Reading lists

New sci-fi and fantasy books to read in 2020

From Max Brooks' return where he retells the legend of Bigfoot to debuts from writers to watch, these are the science fiction and fantasy books to read in 2020.

Miranda Freeman
Science fiction books for 2020

Agency by William Gibson (23 Jan)

From the acclaimed author of Neuromancer comes a story about alternative pasts and presents. In a post-apocalyptic London many years from now, a fixer is tasked with changing history where something unpleasant is about to take place. A mash-up of futuristic sci-fi and end-of-the-world drama that dabbles with AI and everything in between.

The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Pragg (6 Feb)

This is the story of four sisters Grimm – daughters born to different mothers on the same day. Reunited as children only to be separated again, they are determined to find each other once again. On the fantastical and fraught journey, they will find out their true identities and what they are capable of.

Red Dwarf by Grant Naylor (6 Feb)

Revisit the Red Dwarf’s beloved band of space zeroes – Lister, Rimmer, Kryten, Holly and the Cat – as they travel through space on the boldest (and feeblest) of adventures. This edition includes bonus material from the first draft of the original TV pilot.

Bad Island by Stanley Donwood (13 Feb)

From cult graphic designer and long-time Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood comes a starkly beautiful graphic novel, a parable about the end of the world, set on a distant island where the growing civilisation deeply impacts the natural beauty. Each page is brought to life in full-page spreads of Donwood's distinctive, monochromatic lino-cut style.

The Destruction Factor by James Follett (20 Feb)

Chaos is unleashed when a new scientifically-developed soya bean mutates into a dangerous plant, threatening to infect the world's atmosphere and its oxygen supply. This thrilling sci-fi is recorded as a full BBC dramatisation audiobook starring Paul Copley, Rosalind Adams and TP McKenna.

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce (5 Mar)

It's widely known that Cassandra Tipp got away with murder, and the plot thickens when she disappears and leaves behind a long letter. Instead of the expected confession, it contains two different and equally disturbing stories: one of a girl lost to the woods and the other of a girl who grew up crooked in darkness. You'll be left guessing which one is true...


Devolution by Max Brooks (16 Jun)

The bestselling author of World War Z returns with a sci-fi retelling of the Bigfoot legend, told through the recovered journals from a resident of a town ravaged by a volcanic eruption.

The Keepers by John Marrs (23 Jul)

The Government has selected five ordinary people to become the latest weapon in cyber-terrorism, undergoing a radical medical procedure to have top-secret intelligence turned into genetic code and implanted into their heads. However, their safety is threatened when it becomes public knowledge who the 'secret keepers' are, as one by one, they are hunted down.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (23 Jul)

Immanuelle was born on the fringes of Bethel, and has done her best to obey the Church and follow the Holy Protocol. But a chance encounter lures her into the Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the spirits of four powerful witches killed by the Prophet bestow an extraordinary gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her late mother. As she reads the diary, Immanuelle begins to understand why her mother consorted with witches, and comprehends where the real threat to Bethel comes from. 

Feathertide by Beth Cartwright (30 Jul)

From birth, Marea is different. Born covered in bird feathers, she is kept hidden throughout her childhood in a crumbling house, until her tutor reveals a magical world waiting outside. Her curiosity leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, and it is here she learns about her true identity.

Afterland by Lauren Beukes (3 Sep)

Three years after a pandemic wiped out 99% of the men on earth, Cole is on the run with her son Miles. Trying to keep him safe – in a world where men are a prized commodity – means breaking rules and leaving her own sister for dead. Cole and Miles embark on a journey across a hostile country in the hopes of reaching freedom, but they'll be forced to decide who to trust and what loyalty means when Cole's sister tracks them down. Afterland is both a tale of a dystopian future, and a chase thriller. 

D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michel Faber (17 Sep)

In Michel Faber's new novel, the letter D disappears from the language. Then the local dentist goes missing, as does the neighbour's Dalmation. In this world, Dhikilo is summoned to the home of her history teacher, Professor Dodderfield, and his faithful Labrador, Nelly Robinson. Set between England and a wintry land called Liminus – enslaved by the monstrous Gamp – D (A Tale of Two Worlds) is a tale of friendship and bravery, and a celebration of free thinking and moral courage. 

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (29 Sep)

A Deadly Education is the first book in a new series by Naomi Novik, introducing readers to a dangerous school for the magically gifted, where failure means certain death. That is, until El Higgins begins to rewrite its rules. El possesses a dark power strong enough to wipe out untold millions, so is trying her hardest not to use it, until she has no other choice... 

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