Fantasy may be my first love, but science fiction comes in a dangerously close second.
Really, sci-fi is just the other side of the speculative fiction coin: future where fantasy is past, using tech where fantasy relies on magic, and warning of what may come rather than sharing lessons we can learn from our past.
Every year, a bevvy of brand new sci-fi books grace our shelves and give us a thrilling escape into faraway planets, galaxies, solar systems, and even universes, following the adventures of characters we can love.
I was a hardcore sci-fi reader long before I ever sat down to pen my Cerberus sci-fi series, and I remain one to this day. No surprise that my TBR list includes plenty of sci-fi books among all the fantasy!
In this post, I’ll share with you some of the books I most loved reading in 2022, and am eagerly looking forward to getting through in 2023 as well. Some of these authors are old favorites, others are new discoveries. But every single book on this list deserves to be ranked among the “best new sci-fi books” for sure, as you’ll soon discover for yourself.
Sea of Tranquility won the Goodreads Choice Award for Science Fiction in 2022, and with excellent reason. It’s a truly compelling look at love through the lens of time travel, and of course, the fact that it brings in my much-loved Vancouver Island is a “win” in my book.
Young Edwin St. Andrew finds himself “banished” from polite European society and so winds up in Canada, where the sound of a violin in an airship terminal begins a truly wild experience that spans hundreds of years into the future.
It’s a bold, thrilling, and fascinating novel that is surprisingly relatable for all readers, not just fans of science fiction.
I’ve been a die-hard fan of The Expanse TV series since it was first released in 2015, so it made perfect sense once the series was complete to go back and read all of the books upon which it was based. And boy, what a ride!
Politics, murder, mystery, intrigue, war, space marines, adventure, pirates, interstellar travel, ancient alien races—you name it, this series has it.
Leviathan Falls is the conclusion to the series, and this book defines “going out with a bang” in truly spectacular style.
You won’t be able to put it down as you binge read the final adventures of the Rocinante’s crew and the end-game to which the series has been building since it first debuted in 2011.
There’s something utterly wonderful and off-beat about the Murderbot Diaries, and I’d say it’s because it turns a character so terrifying (a robot programmed exclusively to murder) into an “everyman” like the rest of us.
This Murderbot loves nothing more than to watch his TV shows, kick back, and do absolutely nothing—if only the pesky humans he’s charged to watch over would leave him alone.
The Murderbot series is so incredibly binge-able, filled with murder mysteries, laser gun fights, robotics, and the most amusing robot assassin in the galaxy. I’m dying to dive into System Collapse (Book 8) to find what the SecUnit gets up to next.
Now, the author makes her debut into the realm of sci-fi with The Great Cities, a series that takes New York City and builds into the sprawling metropolis a mythos you’ll find both spellbinding and fascinating.
It truly shows the “soul” of a city—not just the people who live there, but the mysterious spirit that great cities tend to breed—and delivers a unique sci-fi adventure that will have you reading into the wee hours of the night.
David Weber is one of my favorite authors, not just of sci-fi, but fantasy, too (his War God series was one of my earliest discoveries).
Fans of military sci-fi will instantly be familiar with the name Honor Harrington and the Honorverse, and that’s where the Worlds of Honor series is set.
This series builds out the Honorverse, exploring corners of the galaxy where the main story couldn’t tread, giving you glimpses into never-before worlds that will enchant your mind and dazzle your senses.
Though not all the stories are written by Weber himself, the other contributing authors—including Star Wars’ Timothy Zahn and regular Honorverse contributor Joelle Presby—live up to the high standard set for the Honorverse. Fans of shorter fiction will love this collection.
I first encountered Adrian Tchaikovsky in fantasy, and his Shadows of the Apt series was a truly wonderful read. But it wasn’t until I dove into his science fiction works (including the award-winning Children of Time) that I became a lifelong fan.
Eyes of the Void is the second book in his fascinating Final Architecture trilogy, a series that leans more toward space opera than true sci-fi, but is all the better and more unique for it.
An alien race called “The Architects” is hell-bent on extinguishing humanity, and only one man has even the remotest possibility of stopping them. Get ready for starship battles, genetically enhanced humans, colorful and marvelous alien races, and an adventure story that will be oddly thought-provoking and offer insights into what it truly means to be human.
Dr. Sam Anderson wakes up one morning to discover his wife is murdered—and his daughter is the murderer. Instead of letting her take the fall for it, he confesses to the crime and is sentenced to being imprisoned in the past.
His daughter, stubbornly maintaining she is innocent, is determined to acquit both herself and her father of the crime. What ensues is a time-hopping adventure that takes both father and daughter 200 million years into the past, to live a lonely exile in the age of dinosaurs.
It’s a murder mystery that will have you reading one page after the other to find out not only “whodunit”, but how Adeline could possibly rescue her father from his imprisonment.
It’s safe to say there are very few books as unique and compelling as The Genesis of Misery. Following the adventures of Misery (she/they), the story takes her on a journey to discovering the truth behind her saint-like powers—and the voidmadness that not only killed her mother, but all who wield the powers.
The voice speaking in her head makes it clear the voidmadness may be closer than she believes, and her grip on sanity slips faster and faster as her adventures through the stars and to the heart of the Empire itself ensue.
Fans of LGBT/queer fiction will love this one, but truly, it’s an action-packed story that will be beloved by most sci-fi readers (myself included).
This book had me hooked from the moment I read the words “SWAT team”, “explosion”, and “next-generation gene-editing”.
In Upgrade, the protagonist (Logan) is infected by a virus that should have killed him, but instead genetically modifies him to become something more than human, an even bigger badass than he was—and the man best-suited to seeking out the cause of the virus and stopping it.
It reads like both sci-fi and thriller, with all the action sequences, chase scenes, and gunfights I could ask for. And yet, beneath the “adventure” feel, there’s a fascinating examination of what it means to be human, and what one does when they feel their grip on humanity slipping.
(Note: Anyone who’s been following recent updates on genetic modifications (such as CRISPR technology) will be fascinated by this particular take on the subject.)
What would you do if you discovered the people you’re working for are not only criminals, but are using time travel to get away with their crimes?
Flux is the debut novel by Jinwoo Chong, and what a novel it is! The story interweaves the lives of 8-year old Bo, 28-year old Brandon, and 48-year old Blue, all of whom are linked by a network of lies and deception connected by experimental time-travel technology.
The neo-noir flavor of the story was absolutely riveting, perfect for Blade Runner and Neuromancer fans.
Under it all, however, is a compelling look at what it means to be Asian in “White America”, and how great a fight it is for so many to preserve their Asian heritage.
Jack Four is one of twenty cloned humans created for the singular purpose of being sold off to the prador, an alien race that want to conduct human experiments in order to find a cure for the virus that mutated their king.
As the blurb so wonderfully puts it, Jack is “created to die—determined to live”. Get ready for a fast-paced thrill ride that is set in Neal Asher’s much-loved Polity universe, but which stands on its own and thus is a great read for anyone who’s series-averse.
Trust me, just when you think it can’t get any bigger or more epic, the book steps it up a notch (or three) until you’re frantically reading every page to find out how it ends (spectacularly, I promise).
Will Wight is a name best-known to fantasy fans. His Cradle series is truly one of the most addictive I’ve read—I binged all 9 books back to back without stopping.
Now, his The Last Horizon series brings him partially into the realm of science fiction, into a universe where magic and technology coexist, where wizards wield powers and face off against extra-dimensional insects large enough to feast on stars, genetically enhanced aliens, undead cyborgs, shadow organizations and mega-corporations that will stop at nothing to get what they want, and so much more.
The story seems hopeless, the enemies facing the main character (Varic) too powerful—until he hears a tale of a starship capable of things even his magical powers couldn’t hold a candle to. That ship’s name: The Last Horizon. Get ready for a truly spectacular sci-fan (science-fantasy) adventure.
I’ve never read anything by this author before, but after starting the Grimm’s War series when it first came out in early 2022, I went back and binge-read every book in his backlist.
I loved the fact that the first five books came out in less than a year (with the 6th and final book due later in 2023), which meant I could burn through this series without stopping.
It’s got that military sci-fi flavor that made me fall in love with David Weber’s works all those years ago, but with a modern take that feels fresh and unique in the genre.
It’s a heck of an adventure following one captain’s efforts to bring order to an outdated ship in time to save the galaxy from a war that could lead to the destruction of everything mankind has built over centuries of space travel and colonization.
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