Here's a pile of books for you to check out this March

16 new books to add to your TBR

Here's a pile of books for you to check out this March
Image: Andrew Liptak

Now that we're into a new month, it's time to take a look at some of the new books hitting stores in the first half of March: 16 new SF/F (and some others) books to consider adding to your TBR. You can find past lists here. (I'll have another list for you mid-March as well.)

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Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose (March 5th)

This is decidedly not a science fiction or fantasy novel, but it's one of the books that I'm most fond of. Band of Brothers left a huge mark on my academic interests when I was in high school and in college, and I was pleased to see that it's a new release from The Folio Society as part of their Spring 2024 collection. I'll have some more thoughts on this edition soonish.

MIT Press has been steadily releasing entries in Joshua Glenn's Radium Age series for the last two years. It's a fascinating series that has been dredging up early works of speculative fiction from the turn of the 20th century, shedding new light and complexity to the story that is science fiction.

The latest installment in the series is an anthology edited by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay: a selection of Bengali science fiction stories called Kalpavigyan that was popular in India in the early 1900s. This collection contains a number of stories never before published in English, and it looks like a fascinating read.

Irradiating SF
MIT Press is reissuing Joshua Glenn’s The Radium Age series

Weird Tales edited by Michael Dirda (March 5th)

Another entry in The Folio Society's Spring 2024 collection is an anthology of early horror stories, selected by critic Michael Dirda. This book contains stories from the likes of Robert Aickman, Algernon Blackwood, Shirley Jackson, and H.P. Lovecraft, each introduced by Dirda and illustrated by Harry Campbell.

Man's World by Charlotte Haldane (March 12th)

Another installment of Joshua Glenn's Radium Age series is Charlotte Haldane's Man's World. Set in the near future, it's set in England where reproduction is strictly regulated and women's lives are controlled to fulfill eugenical constraints, and it's about a woman who works to fight against the social conditioning that surrounds her.

Jumpnauts by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (March 12th)

A couple of years ago, I picked up Hao Jingfan's novel Vagabonds, about the complications involved between two hostile governments on Earth and Mars. Jingfang's next is Jumpnauts, and it looks as though she's exploring some similar themes. It envisions a world where tensions have been rising between the Pacific League of Nations (PLN) and the Atlantic Division of Nations (ADN). When an advanced alien civilization sends Earth a message, three PLN scientists form an alliance to begin decoding the message in an attempt to find out its contents before their rival ADN counterparts.

Endless Universes and Tales of Two Worlds
Hello! It’s been a weird week, hasn’t it? I spent the weekend getting away from home for a couple of days by visiting my parents in upstate New York. (Fortunately, Vermont has relaxed some travel restrictions, allowing us to go out to low-impact counties and return without having

Kirkus Reviews notes in its review that "the themes explored, involving humankind’s violent and self-destructive tendencies, conclude with a glimmer of hope: 'For all mankind to be one brotherhood is the grand dream of every great teacher in our history, and now we know it is also the article of faith of cosmic civilization.'"

Those Beyond the Wall by Micaiah Johnson (March 12th)

One of my favorite reads a couple of years ago was Micaiah Johnson's debut novel The Space Between Worlds, in which Cara works for a tech company as an explorer who can jump to alternate worlds to study them. In her latest, Johnson returns to the same world, where we pick up the story a decade later in Ahstown, a desert community that's ruled over by the Emperor, who's trying to keep his wealthier neighbors of Wiley City at bay.

The Emperor has one person he can trust, a woman named Scales, who works as an enforcer to keep everyone in line. When she witnesses a woman getting mangled and killed before her, it's an incomprehensible scene, one that doesn't seem to have a culprit. Scales is tasked with trying to find the cause of the killing, and find a way to bring it to an end, discovering a much bigger plot as she does so.

The Space Between Worlds is a clever read about power and parallel worlds
Micaiah Johnson’s debut is all about identity and the struggle for power

Library Journal gave the book a starred review, saying "This book packs an emotional punch, as brutality lies next to the thin edge of caring, wrapped up in friendship and rage, and love will not stop hearts from shattering."

The Haunting of Velkwood by Gwendolyn Kiste (March 5th)

For decades, the Velkwood Vicinity has been the subject of tabloids and conspiracy theorists after a neighborhood vanishes behind a mysterious, impenetrable veil that only a handful of survivors have been able to enter. Talitha Velkwood has tried to put the incident behind her after it took the life of her mother and sister, but when a researcher comes to her with an offer to pay her to go back in, she takes them up on their offer – she needs the cash.

But going back might give her a chance to reunite with a former friend and discover what happened to her mother and her friends all those years ago. Library Journal says "Readers will be captivated as Talitha and Brett face the past they abandoned and search for answers they’re not certain they want."

Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff (March 12th)

Jay Kristoff continues his Empire of the Vampire series (which began with Empire of the Vampire last year), in which vampires have been waging war against humanity for decades, following a Silversaint named Gabriel de León, who's one of the last soldiers standing against the onslaught.

Gabriel saved the Holy Grail, but missed out on a chance to end the war. He enters into an alliance with a vampire named Liathe, and has to bring the Grail to an ancient order in order to learn how to bring the conflict to an end. It won't be an easy journey, and he and his companions might not survive to see daylight.

The Art and Soul of Dune: Part Two by Tanya Lapointe and Stefanie Broos (March 1st)

Dune: Part 2 hits theaters today, and accompanying its arrival is a new art book, The Art and Soul of Dune: Part Two. This follows a similar volume from the first film, and like it, it contains some commentary from Tanya Lapointe (filmmaker and wife of director Denis Villeneuve), as well as lots of concept art and photography from the production of the film. I've been reading this ever since I saw the film, and I'm learning a lot about how it came together.

If you're super into this, you can plunk down $795 for a special, limited edition.

The Siege of Burning Grass by Premee Mohamed (March 12th)

In the midst of an interstellar war, the leader of a resistance movement, Alefret, has been captured tortured by his own government. He's now offered his freedom, provided he infiltrates one of the enemy's flying cities and instigating their citizens into an uprising. He's trapped between his desire to continue to resist what he sees as another gambit in a pointless war and the opportunity to bring the conflict to a real end.

Publishers Weekly says that "readers will need to give Mohamed’s challenging commentary on human nature a slow and careful reading to glean her insights into this chilling and demoralizing war. This is not for the faint of heart."

Blade by Linda Nagata (March 5th)

Linda Nagata brings out a fourth installment of her Inverted Frontier series (following Edges, Silver, and Needle) with Blade. The starship Dragon and the rest of its fleet have pierced deep into a region of space called the Hallowed Vasties, where a series of worlds have been torn apart by a Blade. The Dragon's crew have detected signs of life in the ruins, and they're tempted to continue, only to lose contact with the Griffin.

That ship's silence is worrisome: like the Dragon, it's a ship that was once controlled by an alien mind and designed to lay waste to worlds, and they now have to contend with the possibility that it's been taken over once again to fulfill its original mission.

Star Wars Legends: I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole, narrated by Marc Thompson (March 12th)

The paperback edition of this book came out last year, but it's worth pointing out that with its (and the other Legends re-releases), Random House Worlds has been doing new audio editions of the classic Star Wars EU novels. It's Michael A. Stackpole's turn with I, Jedi, read by Marc Thompson.

House of Open Wounds by Adrian Tchaikovsky (March 5th)

In his British Science Fiction Association award-winning novel City of Last Chances Adrian Tchaikovsky introduced us to the city of Llmar, which has been occupied by Palleseen and dealing with a criminal underworld, oppressive factory owners, and an ancient curse, priming it for a revolution. He now returns to the world with a standalone sequel, The House of Open Wounds. In it, the Palleseen work to bring their doctrine of Perfection and Correctness to the world, taking over city and kingdom to do so.

Their revolution has a devastating cost behind the front lines, and Yasnic, a former priest and healer has been saved from hanging and has been dispatched to a medical unit led by "the Butcher", where he and his new companions confront the the horrors that the war is bringing.

The Truth of the Aleke by Moses Ose Utomi (March 5th)

In this sequel to The Lies of Ajungo, Moses Ose Utomi jumps ahead 500 years, where the City of Truth is the last free city remining in the Forever Desert. It's endured countless attacks from a cult that's been trying to take it over, and we follow Osi, a 17-year-old peacekeeper in the city. After an attack from the cultists leaves countless dead and the sacred God's Eyes stolen, Osi is tasked with taking on the cult and recovering the artifacts.

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying "This heart-wrenching sequel recaptures the tone of the opening volume and again packs an epic’s worth of worldbuilding into a limited page count. Osi’s flaws and naivete make him a realistic and relatable protagonist and the lesson that truth can be both fixed and flexible depending on one’s perspective is well taken."

These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart by Izzy Wasserstein (March 12th)

A trans woman named Theodora “Dora” Madsen returns home to a queer anarchist commune in Kansas after her ex apparently dies of an overdose. She finds a bit more than she bargained for, and as she investigates, discovers more about the nature of the commune and the circumstances that forced her out years ago.

Publishers Weekly says "Wasserstein makes clever use of genre tropes, including clones, snappy noir-style dialogue, and the damaged, insomniac detective archetype."

Big Time by Ben H. Winters (March 5th)

Ben H. Winters is back with a new speculative thriller. I really enjoyed his book Underground Airlines when I picked it up a couple of years ago, and this one looks intriguing: FDA administrator Grace Berney has become stuck in her career, believing that her life has passed her by. Everything changes when she receives a picture of a young women undergoing a strange medical procedure. It prompts her to find the girl and bring her to safety, only to discover that she's now in the crosshairs of a mercenary hired to bring the girl back to the company that was experimenting on her – a company that's been researching some radical theories about the nature of time and existence.

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying "Winters’s many jaw-dropping plot twists are always grounded in pitch-perfect depictions of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events."