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10 New Knockout Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Landing October 2023

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

It’s October! That means it’s time for cozy sweaters, fall leaves, and Halloween. Hooray! But still, there’s plenty of room in there for spaceships, robot monkeys, giant lizards, and magic! That’s right, it’s time for another round of the amazing SFF reads headed our way. So grab a pen and your TBR list and get ready to mark down these 10 new knockout sci-fi and fantasy books landing in October 2023!

In this list, you’ll find the story of a young girl, her monkey-bot brother, and the search for a powerful artifact; a witchy retelling of Pride and Prejudice; a Gothic fantasy about the home of a missing author in Kentucky; a yearly round-up of the best American SFF stories; a middle grade debut about magic and family; a girl who must protect her family from marauding space pirates; and more!

And if you’d like even more great 2023 SFF books to read, my favorites this year have included the sci-fi space exploration mystery The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei; the Sleeping Beauty-related Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher; the thought-provoking climate fiction The Great Transition by Nick Fuller Googins; and the amazing children’s comics Wizkit: An Adventure Overdue by Tanya J. Scott, Bean The Stretchy Dragon by Ari Stocrate, and Things in the Basement by Ben Hatke.

cover of The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport by Samit Basu; illustration of a young woman with arms tattoos wearing a green sari and walking with a monkey with robot eyes in a future city

The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport by Samit Basu (Tordotcom, October 3)

Lina and her monkey-bot brother, Bador, live in Shantiport, a city in space settled by humans that has now fallen on hard times for everyone except the very rich. When one of the city’s tech billionaires hires Lina and Bador to find a powerful artifact with the rumored ability to grant wishes, they find themselves in the middle of magic more powerful than they imagined.

cover of The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon, swirling purple around gold, with different phases of moons, with the outline of a face a a ship in the corners

The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon (Harper Voyager, October 3)

This is a debut in a new romantic fantasy trilogy! The Hurricane Wars have been being fought since before Talasyn was born. She and the citizens of her world have been living under the tyrannical rule of the Night Emperor for as long as she can remember. And Talasyn secretly possesses magic long thought to be extinct, which she wants to harness to free her homeland. But when her powers get mixed up with the emperor’s son, they must choose whether to work together or fight to the death.

cover of Starling House by Alix E. Harrow; illustration of dark purple birds and yellow flowers in green foliage

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow (Tor Books, October 3)

In Eden, Kentucky, there exists the supposedly haunted mansion of E. Starling, the author of the famous book The Underland, who disappeared a century ago. Rumor has it that the house is cursed. But Opal, an Underland fan, is down on her luck and trying to make a better life for her younger brother. So when she’s offered a chance to enter the house for money, she takes it. But the home doesn’t give up its secrets easily.

cover of Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again by Shigeru Kayama; illustration of the godzilla monster breathing flames

Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again by Shigeru Kayama, Jeffrey Angles (translator) (Univ Of Minnesota Press, October 3)

Everyone is familiar with the iconic movie monster Godzilla, the giant flame-breathing lizard-beast, walking through cities and destroying everything in his path. But did you know Godzilla was based on stories? Now, for the first time, the original novellas have been translated into English for monster lovers to read!

cover of The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub; crwam colored, with a border of leaves, flowers, and flames, and the outline of a man and woman in the bottom corners and birds and a cat at the top

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub (Grand Central Publishing, October 3)

This is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen —with a witchy twist. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett still have five daughters, but Kitty is really a cat, Wickham is an actual demon, and Lydia struggles with the proper and polite place for magic in society. It’s a magical, romantic comedy of errors!

cover of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2023 R. F. Kuang; wavy red pattern over black with title in white font in the middle

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2023 edited by R. F. Kuang (Mariner Books, October 17)

Author R. F. Kuang (Babel, Yellowface) has compiled the, yes, best American SFF stories of the past year. The amazing list of contributors to the 2023 volume includes Nathan Ballingrud, Isabel Cañas, Maria Dong, Kim Fu, Theodora Goss, Alix E. Harrow, S. L. Huang, Stephen Graham Jones, Malka Older, Sofia Samatar, and Catherynne M. Valente.


cover of Alebrijes by Donna Barba Higuera; illustration of a bronze mechanical bird peering through blue branches

Alebrijes by Donna Barba Higuera (Levine Querido, October 3)

In the barren city of Pocatel, Leandro and his sister Gabi do what they must to survive. Most of Earth’s population was wiped out 400 years ago, and it has been a struggle for humanity ever since. When Gabi steals fruit, Leandro takes the blame, and his consciousness is put in a drone and exiled as punishment. But his robotic banishment opens Leandro’s eyes to a whole world beyond the walls of Pocatel.

cover of Just a Pinch of Magic by Alechia Dow; illustration of a young white girl in a black hat and a Black girl in glasses looking in a magical recipe book

Just a Pinch of Magic by Alechia Dow (Feiwel & Friends, October 10)

Alechia Dow’s middle grade debut is a cozy fantasy about magic! When Wini’s family’s bakery has financial trouble, she tries her hand at casting an ill-advised spell to get the ingredients. But her spell brings trouble instead of love in the form of the Enchantment Agency. Meanwhile, Kal and her father are surprised by the return of Kal’s grandfather after so many years, reigniting rumors of dark magic. When Wini and Kal meet, can they join together to get to the bottom of their problems and save their town?

cover of Galaxy Jones and the Space Pirates by Briana McDonald; illustration of a pirate ship and islands in the sky

Galaxy Jones and the Space Pirates by Briana McDonald (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, October 24)

When the royal family books a stay at the inn owned by Galaxy’s dads at the end of the known universe, they think it will help their financial troubles. But Galaxy has heard rumors about the badly behaved prince and his dog. And when pirates turn up, looking for the trinket the prince stole from them, Galaxy must figure out a way to save the day when it turns out the trinket is missing.

cover of Secrets We Tell the Sea by Martha Riva Palacio Obon; illustration of a young girl looking at a sea in the sky filled with pink jellyfish

Secrets We Tell the Sea by Martha Riva Palacio Obon, Lourdes Heuer (translator) (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, October 24)

And last but not least, Sofia is sent to live with her abuela by the oceanside. It’s Sofia’s first visit to the ocean, but she has always felt its pull, making her suspect she’s secretly a mermaid. When Sofia makes friends with Maria, she feels understood, but they will soon find themselves facing down the sea in a battle to save their town.

For more great science fiction and fantasy reads, there’s The Bestselling Science Fiction Books of All Time and 20 of the Most Thought-Provoking, Philosophical Science Fiction Books of All Time. And to get even more, subscribe to the Swords & Spaceships newsletter and SFF Yeah! podcast!