Have you ever wondered why so many highly anticipated books come out in the fall every year? As it turns out, readers buy most books between Labor Day and Christmas — and science fiction and fantasy are no exception. This fall is packed with new releases from NK Jemisin, Stephen King, SA Chakraborty, Brandon Sanderson, Neon Yang, Alan Moore, CL Polk, Mary Robinette Kowal and even… JRR Tolkien? (In a manner of speaking, yes.)
Here are our 17 most anticipated science fiction and fantasy books hitting shelves between September 1 and December 31, 2022.
- 1 Fairy Tale by Stephen King (September 6)
- 2 Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (September 13)
- 3 Bliss Montage by Ling Ma (September 13)
- 4 Lark Ascending through Silas House (September 27)
- 5 The Famous Magician by César Aira (September 27)
- 6 The Creation of Misery by Neon Yang (September 27)
- 7 The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler (October 4)
- 8 Illumination by Alan Moore (October 11)
- 9 The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal (October 11)
- 10 The River of Silver by SA Chakraborty (October 11)
- 11 The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake (October 25)
- 12 The World We Make by NK Jemisin (Nov 1)
- 13 Even Though I Knew the End by CL Polk (November 8)
- 14 The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson (November 15)
- 15 Africa Risen edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Zelda Knight (November 15)
- 16 Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse (November 15)
- 17 The Fall of Númenor by JRR Tolkien (November 15)
Fairy Tale by Stephen King (September 6)
At some point in the early days of the pandemic, Stephen King reportedly wondered, “What could you write that would make you happy?” The resulting novel, Fairy tale, is about a high school athlete named Charlie Reade. When Charlie begins doing odd jobs for a reclusive old man, he discovers a portal to another world – “a vast deserted city” and a “vast palace with glass towers so high that their tips pierced the clouds.”
Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (September 13)
Everyone’s favorite space necromancers are back in the third installment of Muir’s Locked Tomb series. On the heels of Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth, the interplanetary saga of the Nine Houses revolves around a woman named Nona, who recently woke up in a new body with no memory of her life before. She was originally going to be a character in the final book of a planned trilogy, Alecto the Ninthbut according to Carl Engle-Laird (Muir’s editor at Tordotcom), Nona “couldn’t be contained and demanded her own volume”, leaving Alecto the Ninth the fourth and (for now) last book in the autumn of 2023.
Bliss Montage by Ling Ma (September 13)
The author of one of the best novels of the 2010s – severance pay (no, not the show) – returns with a brilliant collection of short stories spanning many different genres, including science fiction, fantasy and horror, while at the same time staying grounded in everyday realism. Look for a preview at “Peking Duck” in The New Yorker or “Office hoursin the Atlantic Ocean.
Lark Ascending through Silas House (September 27)
House’s dystopian seventh novel is a clever reversal of Irish migration to America during the potato famine of the 1840s. In the near future, as the United States succumbs to wildfires, a family of American refugees flees across the Atlantic to Ireland, “the last country not yet overrun by extremists”. Of course, things are never what they seem when protagonists seek refuge in an apocalypse.
The Famous Magician by César Aira (September 27)
Aira’s short books are the literary equivalent of a black truffle from the Périgord – small, rich delicacies worth savoring and contemplating. This 48-page novella is about an aging writer in Buenos Aires who encounters a magician at a book market. The magician, Ovando, offers the writer a “devil’s bargain”: almighty power in exchange for never reading or writing again.
The Creation of Misery by Neon Yang (September 27)
After earning Nebula and Hugo award nominations for their Tensorate series novella, The black tides of heaven, Yang is back with their first full-length novel. The Origin of Misery depicts Joan of Arc as a space fantasy warrior named Misery Nomaki, who hears an angel’s voice in their heads. It is also the first book in a new series called the Nullvoid Chronicles.
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler (October 4)
Have you been waiting all your life for a novel about people discovering a civilization of octopuses? The wait is over! In Nayler’s debut, a marine biologist travels to an isolated Vietnamese archipelago to study a new (deadly) cephalopod species with unusual intelligence. But in true Michael Crichton fashion, a tech company has already bought the islands and evacuated the locals — and it has its own agenda for the octopuses.
Illumination by Alan Moore (October 11)
This is Alan Moore’s very first collection of short stories, best known for writing comic books such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and Batman: The Killing Joke. Over 40 years in the making, some of these stories have never been published before and they bounce happily between genres. There are ghosts, wizards, creatures, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and a lengthy novella, “What We Can Know About Thunderman,” which fictionalizes the history of comic books.
The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal (October 11)
Tor bills this as “the thin man in space.” the spare man is a mystery set on a luxury, interplanetary cruise ship owned by the author of the calculator stars, which won both the Hugo and Nebula prizes for best novel in 2019. When her husband is arrested for murder during their honeymoon, inventor heiress Tesla Crane decides to investigate the crime herself.
The River of Silver by SA Chakraborty (October 11)
Chakraborty’s Daevabad Trilogy — The city of brass, the kingdom of brass, and The realm of gold – is one of the most celebrated fantasy series of the century to date. Set in the same universe, this storybook features new characters, old characters, and never-before-seen material that broadens the scope of the world.
The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake (October 25)
Blake’s self-published series starter, The Atlas Six, absolutely exploded on TikTok last year as few books have done before or after. After becoming a viral sensation, Tor picked it up (and the rest of the planned trilogy). In December 2021, Amazon announced an upcoming TV adaptation of the series, and now the second novel hits shelves on October 15. It will continue to follow the six wizards who have joined the Alexandrian Society, a secret organization dedicated to guarding lost handed down knowledge from ancient civilizations.
The World We Make by NK Jemisin (Nov 1)
Who can forget 2020 The city we became Jemisin’s groundbreaking novel about five people who become living avatars of the New York boroughs? This sequel completes the Great Cities duology as the New York avatars team up with other cities around the world to defeat “the enemy” and her puppet: a mayoral candidate determined to make New York whiter and richer.
Even Though I Knew the End by CL Polk (November 8)
Polk, who won a World Fantasy Award for their debut novel witch brand in 2019 rediscovering mid-century Chicago as a breeding ground for “divine monsters” and serial killers, such as the White City Vampire. Even though I knew the ending is also a noir novel between a magical detective and the woman she loves, as well as a supernatural murder mystery.
The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson (November 15)
Sanderson’s original Mistborn trilogy is widely regarded as one of the best fantasy series ever written. The lost metal is the fourth and final book in the follow-up Wax and Wayne tetralogy, 300 years after the events of the trilogy. Still confused? Welcome to Cosmere.
Africa Risen edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Zelda Knight (November 15)
This anthology features 32 science fiction and fantasy stories by African writers living on the continent and from the diaspora, including Tananarive Due, Tobias S. Buckell, Ytasha L. Womack, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, and Wole Talabi. Expect lots of cyborgs, ghosts, robots, jinns and a rain goddess.
Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse (November 15)
Tread of Angels has a truly unique combination of setting and premise: In 1883, a mining town in the Colorado mountains is experiencing a gold rush when a new element called divinity is discovered beneath the earth. But this isn’t our Colorado – it’s home to the descendants of demons and angels, many years after an ancient war.
The Fall of Númenor by JRR Tolkien (November 15)
Fans of Prime Videos The rings of power will eat up this recently expanded collection of writings about the Second Age of Middle-earth (the time period covered by the new TV series), including Tolkien’s “Atlantis” myth set in the island kingdom of Númenor, the rise of Sauron, and forging the rings of power.