It’s hard to believe it’s almost 2022.
Anywho, here’s a wish for you. May your TBR be plentiful. May your reads be five-stars. May the science fiction flourish and the fantasy contain dragons. May the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors get the same or better marketing as the whyte epic fantasy authors. May the fields and social media accounts of our enemies be smited and salted and blocked for all eternity.
Here are some SFF releases I’m most excited for in this first quarter of the new year.
Blurbs are from Goodreads.
Dead Silence by SA Barnes (January 25)
Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate. What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right.
Light Years From Home by Mike Chen (January 25)
Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob. When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all.
Servant Mage by Kate Elliott (January 18)
Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines. Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good. But Fellion has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve…
If I Were a Weapon by Skye Kilaen (January 11)
When dying alien ships materialized across the Earth, their nanite infection knocked Deneve Wilder out cold. She woke up with the ability to see the future. Determined to keep anyone from using her visions for evil, she took to the road. Giving up everything was a small price to pay for freedom. The ship that hit Jolie Betancourt’s town gave her the power to set things on fire. It was safer to start over in a new city. Then one terrible mistake demonstrated far too clearly that for her, solitude is safer. For everyone. So when Deneve shows up after a vision of Jolie being kidnapped, Jolie wants little to do with the frustratingly attractive drifter.
How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (January 18)
Beginning in 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus. Once unleashed, the Arctic Plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy.
Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi (January 25)
In the 2050s, Earth has begun to empty. Those with the means and the privilege have departed the great cities of the United States for the more comfortable confines of space colonies. Those left behind salvage what they can from the collapsing infrastructure. As they eke out an existence, their neighborhoods are being cannibalized. Brick by brick, their houses are sent to the colonies, what was once a home now a quaint reminder for the colonists of the world that they wrecked.
One Verse Multi by Sander Santiago (January 1)
For the last ten years, Martin King has been a rift repair technician for the Multi-verse Protection Corporation (MVP), closing gaps between universes. But he is ready for a change and joins a research team tasked with answering some exciting questions. “Exciting” quickly becomes “troubling” as the team learns that the multi-verse is on the fast track to a collision event that could destroy everyone and everything. MVP is there to help, right? Maybe not. Everything changes when Martin is kidnapped by an anti-MVP group who claims MVP is secretly propelling the collision. And if the multi-verse issues weren’t enough, several men make Martin rethink what it means to be single or even monogamous.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tam (January 11)
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind. To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies.
Last Exit by Max Gladstone (February 22)
Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda’s lover and the group’s heart. Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart. Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US. When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts.
Moon Witch, Spider King (Book 2) by Marlon James (February 15)
In Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Sogolon the Moon Witch proved a worthy adversary to Tracker as they clashed across a mythical African landscape in search of a mysterious boy who disappeared. In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon takes center stage and gives her own account of what happened to the boy, and how she plotted and fought, triumphed and failed as she looked for him. It’s also the story of a century-long feud—seen through the eyes of a 177-year-old witch—that Sogolon had with the Aesi, chancellor to the king. It is said that Aesi works so closely with the king that together they are like the eight limbs of one spider. Aesi’s power is considerable—and deadly. It takes brains and courage to challenge him, which Sogolon does for reasons of her own.
Plutoshine by Lissa Kissick (February 17)
Terraforming – the megascale-engineering of a planet’s surface to one more Earth-like – is now commonplace across the Solar System, and Pluto’s is set to be the most ambitious transformation yet. Four billion miles from the Sun and two hundred degrees below zero, what this worldlet needs is light and heat. Through captured asteroids and solar mirrors, humanity’s finest scientists and engineers are set to deliver them. What nobody factored in was a saboteur – but who, and why?
Scorpica by GR Macallister (February 22)
Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.
Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot (February 8)
Lesbian gunslinger fights spies in space! Three factions vie for control of the galaxy. Rig, a gunslinging, thieving, rebel with a cause, doesn’t give a damn about them and she hasn’t looked back since abandoning her faction three years ago. That is, until her former faction sends her a message: return what she stole from them, or they’ll kill her twin sister. Rig embarks on a journey across the galaxy to save her sister – but for once she’s not alone. She has help from her network of resistance contacts, her taser-wielding librarian girlfriend, and a mysterious bounty hunter.
Sisters of the Forsaken Stars (Book 2) by Lisa Rather (February 15)
Not long ago, Earth’s colonies and space stations threw off the yoke of planet Earth’s tyrannical rule. Decades later, trouble is brewing in the Four Systems, and Old Earth is flexing its power in a bid to regain control over its lost territories. The Order of Saint Rita—whose mission is to provide aid and mercy to those in need—bore witness to and defied Central Governance’s atrocities on the remote planet Phyosonga III. The sisters have been running ever since, staying under the radar while still trying to honor their calling.
A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross (February 15)
Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo (March 15)
The St. Bernard women have lived in Morne Marie, the house on top of a hill outside Port Angeles, for generations. Built from the ashes of a plantation that enslaved their ancestors, it has come to shelter a lineage that is bonded by much more than blood. One woman in each generation of St. Bernards is responsible for the passage of the city’s souls into the afterlife. But Yejide’s relationship with her mother, Petronella, has always been contorted by anger and neglect, which Petronella stubbornly carries to her death bed, leaving Yejide unprepared to fulfill her destiny.
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (March 1, originally self-published in 2020)
The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation. When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.
Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus (March 29)
The Muungano empire strived and struggled to form a utopia when they split away from old earth. Freeing themselves from the endless wars and oppression of their home planet in order to shape their own futures and create a far-reaching coalition of city-states that stretched from Earth and Mars to Titan. With the wisdom of their ancestors, the leadership of their elders, the power and vision of their scientists and warriors they charted a course to a better future. But the old powers could not allow them to thrive and have now set in motion new plots to destroy all that they’ve built.
The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories edited by Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang (March 8)
In The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, you can dine at a restaurant at the end of the universe, cultivate to immortality in the high mountains, watch roses perform Shakespeare, or arrive at the island of the gods on the backs of giant fish to ensure that the world can bloom. Written, edited, and translated by a female and nonbinary team, these stories have never before been published in English and represent both the richly complicated past and the vivid future of Chinese science fiction and fantasy.
Kundo Wakes Up by Saad Hossain (March 15)
While Gurkha introduced us to the techno utopia of Kathmandu, Kundo takes us to Hossain’s native Bangladesh, to the fading city of Chittagong, which is slowly crumbling into the sea as even Karma goes silent. But Kundo’s contemplation of his dying city is interrupted when his wife leaves him and then goes inexplicably missing, and soon Kundo starts to connect the dots between a number of disappearances. But this is Hossain, and so there’s more afoot than techno shenanigans. Kundo will find that the veil between worlds is paper-thin, and the djinn have their own stake in the matter.
The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (March 1)
In the land of the Strangled Throat, the people suffer under the rule of a despotic Emperor. His sons, the Three Terrors, despoil the countryside and oppress its citizens. When Keema Daware–a fierce warrior who lost his left arm in battle–finds the mythic Empress, who has escaped from her royal imprisonment, at his sentry outpost, he must make a choice: turn her in and evade the wrath of the Three Terrors, or help her overthrow the government and free a nation.
The Bone Orchard by Sarah Mueller (March 22)
Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real. Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself. But now–Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi (March 15)
When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on. What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.
All the Horse of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie (March 1)
Everyone knows of the horses of Iceland, wild, and small, and free, but few have heard their story. Sarah Tolmie’s All the Horses of Iceland weaves their mystical origin into a saga for the modern age. Filled with the magic and darkened whispers of a people on the cusp of major cultural change, All the Horses of Iceland tells the tale of a Norse trader on the Silk Road and the ghostly magic that followed him home to the land of fire, stone, and ice. His search for riches will take him from Helmgard, through Khazaria, to the steppes of Mongolia, where he will barter for horses and return with much, much more.
The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong (March 8)
Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon. Here, everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job. When the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him, or face vivisection. With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down together. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.