As the February lineup of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror books will prove, it's not a lack of books that make it difficult to find something to read. If anything, there are too many books to read. Here's a list of books to help you narrow down your selection. I'd say "choose wisely"...but all of these are sure bets. Titles this month include a serial killer, merfolk, human trafficking, illegal magic, a Lovecraftian demon, and more.

Phantom Effect by Michael Aronovitz

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A serial killer kills the wrong person. The victim, Marissa Madison, is a psychic whose ghost subsequently forces the killer to inhabit her body during the last, harrowing week of her life.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Seeing a killer get to experience the fear he himself induces in his victims is sweet justice.

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The Guns of Ivrea by Clifford Beal

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The fates of a former thief, a pirate mercenary, and the daughter of the chief of the merfolk converge on a series of events that could mean war.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This is the first installment of what promises to be a swashbuckling seafaring fantasy series.

Morning Star by Pierce BrownGunsIvrea

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Picking up the story from Red Rising and Golden Son, the countdown to a revolution that was a long time coming finally reaches zero.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The war between the repressed Reds and the elite Golds continues to its dramatic conclusion.

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Miles Vorkosigan's new mission involves his own mother, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, who returns to the planet that changed her destiny.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Bujold's Vorkosigan novels never fail to entertain readers.

Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A woman with augmented senses, whose talents have left her blind, teams up with a man who dreams the deaths of others. Together, they aim to catch a killer loose in the royal city. 

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This imaginative new fantasy world is based on a tasty mixture of psychic talents and deadly magic.

Graft by Matt Hill

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In near-future Manchester, a local mechanic named Sol who steals car parts stumbles onto a trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy.DreamingDeath

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The chase is on as Sol and a three-armed woman named Y run from their pursuers.

Revisionary by Jim C. Hines

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A man empowered with book-based magic tries to prevent the magic world from starting a war with the mundane world (that's us).

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The creative world of the Libriomancer books keeps this fantasy fresh.

A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a world where magic is illegal, a desperate sorceress and a magic prohibition agent infiltrate a magical crime syndicate.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The underground world of magic is evocative of the crime world of yesteryear, and just as exciting.

Hell's Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale & John Lansdale

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A weird Western in which a bounty hunter makes a deal with the devil to take down a man who is possessed by an otherworldly Lovecraftian demon.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Lansdale-branded fiction is already a must read. But double branded? What are you waiting for?

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A young man named TomáGraft-hills sets out to find an extraordinary fabled artifact that very well could change the course of history.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Martel, author of Life of Pi, excels at magical realism.

Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A fantasy-based coming-of-age story in which a man, long sheltered by his sorceress mother, embarks on a trip of discovery of himself and his surprising family secrets.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The world depicted here sounds meticulously crafted and wondrous. 

Version Control by Dexter Palmer

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A couple—Rebecca, who works in customer support, and her husband, Philip, a physicist who works on something that alters the flow of time—experience a personal tragedy.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The malleable nature of time itself will bend your mind in all the right ways.

Isaac Asimov's I, Robot: To Preserve by Mickey Zucker Reichert

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: When a robot programmed to serve and protect humans is found near a murder victim, the robot's creator is arrested. Robotocist Susan Calvin, who knows robots can never harm humans, investigates.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT:VersionControl This is the latest extension of science-fiction Grandmaster Isaac Asimov's beloved Robot and Foundation universe.

Poseidon's Wake by Alastair Reynolds

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A cryptic message from a faraway planet invites Ndege, a member of the influential Akinya family, to investigate, but she is living under permanent house arrest for her role in a catastrophe that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Reynolds swift-moving fiction is eye-opening and page-turning at the same time.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: An Army veteran embarks on a road trip to New England to find his father and encounters malevolent spirits, secret cabals, and racial tension.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Come for the mix of historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror. Stay for the fun of it.

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: As "Red" London prepares for a competition of magic, "Black" London returns to prominence, thus upsetting the balance of magic that can only be fixed when another London falls.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Schwab's handling of characters makes these magical people seem believable and all too human.


February short fiction is also brimming with crunchy goodness. Seek out:

The Best of Bova: Volume 1 by Ben Bova

The Tale of Tales edited by Nancy L. Canepa

A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson

Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place edited by Jaym Gates

Masters of Science Fiction: Fritz Leiber edited by John Pelan

Masters of Science Fiction: James Patrick Kelly edited by John Pelan

The Bestiary edited by Ann VanderMeer

Happy reading!

John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, the Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as .