Best Sci-Fi Of 2019

The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2019

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

Charlie Jane Anders follows up to All the Birds in the Sky, his Nebula Award-winning work.  At a first look, The City in the Middle of the Night is a complete departure, but both share powerful themes of the inner lives and grand destinies of outsiders in places that reject them. 

It takes place on January, a tidally locked planet.  One side is a frozen wasteland and the other is stuck in an eternal, scorching day.  In the middle is the city of Xiosphant.  A small settlement that can barely support the humans that live there.  The protagonist, Sophie, is exiled into the wasteland around her home for a crime she never committed.  In the wild she discovers a race of telepaths whose fate is tied to Sophie’s, and the planet January as a whole.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Marlon James, known for the seminal  A Brief History Of Seven Killings, released the first book of an epic fantasy trilogy.  The Dark Star Trilogy has been called the “African Game of Thrones.” While there are some similarities, James’ work is so much more than that. It is a thoroughly engrossing, layered series of narratives that, if you have the stomach and curiosity, delivers something you never knew was missing in fantasy/new-mythology. Rooted in African legends and steeped in story-telling, the (unreliable?) protagonist takes the reader on a journey through violence, revenge, curiosities, and environs not much explored in traditional fantasy.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

From the bestselling author of Dark Matter and The Wayward Pines. This book is a revelation. You can’t help but look at it in unblinking awe. Read it in a day because it’s too good to put down and I was too curious to see how everything would unfold. A must-read that will not disappoint. Crouch, an already phenomenal author, just keeps getting better over time.

A Memory Called Empire Arkady Martine

A Memory Called Empire is chock-full of interstellar intrigue, palace rivalries and surprising friendships, set against a backdrop of a looming alien invasion.

This book especially shines when the hero Mahit encounters the Texicalaan Empir. The Texicalaans are a sophisticated society that feels them superior to other cultures. Mahit finds themselves admiring them, while simultaneously realizing she will always be an outsider.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Hugo-Award winning Saenan McGuire’s new book tells the story of Rodger and Dodger.  They’re two twins with very different personalities on the cusp of godhood.

Strange and complex – this book is impossible to sum up in a few words.  This is a great book for those who like books that make your brain work for it.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

A new book of stories from Ted Chiang, the writer of Stories of Your Life, and Others (now Arrival, a major motion picture). 9 tales of time travel, alien civilizations, and parallel universes.

Ted Chiang is at the top of his game with this book.

A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

The wonderful journey of a boy in the apocalypse to find his dog. This book is a thrilling, charming, and heartbreaking book. When it ends, you’ll wish you could stay in this world for a little longer.

The Expanse #8: Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey

Book 8 of The Expanse, an absolutely amazing sci-fi series. After massive alien discoveries, humanity begins to build its own empire across the universe.

If you haven’t read any of this series, we recommend you start with Leviathan’s Wake.

The Raven Tower By Ann Leckie

Gods interfere in the destinies of men and men play with the fates of god.  An usurper must be overthrown in this fantastic fantasy novel from Ann Leckie. 

The world-building is absolutely fantastic in this book, especially considering that this is a standalone novel and not part of a longer series.

Alan Behrens

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