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11 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2023

Get your preorder finger ready.

2023 science fiction and fantasy releases; a golden illustration of a woman in traditional Chinese armor

If you’re like us, you’re both in shock that 2022 is almost over and gleefully filling your TBR shelf with anticipated new releases. Sure, maybe we didn’t actually read all of the books we wanted this year. But that shouldn’t get in the way of discovering our next favorite book, should it? We don’t think so, either. And what a glorious year 2023 is shaping up to be in the world of science fiction and fantasy. There are debuts, sequels, and brand-new standalones. We found 11 books we’re looking forward to the most in 2023.

cover of secret project #1, illustration of a woman standing on a rock amidst waves

Secret Project #1 – 4

By Brandon Sanderson

Earlier this year, Brandon Sanderson announced that in 2020 and 2021, he wrote five secret novels and plans on self-publishing four of them through Kickstarter. We don’t know much—only that three are Cosmere standalones, one is a mystery, and one might become a middle-grade graphic novel.

Sanderson has released some information about the titles on his blog, although if you'd like to be completely surprised by what arrives on your doorstep in January, we recommend not clicking through. Didn't back the Kickstarter? Don't worry, you can preorder Surprise Project #1 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble through the links above—but you'll have to wait until April to receive your copy!

cover of song of silver flame like night, a dragon wraps around the title

Song of Silver, Flame of Night

By Amélie Wen Zhao

Lan wasn’t always her name. But when the Elantian conquerors invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and banned her people’s magic, she took the name they gave her. Of everything she’s lost, she’s desperate to decipher the mark her mother burned on her arm before she died. When Zen—a practitioner of lost magic from the Last Kingdom—saves her life, he recognizes the power hidden inside the mark but doesn’t know what it means. To find answers, they must go to an order of master magicians planning to overthrow Elantian. They both have secrets, but their fates are entwined. And they each have enough power to save their land. Or destroy the world.

A gorgeous epic fantasy woven from the mythology and folklore of ancient China, Song of Silver, Flame of Night comes out January 3, 2023.

cover of hell bent, text imposed over shriveled white rabbit with red eyes

Hell Bent

By Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is forbidden from entering hell to rescue a soul. Good thing following rules was never her strength. But it does mean she can’t use the resources of help of the Ninth House. But the people she can rely on are dubious at best. And when faculty members keep dying, Alex knows there’s a sinister force at work in New Haven. It’s going to take facing the monsters of her past and fighting the darkness built into the university itself to survive.

After the brutal cliffhanger in Bardugo's Ninth House, we’ve been dying to know what happens to Alex, Darlington, and everyone else on that spooky campus. Hell Bent comes out January 10, 2023.

cover of the terraformers, a large tree and lake stand before a futuristic looking city

The Terraformers

By Annalee Newitz

Sask-E is an Earth-like planet. As one of the top network analysts for the Environmental Rescue Team, Destry is assigned to terraform it with the help of her moose, Whistle. Things are going fine until she finds a city that isn’t supposed to exist inside a volcano. She should report the city, but then the truth of the planet’s history might be erased. Her decision impacts generations. Centuries later, Destry’s protégé Misha discovers a real estate company is buying huge swaths of Sask-E land. And their intentions could be devastating for everything that isn’t human.

The second we heard that this book has naked mole rats, robots, and an angry cyborg cow, we were all grabby hands. The Terraformers is expected January 31, 2023.

cover of the adventures of amina al-sirafi, a kraken is illustrated below the sea, wrapping its tentacles around a ship above the water

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

By Shannon Chakraborty

Amina al-Sirafi is a legend. Her career lives on in varied stories all across the Indian Ocean. It’s not common for notorious pirates to retire in peace, but that’s exactly what she’s doing—until the wealthy mother of one of her former crew shows up with a job she can’t refuse. Amina is tempted by more than the money. She’s missed her old life and her crew. Besides, maybe this way she can right the wrongs her demon ex-husband inflicted and ease the guilt she feels from one ill-fated night. One last job and her family’s future will be secure...except nothing is ever that easy.

Written as a “love letter to the old travelogues and wonder literature of the medieval Islamic world”, Amina and her crew will charm and delight in this swashbuckling adventure. The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi comes out March 7, 2023.

cover of some desperate glory, blonde white woman stands between golden doors with embellishments in a uniform

Some Desperate Glory

By Emily Tesh

Years ago, an all-powerful, reality-shaping weapon helped the Majoda defeat humanity. Now, living aboard Gaea Station, Kyr has trained all her life to take revenge. She’s the best warrior of her generation, but Command still sends her to the nursery to bear sons until she dies. Determined to be the sword for a dead planet, Kyr makes a pair of unlikely allies and sets off into a universe that is nothing like what she was taught and beyond what she imagined.

A queer space opera exploring the themes of war, found family, and fighting for who you are when your choices are taken away? Yes, please! This brilliant debut is expected April 2023.

cover of the deep sky, black night background cut through with swirls of images

The Deep Sky

By Yume Kitasei

Earth’s environment is collapsing. To save humanity, a single ship carries eighty elite graduates of an elite program designed to pick the best of the best. They’ll travel a lifetime to a liveable planet, birthing a generation of humans in deep space. But an explosion knocks the ship off course. And as the only surviving witness, Asuko is now the only suspect. As the crew turn on each other, Asuko knows she can’t rely on anyone else to clear her name or find the bomber. And she has to solve the mystery before everyone gives up on the mission or the bomber strikes again.

A thrilling debut set in deep space, The Deep Sky is a mesmerizing story questioning how we can move forward if we cling to our difference. Expected July 2023.

cover of heavenly tyrants, woman in golden armor holds a sword

Heavenly Tyrant

By Xiran Jay Zhao

Zetian is back and more determined than ever to destroy the corrupt and misogynistic society that dooms girls and values boys. But there’s more than politics at play. Zatian also has to face the gods, who want nothing more than to control Zetian as their puppet. Changing a system from within is no easy task. And if she gives in to her darker impulses, she risks not only ruling through fear and violence, but she might end up becoming as corrupt as the rest.

We were blown away by Iron Widow. What’s not to love about smashing the patriarchy along with genres and genders and societal norms? But Zhao didn’t stop there. They gave us robots, feminism, Chinese history, and a polyamorous relationship, too. We’re still swooning to be honest. And we want more! Heavenly Tyrant is expected August 2023.

placeholder cover of alecto the ninth

Alecto the Ninth

By Tamsyn Muir

What can we say about this final installment of the Locked Tomb series? Not much, actually. Expected to be released in October 2023, there is plenty of time to read—or reread—the first three books in this fantastic series. We promise by the end you’ll be full Ninth House acolyte like the rest of us!

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placeholder cover for system collapse

System Collapse

By Martha Wells

We love Murderbot. From the very first moment we met the self-aware SecUnit who just wanted to watch their shows in peace, we were hooked. Over five novellas and a full-length novel, we’ve watched Murderbot navigate all kinds of situations, including, gasp, talking to humans. On purpose! We can’t wait to see what action-packed adventure awaits our favorite SecUnit. System Collapse is expected November 2023.

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cover of winds of winter, a blowing horn between title and author

The Winds of Winter

By George R.R. Martin

Okay, so this one is a gigantic maybe. But the New Year is a bastion of hope-filled optimism where we all strive to be our best. We can only hope one of Martin’s resolutions is to finish this book. Martin announced mid-October that he was three-quarters of the way finished with the manuscript so it’s plausible he could finish and publish by the end of the year? Maybe? Hopefully. We’re leaving it on the list as a sign that we believe all things are possible. 

cover of winds of winter, a blowing horn between title and author