Feature Image Credit: @brisbookish
If you’re a science fiction and fantasy reader like myself, living vicariously through protagonists and characters who warp their way through time and space makes the day a bit brighter. You’ve probably found yourself on one too many nights gleefully curled up into a new fantasy complete with aliens, magic, time machines and the likes. If that’s you—or if you’re looking to explore the genre of sci-fi and fantasy a bit more—2022 has ensured your reading list stays out of this world.
Here are the most anticipated new sci-fi and fantasy novels releasing in 2022.
How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (January 18, 2022)
Another pandemic is unleashed in the world. Yet this time it’s the year 2030, and an Arctic plague released by melting ice is set to re-shape the world once more. In the aftermath, while heartbreak, fear and destruction flood the world, stories are told of characters loosely connected, whether it’s seeking a cure, falling in love, and embarking on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet. This is a world of science fiction with slices of real life.
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes (January 25, 2022)
Finders can’t always be keepers. And, in this novel set on a ghost ship with a soon-to-be unemployed crew, what they find they definitely will not want to keep. About to be replaced by a machine, Claire Kovalik and her crew are on one last mission near the edge of the solar system. When a distress call comes in, Claire jumps to the rescue, knowing anything is better than returning to be let go. Only the ship that signals is the luxurious Aurora . . . which disappeared more than 20 years ago during a tour of space. Her initial excitement of finding an ancient wealthy ship fades quickly as blood, ghosts, carnage and madness creep around every corner. Claire might want to investigate the mystery of the lost ship but, she has to survive the horror first—or her crew could be next.
Light Years from Home by Mike Chen (January 25, 2022)
When aliens possibly abduct a father and son, twins Evie Shao and Kass are forever changed. The incident occurred on a camping trip when the girls were younger, leaving their father to return with the story of aliens, their brother Jakob vanished, and the sisters to never speak to each other again. That is until the girls become adults, and Evie discovers a life of alien conspiracies and UFO networks that bring their brother back. With Jakob back speaking in a strange manner and of an impending alien war, the family will need to find a way to save their brother and their relationship before it’s too late.
Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi (January 25, 2022)
Ever imagine what the world would look like empty? Well, in the year 2050, healthy places are limited. The Earth’s environment, poisoned from mankind’s negligence, has left the planet in danger. The rich have long left Earth and fled to off-world homes. One diverse community in New Haven, Connecticut, is among the few that remain on the planet. The people of the town attempt to survive off of the scraps and parts they find from the depleting surroundings. But through it all, they learn to appreciate, experience, and make history in a ruined world.
The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong (March 8, 2022)
Jes, an empath, has gravity powers many scientists want to covet. Now a mixed-species fugitive, he runs away to a pleasure moon where everyone blends in. Landing a circus job at a hotel to stay off the radar, Jes keeps a low profile, even showing kindness amongst the crazy scientific activities around him. The local corrupt crime boss who owns the hotel has spotted Jes and forces him to comply with whatever crimes he’s told to do, or the consequences could be grave. But when the crime boss takes it a step too far, Jes and his newfound family, stand up to stop him and save Jes from being another experiment in the process.
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (March 29, 2022)
Annie Mason has no interest in magic, real or fake. Not after it destroyed her previous life. Her new temporary town on Crow Island, on the other hand, has magic all around, hidden from those who prohibit its use after World War I. Annie’s attempts to leave as soon as possible fail when she encounters her neighbor, Emmeline Delacroix, a beautiful mysterious witch using magic. Intrigued by Emma, Annie soon gets pulled into the world of murder, witchcraft, and a love that even she didn’t expect.
The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport (April 5, 2022)
For Ikenna Amari, a young Black woman, life is filled with action, peril, betrayal, war and blood — most importantly blood. The first drop spilled is from her grandfather’s death. But it won’t certainly be the last if Ikenna has a say. Living on a racist and misogynistic planet, Iludu, she knows that someone close had to order his death, and only someone as skilled as the Praetorian Guard would complete the kill. Ikenna, also secretly trained in combat, learns to harness the blood magic she inherited from her war-hero grandfather, Verne Amari. With her skills and heart set on revenge, Ikenna seeks answers and vengeance in the Praetorian trials because someone will pay for Verne Amari’s death no matter the cost.
Spear by Nicola Griffith (April 19, 2022)
In Spear, the legend of King Arthur gets told from a queer perspective. A young unnamed girl grows up hidden in a cave with her mother. When the girl finally has a name, Peretur, she’s older and yearns for more. So, she leaves her mother for court, where she disguises herself as a man. Along the way, hidden under poor armor and a half spear, the girl, filled with unknown magic, discovers her strength and falls in love. Peretur continues until she also encounters knights, fights off warriors, and ends her journey in an unusual Arthurian kind of way.
Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse (April 19, 2022)
As the second installment of the Between Earth and Sky series picks up, familiar characters return with new troubles, where enemies and friends grow hard to decipher. Inside an indigenous society, the great city Tova shattered. Now the people are scattered across the Meridian, a magicless land that suppressed the worship of any gods. Xiala, a sea captain, finds kinship in a priest of knives, Serapio, Naranpa, and Okoa do their best to stay alive as gender politics intertwine them and their society is at the brink of war.
The Discord of Gods by Jenn Lyon (April 26, 2022)
When some stars fade, others explode until it destroys everything. For Kihrin, the sun eater, that means playing the weak role and creating as little suspicion as possible. As two other threatening beings, Relos Var’ and the demon Xaltorath go head-to-head to take over a universe, they fail to notice Kihrin. But their ignorance could serve Kihrin’s purpose of keeping his loved ones alive as he determines how to control the corrupted magic inside of him that started this mess. Part star, part dragon, and something more, Kirin’s life and his time will soon come to an explosive end.
Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (May 10, 2022)
Luli Wei wants to be a star, and as a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill, she doesn’t want to play the maid, rather the monster. Only Hollywood has scarier monsters than the ones in the script, so when they want to control her life, including her relationship with the woman she loves. But in their world, dark bargains are made in ancient magic, sacrifice, and blood, and success will cost girls their lives. Luli is ready to take on anything because to her, fame means having it all even if she turns into a real monster.
The City Inside by Samit Basu (June 7, 2022)
In a near-future Delhi, Joey’s job is to supervise the multimedia livestream of rising online celebrities. Too caught up in the daily tasks Joey truly doesn’t know what she wants to do or know how to utilize the power that she has. On the other hand, there’s Rudra, a recluse living in an impoverished immigrant neighborhood away from his estranged and wealthy family. Stepping back into his world after his father dies will force Rudra to accept a job from Joey, and entangle the two into a world of conspiracies, capitalism, and possibly the end of the world as they know it.
The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings (June 21, 2022)
Living in a city like Nola, where the spirit of music flows, haints dance, the sky trolleys, and women protect and keep order, everyone lives in a weird state of peace. To outsiders, it’s an unusual place to live but for Perilous Graves, a failed magician, it’s home. The music that maintains the beats of the city has gone missing, nine songs to be exact, putting a falter in Nola. Now Perry and Brenda, his sister, must step out and save the city while the major haints are awake and a storm brews on the horizon.
The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi (June 21, 2022)
Sylah’s family was murdered right before her, Anoor’s mother thinks she a complete disappointment, and Hassa who moves through the world unseen, understands what it means to be invisible. As a tyrannical empire takes over each woman will band together to put an end to the terror that destroys lives and separates people by their blood.
Hooked by A.C. Wise (July 12, 2022)
For Captain James Hook, death is a usual feeling. He’s died more times than he could think. From drowning and being eaten by beasts in the deep sea to meeting the end of Peter Pan’s sword, Hook has seen it all. Each time he came alive once more being resurrected from imagination. But a door hidden in the sky will lead Hook to his escape, one he’ll take for 22 years. Now living in London, Hook is free and happy to be away from Peter Pan’s revenge. He even encounters another Neverland survivor, Wendy Darling, who knows the dark nature of the land. And just as Hook lets his guard down, Pan will return, set on revenge, forcing Hook to end it once and for all.
The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid (August 2, 2022)
Overnight Anders went from light to dark, and by morning his reflection looked different to him. As a white man who woke to be a deep and undeniable brown in the morning, shocked was an understatement for him. At first he tells Oona his longtime friend and recent lover. But others across their land are starting to wake up as Anders did; some in transformation until eventually everyone looks like Anders. It’s a challenge they will all have to face as they grow to be a new albeit unrecognized race.
Face by Joma West (August 2, 2022)
In Face, skin color is an aesthetic choice created and formed with the intent to be rich and powerful. Like Schuyler and Madeline Burroughs, who have perfect faces, that can assume dominance in society. In their world, the online presence is the only one that matters and every look or word can get them shunned or unlock doors to higher status. Yet in the Burroughs household cracks are starting to appear. As Schuyler and Maddie become bored and brittle, they must continue to show a beautiful and proper face to the people around them or risk losing it all.
The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings (August 9, 2022)
In every scenario one could imagine about a mother’s disappearance, Josephine Thomas has had it about hers. That she was murdered, kidnapped, turned into a witch, or started a new identity, Josephine thought of it all. And since they live in a world filled with witches, she hoped her mother hadn’t decided that fate, lest she ends up on trial for it. 14 years later, Jo has moved on from the past and is about to be 30, which in her life means if she doesn’t marry the law says she’ll lose her autonomy. And when she gets one last wish to honor her mother, Jo’ll leave her life behind and step into a world she never expected.
The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri (August 16, 2022)
It was a blessing and a curse to receive the title of empress of Parijatdvipa, and for Malini, the one obstacle standing in her way is her brooding brother. Even with a loyal army at her side, she’ll need to use every ounce of her strength to claim the throne that is rightfully hers. For Priya, the thrice-born priestess and Elder of Ahiranya, all she wants is to rid her country of the blooming sickness spreading through the land and the poisonous rule of Parijatdvipa. If Malini and Priya want to accomplish their goals, they’ll see working together is the only option.
Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R. F Kuang (August 23, 2022)
In London 1828, Robin Swift trained for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese to get into Babel, the Royal Institute of Translation, and the center for the world’s magic. While Oxford is the utopia that Robin has always dreamed of, it also forces him to choose between not betraying his Chinese-born motherland and becoming dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. The more he progresses in the study the more he learns about language, magic, and the upcoming unjust war that will force him to stop the shadowy Hermes Society and Britain for its acts against his homeland.
Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (August 30, 2022)
In the strange land called Strangled Throat, a tyrannical Emperor rules the nation. He has three sons, also known as the Three Terrors, who he taught to oppress the citizens and plunder the countryside. When the mythic Empress, who was locked away and imprisoned escapes, Keema Daware, a one-armed warrior, battles a choice. Should he help her overthrow the Three Terrors and set their people free or let fear decide and return the Empress where she escaped.
Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (September 13, 2022)
When zombies attack their city again, Nona isn’t too happy. Her birthday is coming and she just wants a party to enjoy it. She also fears one thing, that the stranger’s body she woke up in, she’ll have to return pretty soon. While a terrifying blue sphere threatens to end her planet, and Blood of Eden leaders want to use Nona as a weapon that will save them from the Nine Houses, all Nona can do is dream about a woman with a skull-painted face. Can she hold onto all that she loves, or does nothing truly last forever?
Leech by Hiron Ennes (September 27, 2022)
For centuries, the Interprovincial Medical Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors. They are no longer human practitioners of medicine; but something more. Now in an isolated chateau far north, cut off from the world, the baron’s doctor is dead, and the doctor to replace it must discover how one of the bodies came up missing. But a parasite spreads through the baron’s castle, wreaking havoc, spreading fear in its wake and destroying anything it touches. As the investigation continues, secrets begin to unfold and it could mean humanity’s decline all over again.
House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson (September 27, 2022)
Marion Shaw grew up in the slums experiencing want and deprivation her entire life. She dreams of leaving the city but knows no real way of doing so until she finds an ad seeking to hire a bloodmaid in the far north. Marion knows very little about the wealthy people who drink the blood of those in their service but this job is her chance to leave and start a new life. It only takes her days to be accepted and to move into the notorious House of Hunger. All seems well with Marion in her new role until her fellow bloodmaids start to disappear in the night leaving Marion confused and caught up in a game of cat and mouse. If she doesn’t learn the rules quick enough losing the game might mean losing her life.
The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera (October 4, 2022)
The prequel to They Both Die at the End finds Orion Pagan and Valentino Prince asking the same questions: can Death-Cast truly determine and predict when they’ll die, or is it just a bluff? Orion, who has a serious heart condition, has spent the last two years hoping someone will know when his last days will be. While Valentino is restarting his life after nearly losing his twin sister in a car accident. Both Orion and Valentino signed up for Death-Cast and when they bump into one another at Time Square, they immediately feel connected. Yet once a call comes with the results from Death-Cast, only one of them will receive it, leaving the other to wonder. And as their future is left up in the air they realize if it’s the last day on earth the best way to die would be to spend it together.
The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake (October 25, 2022)
The sequel to the dark academic sensation the Atlas Six returns with six magicians, two rivals, one researcher and a man who can dream walk with a choice to make: preserve the world or watch it decline. When the Alexandrians society is revealed to be a secret society with ever present, ever growing world-changing power, everyone is left shocked. The man who heads the society has one mission, to change life as they all know it, and he’c closer than ever. In the end as power comes with a price we’ll see who will choose which side, and which alliance will stand in the end.
The Ones We Burn by Rebecca Mix (November 1, 2022)
Ranka only wants to live out her day in Witchik’s wild north with the coven that raised her. She’s tired of death, and she wants to forget the horror from her past. Her next mission: to become the next treaty bride to the neighboring human kingdom Isodal and kill the prince. As a blood-witch who’s magic constantly pushes her to kill, this assignment is an easy one for Ranka. However, once Ranka meets him, one thing is clear: he’s immediately terrified of her and has no desire to marry. His sister, Aramis, on the other hand appears to be the real threat to her heart and when the witches turn up dead due to a magical plague she’ll join forces with her to save them. The spread of the plague will, in the end, force Ranka to face the monster within her and choose between love and the coven that created her.
Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (November 1, 2022)
Tennalhin Halkana, a rich socialite and walking disaster, can read minds. But like most of the neuromodified readers, he is a dangerous threat to himself. Not only can he read minds but he can navigate chaotic spaces. When Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, he is strongly influenced. Together the two grow a bond that will take them farther than they imagined. And as a threat endangers their world, they soon realize they’ll have to use their powers of mind reading and influence to bring about peace.
Africa Risen by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki ( November 15, 2022)
In this anthology, thirty-two original stories showcase science fiction and fantasy surrounding Africa and its African Diaspor, ranging from a child robot on a dying planet searching and finding connections to new life, or a group of cabinet ministers questioning a supercomputer that’s stored the mind of their country’s ancestors. Even a descendent of a rain goddess gains her grandmother’s ability to shapeshift, changing her appearance.
Where it Rains in Colour by Denise Crittendon (December 6, 2022)
In Swazembi everything radiates peace, color and utopia. The seas are waterless but filled with cascading neon vapors, and trouble is a foreign concept. It’s especially one to Lileala, a pampered, young fifty year old who can shimmer and recently earned the title Rare Indigo, a most sacred honor. Lileala’s perfect world is soon shattered after being infected with a debilitating disease. Then the unimaginable happens, she loses her shimmer abilities replacing her sun kissed diamond-like glow with dull scar tissue. To make matters worse, she begins to hear voices in her head, attempting to make her crazy, but if she can ignore the thoughts she’ll soon realize her galaxy is in danger—and even without her colorful shimmer she can stop it.