I often remark on just how good any given month's new science fiction and fantasy book releases are, but February is just incredible. There are so many great books to read, I'm not sure how I'll find time to fit them all in. Not only are some notable names releasing new novels (Charlie Jane Anders and Ann Leckie?!?), but the crop of books to choose from spans an array of fantastic diverse authors.
We're spoiled for choice this month, which is why the list is longer than usual. I'm just going to get right to it and list off the books I think should be on your radar this month.
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds - Gwenda Bond (February 5)
The wait for the third season of Stranger Things may seem interminable, but there’s a new prequel book from FANGRRLS favorite Gwenda Bond coming out this month. Suspicious Minds is set before the television series and is the story of what happened to Eleven’s mom when she was a test subject at Hawkins National Lab.
A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers - Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams (Eds.) (February 5)
This title, which is a variation of the famous Howard Zinn book A People’s History of the United States, collects sci-fi stories from an impressive roster of authors — G. Willow Willson, Charlie Jane Anders, N. K. Jemisin, and Daniel Jose Older, just to name a few — that challenge oppressive American myths. These stories give us a future to believe in and hope for, which let’s face it, we need right now.
Binti: The Complete Trilogy - Nnedi Okorafor (February 5)
Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti trilogy is a modern sci-fi classic, and now it’s being collected into a single omnibus edition. This excellent space opera is about a young girl who goes on an interstellar journey to attend a prestigious university, but her ship is attacked en route by aliens and she’s the only survivor.
Polaris Rising - Jessie Mihalik (February 5)
This novel is the first in what sounds like it will be an amazing sci-fi trilogy, starring a space princess and an outlaw soldier (no I’m not making this up, SO GOOD). Ada von Hasenberg has no desire to marry the man her father, the king, has chosen for her. Instead of bowing to royal pressure, she decides to take her fate into her own hands and go on the run. Two years later, she’s captured, and her only hope for escape is the former soldier who’s stuck in a cell with her.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James (February 5)
You say “African Game of Thrones,” I say “HERE FOR IT.” Marlon James’ latest novel is one that’s been getting a lot of buzz, and for good reason. It’s the first in the Dark Star trilogy, and it’s about a hunter who puts together a hodge-podge team to search for a boy who disappeared. But as his search progresses, it brings up more questions than answers about who this boy really is and why people don’t want him found.
The Psychology of Time Travel - Kate Mascarenhas (February 12)
This excellent-sounding thriller imagines a world in which time travel is just a routine fact of life. However, its origins are shrouded in mystery — it was invented by four women, but one was exiled from the team and her contributions were erased. Now, Ruby Rubello is determined to discover whether a mysterious woman who’s been murdered in the future might actually be her grandmother, who family lore says worked on the time travel project.
The City in the Middle of the Night - Charlie Jane Anders (February 12)
Charlie Jane Anders is such a talented author, and her newest book is set on a dying planet called January, where half the planet is constant night and the other half is blazing daylight. But when Sophie is exiled to the night, a land of ice, she manages to connect with the strange creatures that roam the mysterious lands and in doing so, may change the course of history.
Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation - Ken Liu (Ed.) (February 19)
I’m always trying to read more sci-fi and fantasy in translation. After all, the SFF we read in the US is very English-centric. When we read work from other countries, it’s usually from European authors. However, there’s been an extraordinary rise of Chinese sci-fi over the last few years, and now Ken Liu (who is an excellent author in his own right and also translated Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem) is bringing some of those works to the US in this new anthology.
We Set the Dark on Fire - Tehlor Kay Mejia (February 26)
This debut novel is a high fantasy set in a world with stark differences between the haves and have-nots. Daniela Vargas is the top student in her class, where she’s training to be the perfect society wife, but she has a secret. Her pedigree is a sham and her papers are forged. Her parents risked everything to get her out of poverty and give her a chance at a better future. But when she becomes involved with a group of revolutionaries, will Daniela stay on the sidelines to protect her secret or join with them to fight for a better future for all people?
The Raven Tower - Ann Leckie (February 26)
New Charlie Jane Anders and Ann Leckie in one month? The month might not survive just how big of a deal this is. Ann Leckie is known for her amazing science fiction, but I’m so incredibly excited that she’s making the foray into fantasy with The Raven Tower. This book is about a god who has watched over a land for as long as anyone can remember — but now his power is weakening and there is danger lurking around every corner.
The Priory of the Orange Tree - Samantha Shannon (February 26)
Samantha Shannon made her splash on the fantasy literary world with The Bone Season, and now she’s back with an all-new high fantasy novel. It’s a complex novel of royal courts and intrigue, of magic, and above all of a coming war with the dragons, and a secret society that must stop it before it’s too late. Details are vague on this one, but it centers on the women of this world, and I’m definitely interested in reading it.