SFF in 2020: What we can’t wait to read in the new decade

SFF in 2020 is something we’re all very much looking forward to. There’s plenty of goodness on the horizon, and in lieu of the release date of Joe Abercrombie’s The Trouble with Peace, our team has each come up with their most looked-forward-to read of 2020. Tell those TBR piles that pain is a’coming!

The Shadow Saint by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Holly Adams SFF in 2020

I’m really looking forward to The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan! The Gutter Prayer was brilliantly original & so fucking bonkers! I loved it!

Blurb: Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan’s acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy.

Enter a city of spires and shadows . . .

The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees.

Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets – a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it.

As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay?

The Shadow Saint continues the gripping tale of dark gods and dangerous magic that began with Hanrahan’s acclaimed debut The Gutter Prayer.

The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch

Elizabeth Tabler SFF in 2020

The book I am most looking forward to reading in 2020 is The Thorn of Emberlain from The Gentleman Bastards. I love this series and the twisty plot and snark. I do enjoy a bit of wit and snark in fantasy stories and this series has it in spades.

Blurb: With 50,000 copies sold of The Republic of Thieves and with praise from the likes of Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin the saga of the Gentleman Bastard has become a favourite and key part of the fantasy landscape. And now Locke Lamora, thief, con-man, pirate, political deceiver must become a soldier. A new chapter for Locke and Jean and finally the war that has been brewing in the Kingdom of the Marrows flares up and threatens to capture all in its flames. And all the while Locke must try to deal with the disturbing rumours about his past revealed in The Republic of Thieves. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of right and wrong is one thing. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of yourself is quite another. Particularly when you’ve never been that good with a sword anyway…

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Chris Haught SFF in 2020

The next series begins in the world of The Book of the Ancestor, which is a trilogy I completely fell in love with. Surely it will live up to the high standards of storytelling that Lawrence is known for.

Blurb: A stunning new epic fantasy series following a young outcast who must fight with everything she has to survive, set in the same world as Red Sister.

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown. Yaz’s people call it the Pit of the Missing and now it is drawing her in as she has always known it would.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz’s difference tears her from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength and that the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people can be challenged.

Idols Fall by Mike Shel

Nate Aubin SFF in 2020

After the shattering revelations and superbly dark worldbuilding of Sin Eater, I’m dying to get my hands on the trilogy’s last volume. Iconoclasts is a series that deftly mixes high fantasy adventuring tropes with horror, dread, and gritty realism and features some of my favorite fictional characters to date. I’m pleasantly nervous to see what terrors and traumas Shel has in store come 2020.

Blurb:

Sequel to Sin Eater and conclusion to the Iconoclasts series.​

Scheduled for a 2020 release.

(Actual cover not pictured; taken from the author’s website)

Pre-order not available as of this post

Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford

Mike Myers SFF in 2020

The novel I am most looking forward to for 2020 is (probably) Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford. Ford is a multi-award-winning monster of a writer. This past year I reread his mind-blowing fantasy trilogy The Well-Built City, the first book of which, The Physiognomy, won the World Fantasy Award. Out of Body is purported to be a contemporary urban dark fantasy thriller, but you can also expect, since it’s Jeffrey Ford, that it will be a work of literary genius. It is scheduled for release by Tor.com in May of 2020 as part of their superb novella series.

Blurb: A small-town librarian witnesses a murder at his local deli, and what had been routine sleep paralysis begins to transform into something far more disturbing. The trauma of holding a dying girl in his arms drives him out of his own body. The town he knows so well is suddenly revealed to him from a whole new perspective. Secrets are everywhere and demons fester behind closed doors.

Worst of all, he discovers a serial killer who has been preying on the area for over a century, one capable of traveling with him through his dreams.

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

James Tivendale SFF in 2020

I received a copy of Larkwood’s upcoming dark fantasy debut a few months ago from TOR and it has risen rapidly towards the top of my to-be-read list. The marketing blurb reads as “worlds collide in this epic new series, perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Robin Hobb.” A sorcerer wants a young lady as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin. The early Goodreads ratings are looking great with an average of 4.5/5 from 72 reviews and genre tags including “fantasy”, “LGBT”, and “adult”. I’m very excited for this one.

Blurb: What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does―she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin―the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn―gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

Neon Leviathan by T.R. Napper

Adrian Collins SFF in 2020

I am just so excited to see this book on the stands, come Feb 15 2020. It’s been a collection years in the making, and is on point for people who love Altered Carbon and similar books–in fact it’s blurbed by Richard Morgan and features a forward by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It’s grim and gritty AF, brilliantly written by an award-winning author, and we can’t wait to release it to you all.

Blurb: A collection of stories about the outsiders – the criminals, the soldiers, the addicts, the mathematicians, the gamblers and the cage fighters, the refugees and the rebels. From the battlefield, to alternate realities, to the mean streets of the dark city, we walk in the shoes of those who struggle to survive in a neon-saturated, tech-noir future.

Twelve hard-edged stories from the dark, often violent, sometimes strange heart of cyberpunk, this collection – as with all the best science fiction – is an exploration of who were are now. In the tradition of Dashiell Hammett, Philip K Dick, and David Mitchell, Neon Leviathan is a remarkable debut collection from a breakout new author.

After an epic 2019 (read out best of list here) there is plenty to love on the SFF in 2020 horizon. As fans of SFF I bet you’re all keen as mustard to buy way more books than you can possible read, urge your mates to try out the books you’ve enjoyed, and see as many as possible being turned into Netflix or Amazon Prime specials as possible.

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Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins runs Grimdark Magazine and loves anything to do with telling darker stories. Doesn't matter the format, or when it was published or produced--just give him a grim story told in a dark world by a morally grey protagonist and this bloke's in his happy place. Add in a barrel aged stout to sip on after a cheeky body surf under the Australian sun, and that's his heaven.