20 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books From The 2010s That You Definitely Shouldn't Miss
With the decade nearing its close, it's time to look back at the science fiction and fantasy books of the 2010s that you definitely shouldn't miss. I've picked out 20 amazing titles from the last 10 years for you to enjoy, and any of them will set the perfect tone for moving ahead into the 2020s.
The 2010s have given us plenty of landmark sci-fi and fantasy novels, from Ernest Cline's Ready Player One to Marlon James' Black Leopard, Red Wolf. The decade brought us N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth Trilogy, which, after making Jemisin the first black woman to win a Hugo Award for Best Novel, also made her the first to win the award three years running.
The 2010s were also the source of major frustration for some sci-fi and fantasy fans. George R.R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons was the only addition to his A Song of Ice and Fire series, and Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear continued, but did not complete, his Kingkiller Chronicle. Both authors are currently at work on the follow-ups to their 2011 releases — Martin on The Winds of Winter and Rothfuss on The Doors of Stone.
The 20 books on the list below are ready for you to dive into some fantastic sci-fi and fantasy stories:
'Blackout' by Connie Willis
The first book in Connie Willis' All Clear duology, Blackout tells the story of a group of historians who travel backward in time from 2060 to the 1940s. The novel won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel, and took home the Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
'Redemption in Indigo' by Karen Lord
Nominated for the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Karen Lord's Redemption in Indigo centers on Paama, a woman blessed with a powerful, magical artifact after leaving her good-for-nothing husband.
'After the Apocalypse' by Maureen F. McHugh
The winner of the 2011 Shirley Jackson Award for Single-Author Collection, Maureen F. McHugh's After the Apocalypse contains stories revolving around our shared ecological and technological anxieties.
'Among Others' by Jo Walton
The winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel, Jo Walton's Among Others tells the story of Mori, a girl who grows up playing with ghostly spirits alongside her sister. But when the girls' mother makes a magical blunder, Mori finds herself separated from her family, and at risk of falling victim to dark forces.
'vN' by Madeline Ashby
Madeline Ashby's debut novel, vN centers on Amy, a robot designed to self-replicate, whose life is thrown into an uproar when her grandmother appears and kills Amy's mother. The first entry in The Machine Dynasty series, vN was nominated for the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2013.
'A Stranger in Olondria' by Sofia Samatar
A boy obsessed with books finds himself in a land full of them in Sofia Samatar's debut novel. When the spirit of an unlettered girl begins to haunt him, however, Samatar's young hero must find a way to rescue her spirit — and possibly save his own life.
'Ancillary Justice' by Ann Leckie
The first entry in Ann Leckie's award-winning Imperial Radch Trilogy, Ancillary Justice plunges readers into a space opera that centers on Breq, an ancillary, or AI-controlled soldier, who is the sole survivor of a deadly ship-crash.
'Vicious' by V.E. Schwab
A unique take on the transformation of ordinary people into superheroes, V.E. Schwab's Vicious follows former roommates Victor and Eli as they reunite in the wake of a prison break, 10 years after they last saw each other.
'The Mirror Empire' by Kameron Hurley
Nominated for both the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer, The Stars Are Legion author Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire kicks off her Worldbreaker Saga. Set in the final moments before a predictable, earth-shattering event, The Mirror Empire moves between multiple POV characters, exploring the tensions in a world besieged by war.
'The Goblin Emperor' by Katherine Addison
A half-goblin prince raised outside the influence of the Imperial Court unexpectedly inherits the Emperor's throne when his three older brothers and father die suddenly in a mysterious "accident." Inexperienced in both court intrigue and governing, the new Emperor finds himself surrounded by untrustworthy and unsavory people of all sorts, and in desperate need of a friend.
'Binti' by Nnedi Okorafor
The first installment in an award-winning series, Nnedi Okorafor's Binti follows its eponymous heroine into space on a journey to attend an intergalactic university. When the transport ship is boarded, however, Binti becomes the sole survivor of a hostile alien takeover, and she must summon all her courage and wit in order to save Oomza U.
'The Fifth Season' by N.K. Jemisin
The first installment of N.K. Jemisin's Hugo Award hat trick, The Fifth Season follows three orogenes — people with the power to control seismic activity — as they struggle to survive in a world that wants to enslave and kill them.
'Ninefox Gambit' by Yoon Ha Lee
On the outs with her superiors, Captain Kel Cheris doesn't have much of a choice when she's tasked with liberating the Fortress of Scattered Needles from enemy forces. Accompanied by the ghost of an undefeated, yet murderous, general, Cheris mounts a mission to save the fortress and her nation.
'All the Birds in the Sky' by Charlie Jane Anders
In this Nebula and Locus Award-winning novel that explores the tension between magic and science, childhood friends who grew up to become a witch and a scientist reunite as adults, each with their own idea of how to save the world from imminent disaster.
'Six Wakes' by Mur Lafferty
On a spaceship stocked with clones that awaken as needed when their originals die, a clone with no memory of her recent death awakens to discover that someone aboard the ship is killing off its inhabitants, one by one.
'Jade City' by Fonda Lee
The Green Bone clans wear jade to enhance their senses and powers, and the island of Kekon is the only place where the material may be found. But when Kekon's crime families go to war, the fate of the Green Bone, and the future of the island itself, hangs in the balance.
'The Calculating Stars' by Mary Robinette Kowal
In this alt-history novel, the U.S. fights to put humans into space after a meteor's collision with Earth in 1952 jeopardizes life on the planet. A talented pilot and human computer, Elma has dreams of becoming the world's first Lady Astronaut, but is the mid-century U.S. ready for her?
'Trail of Lightning' by Rebecca Roanhorse
Set on a former Navajo reservation in the wake of an apocalyptic event, Rebecca Roanhorse's Trail of Lightning centers on monster hunter Maggie and Kai, a monster hunter and a medicine man, as they search for a missing girl.
'The Priory of the Orange Tree' by Samantha Shannon
Years ago, a dragon that threatened to destroy the world was sealed away. As rumors stir that the land's greatest enemy may soon return, three women — a queen, a spy, and a dragonrider — are placed on a collision course with one another, and with the monster that holds their fates.
'Gideon the Ninth' by Tamsyn Muir (Sept. 10)
Gideon wants nothing more than to escape the world of the nuns who raised her, but her childhood nemesis, Harrowhark, has a major request. A bone witch summoned to a dangerous trial by the Emperor himself, Harrow needs a swordswoman if she wants her house, the Ninth House, to survive. Gideon will help — but what if Harrow's house needs to fall?