11 new sci-fi and fantasy books to pick up in January 2024

11 new sci-fi and fantasy books to pick up in January 2024
Image: Andrew Liptak

We got our first real snowstorms of the season here in Vermont and it finally feels like it winter. I like the snow and winter season quite a bit (more when my snow blower actually works), and it's a time of the year when I feel like I get get my reading priorities straightened back out.

I've reset the clock on my goals for the year: 52 book for 2024. I'm ditching Goodreads this time around: I just reactivated my account on StoryGraph, a newish reading website that does many of the same things that Goodreads does, but hopefully in a better fashion – already the prompts for reviews look like they're a lot more interesting. We'll see how it goes. (You can find me here if you're on it)

And of course with the new year upon us, there's no stop to the book that are coming down the pipeline. I've already sent out a note that highlights my most anticipated reads for 2024 (you can find that here, if you missed it). There are a whole bunch of other books hitting stores in January.

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Here are 11 new books that you should check out this month:

The Atlas Complex by Olivie Blake (January 9th)

Olivie Blake brings her Atlas trilogy to a close with The Atlas Complex (preceded by The Atlas Six and The Atlas Paradox). In those first two novels, we're introduced to a world where a secretive magical society called The Society of Alexandrians brings on six new magicians once a decade. Blake now brings the trilogy to a conclusion as her six Alexandrians return to the magical library where they have to contend with threats from outside and within. The choices they make to uphold the system or upend it will have wide-reaching consequences.

A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen (January 30th)

When a neuroscientist named Mariana Pineda loses her best friend Shay, she's ready to give up everything, even her new job at a top-of-the-line particle accelerator. She'd go through with it, too, save for the arrival of Carter Cho, who claims that they've known each other for a long time, and that she can't give up her work, and needs to remember what she's tells her: time is about to stop. Mariana finds herself stuck in a time loop, and the pair have to figure out how to escape. As the loops pile up, they have to work quickly: Carter's memories are beginning to fade, along with their chances of escaping.

Publishers Weekly says "Despite the stress of their predicament, Chen’s charming young lovers find time to share some exquisite meals and tactfully presented love scenes. Frequent flashbacks to Mariana’s friendship with Shay provide sound motivation for her heroic action."

Exordia by Seth Dickinson (January 23rd)

A Kurdish refugee named Anna Sinjari fled a genocide only to have an encounter with an alien in New York City's Central Park – Ssrin, a serpent-like alien who's on the run from a galactic empire . The two are brought together in strange ways, and as they each confront elements of their past – Anna in Kurdistan and Ssrin on the run from imperial agents – the two attract wider attention from the world that could have drastic complications for their lives and the rest of the planet.

Publishers Weekly says "Layering in a bromance, an odd-couple pair of female physicists, an Iranian fighter pilot with a Top Gun obsession, and mother-daughter conflict, Dickinson skillfully puts the cosmic scale of the Exordian rebellion into manageably personal terms."

Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett (January 16th)

Heather Fawcett published her novel Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries last year, about a scholar who's working on documenting Fae culture and ends up in a remote village with an insufferable academic rival, Wendell Bambleby. In this sequel, she's still dealing with Wendell, who happens to be an exiled faerie king, and who's trying to find a way home.

Emily is working on a new project: mapping the faerie realms, and while preparing for her work, Wendell has landed himself in a new spot of trouble as assassins sent by his mother have arrived in Cambridge. Their adventures will take them further into Europe, where Emily thinks they can find a door back to Wendell's realm and find a way to free himself of his family's darker plans.

Termush by Sven Holm, Translated by Sylvia Clayton (January 16th)

Originally published in 1967 in Denmark, this new translation of Sven Holm's novel is about a destination getaway that caters to the wealthy who want to get away from the effects of an ongoing "disaster" that's destroying the planet. This edition comes with an introduction from Jeff VanderMeer (Author of the Area X trilogy and Hummingbird Salamander, among others). This looks like an engrossing, entirely too relevant read for 2024.

Scorpio by Marko Kloos (January 1st)

As noted in my 2024 anticipated books list, I recently finished Marko Kloos's Frontlines series, and was a bit bummed to see it come to an end. Fortunately, he's not done with the world just yet: Scorpio is the first in a new series set on a distant colony that follows a settler named Alex, eight years after Frontlines came to an end. The Lankies that have menaced humanity are still out there, and Alex and her canine companion (Ash) have to hold out after their shelter is discovered by the aliens.

Kindling by Kathleen Jennings (January 23rd)

Author and illustrator Kathleen Jennings compiles her short fiction into her first collection. It includes a number of her short stories including "The Heart of Owl Abbas," "The Present Only Toucheth Thee," and a number of others.

Kirkus Reviews describes it as "Women with guts and men of good fortune in search of their personal treasures.

Under the Silence by Karin Lowachee

Karin Lowachee is one of my favorite authors: she wrote the excellent novel Warchild, and followed it up with Burndive, Cagebird, and recently, a collection of short stories from that world called Omake. Now, she returns to the world with a novella, Under the Silence. (I also have an excellent story from her in my anthology War Stories: New Military Science Fiction)

In it, she picks up the story of Ryan Azarcon (the lead character from Burndive) who has been dealing with the fallout from an assassination attempt and has struck up a friendship with Jos Musey, a former alien agent and now negotiator. The two have to navigate their new relationship as everything begins to change unexpectedly around them.

Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire (January 9th)

The latest (9th!) installment of Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series follows a child named Antsy who arrives at Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children. She has a gift for finding doors, and when the school's resident mean girl discovers this, Antsy flees with a small group of friends, looking for the Shop Where the Lost Things Go, encountering harsh memories and more.

The Tusks of Extinction by Ray Nayler (January 16th)

I was a big fan of Ray Nayler's novel The Mountain in the Sea, and this new book from him is another one that I've been eager to pick up this year. It's set in the near future where a company has resurrected the Woolly Mammoth, but to stay ahead of poachers, they have to take some drastic actions.

One of those actions? Importing the digitally-preserved mind of a scientist named Dr. Damira Khismatullina, an expert in elephant behavior into one of those mammoths. This looks like it'll have a lot to say about ecology, corporate ethics, and quite a bit more.

Book Review: The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
Ray Nayler’s The Mountain in the Sea is an astonishing novel about recognizing and comprehending intelligence and our place in the world

Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick (January 23rd)

Tor adds to its "Tor Essentials" lineup with a new edition of Michael Swanwick's novel Stations of the Tide, accompanied by an introduction from critic John Clute.

Originally serialized in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1990, the book earned the Nebula Award for Best Novel the following year, and was nominated for the Hugo and Campbell Awards in 1992. The story is set on the planet Miranda, where an apocalyptic storm is approaching that will flood its continents. As the storm approaches, an agent from the Bureau of Proscribed Technologies arrives try and track down a wizard who's brought with him some forbidden technology in an attempt to remake the world in his own image.

Womb City by Tlotlo Tsamaase (January 23rd)

This was another entry on my 2024 anticipated list: a new-future dystopian tale about a woman named Nelah whose life is upended after an accident and works to hide a body, only to have that secret come back from the grave to haunt her. This sounds like a really fascinating book about autonomy, cybernetic, state surveillance, and quite a bit more. I'm eager to dig into this soon.

As always, thanks for reading: let me know what catches your eye, and what you're reading at the moment!