Winter’s Hottest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads: Witches, Parasites, and Grumpy Cats

Winter’s Hottest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads: Witches, Parasites, and Grumpy Cats

‘Tis the season to expand your wish list. Though many of these titles won’t be available until after the holiday season, we can’t help but get pumped. Many of our favorite authors are gifting us with new releases. Neil Gaiman’s short story collection is treating us to more than one supplemental tale to pair with his previous novels, and Samantha Shannon’s sequel to The Bone Season has been on our TBR list since last year. There are also quite a few new faces on this list: Robert Repino leaves a memorable impression with his apocalyptic narrative of a warrior cat on the hunt for his canine best friend, and Sylvain Neuvel captivates with his tale of the calamity that ensues when parts of an iron giant are discovered all over the world. Whether you are looking for a tale of witchcraft, body-snatching, or falling in love with a robot, we’ve got you covered.

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1. Gideon

Toil and trouble

Fans looking for something similar to Kim Harrison’s Hollows series might enjoy the supernatural horror bubbling beneath the surface of this mystery from debut novelist Alex Gordon. After her father’s death, Lauren uncovers clues that show he wasn’t the man she knew. She follows the trail to Gideon, a Midwestern town that sits at the border between this world and the next. As people begin turning up dead, Lauren fights to find the connection between what’s happening now and the tale of a witch burned in Gideon 200 years before.

On shelves: January 6

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2. Saint Odd

Order up

Our favorite ghost whisperer has come a long way since his short-order cook days at the Pico Mundo Grill. After the publication of the first book, Odd Thomas, fans cried out to author Dean Koontz for another. Koontz responded by delivering a series. With this final installment, fans must finally come to terms with the end of Odd’s legacy. Returning to Pico Mundo, where his adventures began, Odd is ready for a final standoff that will bring him face to face with his destiny and, possibly, with his long lost love, Stormy.

On shelves: January 13

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3. Mort(e)

Cat got your tongue?

Though the premise has caused a few readers to be skeptical, this debut novel is quickly gaining speed and glowing reviews. Kirkus called itAnimal Farm re-imagined by Orson Scott Card,” while a writer at Book Riot said it was “like no piece of science fiction I’ve ever read.” Intrigued yet? The premise is that a team of ants has taken over the world with the goal of exterminating the human race by making pets sentient. Mort(e) is the house cat turned warrior who, when he isn’t kicking human ass, is hunting for his canine friend Sheba. Religious allegory, friendship, dystopian-living—this novel has got it all. Though, fair warning, side effects include feeling wary around pets for days after.

On shelves: January 20

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4. The Mime Order

A look into the future

While Koontz wraps up the Odd series, Samantha Shannon is just releasing her sophomore effort: The Mime Order. The second in a planned seven-part series, readers catch up with dreamwalker and recent jailbird Paige Mahoney. Suddenly the most wanted woman in Shannon’s futuristic London, Paige joins a gang of clairvoyants as she struggles to evade Scion (a government organization that controls many of the world’s major cities and is threatened by Paige and those like her). If you haven’t read The Bone Season, now is the time to catch up.

On shelves: January 27

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5. The Themis Files

The hidden giant

Another solid debut on this list, The Themis Files sets readers in a world where an alien device (a giant metal hand) has been discovered by a little girl named Rose. Years later, Rose (now grown and an acclaimed physicist) heads a research team determined to learn more about the hand. When another body part is found in a different part of the world, the race is on to uncover the pieces, ship them to Denver, and keep the word from getting out. Of course, word does get out and the ensuing chaos brings the world to the brink of war. Written in a series of interviews, mission logs, and personal journals, the grand story is told on a human scale.

On shelves: February 2

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6. Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Be together, not the same

Life isn’t good for the androids of the future. Futuristic LA is corrupt and violent, and androids are all too often used and then sold off part by part. Few humans seem to connect with the androids, except for Eliot. Having fallen for a droid named Iris, Eliot begins planning their escape to the only known place where their love will be accepted. But before they can make it, Iris is kidnapped and sold in pieces on the black market. Eliot embarks on a journey to find and reassemble Iris, no matter what it takes. Dark, cynical, and violent, this book is best enjoyed by those with a strong taste for noir.

On shelves: February 3

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7. Trigger Warning

The past is not dead

Perhaps the future holds a dark day where we don’t go straight out to buy the newest release from Neil Gaiman, but today is not that day. This is especially true when this third collection of shorts has a never-before seen story from the world of his Hugo-winning American Gods. Oh and did we mention there’s also a Doctor Who story? AND a companion story for Ocean at the End of the Lane? Our nerd-senses are going bezerk waiting for this.

On shelves: February 3

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8. The Sculptor

To live and die for art

Scott McCloud has literally written the book on comics. Or, rather, books. From Understanding Comics to Reinventing Comics to Making Comics, he’s your go-to if you’re looking for comic book theory. The Sculptor is his first major fiction graphic novel and already is generating fantastic buzz: Neil Gaiman called this the best graphic novel he’s read in years. The premise is one any artist is familiar with: David Smith is an artist struggling for inspiration. Desperate, he makes a deal with Death: David can sculpt anything with his bare hands (imagination’s the limit) but he’ll die in 200 days. Turns out a time limit doesn’t make for easy inspiration either, and what will happen when he finds love as his days are quickly ticking down? Whether this is your first graphic novel or just one more for the collection, it’s an excellent read and visually gorgeous book by a master of comics.

On shelves: February 3

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9. The Autumn Republic

The final battle

Brian McClellan concludes his Powder Mage trilogy with The Autumn Republic. Tamas has returned home to find the capital city has been invaded and his son, Taniel, is nowhere to be found. With the forces of Kez closing in, a leader must rise if there is any hope of saving the city of Andro from certain destruction. Taniel, Adamat, and Tamas set out on their final adventure in this much anticipated ending.

On shelves: February 10

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10. Touch

Just one touch

All it takes is a single touch and Kepler can take control of someone’s body. It’s a power he discovers when he’s brutally beaten and nearly dead. Reaching out for his murderer, he finds himself suddenly in the body of his attacker, looking down at his own broken and dying form. Kepler jumps from body to body (swapping everything from gender to race), sometimes for a moment and sometimes for a lifetime, and he grows to cherish his hosts. So when one host is assassinated, Kepler sets out to find out who was responsible and ends up being hunted himself.

On shelves: February 24

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