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The science fiction and fantasy books we’re excited for in 2022

Janelle Monáe, Emily St. John Mandel, and many many more

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The hope of the new year is the same hope of any science fiction or fantasy novel — please, mighty powers above, get us through this catastrophe in one piece. With the start of “New Normal Year 3,” many of us are looking for an unwritten road map.

Luckily, few heroes conquer evil alone, so it’s totally okay to look to others for inspiration. And yes, I’m talking about books.

2022 promises us pandemic delivery drivers protecting monsters, magical thieves trying to make good while bartending, and powerful women bargaining with ancient magical beings on their own terms. Whether you’re returning to the fantastical worlds you love through highly anticipated sequels (and endings) or discovering something brand new with a fresh take, here are 26 fantasy and science fiction books to watch for in 2022, so far.

Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars: The Fallen Star (The High Republic) by Claudia Gray

Jan. 4, 2022

The Fallen Star, part of Lucasfilm’s High Republic initiative, arrives as a follow-up to 2021’s Star Wars: Light of the Jedi and The Rising Storm. The book is the beginning of the end for Phase 1 of the new batch of storytelling, wrapping up the saga of Jedi and the evil Nihil before the series jumps backward in time. In this title, the High Republic continues to defend against the Nihil marauders and their leader, Marchion Ro. In the threequel, Ro’s planning a bold attack, making use of a terrifying weapon that can wrestle the Force from Jedi.

The cover for The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley showing a woman in front of a train, and a black backdrop with white sketching on it Image: Penguin Random House

The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley by Mercedes Lackey

Jan. 11, 2022

The 16th novel in the magical alternate history Elemental Masters series follows Annie Oakley, sharpshooter and performer, as she tours through Germany with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. When Bill hires a local sharpshooter as a part of the act, Annie learns that she isn’t just a crack shot — she’s a magician. She, her husband Frank, and the German sharpshooter Giselle, team up together to hunt the monsters that follow the show, threatening performers and locals alike. “Annie’s got her gun, and it’s filled with silver bullets.

The cover for Akata Woman showing the semi-profile of a woman with an afro, illustrated in grayscale Image: Penguin Random House

Akata Woman (The Nsibidi Scripts) by Nnedi Okorafor

Jan. 18, 2022

Return to Okorafor’s award-winning fantasy world in this follow-up to Akata Witch and Akata Warrior. Sunny Nwazue continues to strike a balance in her life, whether that’s between America and Nigeria or her life as a Leopard Person and a good daughter. Now, armed with all she’s learned so far, Sunny must go on a dangerous mission to find a hidden object — one that will change her forever.

The cover for How High We Go in the Dark which shows clouds as a backdrop Image: HarperCollins

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Jan. 18, 2022

In 2030, a grieving archeologist discovers the remains of a girl killed by an ancient virus. As the permafrost lessens, the Arctic Plague is unleashed, forcing humanity to reshape everything about their lives. How High We Go in the Dark spans centuries and planets to tell the story of human resiliency through the eyes of a cynical theme park worker who falls in love, a heartbroken scientist who teaches a pig to talk, and a widowed painter who seeks a new home in space with her granddaughter.

The cover for Goliath showing big block text in front of a few profile images of a Black woman Image: Tor/Macmillan

Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi

Jan. 25, 2022

Goliath is set in 2050 Earth, where the privileged have fled to colonies, cannibalizing the remaining neighborhoods brick-by-brick to build reminders of their old homes in space. Those left behind have to navigate collapsing infrastructure, barely surviving. Featuring a space dweller looking to settle in New Haven, a group of laborers attempting to save Earth’s cities, and a marshall trying to solve a kidnapping, Tochi Onyebuchi weaves together multiple disparate narratives within this very real fictional world.

The cover for Moon Witch, Spider King showing a collaged graphic against a bright pink backdrop Image: Penguin Random House

Moon Witch, Spider King (The Dark Star Trilogy #2) by Marlon James

Feb. 15, 2022

Described as an “African Game of Thrones,” Marlon James’ first Dark Star book, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, told the story of Sogolon the Moon Witch and Tracker as they battled to find a missing boy across a mythical landscape. Now, the highly anticipated sequel presents Sogolon’s version of events — how she triumphed and failed in her search for the boy, how she challenged Aesi, the powerful chancellor to the king, leading to a century-long feud. More than just a retelling with a new lens, Moon Witch, Spider King is an indomitable woman fighting to tell her own story.

The cover for Age of Ash showing a large crumbling building Image: Orbit

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

Feb. 15, 2022

From the co-author of The Expanse comes a brand new epic fantasy trilogy set in the ancient, bloody city of Kithamar. When Alys, a thief from the slums of Longhill, sets out to find her brother’s killer, she uncovers an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar itself — one that just may change everything.

The cover for Bitter showing an illustration of a young Black woman holding a paint brush Image: Penguin Random House

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi

Feb. 15, 2022

The companion novel to Akwaeke Emezi’s young adult novel Pet introduces us to Bitter, a young painter attending the haven-like Eucalyptus school. Outside the school walls, the city of Lucille is filled with protests against deep-set injustices. Tempted to stay out of the fray, Bitter finds herself pulled in multiple directions by friends who want more for their world, a new romance, and her art.

The cover for Gallant showing an illustration of two houses inside a large circle Image: HarperCollins

Gallant by VE Schwab

March 1, 2022

When Olivia Prior receives a mysterious invite to her late parents’ manor, Gallant, she finds the first place in her life that feels like home. Unfortunately, it is a home that is trying to drive her out — her cousin is hostile and there are ghouls in the halls. After stumbling through a seam in a shadow that leads her to a place where the ghouls are fully-formed and a dark presence reigns, Olivia must decide if she will protect her world from the Master of the House or join him.

The cover of Memory’s Legion showing a space ship cutting through an asteroid Image: Orbit

Memory’s Legion by James S. A. Corey

March 15, 2022

For the first time, The Expanse’s numerous novellas — each of which tells a focused story set in the world of the towering space opera — will be collected into a single volume. Memory’s Legion will include: “Drive,” “The Butcher of Anderson Station,” The Churn,” “Gods of Risk,” “The Vital Abyss,” “Strange Dogs,” “Auberon,” and a new release, “Memory’s Legion.”

The cover for The Kaiju Preservation Society showing a luggage tag with the title on it Image: Tor/Macmillan

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

March 15, 2022

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Interdependency trilogy comes a brand new standalone novel. Jamie Gray is a delivery driver in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic when a chance delivery connects him to an old acquaintance with a wild job — protecting monster dinosaurs called Kaiju in an alternate dimension. But Jamie and his new team at the Kaiju Preservation Society aren’t the only ones who can enter the Kaiju’s territory, and careless opposing forces may cause millions back on Jamie’s Earth to die.

The cover for Sea of Tranquility showing a moon behind the horizon Image: Penguin Random House

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

April 5, 2022

The author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel is back with another human-centered science fiction novel — this time telling the story of a plague, interwoven through the lives of several characters, set across time and space. 18-year-old Edwin St. Andrew is an exile, traveling the Atlantic on a steamship. Olive Llewllyn is traveling through Earth on a book tour, though she is from the second moon colony, to promote her best-selling pandemic novel. And a detective in Night City, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, is investigating the North American wilderness, where he finds mysteries that might upend their entire way of life.

The cover for Fevered Star showing an illustration of a woman in the middle of a starburst Image: Simon & Schuster

Fevered Star (Between Earth and Sky #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse

April 19, 2022

In the sequel to 2020’s epic fantasy Black Sun, Roanhorse takes readers back to the shattered city of Tova where strange alliances form under the threat of gathering enemies. Sea captain Xiala finds herself allied with the Prince of Knives while the now living avatars Serapio and Naranpa struggle for free will within their new identities. A new order is rising and all must learn to navigate a world with living legends.

The cover for The Memory Librarian showing Janelle Monáe with a futuristic looking building as a backdrop Image: HarperCollins

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe

April 19, 2022

Janelle Monáe is already a multi-hyphenate. In 2018, the Grammy Award nominated artist released her excellent album Dirty Computer, which was accompanied by a science fiction visual album, which she called an “emotion picture.” The Memory Librarian is a collection of short speculative fiction, from Black women and Black non-binary writers.

The cover for Nettle & Bone showing the back of a woman wearing green vines Image: Tor/Macmillan

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

April 26, 2022

If you would rather watch a princess kill a prince than marry one, T. Kingfisher’s latest is for you. In order to save her sister from the abusive prince she’s been married off to, Marra must complete three seemingly impossible tasks. But of course, building a dog of bones and sewing a cloak of nettles is only the beginning. With a cast of strange companions she meets along the way — a reluctant fairy godmother, a grave witch, and her familiar, a disgraced knight — Marra must find the courage to overthrow the crown and save her sister.

The cover for Book of Night showing the title over a dark blue backdrop with a gold sunburst illustration in the middle Image: Tor/Macmillan

Book of Night by Holly Black

May 3, 2022

Having enthralled young adult readers for decades, Holly Black makes the much anticipated leap to adult dark fantasy with Book of Night. Follow Charlie Hall’s straight path through the crooked magical underbelly of the Berkshires while she tries to make up for past mistakes. Formerly a magical thief and lock-pick, Charlie is a dive bartender hoping to keep herself and her sister Posey out of trouble. But Charlie’s boyfriend is keeping secrets and when Charlie’s past catches up with her, she’s thrown back into the chaotic and dangerous world she tried to leave behind.

The cover for Eyes of the Void showing a planet and crystal formations Image: Tor/Macmillan

Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky

May 3, 2022

Jump back into Tchaikovsky’s space opera with Eyes of the Void, the follow up to last year’s Shards of Earth. The planet-killing Architects have returned — threatening life across the galaxy, and throwing human colonies into disarray. Only the Intermediaries, who can communicate with the Architects — and who helped avoid catastrophe 80 years ago — stand between humanity and complete annihilation. Idris, an Intermediary who attempted to start a new life, may hold the key to saving humanity. But it will come at the cost of plunging into unspace: the terrifying, chilling frontier that has broken other minds.

The cover for Siren Queen showing an Asian woman Image: Tor/Macmillan

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

May 10, 2022

Luli Wei is desperate to be a star, but not so desperate she’ll play a maid. Trying to make it in pre-Code Hollywood, Luli knows how cutthroat the industry is to people who look like her. So when she discovers that Hollywood is run on a system of ancient magic and blood bargains, she’ll do whatever it takes for the steep price of fame. Written by Nghi Vo, author of The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Siren Queen is a fantastical exploration of an outsider finding success on her own terms.

The cover for The City Inside showing a colorful illustration of a city Image: Tor/Macmillan

The City Inside by Samit Basu

June 7, 2022

Joey and Rudra are two very different people. She is the Reality Controller for South Asia’s fastest rising celebrity who also happens to be her ex. He is a wealthy recluse estranged from his family, seeking refuge in video games and his immigrant neighbors’ lives. As each continues to make the best decision they can in a world of lesser evils, they quickly become enmeshed in multiple conspiracies. Resistance, for these two contrasting heroes, will look vastly different to each. The City Inside is a near-future epic set in Delhi that offers hope in the face of mounting anxieties about the government, the environment, and our world at large.

The cover for Speaking Bones showing a feast on a table, with and a skull with antlers at the back Image: Simon & Schuster

Speaking Bones (The Dandelion Dynasty #4) by Ken Liu

June 21, 2022

The final installment in the epic silkpunk fantasy series by Ken Liu has arrived. Beginning immediately after the events of The Veiled Throne, readers land back in the middle of two wars, following familiar characters as they enter their final act.

Princess Théra wrestles with her ancestral dream as she runs across the continent from Lyucu pursuers, asking herself how to “conquer the unconquerable.” In the city of Dara, Empress Jia, Prince Phyro, and Pékyu Tanvanaki must navigate changing visions of the future while struggling against the genocidal Lyucu. On both sides of the Wall of Storms, mortals’ hearts will determine the fate of two empires on the brink.

The cover for A Prayer for the Crown-Shy showing a colorful illustrated background Image: Tor/Macmillan

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk and Robot #2) by Becky Chambers

July 12, 2022

Readers return to Panga with Sibling Dex and Mosscap as they explore the villages and cities of the moon they call home in the follow up to Becky Chambers’ solarpunk novella A Psalm for the Wild-Built. The monk and the robot continue their quest for answers, learning more about one another’s cultures, while making new friends and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe. This meditative series continues Chambers’ reputation for writing contemplative but hopeful books.

The cover for Hooked which shows an illustration of a pirate standing in the crook of a large hook above a crocodile Image: Penguin Random House

Hooked by AC Wise

July 12, 2022

The sequel to AC Wise’s adult, feminist retelling of Peter Pan, Hooked follows Captain James Hook, the immortal pirate, 22 years after his escape from Neverland. James discovers that Peter Pan’s monster has found him again, this time in London, but a chance encounter with Wendy Darling gives James the help he needs to vanquish Pan’s monster — even if he must return to playing the villain for a final time.

The cover of The Oleander Sword showing a woman standing between curtains of green fabric Image: Orbit

The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri

Aug. 16, 2022

Tasha Suri brings readers a new entry in the Burning Kingdoms trilogy with The Oleander Sword. Malini is the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa, but even with a prophecy and an army by her side, deposing her brother will not be easy. Priya, thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, wants to see Parijatdvipa rid of its poisonous rule and the plague eating away at all living things across the country. Both Malini and Priya chose divergent paths, and although their intertwined souls will bring them back together to save their kingdom, the cost will be great.

The cover of Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution showing a tower in a black and white illustration Image: HarperCollins

Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang

Aug. 23, 2022

In the mid-1800s, Babel is the world’s center for translation and magic, including silver working, where lost translations are given meaning via enchanted silver bars. Hosting this center has made the British empire unparalleled in their quest for continued colonization. When Robin Smith, a Chinese orphan raised in Britain, joins Babel as a translator, he wrestles with serving the organization and betraying his motherland. He is caught between Babel and the Hermes Society, an organization aiming to stop imperial expansion. Soon, Robin will have to decide which side he will take.

Nona the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #3) by Tamsyn Muir

September 13, 2022

Muir is back with another installment of her sharp-witted, queer, gothic, space-set necromancer series. There’s nothing else like it — and nothing quite as acidic and propulsive. In Nona the Ninth, Nona just wants to live a normal life — but the last Cohort facility is hemmed in by Blood of Eden forces, and Nona might have to be the weapon that saves them from the Nine Houses.

The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance #3) by Naomi Novik

Sept. 27, 2022

The conclusion to Novik’s Scholomance trilogy takes El out of the deadly magic school’s halls, and into the wider world. But the celebration is short lived — though she, and her friends, saved most of the school’s students during their mad dash to escape the maw-mouths, she must return to save the one who remains locked in. Novik’s version of magical education is deadly, thrilling, and violent — and this final book will bring it all to a close.

Correction: This story previously stated the new Star Wars: The High Republic book was The Rising Storm. The list has been updated with the correct info.

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