And welcome to what must be the longest post I’ve ever put together!
The 2021 Sci-Fi Book Releases Masterlist is a list of every sci-fi book I could track down with a release date of 2021 from publishers.
This does not include self-pub BUT, if I could get the data somehow, there’d be scope for a future post. Hmm, ideas…
This is just a quick note to say that this list is NOT an endorsement of the book or the author, it’s simply a resource to locate potentially awesome books.
2021 Sci-Fi Book Releases Masterlist Info
The list is split into two categories; standalone/first in a series and series continuations. Each category is in alphabetical order. Because the list is super long, I’ve split it into two posts. The first being this one, the standalones/first in series. And the second, coming soon, featuring the continuations of series!
Where available, you will find the book title, author, cover and synopsis, along with a link to the Storygraph page. For now, there are no pre-order links, because a lot of the books aren’t at that stage yet!
This list is accurate as of 5th November 2020, but changes to publication dates can occur, so I don’t guarantee a book on this list will be available on the advertised publication day.
The 2021 Sci-Fi Book Releases Masterlist
Links marked * are affiliate links where I get a small amount of commission on any purchases you make at no additional cost to you.
Even before our kind started using tools, the Kibsu have been with us, guiding humanity, teaching us, molding us.
As long as we follow the rules.
The Kibsu had five rules to guide the gradual elevation of our species:
1. Preserve the knowledge.
2. Survive at all cost.
3. Don’t draw attention to yourself.
4. Don’t leave a trace.
5. There can never be three for too long.
But when their enemy got too close, the Kibsu add one more:
6. Fear the Tracker: always run, never fight.
But now, during the terrors of the Great War, the Trackers are closing in, and for Mia and Sarah, running might no longer be an option.
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Amid the Crowd of Stars is a grand scale science fiction novel examining the ethical implications of interstellar travel, a topic rarely addressed in science fiction novels. What responsibilities do we have to isolate ourselves from the bacteria, viruses, and other life of another world, and to prevent any of that alien biome from being brought back to Earth?
What happens when a group of humans are stranded for centuries on another world with no choice but to expose themselves to that world? After such long exposure, are they still Homo sapiens or have they become another species entirely?
These questions are at the heart of this intriguing novel, explored through the complicated lives and the viewpoints of the people who have come to rescue the stranded colony, the members of that colony, and the sentient alien life that dwells on the planet. Difficult life and death choices will be made by all involved.
Boundless by Jack Campbell
Geary believed in the Alliance. Even when he uncovered overwhelming evidence that the highest echelons of the government and fleet command were involved in secret programs and prison camps, he believed it was worth saving. And that his duty was to see that justice was served even though some factions feared that revealing the truth would cause the Alliance to crumble.
But after narrowly surviving two assassination attempts when he brings evidence of the misdeeds to the capital star system, Geary realizes that some have decided the easiest way to make the Alliance’s problems go away is to get rid of him. He finds himself ordered to undertake a perilous new mission outside of the reaches of human-occupied space while the Senate clashes over the evidence.
Geary’s warships must escort a diplomatic and scientific mission across the dangerous, disintegrating remnants of the Syndicate Worlds empire. But even if he can make it to Midway Star System, the gateway to alien-controlled space, Geary will face former Syndicate officials who have rebelled and regard the Alliance with deep suspicion. And that will be the easy part. . . .
Kit is an ‘out’, she doesn’t want children. Infertility is universal and she has witnessed the agonies of her friends and sister going through the painful and dangerous fertility treatment, Induction, and then struggling to keep their babies, and cannot face going through it herself. But then she meets Thomas, and gradually the idea of a baby becomes more and more important. She and Thomas go through Induction and have a baby girl, Mimi. At first everything goes well but then the small mistakes, ISPs (Insufficient Standard of Parenting), build up and suddenly Kit is face to face with the idea of losing Mimi, and she is forced to ask herself how far she will go to keep her family together.
Everyone wants the Star of Erebus. Space-pirate Nyx Marcus is no exception. With it, she can prove to her father that she is worthy of his legacy. But she’s come up empty-handed aboard the space-ship Thanatos and now Malcam, her father’s First Officer, is mutinying. As Nyx flees with a loyal skeleton crew, she discovers that the planet-killing weapon, named after one of the seven gods, is more than what it seems. Erebus isn’t a simple weapon, but an ancient AI and a technological god.
With the oppressive Queen of the Protectorate and new pirate captain Malcam searching for the Thanatos and Erebus, the AI god has more surprises for Nyx. Waking dormant AI code in Nyx’s blood, Erebus reveals they are family and Nyx is the head of the Seven Stars pantheon. But while Nyx’s only choice is to protect Erebus, she wants no part of her AI responsibilities. Now Nyx must learn to control her power without sacrificing her own humanity or give her enemies a new way to oppress the known universe and lose the family she holds dear.
“Twenty minutes to power curfew, and my kill counter’s stalled at eight hundred eighty-seven while I’ve been standing here like an idiot. My health bar is flashing ominously, but I’m down to four heal patches, and I have to be smart.”
New Liberty City, 2134.
Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed by each side.
Here, Mallory streams Stellaxis’s wargame SecOps on BestLife, spending more time jacked in than in the world just to eke out a hardscrabble living from tips. When a chance encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers leads to a side job for Mal—looking to link an actual missing girl to one of the SecOps characters. Mal’s sudden burst in online fame rivals her deepening fear of what she is uncovering about BestLife’s developer, and puts her in the kind of danger she’s only experienced through her avatar.
All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.
Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on falling into universes that are almost-but-not-really his own, each one stranger than the last.
And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…
After the Nova-Insanity shattered Earth’s civilization, the Genes and Fullerenes Corporation promised to bring humanity back from the brink. Many years later, various factions have formed, challenging their savior and vying for a share of power and control.
Glow follows the lives of three very different beings, all wrestling mental instability in various forms; Rex – a confused junkie battling multiple voices in his head; Ellayna – the founder of the GFC living on an orbital satellite station and struggling with paranoia; and Jett – a virtually unstoppable robotic assassin, questioning his purpose of creation.
All of them are inextricably linked through the capricious and volatile Glow; an all controlling nano-tech drug that has the ability to live on through multiple hosts, cutting and pasting memories and personas in each new victim.
In this tech-crazed world where nothing seems impossible, many questions are posed: what makes us who we are? What is our ultimate purpose and place in this world? And, most frightening of all, what are we capable of doing to survive?
For the six lucky scientists selected by the Destination Mars! corporation, a one-way ticket to Mars—in exchange for a lifetime of research—was an absolute no-brainer. The incredible opportunity was clearly worth even the most absurdly tedious screening process. Perhaps worth following the strange protocols in a nonsensical handbook written by an eccentric billionaire. Possibly even worth their constant surveillance, the video of which is carefully edited into a ratings-bonanza back on Earth.
But it turns out that after a while even scientists can get bored of science. Tempers begin to fray; unsanctioned affairs blossom. When perfectly good equipment begins to fail, the Marsonauts are faced with a possibility that their training just cannot explain.
Warning: use of this gate will take you outside of the InTech corporate zone. Different community guidelines may apply, and you may be asked to sign a separate end-user license agreement. Do you wish to continue?
Tanta has trained all her young life for this. Her very first mission is a code red: to take her team into the unaffiliated zone just outside InTech’s borders and retrieve a stolen hard drive. It should have been quick and simple, but a surprise attack kills two of her colleagues and Tanta barely makes it home alive.
Determined to prove herself and partnered with a colleague whose past is a mystery even to himself, Tanta’s investigation uncovers a sinister conspiracy that makes her question her own loyalties and the motives of everyone she used to trust.
Iron Widow is a YA Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history. The duology will follow an 18-year-old re-imagining of her as she avenges her sister’s murder by an intensely patriarchal military system that pairs boys and girls up to pilot giant magical mecha based on creatures from East Asian myth (Nine-Tailed Fox, Moon Rabbit, etc.), but in which boy pilots are treated like celebrities, while girl pilots must serve as their concubines.
But when she listens to the stories sent down through the ages she hears the same voice talking directly to her from different times and on different worlds, and comes to understand that something terrible is happening, and only she is in a position to do anything about it.
And it will cost everything to put it right.
Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process.
All that changes when Welga’s client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week.
Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight.
Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want?
A thrilling and thought-provoking novel that asks: if we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines?
Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.
Nobody remembers how the Causality War started. Really, there’s no-one to remember, and nothing for them to remember if there were; that’s sort of the point. We were time warriors, and we broke time.
I was the one who ended it. Ended the fighting, tidied up the damage as much as I could.
Then I came here, to the end of it all, and gave myself a mission: to never let it happen again.
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.
An interstellar craft is decelerating after its century-long voyage. Its destination is V538 Aurigae ?, a now-empty planet dominated by one gigantic megastructure, a conical mountain of such height that its summit is high above the atmosphere. The ship’s crew of five hope to discover how the long-departed builders made such a colossal thing, and why: a space elevator? a temple? a work of art? Its resemblance to the mountain of purgatory lead the crew to call this world Dante.
In our near future, the United States is falling apart. A neurotoxin has interfered with the memory function of many of the population, leaving them reliant on their phones as makeshift memory prostheses. But life goes on. For Ottoline Barragão, a regular kid juggling school and her friends and her beehives in the back garden, things are about to get very dangerous, chased across the north-east by competing groups, each willing to do whatever it takes to get inside Ottoline’s private network and recover the secret inside.
Unfortunately for Lang, the designers and engineers hired to construct this island retreat have rebelled, isolating themselves. They set up a jamming field that disrupted communication, and they are preventing any approach to the island by attacking people who come in range. Lang wants to retake control before the U.S. military intervenes. The problem? The mutiny is being led by the project’s chief designer, Dominic Brand, who also happens to be Addie Cox’s ex-boyfriend. It’s up to her to quell the brewing tensions between the tech genius, armed mercenaries, and her former lover before the island goes up in flames, killing them all.
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa–a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.
Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.
But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?
The Godfather of Cyberpunk has emerged in this new collection of Italian-themed fantasy and science fiction stories. Bruce Sterling introduces us to his alter-ego: Bruno Argento, the preeminent writer of fantascienza. Here are their visionary short stories, featuring a programmer who hacks into alternate versions of Italy; an assassin who awaits his destiny in the arms of a two-headed noblewoman. and a wandering robot-wheelchair that spurs wild controversy,
In the Esoteric City, a Turinese businessman’s act of necromancy is catching up with him. The Black Swan, a rogue hacker, programs his way into alternate versions of Italy. A Parthenonpean assassin awaits his destiny while he nestles in the arms of a two-headed noblewoman. Infuriating artists and scientists alike, the wandering robot-wheelchair confounds all with his uncategorizable creations.
Bruno Argento is the acknowledged master of Italian science fiction. Yet that same popular fantascienza author also exists in America. English-speaking readers are familiar with Bruno Argento as Bruce Sterling, and Italians are acquainted with Bruce Sterling as Bruno Argento. In Robot Artists and Black Swans, we have their visionary short stories, including fiction never before published in English.
Drink down the brew and dream of a better Earth.
Skyward Inn, within the high walls of the Western Protectorate, is a place of safety, where people come together to tell stories of the time before the war with Qita.
But safety from what? Qita surrendered without complaint when Earth invaded; Innkeepers Jem and Isley, veterans from either side, have regrets but few scars.
Their peace is disturbed when a visitor known to Isley comes to the Inn asking for help, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future.
Did humanity really win the war?
Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach the gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Order’s magical bloodline horrifies her, but the Sisters of Aytrium have sworn to pay a price for the safety of their nation.
Elfreda wants out, whatever the cost.
So when a shadowy cabal approaches her with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Order, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.
And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.
Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.
Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.
When they said all happy families are alike, this can’t be what they meant…
It’s the edge of the universe.
Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.
The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.
At the Divide, Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.
They’re humanity’s only chance.
The future is blue. Endless blue…except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown.
Tetley Abednego is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she’s the only one who knows it. She’s the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it’s full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time.
But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.
With all the glittering banter of 1930s noir, this novel takes class, privilege, and identity theft and wraps them inside a murder mystery. Tesla Crane, heiress to the Crane fortune, and Shalmanseer Steward, a retired private detective, are on their honeymoon cruise from Earth to Mars. When Shal is framed for murder, Tesla has to find the murderer before they try to silence her husband.
Unable to tolerate separation any longer, Danae plans to escape the city with her lover, Naoto. Just in time to avoid disaster, they hire the enigmatic ex-mercenary Alexei to guide the: a man with a death wish, haunted by a disturbing vision.
But returning home means fleeing across the harsh, otherworldly beauty of the postapocalyptic Southwest. Meanwhile, an old stalker has picked up Danae’s trail, and a new foe has put a bounty on her head. And unbeknownst to any of them, Danae, Alexi, and Naoto are hurtling toward a new kind of understanding.
Tina has always known her destiny is outside the norm—after all, she is the human clone of the most brilliant alien commander in all the galaxies (even if the rest of the world is still deciding whether aliens exist). But she is tired of waiting for her life to begin.
And then it does—and maybe Tina should have been more prepared. At least she has a crew around her that she can trust—and her best friend at her side. Now, they just have to save the world.
Val and Julie just want what’s best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when teenage son David comes home one day asking for a Pilot, a new brain implant to help with school, they reluctantly agree. This is the future, after all.
Soon, Julie feels mounting pressure at work to get a Pilot to keep pace with her colleagues, leaving Val and Sophie part of the shrinking minority of people without the device.
Before long, the implications are clear, for the family and society: get a Pilot or get left behind. With government subsidies and no downside, why would anyone refuse? And how do you stop a technology once it’s everywhere? Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot’s powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.
But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.
There was have it! Part one of the 2021 Sci-Fi Book Releases Masterlist! If you’ve made it down to here, I hope your TBR is substantially longer, I know mine was whilst researching this!
The 2021 Sci-Fi Book Releases Masterlist will be back with part 2, series continuations, later this month, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
What book from the list are you most looking forward to?