In the publishing world, December is a pretty quiet month. There are always still some gems that appear, but for the most part, new releases are few and far between. It’s a nice break from the new-books grind, though. So much of my reading is tied to what’s coming out that I don’t often have the chance to catch up on what I’ve missed. That’s why I love holiday season reading so much — it’s usually a chance to go back and check out the books I really wanted to read but didn’t get to over the course of the year.
Even though this column has fewer book recommendations than usual, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of new-to-you books to check out. This is the perfect time to take a look at SFF recommendations from previous months and grab some new-to-you titles. Happy reading, happy holidays, and I’ll see you all in the new year.
Bikes Not Rockets: Intersectional Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories - Elly Blue, Ed. (December 4)
The title really says it all for this unique collection, which brings together sci-fi stories about bicycles (or featuring bicycles) that also highlight intersectional feminism. It’s kind of a weird mix, but it sounds like a lot of fun. And if you absolutely love this collection, and the idea behind it, this isn’t even the first in this series! I first learned about Elly Blue’s collection through the book Biketopia, which had the same theme and came out in 2017.
Once a King - Erin Summerill (December 4)
Once a King is the final book in Erin Summerill’s trilogy, which started with Ever the Hunted. It’s a romantic fantasy trilogy featuring 17-year-old Britta Flannery, a hunter and tracker who learned everything she knows from her father. When he is murdered, she will stop at nothing to avenge his death, even if the person who committed the crime is the boy she loves.
Gnomon - Nick Harkaway (December 4)
Now out in paperback, Nick Harkaway’s latest work of science fiction is set in a close future where people are constantly under surveillance. Not only are actions monitored, but a government called the System has access to thoughts and memories as well. When a dissident is killed in System custody, the first time this has ever happened, Inspector Mielikki Nieth is assigned to the case. But what she discovers in her investigation makes no sense, and it shakes her faith in the System she’s believed in all her life.
A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy - Alex White (December 11)
I wrote about the first book in The Salvagers series, The Big Ship on the Edge of the Universe, when it came out back in June. Now, the second book is here, and it continues the adventures of the crew as they look into a mysterious cult that may have magic powers. Nilah and Boots want to discover what the source of this power might be, but to do so NIlah has to go undercover, which means she must play a dangerous game in order to make sure her true identity isn’t revealed.
The Fade - Demitria Lunetta (December 11)
I love it when fantasy, the paranormal and mystery collide, and that’s just what’s happening in The Fade. At first, it appears to be a straightforward mystery featuring a teenager named Haley who knows that something terrible once happened in the basement of her house. Four girls went missing, and the case remains open. But Haley knows that the girls were, in fact, murdered because their ghosts are still in the house, and they want something from her.
Kingdom of Needle and Bone - Mira Grant (December 31)
Mira Grant (also known as Seanan McGuire) is a prolific author with a brand new novella coming out from small publisher Subterranean Press. This 135-page book is set in a world where most sickness and pandemics have been eliminated. The world is disease free. The trouble is that people think it’s going to stay that way. When a new deadly disease makes its debut, the world is wholly unequipped to cope, and Dr. Isabella Gauley must take drastic measures to contain its spread.