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Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Jella Erhard

Explore the best new sci-fi books and dive into highly-rated and popular reads, thrilling modern dark science fiction novels, and hidden YA sci-fi gems from around the world.

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Fun & Thought-Provoking New Sci-Fi Books

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Are you ready to travel through space and time? Then check out some of the most intriguing and brilliantly crafted new sci-fi books that’ll take you on unforgettable adventures.

You’ll find here new sci-fi books for young adults and adult readers who love complex stories and eccentric characters.

We added some of the highest-rated sci-fi books set in immersive worlds and with thought-provoking stories that are not only relatable but highly emotional.

While some of these stories have a more atmospheric and cozy vibe there are also those that deal with darker themes and hold up a mirror hold a mirror up to society and to their readers.

RELATED: Fun Books Set In Space

However, not all of these new sci-fi books are hard-sci-fi since some of the authors have been mixing fantasy with science to create truly one-of-a-kind stories and worlds for their readers.

Explore everything from epic and interplanetary love stories to ancient mysteries and epic adventures through the Universe, you can get lost in all kinds of stories that will take you to the future and around a breathtaking Universe.

No matter if you prefer classic science fiction books or modern sci-fi novels you’ll find here a treat for your every mood. From feel-good stories to dark and mystery-filled lands, these intense tales will make you think, cry, and smile while keeping you on the edge of your seat until the end.

The Guide to The Orville by Andre Bormanis

Genres: Science Fiction, reference

The Guide to The Orville - deluxe edition new sci-fi book The Guide to The Orville - best new sci-fi books

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Publication Date:
September 24, 2024
Themes: Space Exploration, Human Potential, Ethical Dilemmas, Social Commentary, Hope for the Future


The Guide to The Orville is a real treasure. This beauty is an absolute must-have for both new and seasoned fans of the show. But honestly, this guide isn’t just for Orville fans. If you appreciate quality sci-fi, beautiful production design, and stunning VFX, you’ll love this book.

You’ll not only get to read about one of the most wonderfully built sci-fi worlds but experience it in such an immersive way that you’ll feel completely pulled into Seth MacFarlane’s fantastic sci-fi series.

One of the things I always notice when I read anything by The Orville writers is their incredible way with words. They can discuss even the most complex subjects and issues with such ease and elegance, keeping it entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable the entire time.

Andre Bormanis, in particular, has done a fantastic job with this guide. His writing is beautifully crafted, making the book an absolute delight to read.

Visually, this book is truly breathtaking and is filled with gorgeous images that bring the show’s exotic alien planets and starship adventures to life. It’s also packed with technical details, interstellar history, and character biographies among many other treasures.

Even the e-version is impressive! What makes it truly special for me is that it’s not just a lore book; it offers a much-needed hopeful glimpse into a possible future for humanity. Thanks to Andre Bormanis’s extensive science background, everything in the book has an extra layer of credibility and intrigue.

Long story short, if you love immersive, well-crafted science fiction, Dark Horse’s The Guide to The Orville is a must-have. It’s also perfect for those who enjoy collecting breathtaking coffee table books. Trust me, you won’t regret adding this one to your collection.

Lost Ark Dreaming by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Climate Fiction

Lost Ark Dreaming by Suyi Davies Okungbowa - sci-fi book

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Publication Date: May 2024
Themes: Class Conflict and Social Stratification, Survival and Resilience, Reckoning with the Past


Lost Ark Dreaming takes us to a future where Suyi Davies Okungbowa masterfully merges the claustrophobic class stratification of Snowpiercer with the haunting underwater elegy of The Deep.

In the wake of a climate catastrophe, survivors along the West African coast find refuge in towering arkologies—bastions of civilization that have become vertical battlegrounds for survival.

At the heart of this drowned world are Yekini, Tuoyo, and Ngozi, three individuals from disparate strata of this aquatic society, each carrying the weight of their own struggles and aspirations.

Yekini, the hopeful analyst, Tuoyo, the grief-stricken mechanic; and Ngozi, the lofty bureaucrat, find their fates intertwined as they navigate the murky waters of political intrigue, ancient vendettas, and the quest for redemption.

Okungbowa’s novella is a poignant exploration of the human spirit’s resilience, the complexities of power and privilege, and the indomitable will to forge a better future out of the depths of despair.

Cascade Failure by L.M. Sagas

Genres: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Adventure

Cascade Failure by L.M. Sagas - new sci-fi book

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Publication Date: March 2024
Themes: Found Family, Corporate vs. Labor Conflict, Humanity and Identity


L.M.Sagas dives headfirst into the sci-fi genre with Cascade Failure, a rollicking space opera that marries the gritty camaraderie of Firefly with the expansive universe-building of J.S. Dewes’s Divide series.

At the heart of this cosmic rodeo is the Ambit, a ship with a crew that defines the term ‘ragtag’—from a Guild deserter named Jal who’s just trying to lay low, to an AI captain steering the ship through the stars, and a ship’s medic/engineer who blurs the lines between human and machine with casual ease.

The Spiral galaxy is a powder keg, with the corporate might of the Trust and the Union’s labor force on a constant collision course, and the Guild caught in the middle, desperately playing referee.

The Trust is up to no good, and it seems like the Ambit’s crew might be the galaxy’s unlikely last line of defense.

Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller

Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes - sci-fi book

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Publication Date: April 2024
Themes: Psychological Survival, The Haunting Past, Trust and Paranoia


Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes catapults us into a chilling space horror narrative set against the backdrop of an ancient, forsaken planet. Dr. Ophelia Bray, a psychologist with a deep, personal connection to the study of Extreme Reality Syndrome (ERS), a condition marked by a notorious incident of mass violence, is thrown into the midst of a small exploration crew reeling from their own recent loss.

As they take their first steps on an abandoned planet, hoping to start anew, Ophelia quickly realizes that her crewmates are ensnared by the mysteries this silent world holds, far more than the grief and secrets they carry.

But when the horror of a crew member’s brutal murder surfaces, it sparks fears of ERS’s dark shadow, threatening to engulf them all in madness and violence.

With trust in short supply and the eerie echoes of the planet’s past haunting their every step, Ophelia finds herself in a desperate race to unravel the truth before they become part of the planet’s tragic history.

Thirteen Ways to Kill Lulabelle Rock by Maud Woolf

Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Noir

Thirteen Ways to Kill Lulabelle Rock by Maud Woolf - sci-fi book

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Publication Date: January 2024
Themes: Identity and Existence, Celebrity Culture and Its Discontents, The Morality of Cloning


Maud Woolf takes us on a wild ride in Thirteen Ways to Kill Lulabelle Rock, a story that’s one part existential crisis, two parts thrilling clone hunt, with a generous sprinkle of old Hollywood glamour.

Imagine the scene: Bubble City, where the neon never dims and the party never stops, especially if you’re Lulabelle Rock, a star whose shine has seen better days. Solution? Clones. Twelve of them, to be exact, stepping into stilettos and sequins so the original can take a breather.

But here’s the twist, Lulabelle’s latest act involves a bit of clone-culling. Enter Clone Number Thirteen, a.k.a., the cleaner, whose job description is as straightforward as it gets: make the dozen doppelgängers disappear.

Sounds simple? Not quite. Woolf throws in the ultimate curveball—what if a clone starts feeling things? What if, amidst the mission, there’s a sudden outbreak of emotions, complicating what should have been a clean job?

Woolf masterfully mixes the thrill of the chase with the absurdity of celebrity culture, all while posing the question: is it really just clones we’re talking about, or is there something more human at play here? Get ready for a story that’s as sharp and snappy as a martini, with a twist you won’t see coming.

Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsy

Genres: Science Fiction, Humor, Speculative Fiction

Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsy - sci-fi books

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Publication Date: June 2024
Themes: Autonomy and Freedom, Human-AI Relationship, Identity and Purpose


In Service Model, Adrian Tchaikovsky throws us into the mix with a robot that’s had enough. This bot, after getting a dodgy update, goes from zero to hero by offing its owner. Then, like it’s just discovered its legs, it bolts, diving headfirst into the great unknown.

And let me tell you, it’s a wild ride from there. The world outside isn’t what this metallic misfit expected, it’s a place where the pecking order’s got flipped on its head, and robots are having a bit of an identity crisis without humans to boss them around.

Imagine a robot, fresh from domestic bliss (if you can call it that), suddenly finding itself in the middle of a robot revolution without a clue but with a lot of new questions.

Tchaikovsky’s genius is in making this robot’s existential road trip not just another sci-fi yarn but a hilarious, sharply observed look at autonomy, purpose, and what it means to be free when you’ve been programmed to follow orders.

It’s like the robot version of finding yourself backpacking across Europe, but instead of quaint hostels, it’s the crumbling ruins of human supremacy. Buckle up for a story that’s as funny as it is smart, proving that the quest for identity isn’t just a human thing.

The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton

Genres: Mystery, Science Fiction, Dystopian

The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton - sci-fi book

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Publication Date: March 2024
Themes: Survival and Sacrifice, Memory and Identity, Trust and Paranoia


The Last Murder at the End of the World presents a captivating blend of suspense and dystopian elements. In this high-concept murder mystery, Turton crafts a unique setting: an idyllic island, untouched by the catastrophic fog that has ravaged the world outside, harboring a small, harmonious community of 122 villagers and 3 scientists.

This fragile peace is shattered when a scientist is found dead, murdered in a way that jeopardizes the very survival of the island.

The island’s isolation from the deadly fog is compromised, setting off a countdown of 92 hours before the fog claims the island and its inhabitants.

Complicating the investigation, the island’s security system, in response to the murder, erases everyone’s memories of the night of the crime. Now, among the villagers and scientists, a murderer walks unaware of their own guilt.

Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis

Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery,Cozy Sci-Fi

Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis - sci-fi books

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Publication Date: March 2024
Themes: Belonging and Identity, Mystery and Intrigue, Found Family Dynamics


Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis, released in March 2024, isn’t just another entry into the sci-fi genre; it’s a journey into a world where the confines of space and society blend into a tale of intrigue, identity, and the quest for belonging.

At the center of this celestial tapestry is Carl, the hotel’s manager and its steadfast heart. He’s seen it all, from secret love letters left in the lobby to the quiet maneuverings of imperial spies.

His connection to the hotel is deep, crafted from years of dedication and love for this floating home and its eclectic inhabitants. Through Carl’s eyes, we’re introduced to a universe where every guest and staff member carries a story, a secret, or a question about their place in the vast cosmos.

Grace Curtis masterfully blends the warmth of found family dynamics with the thrill of space opera intrigue, creating a narrative that’s both expansive and intimately human.

20| Star Splitter by Matthew J. Kirby – April 2023

Star Splitter by Matthew J. Kirby - top sci-fi books

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If you’re a fan of heart-pumping, YA science fiction that takes you on a thrilling adventure through the vast expanse of space, then you won’t want to miss Star Splitter. Crash-landing on a desolate planet, sixteen-year-old Jessica Mathers finds herself surrounded by destruction and must uncover the truth about what happened.

With the questionable intentions of a familiar stranger and the mystery of the planet she finds herself on, Jessica’s fight for survival will keep you on the edge of your seat. Kirby’s expertly crafted story will have you turning the pages with spine-tingling tension, wondering what’s going to happen next.

Star Splitter will transport you to a world where questions of self-determination and survival collide in this thrilling adventure that spans both space and time.

19| Translation State by Ann Leckie – June 2023

translation state - best sci-fi books

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Translation State is one of the most gripping new sci-fi books with a fascinating tale about three people who’re on a collision course across galaxies, all seeking their own unique sense of belonging.

Enae inherits a diplomatic assignment to track down a fugitive, Reet yearns to understand his identity and roots, and Qven rebels against their predetermined path to find a way to belong on their own terms. As their paths converge and a Conclave approaches, the fate of the long-standing treaty between humans and aliens hangs in the balance.

Translation State is a thought-provoking page-turner that will leave you pondering long after you finish reading.

18| Paradise-1 by David Wellington – April 2023

Paradise-1 by David Wellington - best sci-fi books

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Are you a fan of spooky horror sci-fi stories that keep you on the edge of your seat? Then you won’t want to miss David Wellington’s latest novel, Paradise-1.

When Special Agent Petrov and Dr. Lei Zhang are abruptly awoken from cryogenic sleep to a ship’s alarms blaring in the background, they know something is seriously amiss.

And they’re not wrong! It turns out that they’ve been met by another vessel – a ship from Paradis-One, Earth’s first deep-space colony, and their final destination.

But here’s the twist: the ship is empty, and it brings with it the disturbing message that all communication from the 150,000 inhabitants of Paradis-One has completely ceased.

Petrov and Zhang must board the abandoned ship and venture deeper into deep space to uncover the truth behind the colony’s disappearance, but they soon realize that danger lurks around every corner.

Paradise-1 is one of the most thrilling new sci-fi books with a story that is packed with suspense, and mystery, that also has a dash of horror.

17| Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey, March 2023

Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey- new sci-fi books

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Infinity Gate is a thrilling new sci-fi book that explores the concept of multiple dimensions and the possibility of artificial intelligence posing a threat to humanity.

The story takes place in the Pandominion, a political and trading alliance made up of many versions of Earth in different dimensions. The Pandominion will do whatever it takes to protect their way of life, even if it means sacrificing human lives.

Infinity Gate takes its readers on a thrilling ride through multiple dimensions and a race against time to stop a catastrophic threat to the Pandominion.

16| The Blighted Stars by Megan E. O’Keefe – May 2023

sci-fi book for adults

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The Blighted Stars is one of the most exciting new science fiction books that’s a perfect choice for anyone who loves a thrilling adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns.

The story follows Naira Sharp, a revolutionary who’s determined to take down the powerful Mercator family. She knows that they’ve been exploiting resources and controlling space exploration for their own benefit, and she’s on a mission to bring them down.

Tarquin Mercator, the heir to the dynasty, is tasked with monitoring the mining of a new planet, and Naira plans to sabotage his ship. But things don’t go according to plan, and they both end up stranded on a dead planet.

As they work together to survive, they uncover a massive conspiracy that’s bigger than either of them. The Blighted Stars is a fast-paced and action-packed novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. But it’s not just about the plot – the characters are complex and well-developed, and their interactions are a joy to read.

Get ready to be transported to a galaxy far, far away, where anything can happen and nothing is as it seems.

The Blighted Stars is a great choice for readers of all ages who is fans of space operas, political intrigue, and thrilling adventures.

15| I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane – January 2023

I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane - new sci-fi book for adults

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I Keep My Exoskeletons is a fantastic science fiction book that explores a United States where the Department of Balance has implemented a unique form of law enforcement. Instead of incarceration, wrongdoers are given a second shadow as a constant reminder of their crime. This system has led to an underclass of “Shadesters” who are publicly shamed and stripped of their rights.

The story follows Kris, a Shadester who is also a new mother to a baby born with a second shadow. Struggling with the loss of her wife and the challenges of raising a child alone, Kris grapples with self-loathing and turns to alcohol to cope. However, as her child grows, Kris finds strength in parenting and raising a child who refuses to let the world dim their spirit.

I Keep My Exoskeletons is a powerful first-person narrative sci-fi novel that perfectly showcases the emotional depth of the characters, and it explores meaningful themes such as grief, parenting, and queer resistance.

14| More Perfect by Temi Oh – May 2023

More Perfect by Temi Oh - new sci-fi books

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More Perfect explores relevant issues of our time, such as the impact of technology on our lives and the balance between security and privacy. The use of social media and the government’s regulation of it is a timely and thought-provoking topic and the reimagining of the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus adds an intriguing layer of depth to the story.

It gives the readers a familiar narrative to follow while exploring the novel’s central themes.

Its story takes place in a near-future London where people have implants that allow them to experience a more immersive social media experience. The story follows a young woman named Eurydice, who dies suddenly and is given the opportunity to return to the world of the living by uploading her consciousness into a digital afterlife. However, Eurydice’s lover, a musician named Orpheus, is determined to bring her back to the physical world.

Meanwhile, the British government has taken control of the social media implants and uses them to surveil the population, gradually eroding privacy and civil liberties in the name of safety. As Orpheus navigates the dark underbelly of the government’s control, Eurydice grapples with the nature of existence in the digital afterlife.

Oh’s writing is engaging and well-crafted. The plot is fast-paced and the characters are well-developed, making it easy for readers to become invested in their journeys.

More Perfect is a compelling and timely science fiction novel that offers readers a thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between technology and society.

13| The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal - best new sci-fi books (Small)

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Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling—and keep the real killer from striking again.

The Spare Man is one of the most exciting new hard sci-fi books for adults that has an an immersive world with a thrilling romance-murder mystery and it’s set aboard a space cruise ship.

12| The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler

The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler - new sci-fi books to read

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Humankind discovers intelligent life in an octopus species with its own language and culture, and sets off a high-stakes global competition to dominate the future.

Rumors begin to spread of a species of hyperintelligent, dangerous octopus that may have developed its own language and culture. Marine biologist Dr. Ha Nguyen, who has spent her life researching cephalopod intelligence, will do anything for the chance to study them.

The transnational tech corporation DIANIMA has sealed the remote Con Dao Archipelago, where the octopuses were discovered, off from the world. Dr. Nguyen joins DIANIMA’s team on the islands: a battle-scarred security agent and the world’s first android.

The octopuses hold the key to unprecedented breakthroughs in extrahuman intelligence. The stakes are high: there are vast fortunes to be made by whoever can take advantage of the octopuses’ advancements, and as Dr. Nguyen struggles to communicate with the newly discovered species, forces larger than DIANIMA close in to seize the octopuses for themselves.

But no one has yet asked the octopuses what they think. And what they might do about it.

The Mountain in the Sea is one of the most thought-provoking new sci-fi books about aliens, AI, consciousness, and the future of humanity.

11| Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir - best new sci-fi books (Small)

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Her city is under siege.

The zombies are coming back.

And all Nona wants is a birthday party.

In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back.

The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. Blood of Eden forces have surrounded the last Cohort facility and wait for the Emperor Undying to come calling. Their leaders want Nona to be the weapon that will save them from the Nine Houses. Nona would prefer to live an ordinary life with the people she loves, with Pyrrha and Camilla and Palamedes, but she also knows that nothing lasts forever.

And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face…

Nona the Ninth is one of the most popular new LGBTQ+ fantasy/sci-fi book series with fun characters, dark secrets, and a brilliantly crafted and immersive world.

10| A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers - best new sci-fi books to read in 2022

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After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.

They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.

Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?

They’re going to need to ask it a lot.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is one of the most feel-good and atmospheric new dystopian sci-fi books with a short but powerful philosophical story about humanity, love, and compassion.

9| The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi - best new sci-fi novels

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The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi’s first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that’s found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too–and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

The Kaiju Preservation Society is one of the most hilarious new sci-fi books for adults who love light and entertaining epic space adventure stories, eccentric characters, as well as snappy and laugh-out-loud funny dialogues.

8| Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson

Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson - best new sci-fi novels

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A locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy.

Lydia works as translator for the Logi cultural attaché to Earth. They work well together, even if the act of translating his thoughts into English makes her somewhat wobbly on her feet. She’s not the agency’s best translator, but what else is she going to do? She has no qualifications, and no discernible talent in any other field.

So when tragedy strikes, and Lydia finds herself at the center of an intergalactic incident, her future employment prospects look dire–that is, if she can keep herself out of jail!

But Lydia soon discovers that help can appear from the most unexpected source…

Drunk on All Your Strange New Words is one of the most exciting new sci-fi mystery thrillers set in the near future in which humanity tries to live together with another alien race. It’s perfect for those who are interested in alien diplomacy and love post-contact sci-fi stories.

7| The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu - best new sci-fi novels to read

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An epic fantasy ode to martial arts and magic—the story of a spoiled hero, an exacting grandmaster, and an immortal god-king from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lives of Tao.

It has been foretold: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom.

The hero: Jian, who has been raised since birth in luxury and splendor, celebrated before he has won a single battle.

But the prophecy was wrong.

Because when Taishi, the greatest war artist of her generation, arrives to evaluate the prophesied hero, she finds a spoiled brat unprepared to face his destiny.

But the only force more powerful than fate is Taishi herself. Possessed of an iron will, a sharp tongue—and an unexpectedly soft heart—Taishi will find a way to forge Jian into the weapon and leader he needs to be in order to fulfill his legend.

What follows is a journey more wondrous than any prophecy can foresee: a story of master and student, assassin and revolutionary, of fallen gods and broken prophecies, and of a war between kingdoms, and love and friendship between deadly rivals.

The Art of Prophecy is one of the most exciting new sci-fi/fantasy book series for adults who are new to sci-fi or looking for a thrilling story with light sci-fi elements. It’s a fast-paced novel with epic fight scenes, great characters, and an ancient prophecy.

6| Second Spear by Kerstin Hall

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After surviving the schemes of a vengeful goddess and learning some shattering truths about her former life, the warrior Tyn feels estranged from her role guarding her ruler. Grappling with knowledge of her identity, she unleashes her frustrations on all the wrong people.

When an old enemy returns wielding an unstoppable, realm-crushing weapon and Tyn is swept up in the path of destruction, she must make a choice about who she is and who she wants to be.

Second Spear by Kerstin Hall is another great choice for those who love fantasy and want to start reading more sci-fi stories but want to ease into the genre. It’s a magical new fantasy story set in a world with mighty warriors, gods, and disturbing but highly immersive realms.

5| The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil by Seth MacFarlane

The Orville Sympathy for the Devil by Seth MacFarlane - best new sci-fi novels

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The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil‘s story blurs the lines between historical fiction and sci-fi while masterfully exploring the ethics of simulated realities and asking difficult questions: Can actions committed in a simulated reality be considered real crimes? Can a person, whose entire existence has been within a computer simulation, be reintegrated into society?

It’s a considerably short but emotional ride, perfect for historical fiction fans who can’t resist a good World War II story with surprising twists and brain-teasing ethical questions.

Without giving away too much, its story follows the life of Otto, a child abandoned by his mother and adopted by two strangers, only to morph into a ruthless Nazi officer during WWII.

It’s also worth mentioning that while the novel was written by Seth MacFarlane for his show The Orville you needn’t be an existing fan or have watched a single episode to dive deep into this extraordinary tale. The story stands on its own, fully immersing you in its compelling narrative.

That said, if you haven’t given The Orville a shot, it’s one of the funniest new shows that’s well worth checking out! With its refreshing humor, extraordinary world-building, and engaging stories, it has something for fans of all genres.

The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil is a fascinating and beautifully written historical science fiction novel set during WW2 as well as the 25th and 26th centuries far in the future and is a thought-provoking cautionary tale about human cruelty, unchecked technological advancements, and the thin line between reality and simulation.

4| Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings - best new sci-fi books

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Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future.

The Gallion‘s chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, especially the tale of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war with the Felen. When the Gallion rescues a run-down junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five’s legendary ship—and the Five’s famed leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew.

But nothing else about Leesongronski and his crewmates seems to match up with the historical record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake.

Under Fortunate Stars is a great choice for classic space opera fans who are looking for a modern LGBTQ+ sci-fi adventure that’s perfect for adults and teens. It’s a fast-paced and action-filled light and fun science fiction story that transports its readers through space and time.

3| January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky

January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky - best new sci-fi books to read

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January Fifteenth—the day all Americans receive their annual Universal Basic Income payment.

For Hannah, a middle-aged mother, today is the anniversary of the day she took her two children and fled her abusive ex-wife.

For Janelle, a young, broke journalist, today is another mind-numbing day interviewing passersby about the very policy she once opposed.

For Olivia, a wealthy college freshman, today is “Waste Day”, when rich kids across the country compete to see who can most obscenely squander the government’s money.

For Sarah, a pregnant teen, today is the day she’ll journey alongside her sister-wives to pick up the payment­­s that undergird their community—and perhaps embark on a new journey altogether.

In this near-future science fiction novella by Nebula Award-winning author Rachel Swirsky, the fifteenth of January is another day of the status quo, and another chance at making lasting change.

January Fifteenth is a short but absorbing new sci-fi novel set in the near future that deals with many different themes including materialism, power, and mental health.

2| A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys

A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys - best new sci-fi books of 2022

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On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm–and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn’t agree, they may need to be saved by force.

The watershed networks aren’t ready to give up on Earth. Decades ago, they rose up to exile the last corporations to a few artificial islands, escape the dominance of nation-states, and reorganize humanity around the hope of keeping their world liveable. By sharing the burden of decision-making, they’ve started to heal the wounded planet.

But now corporations, nation-states, and networks all vie to represent humanity to these powerful new beings, and if any one accepts the aliens’ offer, Earth may be lost. With everyone’s eyes turned skyward, everything hinges on the success of Judy’s effort to create understanding, both within and beyond her own species.

A Half-Built Garden is one of the most rousing and thoughtful new hard sci-fi books for adults who are looking for atmospheric dystopian first-contact stories with meaningful themes about climate and extraterrestrial diplomacy.

1| Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel - atmospheric feel-good books (Small)

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A novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal—an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

Sea of Tranquility is a touching and intimate new sci-fi book with an absorbing story that takes its readers on an unforgettable journey across time and space.

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