Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of December: 5 Top Picks

Adrian Liang on December 10, 2018

Sure, no one likes short days...but for me, longer nights mean more time spent reading. Try one of these five science fiction and fantasy books releasing in December—including one book that made our Top Ten list among all books publishing this month—or take a look all our picks for the best science fiction and fantasy books of the month.

And remember: One of the most enjoyable New Year's resolutions to make is "read more." You can even be an extra-good person and start that resolution early!

How Long 'til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

The collection's title reflects the realization of award-winning author Jemisin that the science fiction she read frequently excluded characters of color, making it seem like people like her had no place in writers' dreams of the future. Jemisin's stories reshape that vision through the lens of alternate history, dragons, fairies, near-future drama, and far-future events that spotlight the age-old blight of discrimination and upend readers' assumptions about who can be heroic. Through her imagination and fierceness, Jemisin declares that Black Future Month can be now. We also picked How Long 'til Black Future Month? as one of the Top Ten books published in December among all fiction and nonfiction.

The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

In book five of the Invisible Library series, peace or at least a cease-fire between the Fae and the dragons might finally be possible with the neutral Librarians overseeing the negotiations. But when one of the dragons is discovered murdered, Irene is pressed into service to find the real killer along with Vale, the Sherlock Holmes-like detective from Irene's world. While the main focus is the mystery of who killed the dragon and why, references to Irene's mysterious parentage and the reappearance of Kai, Irene's former assistant, keep a finger on the pulse of the series's overall story arc, making readers long for book six to arrive as quickly as possible.

The Razor by J. Barton Mitchell

I love books set on prison planets, and The Razor keeps the action bright and tight as a scientist, a former prison guard, a doctor, and a gang member try to survive a catastrophe on the planet where they are imprisoned. There's a very small habitable area on the planet, and between the planet itself trying to kill them and a mass of escaped prisoners taking advantage of the chaos to settle some debts, our four heroes face long odds to live, much less get off the planet entirely. But Mitchell has a number of surprises in store, and this SF thriller checks off all the boxes to create a fun, escapist read.

The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin

More of the mystery genre than the SF&F genre, The Frame-Up nevertheless has a deep and abiding love of geekdom that SF, fantasy, and comics readers are quite familiar with. While MG Martin is such a comics superfan that she even works as a writer for a comics company, she is not pleased when someone starts killing others in methods that are an homage to one of her favorite comic books. Light and sassy, The Frame-Up is a good read for those seeking to smile at the lengths we can go to to immerse ourselves in our (healthy) obsessions.

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Swordheart by T Kingfisher

Set in the world of the Clocktaur Wars (Clockwork Boys, The Wonder Engine), Kingfisher's latest centers on a housekeeper, Halla, whose surprising inheritance includes a large estate, the deceased's horrible in-laws, and a sword that turns into an immortal warrior named Sarkis. As Halla and Sarkis sally forth to rid Halla of her acquired in-laws, hijinks ensue. Kingfisher writes comic epic fantasy with a light touch, keeping the focus on the characters instead of the guffaws—but you will laugh nonetheless.

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