The Epic List of 120 Speculative Fiction Books to Look For in 2018 (Part 1)

Everyone's all caught up on their favorite 2017 science fiction and fantasy reads, right? Well hold onto your bookmarks, because there are hundreds of other books waiting on this side of 2018. I've rounded up more than one hundred of them. In addition to January's choice selections, check out these science fiction, fantasy and horror titles available in the coming year and add them to your reading list. You're welcome.


February is right around the corner and its goal is to entertain you. For starters, there's Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift, a time travel adventure in which a woman discovers a time portal which she uses to travel to past and future Paris, inadvertently changing the timeline along the way. Alex Wells returns to the magical/futuristic Tanegawa's world (first seen in Hunger Makes the Wolf) with the sequel Blood Binds the Pack, which has its witchy rebel protagonist trying to foil the company that's exploiting the planet and the people. John Kessel's mash-up Pride and Prometheus, succinctly described as "Pride and Prejudice meets Frankenstein," sees Mary Bennet falling for the enigmatic Victor Frankenstein and befriending his creation.

Into the Fire by Elizabeth Moon is a military sci-fi thriller in which a ragtag group of survivors led by space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta discover the headquarters of a conspiracy that threatens both the government and her family. In Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell, the first in a new military science fiction trilogy, a sentient warship becomes disgusted with her role in mass genocide and looks to atone for her sins. Gini Koch's Alien novels, a swiftly-paced mix of science fiction action and paranormal romance, forge on with Aliens Abroad, in which the Earth is becoming overpopulated with beings both human and extraterrestrial. Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell team up to bring a gripping fantasy to life in The Tangled Lands, where a tyrant tries to build an empire in a land crippled by magic.

John Darnielle's throwback to the horror of yesteryear, Universal Harvester, depicts two video store clerks enmeshed in a dark mystery discovered through eerie footage spliced into VHS cassettes. In Jasmine Gower's Moonshine, mage hunters are out to extinguish all forms of dark magic in a warped version of 1920s Chicago. Oh, and be sure to get your short fiction fix with the debut collection Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by up-and-coming writer-to-watch Vandana Singh, and The Armored Saint by Myke Cole, which depicts a world where magic is outlawed.


The month of March is doing its part to offer up fine reading, too. On the fantasy side of the reading spectrum is Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs, the latest in the Alpha and Omega urban fantasy series, where mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face an all-new threat. Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire—the first of a prolific four books she is releasing this year and the seventh book in the Incryptid urban fantasy series, where magical creatures live in secret among humans—has its protagonist Antimony Price hiding out in a Florida amusement park dealing with a secret cabal of magic users. Speaking of magic, Steven Brust's irreverent urban fantasy Good Guys revolves around a secret "Foundation" that utilizes magic to get what they want. But their minimum wage workers have to wonder: are they really the good guys? If it's epic fantasy you're after, look no further than A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu, where kings maneuver for control over the land of Sharakhai.

On the science fiction side of the spectrum is Sue Burke's Semiosis, a "first contact" novel in which the colonists of a new planet discover that the world is indeed inhabited after all. A kind of "second contact" story is If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress (sequel to Tomorrow's Kin), which sees humanity traveling to an alien world to follow the aliens they met on Earth, only to be faced with a deadly virus that could eliminate everyone. Tristan Palmgren's Quietus has its transdimensional anthropologist meddling in the affairs of Earth's darkest period in history when she rescues a young Florentine Carthusian monk from the black Plague. Overthrowing a post-apocalyptic tyrannical government offers its own challenges, as Nik Korpon's Queen of the Struggle proves, especially when a new force threatens to take over the city.

Short fiction readers will have their hands full, too. To begin with, check out the themed multi-author anthology The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea edited by Ellen Datlow and the collection Feed Me the Bones of Our Saint by Alex Dally MacFarlane. Fans of pulp sf will want to get their hands all over The Collected Captain Future, Volume Four edited by Stephen Haffner, which continues the derring-do adventures of one of sf's classic heroes. There's single dose short fiction available, too: Aliette de Bodard's The Tea Master and The Detective (part of the well-imagined Xuya universe) is about a sentient ship who makes a living by brewing drugs for high-paying customers; Stone Mad by Elizabeth Bear is a short novel that brings readers back to the steampunk Victorian Pacific Northwest city first introduced in the novel Karen Memory.


When you start taking your lunch breaks outside, be sure to have some of April's fine lineup on hand. For example, in Emma Newman's Before Mars, a woman stationed on Mars becomes involved in an elaborate corporate conspiracy. Also featuring Mars is S. J. Morden's One Way, a science fiction murder mystery in which a small crew of ex-cons working on Mars start getting murdered. Though Hell Should Bar the Way by David Drake, the latest installment of the Republic of Cinnabar Navy/RCN series, is a military space romp featuring pirates, politics, and spies. The Long Sunset by Jack McDevitt (eighth book in The Academy series) has its protagonist, pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins, discovering an interstellar message from a highly-advanced alien race just as public opinion threatens to shut down the space program. Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente rightfully bills itself as "an over-the-top science fiction spectacle". It's about galaxies competing for glory in a universe-wide musical contest.  If you're looking for a near-future science fiction thriller, grab Head On by John Scalzi, in which robot-like bodies are used in a violent game where players try to carry their opponents' heads to the goal. Or, if you're looking for something that exhibits the power of science fiction, consider the sf-as-looking-glass approach of Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller, a powerful novel about political corruption, organized crime and technology run amok in a dystopian city floating in the Arctic Circle.

Fantasy readers have some choice picks this month, too. Young warriors trained and raised together by a mysterious brotherhood of assassins hunt one of their own in Lost Gods by Micah Yongo, an epic fantasy inspired by African legends. There's also Gail Z. Martin's Vengeance, about a pair of lawbreaking brothers who protect the town of Ravenwood from monsters. Finally, set in a magic-infused post–Katrina New Orleans, Bryan Camp's The City of Lost Fortunes is about a man who possesses the magical ability to find lost things trying to find the killer of the Fortune god.

You can drown yourself in short fiction this month. There are two "Year's Best" anthologies: Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Twelve edited by Jonathan Strahan and The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three edited by Neil Clarke. There's the themed anthology Not So Stories edited by David Thomas Moore, a literary response to Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. There's the classic collection Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories by Arthur Machen. And there are two on-shot short novels: In Phoresis by Greg Egan, the inhabitants of a resource-strapped planet attempt to build a bridge to a neighboring planet, and Time Was by Ian McDonald, a love story stitched across time and war.

There's more to come! Tune in next week to see more of 2018's exciting sf/f/h lineup!

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


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