The best science fiction and fantasy books for March ‹ Literary Hub

The best science fiction and fantasy books for March ‹ Literary Hub

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Punxsutawney Phil may be anticipating another six weeks of strangely shifting winter weather patterns, but at least if we hibernate longer we have plenty of promising new releases to read: March is a great month for new SFF! Plus a few titles we’ve already mentioned in our 2023 preview (including CL Clark’s The infidelVictor Laval Lonely womenAnd Jinwoo Zhong flow), here’s another set of firsts: new ways of character sequencing; The start of an interesting new dark fantasy series and swashbuckling historical pirate fantasies; Space West and Afrofuturist myths.


Dead Country Max Gladstone

Dead country By Max Gladstone
(Tordotcom publication, March 7)

Part of the appeal of the Craft series, Max Gladstone’s post-industrial urban fantasy world about law wizards and the currency of souls, is that each book is self-contained and can be read in almost every order. However, there is a timeline, and this sprawling fantasy saga finally comes to an end – with a new sequence, Craft Wars. First volume, Dead country, follows longtime protagonist and master craftsman Tara Abernathy, whose many exploits in reviving a god and saving a city don’t matter much when she returns to the hometown that banished her. But when she finds a young girl whose strength and potential remind her of herself at that age, Tara takes her under her wing, an act of kindness that will change the world.

The adventures of Amina Al-Sayrafi

The adventures of Amina Al-Sayrafi By Shannon Chakraborty
(Harper Voyager, March 7)

Shannon Chakraborty builds this historical fantasy, the first in a new trilogy, on the tradition of travelogues and the “wonder literature” of the medieval Islamic world—anchoring it with the structure of a final heist story, a commentary on fatherhood, and some devilish magic. After epic years in the Indian Ocean, pirate Amina Serafi stops herself in order to give her daughter Morgana a life on solid ground. But when she’s hired to rescue a former crewmate’s kidnapped daughter, she can’t resist the lure of financial security and, let’s be real, the thrill of returning to the high seas. But of course there are more sinister motives lurking beneath the surface, in a swashbuckling story about Amina reuniting with her crew, Marjana experiencing the effects of pirate life, and yes, that certainly looks like the kraken on Ivan Belikov’s gorgeous cover.

The king of foxglove

The king of foxglove By Hannah Whitten
(Orbit Books, March 7)

Hannah Whitten’s new dark fantasy series is about the bones on which we build our cities — or in this case, the corpse of the death goddess Nexara, from which entropy has seeped into the city of Delair for 500 years. This entropy is called mortem, and some humans poison themselves with it while others, like 23-year-old Lore, channel it. But when she is captured by the Presque Mort, warrior monks who use Mortem in the name of the Saint King, Lore is forced to spy for King August and find out who is using Mortem in ways she shouldn’t. While her deadly moves bring her into contact with Prince Bastian and Presque Mort Gabriel, both of whom seem strangely familiar, Laure’s past of escaping a religious cult also comes to light…

Walking practice

Walking practice Written by Dulke Min, translated by Victoria Caudle
(Harper Via, March 14)

In this gritty novel from South Korea, a shape-shifting alien is stranded on Earth with no connection to his home world, and must survive until he can figure out how to get back on his feet. Literally, they have to learn to walk, which they do by stalking prey. But to come close enough for human consumption, they must appear to be one; So they use dating apps, constantly changing their gender and sexuality to match what the lovelorn and lonely are looking for. And then it’s time to eat. But when the alien fails in an encounter, they are the ones racing for their survival, beginning to sympathize with their potential meals.

Bitter medicine

Bitter medicine By Mia Tsai
(Tachyon Publications, March 14)

This charming contemporary fantasy inspired by Xianxia draws from Chinese mythology, as does Shennong, the Chinese god of medicine. As a descendant of an immortal god, the humble Elle finds a new and innovative way to save lives, by crafting protective glyphs for clients like Luc, a French dwarf who visits a supposedly “ordinary” glyph maker on his way to dangerous missions. But Elle’s admiration for Luc forces her to create unprecedentedly powerful avatars for him, indicating the full extent of her magic. If Elle unleashes her power fully, she will risk alerting the rest of her family to her whereabouts.

Stranger Nathan Ballingrud

the stranger By Nathan Ballingrud
(Saga Press, March 21)

Nathan Ballingrud’s first novel has all the trappings of a western in its style True grit: A brave teenage girl, controlled by the desire for revenge, ventures out with her allies from various groups to track down the gang that tore apart her family… but its events take place in 1931 in New Galveston, not on Earth, but rather a colony on Mars. However, this sci-fi adventure is set in dialogue with the mother planet, as fourteen-year-old Annabelle comes into contact with her mother, who has returned to Earth to care for her mother. But when silence cuts off Mars from Earth, and… then Silas Mundt’s gang is attacking her father, and it’s up to Annabelle – accompanied by her family’s dishwashing robot Watson, Mars’ toughest outlaw Sally Milkwood, and Joe Reilly, a drunken pilot from Earth – to get her revenge.

Agonjo's lies

Agonjo’s lies By Moses Osei Otomi
(Published by Tordotcom, March 21)

As a first-generation, Nigerian-American SFF writer, Moses Osei Otomi wanted to explore thirst in all its permutations: for truth, for connection, for revenge. The Eternal Desert Tale opens with this short but expansive novel that sets out the epic stakes: the City of Lies, whose inhabitants cut out their tongues at thirteen in order to bargain for water from the fearsome Ajongo Empire; Toto, almost thirteen, tries to save his mother from thirst before his birthday and uncovers the truth behind a century-long drought.

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