December’s New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Just Might Help You End 2020 on a Good Note

December’s New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Just Might Help You End 2020 on a Good Note
Image: Razorbill

December is usually a pretty light month for new book releases, and while 2020 has been anything but traditional, that’s still the case here. However, you’ll find there are plenty of enticing new volumes heading to shelves, including an entire book of stories written during lockdown. Stay home, stay safe, stay reading!

The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller

The Nebula winner’s latest is about a photographer who reluctantly returns to his upstate New York hometown, where he reconnects with old friends, gets involved in local politics, and accidentally finds himself in the middle of a ghostly uprising. (December 1)

Bone Chase by Weston Ochse

A maths teacher and his ex-girlfriend are drawn into a global conspiracy when they receive a mysterious box filled with clues to an ancient mystery — a mystery that certain shadowy factions do not want them to solve. (December 1)

Jolene by Mercedes Lackey

The Elemental Masters series continues with this Tennessee-set tale of a coal miner’s daughter who develops her nascent magical talents with her aunt’s help — powers she’ll need to draw upon when an unwanted suitor comes calling. (December 1)

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

The author’s An Ember in the Ashes series comes to a close with this entry. With an all-out attack on humanity by the Nightbringer and his jinn army underway, Laia of Serra must figure out how to intervene before the world is completely destroyed. Meanwhile, the Soul Catcher plots his own path to protect humankind from supernatural ruin. (December 1)

The Tales of Catt and Fisher edited by Justina Robson

New stories by Adrian Tchaikovsky and other contributors help expand the worlds of the relic-hunter characters from Robson’s After the War series novels, Redemption’s Blade and Salvation’s Fire. (December 1)

Trader’s Leap by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

The latest in the long-running Liaden Universe series sees the exiled clan Korval trying to settle in on a new planet, but a lack of funds and limited alliances are making things difficult. One trader must make a risky decision that will either save his people or spell their doom. (December 1)

Fleet Elements by Walter Jon Williams

The author returns to the Praxis empire, setting for his The Accidental War, for more space opera meets military sci-fi adventures. There’s a civil war raging between humans and aliens — a situation complicated by the fact that the different factions on the human side are also battling each other, even with their entire existence at stake. (December 8)

Red Hands by Christopher Golden

If you have “Red Hands,” everyone you touch dies almost instantly. Called in to investigate, an expert in “weird science” must track down a woman who’s living in isolation — horrified by her terrible new power that she’s finding harder and harder to resist. (December 8)

Retrograde: The Darkness by Alicia Godmasch

In this sci-fi debut, a president’s daughter defies her family’s wishes and joins the army when her planet comes under attack. In the military, she becomes part of a trio that feels strangely connected by a mysterious force. Will it be enough to keep them alive and save their home? (December 8)

A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology edited by Dhonielle Clayton

This collection gathers 15 fantasy stories that share empowering, uplifting themes. Contributing authors include Tochi Onyebuchi, Rebecca Roanhorse, and V. E. Schwab. (December 8)

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

This novella is a standalone sequel to The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and continues the adventures of the tiger-battling cleric Chih and their companions. (December 8)

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2020 Edition edited by Rich Horton

This collection gathers 30 sci-fi and fantasy stories published this year in Asimov’s, Clarksworld, Lightspeed, and other outlets, from acclaimed authors including Marie Brennan, Theodora Goss, Laurie Penny, Fran Wilde, and others. (December 8)

Lockdown Tales by Neal Asher

Some people got really into baking during lockdown; author Asher decided to dig into his Polity universe and write the five novellas and novelettes contained in this collection, which also features an additional novella expanded from a 2019 work. (December 15)

This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano

In her last summer at home before heading off to college, a young woman joins a competitive Quidditch team in this YA tale inspired by both Cinderella and (obviously) Harry Potter. (December 15)

Warmaidens by Kelly Coon

The sequel to Gravemaidens finds Kammani and the other maidens building new lives after escaping the tomb where they were imprisoned. But peace proves short-lived when Kammani’s nearly attacked by an assassin, and war with an old enemy feels all but inevitable. (December 15)

Black Canary: Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir

This near-future tale explores the teen years of Dinah Lance, also known as DC’s powerfully voiced Black Canary. (December 29)

Colonyside by Michael Mammay

The story of Planetside and Spaceside continues as Carl Butler, disgraced military hero, is drawn out of self-imposed exile on a backwater planet to help track down a rich man’s missing daughter. It should be an easy enough case, but there are sinister forces both political and corporate at work behind the scenes. (December 29)

The Dark Archive by Genevieve Cogman

In this new entry in the Invisible Library series — about a library of fiction drawn from different realities — librarian spy Irene is targeted by killers while she’s training her new assistant. She’ll have to use her research skills to dig into her own life if she hopes to defeat her mysterious new enemy. (December 29)

The Best of Michael Marshall Smith by Michael Marshall Smith

The British Fantasy Award-winning writer marks the first 30 years of his career by curating 30 of his short works, with new story notes by the author and illustrations by artist Les Edwards. (December 31)