Your reading list isn't long enough! You can always use another stack of science fiction and fantasy books — and luckily, March is full of exciting reads. Including new Terry Pratchett and Brandon Sanderson, but also loads of magic, time travel, apocalypses and fun. Here are the March books you can't afford to miss.
The Memory of Sky: A Great Ship Trilogy by Robert Reed (Prime Books)
Anyone who reads a lot of short fiction knows that Robert Reed is one of the most thrilling and consistently entertaining writers out there. But he also writes novels — and now he's returning to the Great Ship setting of some of his previous work, a huge ancient starship that's been colonized by some humans. In Memory of Sky, a peculiar boystarts to explore the world his parents have always kept him away from, and discovers that human communities have evolved in strange directions.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (Candlewick)
This generations-spanning magical realism novel sounds pretty unique — it follows a girl who's born in 1944 with the wings of a bird. But we also follow her great grandmother, her grandmother and her mother, throughtheir own experiences with tragically foolish love. People are praising the beautiful language and comparing it to Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus and Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Tor)
The long-awaited second book in Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series is out now! Catch up with Shallan, Kaladin, Dalinar, and Adolin as they face more challenges in the epic realm of the Cosmere. This time around, Shallan is desperate to stop the Voidbringers from coming back and ending all of civilization — but stopping them requires a journey to the Shattered Plains.
Questionable Practices: Stories by Eileen Gunn (Small Beer Press)
The indispensible short-story author is back with another collection full of unfeasibly strange experiments. As we said in our review, "Questionable Practices contains a number of sardonically weird looks at the future and the strangeness of corporate culture. But her insatiable eye for weirdness branches out this time around, featuring a number of different takes on the fantastical."
The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher (Tor)
Christopher has made his mark with his superhero novels — but now he's trying his hand at space opera. A former war hero, Abraham Idaho Cleveland, is stuck on a backwater space station, where he receives a mysterious signal, that could be a warning of an ancient, cosmic threat to all existence.
Death Sworn by Leah Cypress (Green Willow)
Ileni is a sorceress who is losing her magic — which is usually the end of the road for a sorceress. She's sent to the Assassins' Cave to be killed, but instead she finds love and companionship with Sorin, who may be the next leader of the assassin band.
Lockstep by Karl Schroeder (Tor)
Toby gets lost in space when he's just 17, and puts himself into cryo-suspension — never expecting to be woken up. When he does wake, though, he discovers that his family rules a vast space empire. And his brother Peter has become an awful tyrant, who sees Toby as a threat.
Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0) by Scott Meyer (47North)
This is one of the more offbeat ideas for a novel we've come across lately. Martin Banks discovers that reality is a computer program, and he can hack it, tweaking reality to make it more to his liking. Unfortunately, his edits to the universe haven't gone unnoticed, and he faces prosecution for reality-hacking. So he goes back in time tothe Middle Ages and becomes a wizard in the time of King Arthur. Bet you've never seen that story before.
Pharos: A Ghost Story by Alice Thompson (Thomas Dunne Books)
This ghost story, set in the early 19th century, is being compared by the publisher to The Turn of the Screw and other similar works. It's about a mysterious woman who turns up on the shores of Jacob's Rock, near a remote lighthouse, with no memory of who she is or where she comes from. The lighthouse-keeper and his assistant take her in, clothe her, and look after her — but she's not who or what she seems.
Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun (Hogarth)
Yet another literary apocalypse novel — except that instead of zombies, children's voices making adults sick, or a mysterious plague, this time it's insomnia. The most terrifying thing of all, perhaps. Nine out of ten people is unable to sleep, at all, and slowly descends into madness and paranoia — while the 10 percent of humans who can sleep are forced to sleep in hiding, because the rest of the human race will kill them on sight. Check out Calhoun's essay about being an accidental science fiction author.
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan (Tor)
The sequel to Brennan's great Natural History of Dragons once again follows Lady Trent as she explores strange creatures. This time around, Isabella is braving the heat and danger of the war-torn continent of Eriga, where the serpents are exotic — but her companions might be the death of her.
The Weirdness: A Novel by Jeremy P. Bushnell (Melville House)
"Weirdness" sounds like an apt description of this novel, in which a struggling novelist gets a visit from Lucifer, who promises to get him a great book deal if he helps save the world by retrieving Satan's magical Welcome Cat. Yes, you read all that correctly. It sounds pretty random, but by all accounts it's a fun, clever ride from the creator of the tabletop game Inevitable.
The End is Nigh edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey (CreateSpace)
The first of three volumes of fiction about the apocalypse — this one is "pre-apocalyptic," so the stories stop just short of everything ending. There's an all-star roundup of contributors. (Full disclosure: I have a story in here.) There's a wide range of apocalypses and styles here, so it doesn't feel as repetitive as you'd worry it might. And there's something especially interesting, in the times we live in, about looking at tales that take place just as the apocalypse is getting ready to happen.
The House at the End of Hope Street: A Novel by Menna van Praag (Penguin Books)
Alba Ashby, a young grad student at Cambridge University, has the worst night ever — and then she winds up at a magical house at 11 Hope Street. The house can help her turn her life around, but there's just one rule — she has to leave in 30 days, having sorted out all her problems by then. Previous inhabitants, like Agatha Christie, Dorothy Parker and Virginia Woolf, are still there inhabiting the pictures on the wall.
Raising Steam (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday)
The 40th Discworld book finally reaches the steam age, as trains and other engines come to Ankh-Morpork, adding to the city's already booming industrial revolution. As Ben Aaronovitch writes in the Guardian, "Pratchett's themes are the big ones: the threat and promise of change, the individual's search for meaning within their own society, and the fine moral judgments that have to be made between competing rights and freedoms."
Blood and Iron (The Book of the Black Earth) by Jon Sprunk (Pyr)
This is billed as a sword-and-sorcery version of Spartacus, and early reviews have praised the "incredible feat of world building" in this book. A soldier gets shipwrecked and finds himself enslaved by the people he was sent to kill — until they discover he has the potential to wield magic, and then he's suddenly lifted up to the Queen's court and caught up in palace intrigue.
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall (Egmont Books Ltd)
In this zippy middle-grade adventure book, Earth has been invaded by a race called the Moror, and when things get really bad 300 kids are evacuated to Mars, to train as cadets in the Exo-Defence Force. Then all the adults on Mars mysteriously vanish, leaving 300 kids with zero adult supervision. It's not quite Lord of the Flies on Mars, but more like a weird adventure novel with laser-shooting goldfish and stuff.
The Time Traveler's Almanac edited by Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer (Tor Books)
Any book that starts out with Douglas Adams and then moves on to Isaac Asimov and Kage Baker has got to be worth a read, right? This is basically just the best time travel fiction of all time, and the list of contributors includes everybody you have ever loved or admired.
Sources: SF Signal, Locus Magazine, Amazon and Publishers' Catalogs