Skip to main content

The 11 best new sci-fi books to check out on your new Kindle

The 11 best new sci-fi books to check out on your new Kindle


Something to read in the new year

Share this story

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The holidays are here, and if you’re unwrapping a new Kindle (or a non-Amazon-branded e-reader, or just a device with an e-book app on it), you might be looking for some new books to read. 

If you need some recommendations, here’s a list of some of the best science fiction books released in 2019, which should be the perfect choices for a long plane ride home or a quiet vacation morning.

We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-used games, apps, and entertainment. Check out our app picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs and Macs; our favorite mobile games from Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass; and our top choices for gaming PCs, the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and VR. We’ve also listed our favorite streaming shows on Disney+, Hulu, ESPN and Netflix, some great sci-fi books, and exciting new podcasts. (Note: pricing was accurate at the time of publishing, but may change.)

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth is probably the best thing I’ve read this year, a wildly fun blend of sci-fi and fantasy set in a mysterious, ancient castle. There’s necromancers, locked room mysteries, dueling cavaliers, warring political factions, and more that it would be a shame to spoil. If the blurb from Charles Stross describing it as “lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!” can’t sell you, nothing will. 

Gideon the Ninth /

$13.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Mahit Dzmare is the newest ambassador to the massive, interstellar Teixcalaanli Empire. Her job goes south quickly when she discovers the previous ambassador is dead, leaving her to solve the mystery of his death and prevent her small station from being crushed by the massive political forces at work. It’s technically the first in a series, but it should hold up on its own, too. 

A Memory Called Empire /

$2.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

A mind-bending time travel story that’s also a love story, as warring time travelers duel across constantly shifting timelines to protect their future’s existence. Told in a series of alternating letters, it’s a short and beautifully written piece of science fiction. 

This Is How You Lose the Time War /

$7.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang is best known for his short story Story of Your Life, which the movie Arrival was based on. His latest collection of stories, Exhalation, features nine original, thought-provoking pieces of fiction that deal with time, space, and humanity’s place in the universe. 

Exhalation /

$13.99 for Kindle from amazon

Buy now

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The sophomore novel from Charlie Jane Anders is set on a far planet — half of it frozen, and half of it burned under the glare of the sun, with human settlers living in two cities in the (sort of) temperate zone in between. A new discovery of creatures that lived there first, though, changes everything. 

The City in the Middle of the Night /

$13.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

Annalee Newitz’s novel pictures a world where time travel is real, and a group of women use that technology to expand and protect female autonomy and rights, while fighting against a group of far-future misogynists determined to do the opposite. Also, plenty of punk rock.

Future of Another Timeline /

$13.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

Vivian Liao is a genius inventor and entrepreneur — the next Steve Jobs, basically — until she’s flung to the far future where the entire galaxy is under the iron-fisted rule of the titular Empress of Forever. Needless to say, Vivian does not take to imperial rule well, in this fast-paced, galaxy-spanning adventure. 

Empress of Forever /

$9.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Where Blake Crouch’s last book, Dark Matter, offered an action-packed take on alternate universes, Recursion (as the name might suggest) is a similarly action-packed time travel romp. The science here is a little fantastical, but if you’re looking for a lighter read, it’s certainly an entertaining adventure.

<em>Recursion</em> /

$11.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig’s sprawling epic, Wanderers, is set in a near-future where wandering sleepwalkers start roaming the country due to an unknown pandemic. Mixing science fiction with political, environmental, and social commentary as the situation with the “wanderers” continues to escalate, Wendig’s book isn’t the easiest read of the year, but it’s perfect for anyone looking for a more serious sci-fi book. 

Wanderers /

$13.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

If you’re the kind of person who likes their science fiction with a bit more science in it, Ancestral Night is the book for you. With a far more realistic take on space travel than most books, Ancestral Night sees a pair of salvage operators uncover the haul of a lifetime — but that could also start a universe-spanning war. 

Ancestral Night /

$7.99 for Kindle from Amazon

Buy now

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane

Science fact, rather than science fiction, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is an incredibly informative dive into how today’s artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms work, and how they’ll shape the future of computers, technology, and our day-to-day lives. 

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.