Even more SF/F books to check out this March

Another stack to add to your TBR this month

Even more SF/F books to check out this March
Image: Andrew Liptak

It's technically spring, but you wouldn't know it looking out the window here in Vermont. After a brief warm spell, the temperatures dropped and we're anticipating a huge winter storm this weekend. It's a good opportunity to curl up with a book somewhere.

My personal to-read list has stagnated a bit in the last couple of weeks: I've been hopping from book to book, reading a couple of chapters at a time, but I've had trouble sticking with one book at a time. My current read is a nonfiction title that just came out: American Flannel: How a Band of Entrepreneurs Are Bringing the Art and Business of Making Clothes Back Home by Steven Kurutz, a style reporter with The New York Times. It's an interesting read–I'm already predisposed to reading things about the fashion industry thanks to my work on Cosplay: A History, and I picked it up hoping that we might be able to do something with it at my day job, although it's not looking like he talks about Vermont outside of a mention of the Darn Tough socks.

In case you missed it, here's the first list for March, and you can also find other recommendations via the Book List tag.

16 new sci-fi and fantasy books to read in March 2024
16 new books to add to your TBR

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Okay, here are 18 new SF/F books that you should check out for the rest of the month:

The Hidden Queen by Peter V. Brett (March 5th)

Peter V. Brett continues his Nightfall Saga with The Hidden Queen (picking up after the events of The Desert Prince.) This series is set years after his Demon Cycle (The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, et al) and picks up the story of Olive Paper, a young heir who's destined to follow in her father's footsteps to help save humanity by wielding an artifact that can open the gates of the Spear of Ala. At the same time, Darin Bales possesses supernatural senses, and when his mother is captured by the demon king Alagai Kai he has to find a way to save her.

The pair will find themselves each trying to forge their own path in live, only to discover that they're drawn to follow the legacies of their parents as they prepare to confront Alagai Kai to save humanity.

The Feast Makers by H. A. Clarke (March 26th)

H.A. Clarke closes out their Scapegracers trilogy (preceded by The Scapegracers and The Scratch Daughters) with The Feast Makers, in which Sideways Pike learns that her crush, Madeline Kline has been sing her to get to her specter, and stolen her magical soul in order to recover her own. Sideways sets off to track down Madeline, even if it means that her coven and newfound family aren't able to accompany her.

Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis (March 19th)

The Grand Abeona Hotel is one of the best destinations int he galaxy: it travels from planet to planet and provides its guests with a luxurious experience, even if there are some oddities about the place, like who's piloting the ship? At the center of the activities and guests is Carl, a former stowaway-turned manager of the place, and as the ship drifts along on its route, a series of forces converge on the place and prompt him to question whether or not it'll remain home for him.

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying "Even when the stakes are high, Curtis has a knack for keeping things intimate and understated, peeling back the layers of the novel’s scrappy found family. Centering optimism in the face of an increasingly dark universe, this feel-good saga lingers long after it’s finished."

Greatest Hits by Harlan Ellison, edited by J. Michael Straczynski (March 26th)

Harlan Ellison remains one of science fiction's best – and most controversial – writers. Acclaimed for stories like "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" and "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," and for his work on TV shows like Star Trek and Babylon 5, Ellison is responsible for some of the genre's best-known stories.

After he passed away in 2018 and his wife Susan Toth died in 2020, J. Michael Straczynski took over Ellison's literary estate. He's been hard at work: he's finished the long-uncompleted anthology Last Dangerous Visions (which is slated to come out later this year), and has compiled some of Ellison's best-known works into a new volume, Greatest Hits, which should be a good introduction to his career.

At Last, Dangerous Visions
Harlan Ellison’s long-unfinished science fiction anthology might finally see the light of day

The Weavers of Alamaxa by Hadeer Elsbai (March 19th)

In this followup to her novel The Daughters of Izdihar, Hadeer Elsbai continues the story of the Daughters of Izdihar, a group of women fighting for a voice in Parliament, only to encounter problems with a fundamentalist group known as the Ziranis, who fear the Alamaxa and the women it trains in the art of magical weaving.

Two weavers, Nehal and Giorgina, come together after an attack–the former awakens in a prison and the other is on the run, and and together, they can bring the Alamaxa to resist the threat that the Zirani pose to them and their futures.

Library Journal says "Readers looking for fantasy inspired by the wide world of voices out there will find this story’s incorporation of Egyptian history fascinating, while those who love feminist fantasy such as Jenna Glass’s “Women’s War” series will dig right into this fight."

Star Wars: The High Republic: Defy the Storm by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland (March 5th)

With all the excitement out there for the new trailer for Star Wars: The Acolyte, it's worth catching up on the High Republic series. We're pretty far into the series at this point, and StarWars.com has helpfully put together a reader's guide for newcomers.

This book is set after Claudia Gray's Fallen Star and George Mann's Eye of Darkness, where the galaxy is contending with the loss of the Starlight Beacon station at the hands of the Nihil. Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh believes that her Padawan Imri Cantaros was killed in the station's destruction, and has been resting to heal and find her internal balance. When a friend shows up with news that Imri is still alive and trapped in Nihil territory, the two set off to find him.

Annie Bot by Sierra Greer (March 19th)

An android called Annie Bot was designed to be the perfect girlfriend for Doug, capable of satisfying all of his needs. Doug thinks that she's perfect and that her programming is incredibly realistic. She's beginning to learn how to be a human as well, developing feelings of curiosity, longing and secrecy, all traits that begin to put a strain on the relationship that she and Doug share.

Publishers Weekly says "the robot science is scant (there’s more about Annie’s skimpy outfits than her wiring) and the plot is slow to boil, but Greer’s take on human-AI relationships captivates (some of the best scenes are of Annie and Doug in couples therapy) while avoiding the overdone trope of androids longing for consciousness."

Toxxic by Jane Hennigan (March 12th)

In her 2023 book Moths, Jane Hennigan introduced us to a world where the world had been changed by a mutated species of moth that infected men and boys around the world, transforming them into dangerous killers. Humanity eventually found ways to cope, where women were now in charge and the men who survived were kept away in dust-free facilities.

Now, scientists have developed a vaccine to cure the infected and allow men to leave their secure facilities. But once they're back out in the world, they discover an alien world that isn't made them, one that harbors new dangers.

The Stars Turned Inside Out by Nova Jacobs (March 19th)

A physicist found dead in one of the Large Hadron Collider's maintenance tunnels. The scientist appears to have been irradiated by the system, but security can't find any evidence that he had entered the tunnel. To solve the crime, CERN brings in a detective who now has to navigate her way through academic rivalries and culture to discover a larger international political arms race involving the facility, opening up the range of motivations–and suspects–of the killing.

Publishers Weekly says "Jacobs bestows even minor characters with such convincing motives that the plot’s momentum never slows, no matter how complex things get. Golden age mystery fans will love this."

The Angel of Indian Lake by Stephen Graham Jones (March 26th)

Stephen Graham Jones earned widespread acclaim for his love letter to slasher novel My Heart Is a Chainsaw and its followup Don't Fear the Reaper. They follow a young woman named Jade Daniels who's obsessed with horror films, and who springs into action when a serial killer seems to show up in her hometown.

Four years after going into prison to protect her friends Letha and her family, Jade's an outcast in Proofrock, Idaho. She's drawn back to town to settle some unfinished business, between serial killer cultists and some ultra-wealthy developers, not to mention the curse of the Lake Witch, all of which have the potential to tear the place apart.

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying "Jones weaves in plenty of clues and red herrings to keep the reader guessing just who is responsible for all the mayhem before igniting a climax that plays out like a horror film library exploding its holdings in a fiery spectacular."

The Woods All Black by Lee Mandelo (March 19th)

Leslie Bruin is a member of the Frontier Nursing Service, and has a new assignment: the town of Spar Creek, where he's to help with vaccinations, births, and deal with the judgement from the local church members who have a problem with trans people. Leslie thinks he can handle it, but Spar Creek has some particularly dark tendencies lurking amongst its residents.

When Leslie arrives, the local congregation is bent on reforming one of the town's youths, and he might be in a position to help them if he acts quickly. But there are other things haunting the hills that pose even greater threats.

Writing for Grimdark Magazine, Fabienne Schwizer says that Mandelo "interrogates how complicity becomes villainy, how being present alone furthers hate – and hate crimes. In this, Mandelo joins a tradition of modern gothic, stories that pick up on the vibes of the traditional gothic novel, but convert it for today’s audiences."

The Morningside by Téa Obreht (March 19th)

In a future wrecked by climate change, Silvia and her mother move to Morningside, a former luxury tower in Island City. Silvia's long been curious about her family's past, and has an opportunity to learn from her aunt Ena, the tower community's superintendent.

As she learns about her family's stories, she becomes enchanted by one of the tower's mysterious residents, Bezi Duras, who she begins to think might be an antagonistic spirit from one of her ancestral fairy tales.

Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review, saying "Obreht is offering a cautionary vision of what our future might look like, but she’s also asking questions that are as old as storytelling. What do we want to tell ourselves about ourselves? What do we try to hide from ourselves? And what’s the cost of our lives?"

The Mars House by Natasha Pulley (March 19th)

Earth faces an environmental disaster, and a dancer from London's Royal Ballet named January finds himself arriving at Tharsis, a colony on Mars. There's a lot to adjust to: he's classified as an "Earthstronger", someone who grew up in Earth's heavier gravity, and thus poses a danger to his Martian counterparts, which affects the types of jobs and housing that he has access to--and makes him a target of a xenophobic politician named Aubrey Galewho wants to try and force January's fellow Earthlings to undergo dangerous procedures to naturalize.

After a disastrous press interview, Aubrey proposes something unexpected: a political marriage that would benefit both of them. January wouldn't have to naturalize and Aubrey would get a political boost. January accepts, and discovers that his new partner isn't what they appear, and that there are other threats to Tharsis looming in the background.

Writing for The Guardian, Lisa Tuttle says that "this is a delicious, often whimsical take on serious issues, with many surprising plot twists and a gentle, gender-neutral romance. I loved it."

Cascade Failure by L. M. Sagas (March 19th)

L. M. Sagas' debut novel kicks off a new series, Ambit's Run. The spiral is ruled by three major powers: The Trust and the Union, with the Guild trying to keep some sort of peace between them. When a Guild deserter named Jal Red stows away on a Guild ship called the Ambit, he finds it's crewed by an eccentric bunch: an AI captain named Eoan, a doctor/engineer named Nash, and Saint, the ship's XO, who has a history with Jal.

When the Ambit responds to a distress call on an abandoned planet, they discover plenty of graves and a survivor who witnessed some high-tech weapons at play. It's an atrocity that the Trust wants to keep under wraps, and they'll go to plenty of lengths to keep it that way.

Publishers Weekly says "Rapid-fire adventures spiked with army jargon and balanced with touching resolutions of personal conflicts keep the pages turning. Add in a charming found family—and even a space-faring cat—and this spirited space opera is a resounding success."

The Sunlit Man by Brandon Sanderson (March 5th)

The last of Brandon Sanderson's Secret Books projects has finally been released in a regular trade edition: The Sunlit Man, a new installment of his sprawling Cosmere universe.

Nomad has been running from the Night Brigade for years, and he's been jumping through the Cosmere from world to world to keep out of their hands. Now, he's exhausted and trapped on a deadly world called Canticle. While there, he's caught up in a struggle between a tyrant and rebel group, and it's a challenge that will put him to the test.

A Feather So Black by Lyra Selene (March 12th)

Fia is a fae changeling in a kingdom where magic has vanished, left behind when the High Queen's daughter Eala was kidnapped. The High Queen has raised Fia in her daughter's place, while her daughter grows up in Tír na nÓg, fated to transform into a swan during the day and human at night.

When the kingdom discovers a portal to the realm, the queen sends Fia to recover her lost daughter and break the curse placed on her. She's accompanied by her best friend Rogan, who also happens to be engaged to Eala. Their journey to the Fae world brings new dangers and complications.

Publishers Weekly awarded the book a starred review, saying "Selene makes the world of the fae mysterious, sensual, and enthralling, and utilizes a delicious love quadrangle and a complex heroine who’s just beginning to unpack the trauma of her upbringing to keep the pages flying."

Welcome to Forever by Nathan Tavares (March 12th)

When Fox wakes up in the Field of Reeds Center for Memory Reconstruction, he's told that he was injured in a bombing by a scientist named Khadija Banks, who revolutionized memory editing technology before becoming a radical. Fox was one of the digital world's most gifted memory editors, and the attack destroyed the archives of its victims, including that of his husband Gabe.

In the aftermath, Fox tries to reconstruct his life and relationship, only to discover that his world and memory aren't what they think, and that he might need to forget the man he loves in order to save the world.

Library Journal says "Travers's worldbuilding is complex and fascinating in this kaleidoscope of a novel. The high-stakes science fiction is sharp and tragic, hopeful and thrilling."

The Icarus Job by Timothy Zahn (Match 5th)

One of my favorite space opera novels is Timothy Zahn's The Icarus Hunt, a fantastic mystery in a galactic civilization with a really cool twist at the end. Zahn's recently returned to the world with a series he's calling The Icarus Saga. It kicked off a couple of years ago with The Icarus Plot and The Icarus Twin, and continues this month with The Icarus Job. (Two more books are on the way: The Icarus Changling in July and The Icarus Needle in December).

The series follows two explorers named Roarke and Selene who made their living seeking out potentially habitable planets and who're now part of The Icarus Group, a secret government organization looking for portals left behind by an ancient alien civilization. In their latest job, they've been hired to transport a dangerous assassin named Nikki, and in exchange, a crime boss named Robertine Cherno will hand over a new portal to the group. They're not the only ones after the portal, and the Patth, who control interstellar space lanes, will stop at little to get their hands on it.