I just realised that next year is less than a month away, so I thought I’d check out some exciting sci-fi and fantasy titles coming in 2022!
I’ve spent almost no time on social media in the last few months, so I haven’t seen which books are stirring up hype. But after a bit of research, I’ve managed to rank the top 10 titles I’m looking forward to most. In keeping with the tradition of last year’s ‘most anticipated’ post, I’m sticking to standalone/first instalments, and throwing in a bonus five books at the end because I’m terrible at making decisions.
Stringers by Chris Panatier
Publisher: Angry Robot
Expected Publish Date: 10 May 2022
Page Count: 400 pages
Ben isn’t exactly a genius, but he has an immense breadth of knowledge. Whether it’s natural science (specifically the intricacies of bug sex), or vintage timepieces, he can spout facts and information with the best of experts. He just can’t explain why he knows any of it. Another thing he knows is the location of the Chime. What it is or why it’s important, he can’t say.
But this knowledge is about to get him in a whole heap of trouble, as a trash-talking, flesh construct bounty hunter is on his tail and looking to sell him to the highest bidder. And being able to describe the mating habits of Brazilian bark lice won’t be enough to get him out of it.
Why I’m excited: I really enjoyed Panatier’s debut, The Phlebotomist, plus I saw some hints about Stringers earlier in the year that make me think it will be just as much of a blast!
Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Expected Publish Date: 28 Feb 2022
Page Count: 352 pages
A GHOST SHIP.
A SALVAGE CREW.
Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.
What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right.
Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.
Why I’m excited: While I’m not a huge fan of the cover design, I’m excited by the concept of ‘Titanic meets The Shining in space’. Will definitely check this one out, and hope it lives up to the blurb from Alma Katsu!
The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings
Expected Publish Date: 21 June 2022
Page Count: 464 pages
In a fantastical version of New Orleans where music is magic, a battle for the city’s soul brews between two young mages, a vengeful wraith, and one powerful song in this vibrant and imaginative debut.
Nola is a city full of wonders. A place of sky trolleys and dead cabs, where haints dance the night away and Wise Women keep the order, and where songs walk, talk and keep the spirit of the city alive. To those from Far Away, Nola might seem strange. To failed magician, Perilous Graves, it’s simply home. Then the rhythm stutters.
Nine songs of power have escaped from the magical piano that maintains the city’s beat and without them, Nola will fail. Unexpectedly, Perry and his sister, Brendy, are tasked with saving the city. But a storm is brewing and the Haint of All Haints is awake. Even if they capture the songs, Nola’s time might be coming to an end.
Why I’m excited: I’ve read a few books set in New Orleans now, most memorably Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark who draws from its rich history and folklore. I found it really fascinating, so I’m interested to see what Jennings’ does with his fantasy version of the iconic city.
August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White
Publisher: Orbit Books
Expected Publish Date: 12 July 2022
Page Count: 464 pages
When an army of giant robot AIs threatens to devastate Earth, a virtuoso pianist becomes humanity’s last hope in this bold, lightning-paced, technicolor new space opera series from the author of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.
Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine. But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity.
Why I’m excited: Does anyone else feel like there’s been a big surge of sci-fi books featuring giant robots over the last two years? This plot summary is a little lukewarm, but I did love White’s The Salvagers trilogy, and I’ve been keen to see what they write next for some time. I have high hopes!
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
Expected Publish Date: 16 Feb 2021
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.
Why I’m excited: How stunning is that cover! Unfortunately the UK version is less magical and more ‘Mother’s Day card’ (because over here we’re LITeRarY). I’ve seen a lot of early excitement about this one, and I’m not surprised! ‘Inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess’? I’m sold.
A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys
Expected Publish Date: 26 July 2022
On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm–and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn’t agree, they may need to be saved by force.
The watershed networks aren’t ready to give up on Earth. Decades ago, they rose up to exile the last corporations to a few artificial islands, escape the dominance of nation-states, and reorganize humanity around the hope of keeping their world liveable. By sharing the burden of decision-making, they’ve started to heal the wounded planet.
But now corporations, nation-states, and networks all vie to represent humanity to these powerful new beings, and if any one accepts the aliens’ offer, Earth may be lost. With everyone’s eyes turned skyward, everything hinges on the success of Judy’s effort to create understanding, both within and beyond her own species.
Why I’m excited: It’s been a little while since I’ve read a first contact story, but this sounds like a really unique one. Contrasting the politics of an ecological dystopia with the arrival of technologically superior intergalactic visitors sounds like my cup of tea.
The Surviving Star by Kritika H. Rao
Publisher: DAW books
Expected Publish Date: 2022
High above a jungle-planet float the last refuges of humanity—plant-made civilizations held together by tradition, technology, and arcane science. In these living cities, architects are revered above anyone else. If not for their ability to psychically manipulate the architecture, the cities would plunge into the
devastating earthrage storms below.
Charismatic, powerful, mystical, Iravan is one such architect. In his city, his word is nearly law. His abilities are his identity, but to Ahilya, his wife, they are a way for survival to be reliant on the privileged few. Like most others, she cannot manipulate the plants. And she desperately seeks change.
Their marriage is already thorny—then Iravan is accused of pushing his abilities to forbidden limits. He needs Ahilya to help clear his name; she needs him to tip the balance of rule in their society. As their paths become increasingly intertwined, deadly truths emerge, challenging everything each of them believes. And as the earthrages become longer, and their floating city begins to plummet, Iravan and
Ahilya’s discoveries might destroy their marriage, their culture, and their entire civilization.
Why I’m excited: Pretty much for the psychic manipulation of plant-based architecture.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
Expected Publish Date: 12 July 2022
Page Count: 176 pages
When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.
What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.
Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.
Why I’m excited: Like most millennials I love a bit of fungus in my fiction, particularly when its a gothic horror setting! I’m not familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, but I’m intrigued by this modern retelling.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
Expected Publish Date: 01 Sep 2022
Page Count: 400 pages
Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries.
Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories.
But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.
Why I’m excited: This is the one book I’ve been hearing quite a lot about, which says a lot given it will release in the second half of the year. It sounds like an engaging dark fairytale, and an ambitious debut.
Leech by Hiron Ennes
Expected Publish Date: 29 Sep 2022
Page Count: 400 pages
In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The doctor’s replacement has a mystery to solve: discovering how the Institute lost track of one of its many bodies.
For hundreds of years the Interprovincial Medical Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine. The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species from the apocalyptic horrors their ancestors unleashed.
In the frozen north, the Institute’s body will discover a competitor for its rung at the top of the evolutionary ladder. A parasite is spreading through the baron’s castle, already a dark pit of secrets, lies, violence, and fear. The two will make war on the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, humanity will lose again.’
Why I’m excited: So I hadn’t actually heard of this one until I did some research on 2022 book releases, but I’m really interested in the premise! It sounds like it could be a Puppet Masters-style alien invasion story with period vibes. Keen!
And that’s my top 10! As promised, here’s a few more books I’m looking forward to:
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