Andrew Liptak on 18 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Read in February

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Tarnished City Vic James-small The Gone World Tom Sweterlitsch-small Echoes of Understorey by Thoraiya Dyer-small

Andrew Liptak’s February book selections give you a nice opportunity to be an armchair tourist in some pretty exotic locales (“Visit distant planets, conspiracies, and galactic conflicts!”)

Just as important for diligent book fans, Andrew catches us up with some of the more intriguing ongoing fantasy series. So without further ado, let’s see what he has for us this month.

Tarnished City by Vic James ( Del Rey, 416 pages, $25 in hardcover/$10.99 digital, February 6, 2018)

Vic James began her career last year with The Gilded Cage, in which the world belongs to a class of gifted magical aristocrats. In the next installment of her Dark Gifts trilogy, an uprising has been crushed, and protagonist Abi Hadley’s brother Luke has been framed for the murder of Parliament’s Chancellor Zelston. She goes into hiding, and after her brother is condemned to a remote estate, she hatches a plan to save him. Publisher’s Weekly says that readers will “appreciate the multifaceted complexity of James’s world and its lively, determined characters.”

We covered the opening volume, Gilded Cage, back in April.

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Andrew Liptak on 18 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Read this January

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci-small Apart in the Dark Ania Ahlborn-small Frankenstein in Baghdad Ahmed Saadawi-small

Holy cats, it’s the last few hours of January. I’m already a month behind on my 2018 reading plan. How the heck did that happen??

In cases like this I’ve learned (through long experience) that it’s best to distract myself with books until the problem goes away. To do that I turn to the always reliable Andrew Liptak at The Verge, and his monthly recommended reading column. Let’s dig in and see what Andrew has for us this month.

First up is the debut novel from Michael Moreci, author of the comic series Roche Limit and Burning Fields. Kirkus Reviews calls Black Star Renegades “A propulsive space opera that is also an unapologetic love letter to Star Wars… Impossible not to love.”

Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci (St. Martin’s Press, 384 pages, $27.99 in hardcover, January 2, 2018)

A young man named Cade Sura reluctantly controls the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, and it puts him into the path of the evil Praxis Kingdom. Michael Moreci is known for his comic books, but his debut novel is a mashup of familiar tropes from space operas like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy. Kirkus Reviews says that he’s assembled all of these tropes “with such devotion and style that it’s impossible not to love this strange mashup for its own sake.”

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Andrew Liptak on 16 SF, Fantasy, and Horror Books to Read in July

Saturday, July 29th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Harbors of the Sun Martha Wells-small Tomorrow's Kin Nancy Kress-small Bannerless Carrie Vaughn small

By my count, there are two days left in July. If I don’t sleep for the next two days, and ignore e-mail and the phone, I may be able salvage some of my July reading plan.

Of course, that assumes I don’t discover a new batch of enticing July titles. And with Andrew Liptak on the job, chances of that are slim. Over at The Verge, he’s compiled a list of 16 science fiction, fantasy, and horror books to read this July, featuring space operas, superheroes, and fantasies. It includes a new novel from one of the most popular authors to appear in Black Gate, the marvelous Martha Wells, a Nazi superhero thriller from Kay Kenyon, the opening novel in a new trilogy from Nancy Kress, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery from the brilliant Carrie Vaughn, and the saga of a San Francisco superheroine by Sarah Kuhn.

Let’s see what Andrew has for us.

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Andrew Liptak on 39 SF, Fantasy, and Horror Books to Read in June

Monday, June 12th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Rebellion's Last Traitor-small Slaves of the Switchboard FINA FINAL.indd The Witch Who Came In From The Cold-small

Last January, over at The Verge, Andrew Liptak combed through publisher catalogs and countless press releases to produce 16 SF and fantasy books worth noting. He did the same thing in March and came up with 23 titles. His June report includes a whopping 39 books. I can see this month is going to take some serious reading time if I even want to pretend to keep up.

Andrew’s list includes new titles by Tanya Huff, Catherynne M. Valente, Terry Brooks, Brenda Cooper, Victor LaValle, Yoon Ha Lee, Seanan McGuire, Cindy Pon, Lilith Saintcrow, Victoria Schwab, Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, Theodora Goss, James Gunn, Stephen Graham Jones, Linda Nagata, Will McIntosh, Rachel Dunne, Daryl Gregory, Jason M. Hough, Karin Tidbeck, Tad Williams, and others. Here’s some of his selections that I found most interesting.

The Rebellion’s Last Traitor by Nik Korpon — Angry Robot (352 pages, $7.99 in paperback, June 6, 2017)

Decades of war has shattered Eitan City, and to help restore order, the Tathadann Party rewrites history by outlawing the past. One man, Henraek, is a memory thief, stealing memories from civilians, until he harvests a memory of his own wife’s death. Now, he’s going to do whatever it takes to discover the truth about her killing, even if it means turning on the people he was most loyal to.

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Andrew Liptak on 23 Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels to Read this March

Monday, March 20th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Lotus Blue-small sins type5 The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories-small

Over at The Verge, our man Andrew Liptak faithfully executes his duty to highlight the most intriguing books of the month. And what a fine selection he’s lined up for March! He starts with Lotus Blue by Cat Spars, published in paperback by Talos on March 7.

Star and Nene are orphans who are part of a caravan of traders in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by rogue semi-sentient machinery and other monsters. When their caravan sees a satellite crash to Earth, Star ends up on a journey that takes her far from home. Aided by Quarrel, an ancient super-soldier, she has to learn to trust her unlikely allies as a long-sleeping war machine awakens in the desert, and threatens all of humanity.

Also in the spotlight is the latest from Brian McClellan (the Powder Mage series). Sins of Empire, the opening volume in a new series, was published in hardcover by Orbit March 7, 2017.

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Andrew Liptak on 33 SF and Fantasy Books Everyone Will Be Talking About in 2017

Thursday, February 9th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Collapsing Empire John Scalzi-small Luna Wolf Moon-small The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter Theodora Goss-small

I don’t know about you, but given the choice between reading the best books of 2017 and the ones everyone’s talking about…. I think I’d go with the latter. Because books that aren’t talked about are soon forgotten, and forgotten books are irrelevant books. And who wants to waste their time on irrelevant books?

Fortunately, we’re here to talk about the 2017 books that are already generating a lot of buzz. Today’s arbiter of excellence is Andrew Liptak who, in an article for The Verge, has compiled a list of 33 SF & fantasy titles that will dominate the conversation over the next year. His list includes novels by Mur Lafferty, Nnedi Okorafor, Kameron Hurley, Chuck Wendig, V. E. Schwab, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ada Palmer, Allen Steele, Timothy Zahn, Cory Doctorow, Brian Staveley, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, Yoon Ha Lee, Max Gladstone, Peter V. Brett, N.K. Jemisin, Ann Leckie, and many others.

Here’s a look at some of the most interesting titles on Andrew’s list, starting with The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi.

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Andrew Liptak on 16 SF and Fantasy Novels You Don’t Want to Miss in January

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Fortress at the End of Time Joe M. McDermott-small Defiant Dave Bara-small Binti Home Nnedi Okorafor-small

Good golly, we’re more than halfway through January already. How the heck did that happen? I still have over a dozen January new releases to cover!

Well, no use complaining about it… especially when I could use that energy to cheat, instead. Rather than tell you about the best new books in January myself, I could just let the distinguished Andrew Liptak do it. Over at The Verge, Andrew has jotted down his thoughts on 16 science fiction and fantasy novels you don’t want to miss in January — including new books by Carrie Vaughn, Laura Anne Gilman, Annie Bellet, Seanan McGuire, Tad Williams, Katherine Arden, Neil Clarke, and many more.

Perhaps the most intriguing book on his list is The Fortress at the End of Time, published this week by In a feature review published January 17th, Andrew calls it “a brilliant throwback to classic science fiction.”

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Andrew Liptak Selects the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels of 2016

Thursday, January 5th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

infomocracy-small arkwright-small the-united-states-of-japan-small

Andrew Liptak, the weekend editor at The Verge, has produced his own list of The 11 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels of 2016, and it’s a very fine list indeed — solidifying the consensus around some of the strongest titles of 2016 (Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky, N.K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate, sequel to her Hugo Award winning The Fifth Season), and adding several overlooked titles to the discussion (Ken Liu’s The Wall of Storms, Ben H. Winters’ Underground Airlines, and one that’s not even a novel — Ann and Jeff Vandermeer’s Big Book of Science Fiction, one of my favorite books of the year).

Andrew’s list also makes fine reading for those, like me, who delight in the subtle art of the plot summary. Here he is on Malka Older’s Infomocracy (, June).

In a year with a contentious election, it would seem that reading a book about a futuristic election might be a bit much. That’s not the case with Malka Older’s Infomocracy. Set in the indeterminate future, the world is divided into small districts, and the party that controls the most districts controls policy for the entire planet. Infomocracy is a intellectually stimulating thriller that follows a handful of characters who work for various political parties and election systems. The story hinges on how a voting public receives and interprets information — and how parties manipulate that perception. It’s a book that’s all too relevant in 2016.

Here’s his summary for Allen Steele’s Arkwright (Tor Books, March).

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Andrew Liptak on All the Best SF and Fantasy You Missed in August

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Guild Conspiracy-small The Last Days of Night-small The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe-small

Over at The Verge, Andrew Liptak has posted a handy little reader’s guide titled “New Adventures: all the best science fiction and fantasy books coming out in August.” It appeared way back on August 1, but I just got around to reading it now, which really makes it All the Best SF and Fantasy I Missed in August. But whatever, it’s packed with lots of great recommended reading, and anyway September looks a lot quieter than August, so maybe I can get caught up. Here’s hoping.

Andrew seems intrigued by the steampunk adventure The Guild Conspiracy, by Brooke Johnson, the sequel to The Brass Giant (2015).

The latest installment of Brooke Johnson’s Chroniker City finds its hero Petra Wade six months after her last adventure. Tasked with building a war machine, she’s been sabotaging the project to try and stave off a coming war, and her overseers are watching her every move. It’s been a while since we’ve picked up a good steampunk adventure, and this one looks like it’s just what we need.

And also the moody Alternate History tale The Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore.

Set in 1888 at the birth of the electrical age, it follows a young lawyer named Paul Cravath who’s asked to defend industry titan George Westinghouse against a billion dollar lawsuit from inventor Thomas Edison. This novel is being adapted into a film by The Imitation Game‘s director, Morten Tyldum, which has us excited.

And the latest novella from Publishing: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson.

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The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of August 2019

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Hollow Kingdom Kira Jane Buxton-small The Cruel Stars John Birmingham-small The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday Saad Z. Hossain-small

Andrew Liptak was fired from his position as Weekend Editor at The Verge two weeks ago, which means that we’ll no longer get to enjoy his monthly Best SF Books lists (you can see while we’ll miss them so much right here). Fortunately he was just hired on to write news items for, and he’s picked up some freelance work at The Barnes and Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, which seems like the perfect home for him.

In the meantime, Jeff Somers at the B&N Blog continues his excellent work cataloging the most interesting new releases each month. For August he’s itemized 22 items, including new books by Julie E. Czerneda, Kameron Hurley, Marie Brennan, R.F. Kuang, Tricia Sullivan, and many others. Here’s a few of the highlights.

Hollow Kingdom, by Kira Jane Buxton (Grand Central Publishing, 320 pages, $27 in hardcover/$13.99 digital, August 6, 2019) — cover by Jerrod Taylor

Kira Jane Buxton’s debut puts a deliriously original spin on the viral zombie apocalypse as human civilization’s collapse is witnessed — and challenged — by S.T., a pet crow. S.T. may be a bird, but he loves many aspects of human culture, and he’s alarmed when his owner, Big Jim, begins to behave strangely and undergo physical changes. Realizing that something is terribly wrong, S.T. teams up with bloodhound Dennis and is soon tasked with saving as many pets as possible, even as humanity descends into chaos. It’s a darkly hilarious twist on the formula, proving again why the zombie novel subgenre is nigh-unkillable.

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