Fans of science fiction know that time isn’t necessarily a progression of linear events, but instead, more of a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, stuff. Meaning, for some, 2016 might feel as though it’s feet-dragging, while for others, it might be accelerating out of control, and still others, that you’re living events you’ve already experienced. Time is complicated, is what we’re saying.
There are at least several markers of progression: the coming premiere of Rogue One, the three days that you binge-watched Stranger Things, the hours you waste contemplating Mr. Robot. And in between that, you’re going to have some downtime, during which you’re obviously going to want to read new science fiction. Ah, but what? Here’s a list of the best-of-the-best new science fiction coming your way in the last portion of 2016. From hard SF to light-hearted high concepts, to dystopia, to Time Travel to space opera, and yes, even books about the Death Star.
Below is everything a sci-fi reader could want to round out their 2016. Read on!
Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny
Quasi-immortals in a dystopia are wound-up in social science fiction at it’s best. If people can live nearly forever just because they have the money, then maybe it’s time for a little anarchy! Release date: October 18th
Crosstalk by Connie Willis
Science fiction legend Connie Willis returns with a comedic novel about a future in which couples are encouraged to undergo a surgical procedure which will give them more empathy toward each other. The novel is being described as a sci-fi version of Nora Ephron. That description alone gives this book the earmarks of possibly being the book of the year. Release Date: October 4th
Arrival (Stories of Your Life) by Ted Chiang
Technically a re-print, this collection of short stories by Ted Chiang features his alien-first contact story “Arrival” which the forthcoming film of the same name is based-upon. This version of the book will have all the movie stuff on the cover, but you might be able to find the same book with the original cover out in the wild right now. Release date: October 25th
Death’s End by Cixin Liu
Liu’s The Three-Body Problem is one of the most critically acclaimed sci-fi books of this century and Liu easily the most popular Chinese sci-fi writer. The trilogy which began with The Three-Body Problem and continued with The Dark Forest concludes with the new book Death’s End. Come for the political social commentary. Stay for the planetary chaos. Release Date: September 20th
Catalyst: A Rogue One Prequel by James Luceno
If Rogue One is set to tell the story of what happened before the Rebels blew up the Death Star, then the book Catalyst is set to tell the story of what happened right before that. Even if this seems like a shameless tie-in grab for Star Wars stuff right before the movie, the book’s author, James Luceno, has a fantastic track-record of connecting the complex Star Wars continuity into satisfying novels. If he can make the politics of The Phantom Menace comprehensible, he can do a pre-Death Star story no problem. Release Date: November 15th
Star Wars: Ahoska by E.K. Johnston
Set in between the events of The Clone Wars and Rebels this novel-for-young-readers will reveal what happened to Ahoska post Order 66 and before she became an informant for the Rebels. This is a must-read for fans of the greatest Star Wars character to never have featured in one of the films. Release Date: October 11th
Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
The latest installment in the book series The Expanse is the sixth volume in the saga and will find its primary protagonist - James Holden - fighting pirates among the outer planets of the solar system. For fans of the TV show adaptation, you might get spoiled a little bit on stuff that’s yet to happen, but it will be totally worth it. Release Date: November 1st
FeedBack by Mira Grant
With her novel Feed, Mira Grant established a new kind of pandemic story. Now, she revisits that same world of Newsflesh with the new book Feedback. Neither a sequel nor a prequel, this book will be exciting for those who read Feed but also perfect if you’ve never read any of Grant’s excellent, and enthralling science fiction novels. Release Date: October 4th
The Warren by Brian Evenson
The brilliant and celebrated Brian Evenson returns in this novella about a person named X who is living in an underground facility only to be faced with the realities of being outside. Is X human? What does that mean? Release Date: September 20th
Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
Though not actually a science fiction book, the popular science-writer James Gleick chronicles the history of one of sci-fi’s greatest tropes: time travel. From H.G. Wells to Doctor Who and everything in between, this will be a must-read for anyone wanting to talk authoritatively about time travel. Release Date: September 27th