hundred kilometers away? Or another country trying to deflect the blame on China as they sneak in to seize U.S. territory? The miners never signed up to be soldiers in a war on the moon, but unless they can figure out what’s really going on, they’re going to be the next casualties in a power grab. Gripping and propulsive, this tightly plotted story of regular folks trying to do the right thing on the surface of the moon is one of my favorite SF novels of the last several months.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig - I think we all know by now that immortality is probably actually a drag. Haig's latest novel flashes between today and moments from the protagonist's centuries-long past, showcasing the moments that have separated Tom Hazard from the rest of humanity. Outlander buffs will enjoy the historical set pieces that give this novel its rich flavor as well as the slow-burn romance that gives Tom a reason to engage again after holding himself in emotional stasis for so long.

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Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay - If you liked The Giver, with its somewhat simplistic plot masking a larger philosophical question, Your One & Only is a good match for you. (And I liked it quite a bit.) Three hundred years in our future, nine types of clones have tweaked their genetic code through the generations to make themselves perfect. The nine models make up the world's population, Althea-310 believes. At least until she meets Jack, who is also a clone but whose cells have been unadulterated in the past 300 years. As Jack tries to figure out why the other clones won't accept him, Althea-310 begins to question the rules. A quick, all-ages read for those who enjoy contemplating what it means to be human.

The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch - Sweterlitsch's second novel hits all the right notes of weirdness, time travel, grit, and gore. Shannon Moss is part of a top-secret black ops time-traveling team who knows that the end of the world is not far off. Every time a team member travels into the future, the solar system's collapse grows closer. But why? As Shannon investigates a murder in her own time and own home town by a man who was once on her team, a tenuous connection to our ever-closer doomsday begins to solidify. Sweterlitsch takes his physics seriously, which is refreshing, even as he builds up dread and doubt. Few books have staked such a solid claim to the intersection between science fiction and thriller.

The Philosopher's Flight: A Novel by Tom Miller - Frothy and fun, Miller opens his alternate history hjinx with a daring nighttime rescue by Robert Weekes and his mother, a legendary flying medic. Robert's dream is to join the Rescue and Evac corps, but never has a man demonstrated enough prowess in empirical philosophy to fly, much less fly with the expertise needed by the Rescue and Evac crew. After he proves himself by flying through stormy weather to save not one but two people, Robert gains a scholarship to Radcliffe, the best empirical philosophy training college, which of course is all-girl. There are many opportunities to go astray in a setup like this, but Robert's charmingly heroic character and Miller's woman-power alternate history set their feet right, delivering a yarn full of derring-do and historical asides.

Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks -Marks, author of the Dark Cycle YA fantasy trilogy, launches a new series perfect for those who enjoy coming-of-age novels with paranormal elements. Sage lives a hand-to-mouth existence in southern California until she discovers she's descended from Celtic gods. Thrust into the middle of an epic power play, not only does Sage have to pick her political alliances carefully, she must decide which young man will earn her trust and heart as well. This should be catnip for readers of Cassandra Clare and Sarah Fine.

Click here to see the full list of the best science fiction and fantasy books of the month.

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