Science fiction is also known as sci-fi or speculative fiction. We think of aliens, spaceships, and time travel when we hear it. Science fiction encourages curiosity in science, regardless of age, stimulates the imagination, and opens up possibilities that we don’t even consider. It is easy to forget that books can and do transform the reader. Continue reading to learn more about the best new sci-fi books.
Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Of The Year
Fall is fast approaching, and there are many new books in stores. It’s a great time to escape into a new world or embark on an adventure.
|Truth of the Divine: A Novel (Noumena, 2)||$24.49||Buy on Amazon|
|The Body Scout: A Novel||$22.99||Buy on Amazon|
|The Human: Rise of the Jain, Book Three (3)||$15.89||Buy on Amazon|
|Persepolis Rising (The Expanse, 7)||$14.99||Buy on Amazon|
|The Veiled Throne (3) (The Dandelion Dynasty)||$26.99||Buy on Amazon|
Truth Of The Divine By Lindsay Ellis (Oct 12)
Lindsay Ellis is most well-known for her YouTube videos, but her first novel, Axiom’s End, was published last year. The book reveals that the US has been engaging with an alien civilization. A young woman named Cora Sabino deals with the fact that her father was the whistleblower who revealed this bit of information to the world.
The world struggles to accept the news in this sequel. However, details about what we know about aliens are not fully disclosed. Cora acts as an intermediary between aliens and the US government and has formed a relationship with Ampersand. A journalist discovers new information about the aliens’ efforts, and it causes chaos in their plans.
- Hardcover Book
The Body Scout By Lincoln Michel (Sept 21)
In the near future, the US will soon be controlled by biopharmaceutical firms, which can produce high-quality body parts for those who have the money. The Body Scout is a story about Kobo Zunz, who works as a scout at one of these companies and searches for the best genetic enhancements to recruit for its baseball team, Monsanto Mets.
His brother is a member of the team. When he dies, Kobo is drawn into a conspiracy that includes everyone, from the industry’s top to back-alley traders. All the while, he races to keep his body running and out of reach of loan sharks to whom it owes money.
The Human by Neal Asher
Best sci-fi books of 2020
The Human is the epic conclusion to the Rise of the Jain Trilogy. It opens with the fate of a whole galaxy in the balance. The fate of an entire galaxy is at stake as a Jain warship rises from a five-million-year-old prison. To save humanity, Orlandine must again fight the seemingly invincible Jain and their deadly, ancient technology.
Leviathan Falls By James S.A. Corey (Nov 16)
James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse story has been an enormous success, a great story that began a decade ago with Leviathan wakes. This noir mystery told the story of a missing girl from the Solar System and a crew of spaceships that escaped an attack. It also featured a major corporation trying to hide an experimental alien bioweapon.
The series has seen the solar system explode into war, and humanity take their first steps in the rest of the galaxy thanks to a network of giant alien stargates. The series finale is Leviathan Falls. The last two books, Persepolis Rising and Tiamat’s Wrath, showed how a military faction of humanity attempted to overthrow the solar system and establish a fascist interstellar Empire. However, they were repelled by the original gate builders. The endgame is here as an expedition travels to outer space to find out how to save the world.
- Corey, James S. A. (Author)
The Veiled Throne By Ken Liu (Nov 2)
Ken Liu started a fantasy “silk punk” series with The Grace of Kings a few years back. The series was then continued with The Wall of Storms. Liu’s stories depicted the rivalry and friendship of two men in an epic battle for control over Dara’s fantastical empire. Then, Liu showed how they came to terms with their differences and eventually learned to be fair rulers of their people.
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Arkady Martine’s first sci-fi novel is an immersive political space opera that will appeal to Ann Leckie or Iain M. Banks fans. A Memory Called Empire introduces a technology that allows a few to carry the memories of their predecessors and use their wisdom and memories. This is a fascinating concept for the reader. Fans will eagerly await the next novel by this science-fiction author. This is the first book in the Texicalaan trilogy.
Termination Shock By Neal Stephenson (Nov 16)
Neal Stephenson is a well-known name in science fiction. His books include Snow Crash, Reamde, and Seveneves. Now, his latest book focuses on climate change. T. R. Schmidt, a billionaire restaurant tycoon, believes he has the answer to the world’s rising temperature.
A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
While the first installment in the Teixcalaan, the spectacular sequel to Arkady Marte’s Hugo Award-winning debut sci-fi book, shows the Teixcalaanli Empire confronting an alien threat that could lead to its destruction. Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus, the only thing standing between the empire’s collapse, sends an envoy in desperate need to negotiate with the alien invaders. . . Arkady Martine’s Teixcalaan duo-logy is a must-read sci-fi and fantasy book for fans of epic opera.
Noor by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW; Nov. 9)
In this short but powerful Africanfuturist novel, Nnedi Okorafor examines the dangers of capitalism and its effect on technology and population control. AO, which stands for Artificial Organism, was born with a disability. Years later, a car accident took even more of her mobility. She prefers to modify herself using biotech modifications. The more modifications she makes, she’s more robust and alert.
Many people dislike those who use biotech modification. After AO is attacked because she is half-human, she flees to the desert where she finds DNA, another escapee. DNA and his cows also survived a heinous attack. This one was politically motivated. The two must flee to a hidden place in the Red Eye to escape the violence.
The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart (Orbit; Nov 9)
Lin struggles to secure her position as emperor in the second installment of the epic fantasy series The Drowning Empire. It begins with The Bone Shard Daughter. Even though she has shut down bone-shard ceremonies and returned bone shards to each island, it is not enough to win over the island’s governors. Her father’s constructions now have no orders and flock to Nifong, who forms an army, attacking the islands.
Jovis is unsure about his loyalty to Lin as the captain of the Imperial Guard, as well as his oath. Phalue (the governor) and Ranami (the loyalties to Shardless Few) bid Lin abdicate their thrones. The second novel adds to the political complexity of the first by showing Lin and Jovis acquiring Alanga powers and islands sinking further. It also sets up a fantasy universe that is easy to lose yourself in.
Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (Tor Books; Sept 28)
The three main characters in this delightful mixture of science fiction and fantasy are set amid the classical violin scene. Shizuka Satomi (the Queen of Hell in the violin world) dealt with the devil to deliver seven souls. She’ll be able again to perform her music after she delivers seven souls. She has already delivered six souls, and she is currently trying to find her seventh. Katrina Nguyen’s violin is her most treasured possession. She flees her abusive family because they won’t accept Katrina as a transwoman.
There is no place she can escape to. Lan Tran, an alien starship Captain, fled an intergalactic conflict with her family across space. She landed in a donut store, which she and her family bought and now own. These three characters form their own family when they meet. But with the devil at their heels, their tight-knit community is in danger.
Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline (Amulet Books; Oct 19)
The sequel to Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves is not slowing down. This dystopian future is characterized by natural disasters and plagues that have decimated the population. Many of those left have stopped dreaming except for Indigenous North Americans. The dreamless, haunted and mad, set up or reopened residential schools to steal dreams and suck the marrow of Indigenous peoples.
French, aged seventeen years old, is part of an Indigenous group that recently saved one of its members from a residential college. French is taken prisoner at a residential school on the night of their celebrations. While he struggles to stay alive and sane, His family finds him and plans to rescue him. Hunting the Stars, an alarming and emotional book, is a must-read for anyone who has enjoyed the first book or those looking for more Indigenous voices within SFF. However, The Marrow Thieves is recommended first.
The Cabinet by Un-Su Kim, translated by Sean Lin Halbert (Angry Robot; Oct.12)
These short stories, which are translated from Korean, feature Cabinet 13 characters. They are hilarious and imaginative. Cabinet 13 lists people known as symptoms (humans who represent a leap in the evolutionary chain) and may be considered a new species. Professor Kwon is the office assistant responsible for studying and tracking this new species.
Mr. Kong is also an office assistant. These symptoms can be both exciting and frustrating for Mr. Kong. The first half is a collection of anecdotes. But the second half slowly reveals a bigger plot. This is the second novel by award-winning author Un-Su Kim to be translated into English.
Recursion By Blake Crouch
Recursion is an action-packed look at alternate universes. Blake Crouch’s previous book Dark Matter was a fun and action-packed read. Although the science is somewhat speculative, it’s an enjoyable adventure.
The sci-fi thriller is high concept and asks the question, “What if someone could rewrite my entire life?” Detective Barry Sutton is called in to assist a woman who threatened to jump from a structure. He doesn’t know the chain of events that will follow. Unable to stop the woman from taking her own life, Barry discovers that the woman is not the only one making similar claims. People are awakening to new lives all across the country. This is what the media has called ‘False Memories Syndrome.’ What if there is more to the problem than a simple disease?
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
Christopher Paolini’s epic science fiction novel To Sleep in A Sea of Stars is the New York Times bestseller.
The story follows Kira Navarez, a xenobiologist, who discovers an alien relic and is thrust into the horrors and nightmares that are first contact. She is thrust into epic space battles for humanity’s fate, which take her to the far reaches of the galaxy. This transforms not only her but also the course of history.
The Last Watch, by J. S. Dewes
This space adventure is a page-turner that follows the crew on the Argus. It’s a ship made up of misfit soldiers who watch out for alien threats at the edge of the universe. When the universe collapses, Adequin Rake, the commanding officer of the Argus, must find a way to save her crew and humanity from the fast-approaching edge of existence. With limited resources and no help from the empire to which she has dedicated her life, Adequin Rake is left with little to no choice but to rescue her crew.
In recent years, one of the most fantastic sci-fi books series debuts is made by the novel’s richly drawn cast of unlikely heroes, meticulously plotted, relentless action, and innovative yet accessible scientific speculation. This space epic is a must-see for fans of the genre, especially those already grieving the loss of The Expanse series this year.
- Dewes, J. S. (Author)
The City In The Middle Of The Night By Charlie Jane Anders
Charlie Jane Anders’ sophomore novel is set on a distant planet. Half of it is frozen, and half of that burns under the sun’s glare. Human settlers live in two cities in the (sort of) temperate zone. However, a discovery about creatures that once lived there changes everything.
Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky’s sci-fi novel Children of Time won an Arthur C. Clarke Award. Children of Ruin shows how modern humanity must deal with the effects of Earth’s ancient empire. Unplanned and unsettling side effects result in terraforming the Nod world. This part of space is finally discovered by an exploration mission eons later. They hope to find their old Earth cousins, but they soon discover that there is more.
The Shadow of the Gods, by John Gwynne
The Shadow of the Gods takes place in a Norse-inspired universe where the gods once ruled, but now their human descendants have been hunted down. This is the start of Gwynne’s new series. As the story shifts between three main characters, Orka, a former warrior who must resign to save her son, Varg, an escaped slave, and Elvar, who seeks to become a warrior in the Battle-Grim Warband, the expansive world is immediately established.
- Gwynne, John (Author)
A Memory Called Empire By Arkady Martine
Mahit Dzmare, the new ambassador to the interstellar Teixcalaanli Empire, is Mahit. Her job quickly goes south when she learns that the previous ambassador is dead. She must solve the mystery of his death and stop her station from being destroyed by the powerful political forces. Although technically it is the first in a series of missions, it should stand on its own.
The Jasmine Throne, by Tasha Suri
Malini, who refused to be “purified by death by fire” as ordered by her brother the emperor, is held captive in an ancient temple till she accepts her fate on the pyre. Priya is the one who has to look after Malini during her captivity. She is a tenderhearted woman and will gladly do any job if it does not threaten her anonymity. Unintentionally, Priya reveals her long-repressed forbidden powers to Malini. This sets off a series of events that will undoubtedly bind their fates and could even reshape the empire.
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
Ryland Grace wakes up in space and has no clue why he is the only survivor of a ship a few light-years away from Earth. Ryland slowly begins to recall his past, and he starts to unravel the mysteries of his identity, as well as his assignment. These are key elements in a desperate quest to save humanity.
- Weir, Andy (Author)
The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Sept 28)
Naomi Novik, an author, introduced Scholomance to readers last year. It is a dangerous magical academy where only the most gifted can escape alive. The course load is intense, and monsters are all around the halls. Galadriel Higgins, also known as El, is one of these students struggling to make it through graduation. She has a secret: she was prophesied to one day end the world.
To survive in the first book, she had to form tenuous alliances to help her classmates. This sci-fi book presents her with a more challenging curriculum. She will have to figure out how to survive alongside her new friends and not succumb to her destiny.
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom; Oct 5)
This humorous feminist novella tells the story of Sleeping Beauty. Zinnia Gray, a modern Sleeping Beauty, has a rare and fatal disease. It is rare for anyone with it lives beyond 21. Charm, Zinnia’s friend, throws her a Sleeping Beauty surprise birthday party. But when Zinnia touches a spinning wheel, she is thrust into another dimension. Zinnia cannot return to her world, so she decides that this Sleeping Beauty will help her overcome the curse. Zinnia is attracted to Sleeping Beauty as they work together. With Arthur Rackham’s original illustrations, this quick read is a must-read for all fairy tale fans.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson whitehead was inspired by his teenage fascination with Stephen King and Issac Amirmov to write this apocalyptic science-fiction novel. A plague has ravaged the planet, and its population is split into the living and dead. Mark Spitz works on a task force to rid the planet of infested people from Zone One, but it quickly worsens.
- Anchor Books
Other Best Science Fiction Novels To Consider
- Activation Degradation by Marina J. Lostetter (Harper Voyager; Sept 28)
- Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (Wednesday Books; Oct 19)
- The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales by Yoon Ha Lee (Andrews McMeel Publishing; Oct 5)
- The Brides of Maracoor by Gregory Maguire (William Morrow; Oct 12)
Fantasy books use places, people, and countries that exist, then create stories from this understanding. Science fiction is a different kind of fiction. It looks at our futures and extrapolates technologies to create distinct worlds for the characters and stories. Sci-fi novels often focus on radical change and imaginative possibilities. It also extrapolates the effects of these changes on society. I hope you find the above article helpful in expanding your knowledge. Thank you for reading.
Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API