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33 science fiction and fantasy books that everyone will be talking about in 2017

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We’ve already taken a look at what novels are hitting bookshelves this month, but 2017 promises to be a huge year for science fiction and fantasy literature as a whole. There’s going to be some great reads from debut authors, while some of the best names in the business are closing out trilogies or releasing brand-new adventures.

This list doesn’t include some long-expected, high-profile titles, such as George R.R. Martin’s Winds of Winter, Scott Lynch’s Thorn of Emberlain, or Patrick Rothfuss’s Doors of Stone, because we don’t actually know if those books are done or even coming out this year. Hopefully, we’ll see one or even all of them, but in the meantime, there’s a ton of really intriguing novels we can’t wait to get our hands on. Here’s what we’re most excited for this year.

January

Tor.com

The Fortress at the End of Time by Joe M. McDermott January 17th

This intriguing-looking novel is set in a vast human civilization, where humans have colonized the galaxy using a faster-than-light communications device and clones. One such clone is assigned to man a distant outpost, and has to come to terms with a terrible incident in his past. This has the looks of a thoughtful and interesting read.

Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya DyerJanuary 31st

I published one of Thoraiya Dyer’s stories in an anthology I edited, so I’m really excited to read her debut novel, which is set in a forested fantasy world where gods are reincarnated. Dyer looks to explore the tension between the rulers who live in the heights of the forest kingdoms, and the exploited underclass of the lower levels.

Six Wakes by Mur LaffertyJanuary 31st

When you have a murder on a spaceship, you have a limited number of suspects. But when your entire crew is killed and everyone wakes up in a clone body, it complicates the investigation. Mur Lafferty’s new novel looks like it’s going to be a fantastic blend of science fiction and murder mystery, set deep in space.

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor January 31st

Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti earned her a Nebula and Hugo award last year, as well as a handful of additional award nominations. The story follows a bright woman as she sets off for an interstellar university. Now, she’s returning home and has to contend with her family and their attitudes toward her much larger ambitions.

February

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly February 7th

Lara Elena Donnelly puts together an intriguing fantasy / spy thriller in which a spy’s cover is blown. He’s forced to turn against his country to survive by watching the rising One State Party, which is bent on taking over Amberlough City. Donnelly has made a name for herself with her short fiction, and this political novel about fighting fascism looks all the more relevant in 2017.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman February 7th

Fantasy and Neil Gaiman are practically synonymous for many, and the author’s next big fantasy goes to the roots of Norse mythology. This novel will be a narrative retelling of the adventures of the pantheon of the northern gods, including Odin, Thor, Loki, and others. Gaiman’s written some incredible novels that have drawn on Norse mythology in the past (like American Gods, for instance). With his track record of incredible novels, this is one that we’re really excited to get our hands on.

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley February 7th

In the depths of space, a fleet of worldships known as the Legion are traveling between stars. A war for control over the ships has been waged for centuries, and the key to salvation might lie with a prisoner without memories. Kameron Hurley’s latest novel looks like it’s going to be huge in every way.

Aftermath: Empire's End by Chuck Wendig February 21st

Taking place in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath and Life Debt have helped set the stage for the events in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. His next, Empire’s End, brings the trilogy to a close, and will help explain how the Empire, well, ends... and how that massive Star Destroyer ended up crashed on Jakku.

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab February 21st

V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series has been a triumph of world building, setting its swashbuckling adventure inside a brilliant fantasy world. A Darker Shade of Magic, introduced readers to series of alternate, interconnected worlds and some incredible characters. A Gathering of Shadows did a lot of legwork setting up this final installment of the series, and we’re now ready for its epic conclusion.

March

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey March 14th

A private space company is getting ready to put astronauts on Mars for the first time. The trio of Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov are tasked with a 17-month mission to test their training and ensure that they’re ready to travel to the Red Planet. As the months tick by, each are confronted by their own perceptions of reality, and by one another.

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley RobinsonMarch 14th

As the sea levels rise due to a warming atmosphere, the Atlantic ocean floods the streets of New York City. In his next novel, Kim Stanley Robinson explores how the city’s residents coping with the change will adapt and survive. Robinson has put together some of the best hard sci-fi novels in the genre, and his next looks particularly intriguing — and all too relevant.

Collapsing Empire by John ScalziMarch 21st

Humanity has discovered a means of interstellar travel called The Flow, and has established a vast new civilization across thousands of new worlds. When scientists discover that The Flow is shifting and could cut off every human world from one another, a team sets out to see if they can save human civilization. Scalzi is best known for his Old Man’s War series, and a new space opera novel from him is a very welcome thing indeed.

Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald March 28th

Ian McDonald has written some of my favorite science fiction novels. Seriously, go, and read Luna: New Moon, which depicted a brutal family struggle over control of the moon. Now, its sequel picks up with the family in shambles, and the remaining children looking to take back control.

Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer March 28th

In Too Like Lightning, Ada Palmer introduced readers to a utopian, post-scarcity world which was beginning to crumble. Mycroft Canner had learned of a vast conspiracy to ensure the stability of society, and knows of a special child who can change everything.

April

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel April 4th

Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants became a runaway hit last year. In it, Rose Franklin devoted her life to studying the giant robot that she first discovered when she was a child. Now that the mech has been completed, more questions have been raised as to its purpose when a second one arrives. Only Rose and her team stand in the way to stop an invasion.

American War by Omar El Akkad April 4th

In this alternate history novel, the United States has been split by a second Civil War and experienced a plague. A young woman named Sarat Chestnut grows up in this dangerous new world and is turned into a weapon that will have devastating consequences for her family.

Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele April 11th

Allen Steele wowed us with last year’s Arkwright, and for his next novel, he’s taking a slightly different track: he’s resurrecting pulp author Edmond Hamilton’s Captain Future, and bringing him back for a new adventure. Arkwright was particularly steeped in the lore and history of the science fiction genre, and this should be an intriguing story to read.

Thrawn by Timothy ZahnApril 11th

I might have done a dance in my chair when this news came across last fall: Timothy Zahn is returning to the Star Wars universe with the character that brought back the franchise, Grand Admiral Thrawn. The character has been playing a pivotal role in Star Wars Rebels, and will be getting his own novel.

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow April 25th

It’s been almost a decade since we’ve had a new adult novel from Cory Doctorow. In the future, anyone can print up anything that they need to survive. A communist named Hubert, Etc falls in love with a rich heiress named Natalie, and the pair decide to walk away from society completely. They enter a changed world, one wrecked by climate change, dead cities, and more, and discover something that even the ultra-wealthy haven’t been able to get their hands on: a cure for death.

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley April 25th

Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series came to an end last year with The Last Mortal Bond, but that doesn’t mean that he’s done with the world. His next book, Skullsworn is set in the same universe, following one of the major characters for a side adventure. Pyrre Lakatur is an assassin devoted to the God of Death, and has been studying and preparing for The Trial, in which she has 10 days to kill 10 people. Pyrre was one of the more interesting characters in Staveley’s world, so it’ll be fascinating to see what she’s up to on her own.

May

Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien May 4th

J.R.R. Tolkien might be long dead, but his vast archive of works still contains many stories. Case in point: Beren and Lúthien, one of Tolkien’s oldest tales from Middle-earth. It’s the story of a pair of lovers, set well before the events of Lord of the Rings.

Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb May 9th

With Assassin’s Fate, Robin Hobb is bringing her Fitz and the Fool Trilogy to a close. Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s takes off in pursuit when his daughter is abducted. When it seems as though Bee perishes in the chase, he vows to reach the city of Clerres, where he can exact his revenge on the Servants of the Four.

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton May 23rd

Michael Crichton died in 2008, but he’s had a resurgence in popularity recently. HBO had a hit on its hands with Westworld, Jurassic World made big noise at the box office, and his estate recently discovered a new novel hidden in his papers. Even better? It’s a book about dinosaurs — sort of. Set in 1876, the book is about rival paleontologists hunting for fossils and glory.

Radiate by C.A. Higgins May 23rd

C.A. Higgins’ Lightless and Supernova were both excellent, hard sci-fi novels that explored the emergence of an AI on an advanced spaceship in a dystopian future solar system. Now that the ship is sentient, she wants to get to know her creators, and searches for the programmer that brought her to life — who is on a journey of his own.

June

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee June 13th

Yoon Ha Lee’s debut novel Ninefox Gambit came out last year, and its follow-up, Raven Stratagem, picks up shortly thereafter. Captain Kel Cheris summoned General Shuos Jedao, a long-dead general, to put down a rebellion, only to be possessed by the ghost. At the same time, aliens known as the Hafn are invading, and Jedao might be the only person who can stop them. Lee’s take on space opera and military science fiction was intriguingly different, and this new book looks just as exciting.

Image: Saga Press

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss June 20th

Theodora Goss has written some of my favorite short stories. (Read Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology over on Lightspeed Magazine.) She’s an imaginative author with fantastic prose, and her new novel draws on some of the genre’s classic characters, and reimagines them in a whole bunch of new ways.

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory June 27th

I’ve really dug Daryl Gregory’s earlier novels, and his next looks to be absolutely fantastic. It’s about several generations of the Telemachus family, known as psychics until their magic vanished. After withdrawing from the public eye, they’re forced to use their powers to protect themselves from criminals, the government, and the general public.

July and Beyond

Six Feet Over by Max Gladstone July

Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence is an amazing series of urban fantasy novels, set in a richly imagined world where magic is treated more like law or coding than something mystical. There’s few details about the latest chapter as of now, but it’s expected to hit in July, and it’s not one to be missed.

Dark Sky by Mike Brooks July 11th

Mike Brooks introduced us to the crew of the Keiko in his debut space opera Dark Run, and they’re back in his sequel, Dark Sky. In this adventure, the crew is hired for a quick data retrieval job, only to be caught up in the midst of a revolution on the mining planet of Urgan. The book is out in August, but if you’re really itching to pick it up, you can find a UK edition (where the book is already out), or pick up the audiobook from Audible.

The Core by Peter V. Brett August 15th

Not all long-awaited fantasy epics are years overdue. Case in point: Peter V. Brett’s The Core, which wraps up his Demon Cycle series. There’s little out there about what the book will be about, save that it’s coming to the ending that he had originally plotted out when he began the series back in 2008. This won’t be the end of the story, however: according to his blog, he’ll be starting up a new series set in the same world soon.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin August 15th

With The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin positively redefined the fantasy genre, overturning and changing long-standing tropes when it came to magic, relationships, and fantasy worlds. We have high hopes for what Jemisin will do to close out her trilogy, and we can’t wait to be wowed again.

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz September 19th

In the future, an anti-patent pirate named Jack has been cracking open pharmaceuticals and bringing them to the poor, and her latest leaves users addicted to work. Hot on her trail are an agent and robot from the military who have fallen in love. It’s a book that looks absolutely bonkers, but if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’ll be Annalee Newitz, who helped co-found the site io9. She has her thumb on how weird and fantastic the future will be, so her latest should prove to be fantastic.

Untitled Ancillary novel by Ann Leckie October

There’s no title or plot for this just yet, but a new novel from Ann Leckie is always welcome. Her debut novel, Ancillary Justice, introduced us to an intriguing world and earned considerable acclaim. Back in 2015, she announced that she would be returning for a new novel set in the world, as well as an unrelated space opera.

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear October 10th

Elizabeth Bear introduced us to her fantasy steppe world in her The Eternal Sky series and is kicking off a new trilogy with The Stone in the Skull. In it, a wizard creates the The Gage, a metal automaton that works as a mercenary. As he carries a message across the kingdom, he and a broken soldier find themselves caught in the midst of a war for control over the remains of the once great empire.

Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns December 5th

This debut novel from R.E. Sterns is just under a year away, but it looks really intriguing for one reason: space pirates! Adda and Iridian are a pair of engineers who hijack a colony ship to join a pirate crew, only to discover that Barbary Station is controlled by an insane AI. This looks like it could be a really exciting space opera adventure.

Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey December

There’s no firm release date for this book just yet, but Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (the two authors behind James S.A. Corey) are pretty good about releasing their novels once a year. Babylon’s Ashes came out in December 2016, so it’s likely that we’ll see this novel hit around the same time this year.

As to what it’s about? It’s the seventh book of The Expanse series, which means that we’re in the home stretch for the series, with just a couple more installments to go. As Abraham told us last year, these last three books “are the one big plot arc coming to the finale.”