January Science Fiction And Fantasy Overview

This month, science fiction and fantasy readers can expect some great new releases from a variety of authors. Today we're playing tour guide and pointing out some out of this world literary hotspots.


In James Smyth's sci fi space thriller The Explorer, journalist Cormac Easton has been chosen to document the first manned mission into deep space alongside a team of scientists and astronauts. After the crew is revived from hypersleep, they find their ship’s captain dead and receive unnerving instructions from mission control — the mission must continue, no matter what happens. But as more crew members mysteriously die, Cormac begins to worry that he may be the only one left alive to see the mission through.

Sound intriguing? The Explorer caught our interest and left RT reviewer Elise Tobler raving, “Smythe guides this tale with a sure hand, leading readers along a non-linear path where anything might happen and what does happen will make you reconsider all that happened before.”

If you’ve had your eye on this story but weren’t sure if you should commit, we’re offering an exclusive look at the first 13 pages of The Explorer. You can download a PDF of the sample here, and be sure to let us know what you think!


This month Lynn Kurland releases the latest book in her Nine Kingdoms series, Dreamspinner, which features Rùnach of Ceangail a warrior who decides to become a swordsman after his father strips him of his magic. On his journey to begin a new trade, Rùnach comes across a woman on a quest of her own — Aisling of Bruadair, a weaver’s apprentice, has been tasked with traveling to the opposite end of the world in order to find an assassin and bring him home in order to save her kingdom. Rùnach agrees to assist her, and on their journey home the two get closer then they first anticipated. We love the idea of a romance taking place alongside a fantasy adventure so we asked this longtime author for some of her favorite fantasy romances:

There’s nothing I like better than a good romance ... unless that romance is wrapped up in a fabulous fantasy!

It’s hard to pick favorites romantic fantasies from the many wonderful books and movies that I’ve enjoyed over the years, but I’m going to grab three at random.

1. George and the Dragon. The movie’s a little cheesy in places and I’m not sure how I feel about getting that attached to dragon eggs, but there are swords, good vs. evil, and a very reluctant romance all in the same movie. What’s not to love about that?

2. The Ladies of Mandrygn by Barbara Hambly. Two words: Sun Wolf. Hambly’s a terrific writer and the romance in this book is subtle but fantastic. (I keep picking reluctant romances here — I think I’m starting to see a pattern!)

3. Beauty, by Robin McKinley. I think this may be one of my favorite McKinley books. A perfect blend of a simple quest and a truly wonderful romance.

- Lynn Kurland


Steven Gould returns with his latest Jumper novel, Impulse. What started out as a series for teens has evolved into stories enjoyed by readers of all ages! Jumper Davy — an extraordinary human with the ability to teleport anywhere in the blink of an eye — has grown from a teen to a middle aged man with his own family, including his Jumper wife Millie and their 16-year-old daughter Cent. When Cent discovers she shares the same unique ability as her parents, she’s reluctant to accept their help adapting to her new power. She is also dealing with adjusting to public school after a lifetime of homeschooling. On top of these domestic issues, in Impulse Davy must continue keeping his family hidden from the dangerous organization he’s been running from his entire life, so their Jumping abilities won't be used maliciously. Gould’s January release will please a variety of fans, from longtime readers of the series to those just discovering it and from YA enthusiasts to adult sci fi fiction fans as well.


Author Maria V. Snyder’s latest heroine is Avry of Kazan, a healer who absorbs the ailments of the sick and injured. We first met Avry in Touch of Power, and she returns in this month's Scent of Magic, but this time more lives are on the line when evil King Tohon threatens to take over the Fifteen Realms Avry calls home. Avry vows to do her part in stopping the king by joining up with the holy army of high priestess Estrid, but this left us with one question: How exactly does a healer like Avry prepare for war? Snyder shares her character's thoughts:

War is never a good thing ... right? For the Fifteen Realms, a war is about to explode and winning this war is crucial. It’ll allow us to return to the peace and prosperity we experienced before the plague and before Tohon decided to become king of all the Realms. Having a king isn’t the problem — it’s having Tohon as king. He’s learned how to animate the dead and are using them in his army and he doesn’t think his actions are wrong. He’s one sick dude.

As the only healer in the Fifteen Realms, I must prepare for this upcoming war. Hundreds of casualties are guaranteed and I can’t assume all their injuries despite the desire to do so. I have to decide who can heal on their own with time, who can be helped with my arsenal of herbal medicines, and who I need to heal right away. Even those needing immediate attention, I must consider carefully. If their injuries are fatal, I might not survive — my healing powers are quick, but in some cases not quick enough.

I know I’ll struggle with the daily ... hourly? decision to let an injured soldier die. My first instinct is always to heal them regardless. But do I die saving one when I could save many others instead? I did it before with Prince Ryne so he could lead our forces and rid the world of the new plague called Tohon.

There really is no way to prepare for the horrors of war. And no way to brace myself for doing what needs to be done and not what my heart desires. In the end, I hope my heart forgives me, because I’m not sure I’ll be able to forgive myself.

- Maria V. Snyder

What January sci fi and fantasy releases are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments! For more genre news and coverage visit our Everything Science Fiction & Fantasy Page.