The Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2019

The year is nearly over, and our to-be-read stacks are still towering perilously above us, but we just can’t help ourselves… Next year is full of books we cannot wait to read—in truth, more books than we could even fit on the list below! So as we hastily rearrange our shelves in a vain attempt to make room, tell us: what upcoming books are you excited about?


The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (January 15)

A terrifying sleeping sickness strikes a small town, but what begins as a book about an apocalyptic event soon becomes a surreal exploration of the nature of dreaming itself. Karen Thompson Walker looks at the remarkable possibilities that live in our minds when they’re loosed from the restrictions of workaday reality, and I can’t wait to get lost in it. —Leah Schnelbach


Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (February 5)

A fantasy epic from the 2015 Booker winner Marlon James that’s steeped deep in African mythology? Yes please! Both because it’s about damn time we have books in the mainstream that are moving away from the western fantasy epics that form the canon, and also because I just love it when “literary” writers are openly, spectacularly geeky about their first love, SFF. —Mahvesh Murad


The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons (February 5)

Lyons’ debut novel takes the old theme of the orphan turned prince and puts a new sensibility onto it. Unlike the storybooks and legends that tell that such an elevation of status is the easy road to a happy ever after, Kihrin finds himself in the midst of a dangerous family, and worse, a prophecy that has a dark fate for his role in the future of the kingdom. —Paul Weimer


The Best of R.A. Lafferty (February 7)

The Best of R.A. Lafferty will finally bring some of this great writer’s short stories back to print for—and this is still hard to believe—an affordable price. Each and every story in the collection receives its own introduction; contributors include Samuel Delany, Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt, Nancy Kress, Robert Silverberg, Jeff VanderMeer and the late Harlan Ellison. —Matthew Keeley


The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders (February 12)

Consummate storyteller Charlie Jane Anders’ next novel is far different than her genre-crossing All the Birds in the Sky. A tidally locked planet with zones of permanent day and permanent night. A world dominated by cities full of danger and strife, oppressive government, and an unlikely friendship that could bring all of it crashing down. —Paul Weimer


The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark (February 19)

Clark’s The Black God’s Drums was so good I still haven’t recovered, so it’s no wonder I can’t wait for his next novella, The Haunting of Tram Car 015. In an alternate fantasy version of Cairo, Agents Hamed Nasr and rookie Onsi Youssef of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities are sent to exorcise a demon from a tram car. The job starts off easy and quickly descends into chaos. —Alex Brown


The Afterward by E.K. Johnston (February 19)

I’m promised that The Afterward is the story of a youthful knight and an equally youthful thief who’ve returned from a quest to find that life as recognised heroes is even harder than it was while they were on a perilous quest. I’m also promised that it’s a love story. I’ve enjoyed Johnston’s work before, so I’m eager to see about this one: it sounds like exactly my thing. —Liz Bourke


The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (February 26)

Gods, warriors, an heir, and an usurper to a throne. These are not words that come to mind when one things of the oeuvre of Ann Leckie. Here, Leckie will turn her talents into fantasy, bringing to life a world where the failing relationship between a living god and the usurper that holds the realm below him must be severed, for the good of the kingdom. —Paul Weimer


Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear (March 5)

On the basis of her work to date, Elizabeth Bear is a versatile genius. With more than two dozen novels (and several dozen short stories) in genres ranging from near-future SF to space opera to epic fantasy to steampunk to her name, Bear is always interesting. Her next work, a big-idea space opera called Ancestral Night, looks set to be downright fascinating. I’m really looking forward to it. —Liz Bourke

Bear’s newest space opera features a pair of on-the-edge-of-legality space salvage operators looking for their big chance, their score, or just enough to make it through the next cycle. What they find, next, however, will blow open a secret that could plunge spacefaring humanity’s fragile peace into bloody interstellar war. —Paul Weimer


Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston (March 5)

E.K. Johnston already wrote an amazing Ahsoka book that will be relevant in the upcoming Clone Wars revival, but this is the one that I’ve been waiting on for literal years. Fans have complained before at the lack of attention paid to Padmé and her handmaidens in Episode I… and now we’ll finally get the chance to see them all in action, with their weird coded language and all. Give me the handmaiden intrigue, give it to meeee.  —Emmet Asher-Perrin


The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara (March 5)

I had the privilege of reading a very early ARC of Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon and YOU GUYS IT’S SO AWESOME. It’s clever and cutting, a brilliant nonfiction examination of feminism, the history of Southern California, and the socio-cultural milieu of Hollywood told through the biography of the woman who created the movie monster from The Creature from the Black Lagoon. —Alex Brown


Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi (March 5)

I adore fairytale retellings, and Oyeyemi’s are like no others. She did strange things with “Snow White” in Boy, Snow, Bird, and now she’s set her imaginative sights on “Hansel and Gretel” with the tale of a schoolgirl and a working mother who share an unusual London flat and a peculiar recipe for gingerbread… —Molly Templeton


The True Queen by Zen Cho (March 12)

It’s been ages and ages since the first book in Zen Cho’s awesomely delightful Sorcerer Royal series, The Sorcerer to the Crown, came out, and I’ve been on pins and needles for the second, The True Queen, ever since. Instead of focusing on Zacharias and Prunella’s stories, Cho branches out with new characters. Sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the magical island of Janda Baik, cursed by a sinister magician. Muna heads to England seeking Prunella’s help in breaking the enchantment, and while she’s there she must learn to survive Regency Britain and all it’s social particulars and hierarchical nuances. In other words, gimme gimme gimme! —Alex Brown


The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (March 12)

Listen, have you read Alif the Unseen? Because if you haven’t, you should. Wilson is often in the spotlight for her work on Ms. Marvel, but her first novel was a magical delight, and I have every faith this follow-up will be as well. This story of a concubine, a magical mapmaker, a jinn, and a road trip is set during the time of the Spanish Inquisition (sorry, now you know to expect it!). —Molly Templeton


The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore (March 19)

I don’t know all that much about The Perfect Assassin, K.A. Doore’s debut novel—it’s a fantasy novel with assassins and murder mysteries, which is enough to whet my appetite. I’ve been following the author on Twitter, though, and found my appetite whetted all the more by her dropped hints. It sounds like fun. —Liz Bourke


Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (March 19)

If you were a fan of Turner’s The Thief, you got used to waiting close to a decade for most of the follow-ups—though honestly, there’s so much to digest and catch on a second read that the time is well spent. But now THERE IS A NEW THIEF BOOK in 2019, a mere two years since Thick As Thieves. The only downside? It’s the series finale. But with that in mind, and knowing the title… our boy Eugenides is back, as at least one of the POV characters for the first time since The Queen of Attolia, and there is no better way to end this sly, brilliant, ever-shifting saga than to hear it directly from him.

And that cover, distilling twenty-plus years of conflict and intrigue into a spare diorama of mounting disaster, with Gen standing over it all…! Cannot wait. —Natalie Zutter


A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (March 26)

I’m cheating if I tell you I’m looking forward to A Memory Called Empire, because I read this debut novel of space empires, intrigue, identity, and murder in an early draft. It was amazing then, and I suspect its final form will be even better. —Liz Bourke


Guestbook: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton (March 26)

Leanne Shapton’s last novel told the story of a divorce in the unlikely form of an illustrated auction catalog. Her forthcoming book, Guestbook, presents as an illustrated scrapbook of hauntings. I can’t wait to see how form and function unite here. —Matthew Keeley


Agency by William Gibson (April 2)

William Gibson only publishes a novel every few years, so I’m excited for Agency, his follow-up to The Peripheral. The first book was originally planned as a standalone, so a return to its worlds is a welcome surprise. Of course, Gibson has historically thought in trilogies, so it’s not impossible that even more could follow. —Matthew Keeley


Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (May 7)

I’ll confess, I’m more of a Mira Grant fan than Seanan McGuire—medical/science thrillers are my jam, less so stories that lean more fairytale. But Middlegame’s focus on alchemy hits that sweet spot between science and magic, as scientist begets science experiment begets science experiments who might also be gods (if we’re very unlucky). If you were charmed and chilled by the Wayward Children series’ Jack and Jill—if you delighted in Georgia Mason conquering death in Newsflesh—then you will want to know every terribly wonderful detail about gifted twins Roger and Dodger. —Natalie Zutter


Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang (May 7)

Because I want to read all of Ted Chiang’s brilliance—like the novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects, about a woman who raises an AI from Tamagotchi intelligence to the human equivalent—before they become the next dozen movies and/or TV series. —Natalie Zutter


Lanny by Max Porter (May 14)

I’m very curious about Max Porter’s Lanny. His debut Grief Is the Thing with Feathers was the rare accessible work of avant garde literature; his second novel seems to draw from British folk horror: green men, the deep past, and so on. I’ll be reading it the moment it comes out. —Matthew Keeley


The Iron Dragon’s Mother by Michael Swanwick (June 25)

The Iron Dragon’s Mother is the final volume of a loose trilogy from one of the best and most protean writers in science fiction and fantasy. Now if only someone would get the first volume of the trilogy, The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, back into print. —Matthew Keeley


This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (July 16)

As someone whose scripts are borne out of twisty premises like this, already I’m on board for a love story told through letters exchanged between warring time travel agents Red and Blue, each trying to change the past to ensure their particular future. But then I discovered that this sparky setup came from not one brilliant mind, but two—Amal and Max are teaming up to write what I’m betting will be my favorite “enemies to lovers” story of 2019. —Natalie Zutter


Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh (August 13)

This book was on my list last year. As 2019 finally draws near, I’m only getting more excited. Ten astronauts, including six teens, spend decades in close quarters on their quest to find the last hope of a dying Earth. It sounds like the best combination of drama and thriller and classic science fiction. I’m ready. —Jared Shurin


Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (September 10)

This ticks so many boxes for me, but mainly the “queer” and “space” and “necromancy” boxes. Which I did not know were combined boxes for me until I heard tell of this book. Also, I recently saw a cover mock-up for this and almost died, so prepare yourselves. —Emmet Asher-Perrin


The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz (September 24)

Following Autonomous, it’s safe to say that I will read any novel by Annalee Newitz until forever. This one is supposed to be about time traveling geologists? Who want to stop a bad future from happening? Sold. —Emmet Asher-Perrin


Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand (October 15)

I’m not sure if Hand’s new novel, a thriller about outsider artist Henry Darger investigating a serial killer, will have any sff elements, but she’s written enough in the genre and the pitch for the book is so exciting that I just have to include it here. —Matthew Keeley


Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan (October 31, UK)

Kirsty Logan’s fiction combines the beautiful and macabre. She writes glittering fairy tales with pointy teeth and pointier themes. Things We Say in the Dark, is her new collection, publishing next year. Anything that includes ‘shark babies, vengeful relatives, an abandoned theme park, and kelpies’ sounds like everything I need. —Jared Shurin


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (November 5)

Like half the world and their third cousins, I too loved The Night Circus, so I’m excited to hear that Morgenstern’s new novel will be published in 2019. Seven years after her last book, this, like The Night Circus, has been described as blending romantic and fantastic elements; a story about “stories and choices and change and also time and fate and video games.” Colour me intrigued. —Mahvesh Murad


Publication Dates TBD

Hollow Crown by Zoraida Córdova

I love the heck out of Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas series, so much so that she’s pretty much an auto-buy author for me. Her newest, Hollow Crown, starts a brand new series set in a 15th-century Spain-esque fantasy world and sounds really intriguing. —Alex Brown

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott

Unconquering Sun is Elliott’s return to space opera after a run of epic fantasy series. I expect this book—billed as a “genderbent Alexander the Great in space”—to have all the elements that make Elliott one of my heart authors: strong central characters, intensely meaty and in depth worldbuilding, finely tuned plotting, and an epic sweep and scope. —Paul Weimer

The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Hossain

This site recently announced Hossain’s The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday. Given everything else Hossain has written is pure gold, I’m only upset that I don’t have a copy already. —Jared Shurin

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

From the first bit of art that Rowell shared of her surprise Carry On sequel—more movie poster than book cover, with the cheeky tagline This will end in flames—I can’t think of Wayward Son without grinning like an idiot. Attachments and Eleanor & Park were slow-burn hits for their respective genres. Fangirl sparked a kind of familiar thrill of “this book gets me,” the first (for me) of what has become a veritable subgenre. By the time Carry On came out in 2015, Rowell was confidently merging fandom and fantasy. Rowell knows exactly what she is doing with this sequel, the announcement of which launched a chorus of squees, and it is a delight to witness that. —Natalie Zutter


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