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November Is Full of New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Help You Make It Through 2020's Home Stretch

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Seems like just yesterday we were all adjusting to the concept of “lockdown,” but it’s now become a full-on lifestyle. Fortunately, the output of new sci-fi and fantasy books is one thing that hasn’t slowed down—and November is full of adventures in deep space, chaotic kingdoms, other dimensions, and beyond.

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Spellbreaker by Charlie Holmberg

A young wizard uses her gifts for an unsanctioned purpose: breaking spells as a way to keep wealthy magic users from gaining too much power. Her life begins to change when she meets a wealthy magician who needs her help, at the same time a killer starts targeting wizards and stealing their spellbooks. (November 1)

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The Alpha Enigma by W. Michael Gear

In this sci-fi mystery, an inscrutable psychiatric patient is first targeted by assassins, then escapes from the doctor who’s trying to help her. Meanwhile, an archaeologist makes a strange discovery in an apparently time-displaced Egyptian tomb that may tie into her case. (November 3)

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The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020 edited by Diana Gabaldon and John Joseph Adams

This collection features recent sci-fi and fantasy stories by Ken Liu, Victor LaValle, Elizabeth Bear, Rebecca Roanhorse, io9 co-founder Charlie Jane Anders, and others. (November 3)

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Firefly: Generations by Tim Lebbon

The adventures continue for the crew of Serenity in this latest tie-in novel, which sees Captain Mal winning a strange map in a card game that River Tam thinks will lead them to an abandoned generation ship. (November 3)

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Lost Roads by Jonathan Maberry

The sequel to Broken Lands sees Gabriella “Gusty” Gomez gearing up to fight more zombie-like creatures, including their fearsome leader and his ever-growing Night Army. (November 3)

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The Preserve by Ariel S. Winter

In this near-future tale, a plague allows robots to ascend to power, though surviving humans are allowed to live in “preserves” without robot overlords. But not everyone agrees with this system, as a human detective and his robot partner discover when they’re called to investigate the first murder on one of the preserves. (November 3)

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The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

Within the walls of an exclusive sorority that’s actually a haven for witches, the typical college-campus problems and rivalries become ever more complicated when an evil foe discovers the sisters’ magical secret. (November 3)

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Serpent Daughter by D.J. Butler

The Witchy War fantasy series, set in an alt-history version of the United States, continues as goddess Sarah Calhoun struggles to hold off her foes and maintain her alliances while she sits on her throne in Unfallen Eden. (November 3)

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This Virtual Night by C.S. Friedman

After an attack wrecks one of Earth’s far-flung outposts and a virtual reality game is blamed for inspiring the perpetrators, a daredevil explorer and a game designer team up to unravel a deadly mystery through deep space. (November 3)

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The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem

This “post-collapse yarn” from the author of Motherless Brooklyn follows two siblings coping with life after “the Arrest,” living on a farm in rural Maine and dealing with a former friend who’s suddenly blown into town piloting his nuclear-powered tunneling machine. (November 10)

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The Book of Malachi by T.C. Farren

We really can’t top the official description of this sci-fi thriller: “A mute survivor of civil war must confront the horrors of organ farming on a deep-sea oil rig.” (November 10)

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The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White

The second entry in a fantasy trilogy focused on Queen Guinevere sees the legendary ruler—who’s secretly a changeling in disguise—struggling with her identity and trying to figure out where she fits in at Camelot. Trouble arises when the real Guinevere’s sister shows up in the kingdom. (November 10)

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The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter

The sequel to The Rage of Dragons finds that book’s young warrior teaming up with a queen who’s determined to reclaim her throne before her city falls to an invading army. (November 10)

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Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind by Kermit Pattison

This nonfiction book digs into the 1994 discovery of the oldest human ancestor, and the subsequent raging feud that erupted around the top-secret findings once they were made public. (November 10)

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Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present by Chris Gosden

Written by an Oxford professor of archaeology, this history book studies how magic has played a role in culture and shaped behavior since nearly the beginning of humankind. (November 10)

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OtherLife by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller

The Last Reality trilogy concludes as Simon, Kat, Busara, and Elvis try to stay one step ahead of the powerful and sinister gaming company that’s aiming to alter reality as we know it forever. (November 10)

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Refraction by Christopher Hinz

When a man learns his strange superpower is the result of being experimented on as a baby, he sets to track down others like him—as well as find the perpetrators and hold them accountable. (November 10)

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The Rush’s Edge by Ginger Smith

A past-his-prime “genetically-engineered and technology implanted” former soldier is discarded by the government that created him, so he takes a salvage gig to pass the time. Things get complicated when the ship’s computer is overtaken by an alien invader. (November 10)

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Second Chances by P.D. Cacek

This sequel to Second Lives finds more “Travelers”—long-dead souls who revive within recently-dead bodies of other people—roaming the world, though it’s still a mystery why they exist, and not everyone is accepting of their presence. (November 10)

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Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer

In this 1980s-set, holiday-themed horror-comedy, a publishing-house employee tasked with finding the next Stephen King receives a strange, probably cursed object in her office’s Secret Santa gift exchange...and chaos ensues. (November 10)

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Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove

Five years after The Hound of the Baskervilles, another bloodthirsty creature appears and kills Sir Henry Baskerville’s new wife on the moors. Naturally, Holmes and Watson return to investigate. (November 10)

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Star Trek: A Contest of Principles by Greg Cox

When Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise head to the planet Vok to act as observers during a historic election, they’re distracted from the increasingly tense political situation when Bones McCoy is kidnapped. (November 10)

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Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back by various authors

This collection celebrates The Empire Strikes Back by gathering short stories inspired by side characters, unanswered questions, and other random tidbits from the movie, with contributions from Hank Green, Tracy Deonn, Martha Wells, S.A. Chakraborty, Gary Whitta, and many more. (November 10)

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Stormbreak by Natalie C. Parker

The Seafire fantasy trilogy concludes as Captain Caledonia Styx and her all-female crew set out to secure control of the Bullet Seas once and for all. (November 10)

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XX by Rian Hughes

This thriller—constructed using “redacted NASA reports, artwork, magazine articles, secret transcripts, and a novel within a novel”—imagines what might happen if a telescope on Earth were to receive an alien transmission. (November 10)

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Nucleation by Kimberly Unger

When a deep-space pilot discovers alien bacteria is behind a deadly accident at a wormhole gate, she also discovers a plan to sabotage the entire project. But who’s behind it—and can she figure out their endgame before it’s too late? (November 13)

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The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill

A magically gifted young sea captain must learn to compromise when she’s ordered by the queen to team up with a nobleman on a dangerous rescue mission. (November 17)

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The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War fantasy trilogy ends as betrayed hero Fang Runin makes her way home, where she builds a new army to take on the Dragon Republic and all others who oppress those who use magic. (November 17)

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Daughter of the Serpentine by E.E. Knight

A young dragoneer’s talents have helped her rise to the rank of apprentice, but she’s facing multiple enemies and will soon have to make tough choices about where her loyalties lie. (November 17)

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Ink by Jonathan Maberry

In this supernatural thriller, a tattoo artist and a private investigator are among the people being targeted by—and searching for—a monster that delights in stealing memories from lonely, vulnerable people. (November 17)

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Master of One by Jaida Jones and Dani Bennett

Forced by the court sorcerer to track down an ancient fae relic, a talented thief is startled to discover the “relic” is actually a prince. The unlikely duo joins forces to undo the royal plot they’re both unwittingly enmeshed in. (November 17)

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Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen

In this first entry in a new trilogy, a young man sets out to avenge his destroyed planet, a perilous mission he’ll only be able to undertake with the help of a ragtag alien crew. (November 17)

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Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi

The sequel to War Girls finds the Biafran War long over, though Nigeria is still recovering from the devastation. Ify is now working as a medical officer in the Space Colonies, but her dream job takes a turn when a virus begins sickening the children under her care. (November 17)

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Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

The sequel to Oathbringer finds technology turning the tide of an ongoing war in favor of Dalinar Kohlin and his Knights Radiant—but victory is nowhere near guaranteed, and the enemy has its own secrets waiting to strike. (November 17)

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The Saints of Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

The Salvation Sequence concludes as humankind makes one last stand against religious-zealot aliens that’ve been targeting them (and all sentient life, in the name of their all-powerful God) for millennia. (November 17)

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Salamis by Harry Turtledove

The alt-history specialist takes on the Battle of Salamis, placing his trademark characters—cousins Menedemos and Sostratos—amid a great naval battle in 306 B.C. (November 17)

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The Silver Shooter by Erin Lindsey

Pinkerton agent Rose Gallagher is back for another supernatural mystery, heading to Dakota Territory circa 1887 to investigate rumors of a monster that’s been picking off treasure hunters in the wilderness. (November 17)

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Stillicide by Cynan Jones

In a world where water has become commodified, a city protests the displacement of citizens from a massive Ice Dock construction site. (November 17)

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These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

This debut novel offers a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai—plus monsters for added mayhem. (November 17)

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The Way Back by Gavriel Savit

This historical fantasy inspired by Jewish folklore follows two teens on a perilous quest into the Far Country, where ancient demons dwell. (November 17)

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Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker

The Tide Child series continues in this sequel to The Bone Ships, which sees the people of the Hundred Isles dealing not just with the chaotic return of dragons, but the discovery of an illegal slave trade. (November 24)

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Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology edited by S.B. Divya and Mur Lafferty

This collection gathers 15 stories to celebrate the 15th anniversary of sci-fi podcast Escape Pod, from writers like Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, Mary Robinette Kowal, T. Kingfisher, and others. (November 24)

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Forged by Benedict Jacka

London mage Alex Verus returns for another urban fantasy tale, this time evading death squads and facing up to his dark side while preventing his fellow mage Anne from taking her own destructive tendencies too far. (November 24)

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How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

The Folk of Air universe expands with this Rovina Cai-illustrated peek into the life of Elfhame’s mysterious king, Cardan. (November 24)

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Passages edited by Mercedes Lackey

Lackey herself contributes a new novella to this 14th anthology of short stories set in her Valdemar fantasy universe, which are otherwise written by both emerging and established authors. (November 24)

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Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

Wade Watts is back for another OASIS adventure in this long-awaited sequel, which picks up right after the conclusion of Ready Player One. (November 24)

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War Lord by Bernard Cornwell

The author’s Saxon Tales series, inspired by England’s earliest years, concludes with an epic final battle starring series standout Uhtred of Bebbanburg. (November 24)

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Comes a Pale Rider by Caitlín R. Kiernan

This short story collection is the author’s second to focus on determined monster slayer Dancy Flammarion, who travels through the American South waging “holy war with the beings of night and shadow.” (November 30)

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Fishing for Dinosaurs and Other Stories by Joe R. Lansdale

An eclectic collection of adventurous short stories from the acclaimed author of Cold in July and Bubba Ho-Tep. (November 30)

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Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir

The author of Gideon the Ninth takes a necromancer break to pen this fantasy story about a princess stranded atop a witch-made tower with vicious monsters waiting on every floor. (November 30)

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Take a Look at the Five and Ten by Connie Willis

An outcast who dreads her family’s annual holiday get-togethers finds things taking a sci-fi turn when one of the other guests expresses an unusual interest in an elderly relative’s memories. (November 30)

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DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

I ordered the Willis, hoping it washes the taste of Crosstalk out of my mouth. You know that feeling when one of your favorite authors writes a truly awful, awful, awful, book? That’s Crosstalk.

The Muir sounds interesting, but I’ll wait till there are actual reviews. I liked Gideon the Ninth because it was really crazy and this sounds like it could be too, but was disappointed by Harrow the Ninth, so I’m not completely sold on her yet.

The Alpha Enigma might be a very good book, but that is one of the worst, most generic, titles I’ve ever heard. It’s like it was generated by an internet site designed to name your SF novel based on your initials and birth month.