The 24 Most Popular Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels of 2019 (So Far)

Posted by Cybil on August 6, 2019
Goodreads SFF Week 2019

A mercenary seeks a missing child, a dead man’s brain is reactivated, a woman travels to the Mayan underworld, a disease drives its victims mad with false memories. These are just a few of the plots that have captured readers' attention in this year's batch of science fiction and fantasy novels.

To identify the books resonating with readers, we looked at sci-fi and fantasy novels published so far this year in the U.S. Then we filtered that list by average rating (everything on this list has at least a 3.5-star rating), number of reader reviews, and additions to readers' Want to Read shelves (which is how we measure buzz and anticipation).

Some well-known authors make an appearance on this list, including Blake Crouch, Mark Lawrence, Ann Leckie, Ted Chiang, and Seanan McGuire. We're seeing new names enter the field as well. Booker Prize–winning author Marlon James and YA superstar Cassandra Clare are making a splash in the fantasy genre this year.

Which of these sci-fi and fantasy novels are you most excited to read?

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Which of these books are you most excited to check out? Let us know in the comments!

Check out complete coverage of Sci-Fi & Fantasy Week:
The Most Anticipated Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Meet the Rising Stars of Science Fiction & Fantasy
The New Frontier of Science Fiction


Comments Showing 1-50 of 156 (156 new)


message 1: by Samantha (new)

Samantha I’m most excited to read Machines Like Me, One Word Kill, and A Memory Called Empire.


message 2: by james baker (new)

james baker How can I be 'excited' when I havent read the book?


message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence Samantha wrote: "I’m most excited to read Machines Like Me, One Word Kill, and A Memory Called Empire."

Good to hear! The follow up to One Word Kill, Limited Wish is also out. The final book's out in November.


message 4: by Beverly (new)

Beverly james baker wrote: "How can I be 'excited' when I havent read the book?"

I use the term because there are 2 authors on here that i will read anything they write, Patricia Briggs and Seanan McGuire. So when I hear they are coming out with a new book I do get excited and anticipatory.


message 5: by Lois (new)

Lois Young I've read 2, I'm reading 3, and 10 are in my TBR pile! I'm behind yet again.


message 6: by William Bonner (new)

William Bonner I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers.


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy Kaser james baker wrote: "How can I be 'excited' when I havent read the book?"

Youve never been excited before about a new book you havent read yet? That doesnt make any sense.


message 8: by Beverly (new)

Beverly William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

Probably. But then we have been thinking for decades that there were too many men and not enough women, so I guess it's your turn to think that way.
There are also a lot of people who think that there are too many LGBTQA+ characters lately, But people on that spectrum are thinking "Finally, someone who looks and acts like me".


message 9: by Carla (last edited Aug 06, 2019 12:58PM) (new)

Carla Estruch William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

NO, there aren't.


message 10: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Robinson I've just read Hayley Patton's first book, Beyond the Longcase Clock. I can't wait for her 2nd novel to be published. It gripped me straight away. Has it all, mystery, magic, a struggle and a chase, Loved it.


message 11: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Mellerop Carla wrote: "William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

NO, there aren't."


Beverly wrote: "William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

Probably. But then we have been thinking..."


I spent the first half of my life imagining myself into the characters of boy and men heros. Emma Rigg in the British tv serial The Avengers was the first woman I saw in the role of a fighter. I still remember waiting until I was 6 years old to get my first bike and being told that they only made boys' bikes in red. So, my answer is a resounding no! (Sorry, I don't know why that lost red bike still riles me and, no I'm not blaming you. You weren't born then and men still get killed if they wear a dress, but I can wear pants any time I want.)


message 12: by Amanda Lawler (new)

Amanda Lawler Very excited to read Dark Age, the Red Rising series is amazing!


message 13: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Markson Samantha wrote: "I’m most excited to read Machines Like Me, One Word Kill, and A Memory Called Empire."

One Word Kill is really good. It's book number 2 of a series, but it can be read as a stand alone.


message 14: by Penny (new)

Penny William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

I hope you are alone, but I doubt it. However, I'm not surprised if you are alone.


message 15: by Penny (new)

Penny I am surprised that "The Traitor Baru Cormorant" is not in this list.


message 16: by William Bonner (new)

William Bonner I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't see many men buying books by women. I have read wolf hall by hilary mantel a very good book. I look for books now which are translated into english example cixin liu three body problem. and i go to waterstones who can get you any book by asimov


message 17: by Pat (new)

Pat "I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't see many men buying books by women. I have read wolf hall by hilary mantel a very good book. I look for books now which are translated into english example cixin liu three body problem. and i go to waterstones who can get you any book by asimov"

Are you frustrated because women are writing good books?


message 18: by William Bonner (new)

William Bonner I agree women are writing great books but for women. If i had a book with no authors name i could tell if it was a woman writer,that's not saying it would be a bad book just not for me. Why did JK rowling use robert galbraith as a pseudonym it had me fooled for a while


message 19: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Samantha wrote: "I’m most excited to read Machines Like Me, One Word Kill, and A Memory Called Empire."

Samantha wrote: "I’m most excited to read Machines Like Me, One Word Kill, and A Memory Called Empire."

A Memory Called Empire is absolutely fantastic


message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

What a bizarre comment! How can you have "too many writers" anyway - more writers means more books, which keeps us readers happy! And why on earth does the gender of the author matter? A good book is a good book, regardless of whether it was written by a man or a woman.


message 21: by Mark (new)

Mark William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

Absolutely, I stay well away from female authors and clearly we aren't alone otherwise they wouldn't all abbreviate or punctuate their first names to hide their gender. It's NOT misogyny but simply I find female authors don't have a grip on reality the way I see it, being male is possibly my only excuse but nevertheless....


message 22: by Людовика (new)

Людовика Фьюртенде I vote for Gods of Jade And Shadow.


message 23: by Davy (new)

Davy William Bonner wrote: "I agree women are writing great books but for women. If i had a book with no authors name i could tell if it was a woman writer,that's not saying it would be a bad book just not for me. Why did JK ..."

Maybe she wrote under a pen name because the world is full of prejudiced people who wouldn't pick up a book by a female author?

A well-written story is a well-written story.
There will sometimes be a gender-influenced slant in writing style but try picking up an anthology sometime and only checking the gender of the authors after you've finished reading it. The results might surprise you.


message 24: by Ben (new)

Ben Varela William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

No, you are not alone. I have noticed this also. I don't know why, however, more women than men are probably in vogue.


message 25: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence Penny wrote: "I am surprised that "The Traitor Baru Cormorant" is not in this list."

It was published 4 years ago, and this is a list of books published in 2019.


message 26: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence William Bonner wrote: "I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't see many men buying book..."

I was part of an experiment a while back that concluded there was no statistical evidence for readers being able to tell the gender of an author from their writing.

https://www.tfrohock.com/blog/2013/1/...


message 27: by Lenora (new)

Lenora Rose William Bonner wrote: "I agree women are writing great books but for women. If i had a book with no authors name i could tell if it was a woman writer,that's not saying it would be a bad book just not for me. Why did JK ..."

If JK Rowling using Robert Galbraith fooled you, even "For a while" then you have disproven your own theory that you can always tell when a woman writes a book.

Maybe you should take a chance. Not every woman out there is writing soft-core romances, you know.


message 28: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Mark wrote: "William Bonner wrote: "I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't s..."

Thanks for the link! That's really interesting to read about :)


message 29: by Anthony (new)

Anthony DeCastro William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

I hope you are.


message 30: by Anthony (new)

Anthony DeCastro William Bonner wrote: "I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't see many men buying book..."

One, yes you are. And two, I'm sure plenty of men are not so short-sighted as to care about the gender of whoever wrote a story.


message 31: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie I'm intrigued by Casandra Clare's "Red Scroll of Magic", and Sylvia Moreno-Garcia's "Gods of Jade and Shadow", and Mark Lawrence's "Holy Sister, and Ian McEwan's "Machines Like Me". Ian McEwan's new book is most intriguing - I'll start with that, then dig through the others.


message 32: by Ken08002 (new)

Ken08002 Anthony wrote: "One, yes you are....”

I wouldn’t call his opinion “insulting” but, rather, short sighted. He is hurting himself by missing out on a lot of good books because of his bias.

The very first SF book I read was by a woman and that was many decades ago. Admittedly, I didn’t know the author was a woman for a number of years (it was Andre Norton) but it wouldn’t have mattered to me anyway.



message 33: by Antigone (new)

Antigone William Bonner wrote: "...but i can't see many men buying books by women..."

You've got to start hanging out with different men. Seriously.


message 34: by Sable (new)

Sable William Bonner wrote: "I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't see many men buying book..."

Oh honey, did you ever bark up the wrong tree here.

First of all, welcome to the lives of all women since the Victorian Age. How's it feel to have the shoe on the other foot? Maybe if the lists look like this for the next 100 years, we might actually catch up.

Second, a woman invented this genre. Her name was Mary Shelley and she wrote a book called, "Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus." Perhaps you've heard of it.

Third, most of the early writers of the novel were women in the first place.

Fourth, the publishing industry in its entirety is stacked against women, and has been for a very, very long time. It's the industry itself for the most part; publishers, reviewers, etc. There was a huge article just a couple of months ago about a woman author who resubmitted her rejected manuscript to the *very same publisher* under a male pseudonym, and it was accepted at an exponentially greater rate.

Studies have proven two things: 1) Most readers *do not give a fig* what the gender of a book's author is; 2) Women, by any objective measure, buy more books than men do. So I'd suggest that if you want to see more men on the list, you should... buy more books.

Fifth, because the pressures of the industry have been so high, women are *still* often advised to write under their initials instead of their names, so as to not deter publishers. Someone actually said to me, "Oh good, you're writing a fantasy. Women can't write science fiction." So any woman who is succeeding has had to do twice as well to earn half the respect. When you start actually leveling the playing field, the cream rises to the top.

And last, I don't understand what your problem is at all. I count 24 books here: about half of them appear to be by women, even assuming all the initials are women. Seems to me if about half of the books are by women, that reflects the human population. That's too many women for you? Pal, you clearly don't understand what species you are a part of.

So, yeah. No sympathy.


message 35: by L.J. (new)

L.J. Breedlove William Bonner: but i can't see many men buying books by women

So you never read and enjoyed Norton, McCafferty, LeGuin, Moore, Mcmasters, Jemsin, etc, etc?

Wow.


message 36: by Carla (new)

Carla Estruch Sable wrote: Oh honey, did you ever bark up the wrong tree here.

First of all, welcome to the lives of all women since the Victorian Age. How's it feel to have the shoe on the other foot? Maybe if the lists look like this for the next 100 years, we might actually catch up.


*applause*


message 37: by Heppm01 (new)

Heppm01 Mark wrote: It's NOT misogyny but simply I find female authors don't have a grip on reality the way I see it, being male is possibly my only excuse but nevertheless....

Thing is, reality is not subjective. Unless you've been living in some all-male commune then you interact with women. Your point that their written reality does not agree with yours indicates that it is your perception of reality that is the issue and not reality itself. There may be something to learn from that difference.

(And yes, I am aware of the irony of discussing reality in a comment thread about SF and Fantasy books...)


message 38: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I quite loved Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire . I've finished Wanderers by Chuck Wendig & it and Alliance Rising: The Hinder Stars I by C.J. Cherryh are two of my favourites of 2019.

From this list, I've still to read The Test & The City in the Middle of the Night . And I'm woefully behind on my Expanse series reading.

Not sure what my next science fiction read will be but I do have plenty to choose from, from this year & past.


message 39: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa james baker wrote: "How can I be 'excited' when I havent read the book?"

some of these authors have written books before or they have just released their respective sequels. have you never watched the first of three films and been eagerly anticipating the next one?


message 40: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Sable wrote: "William Bonner wrote: "I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't s..."

Quoting you: "Seems to me if about half of the books are by women, that reflects the human population. That's too many women for you?"

Exactly! If the ratio represented above reflects the human population how on earth is there too many books written by women? If every woman and man alive today each wrote one book and published it tomorrow, there would still not be an over-abundance of female writers.


message 41: by Marta (new)

Marta William Bonner wrote: "I agree women are writing great books but for women. If i had a book with no authors name i could tell if it was a woman writer,that's not saying it would be a bad book just not for me. Why did JK ..."
So you KNOW ahead of time that it is not for you if it is written by a woman? Wow.


message 42: by Ziggy (new)

Ziggy Nixon Am I the only one that thinks sci-fi and fantasy should be 'de-coupled' as genres? I enjoy both but just don't like that they are always clumped together. Oh well, at least after years and years folks like 'horror' alone now...


message 43: by Morgannah (new)

Morgannah Sable wrote: "Fourth, the publishing industry in its entirety is stacked against women, and has been for a very, very long time...."
Thank you so much Sable, you saved me from having to write that!


message 44: by Marta (new)

Marta Ziggy wrote: "Am I the only one that thinks sci-fi and fantasy should be 'de-coupled' as genres? I enjoy both but just don't like that they are always clumped together. Oh well, at least after years and years fo..."

In their “pure” forms, they are quite different and often attract different readership. However, there is a lot of cross-over. It seems every book dealer/library/reader has their own opinion on whether they should be separate or not.

I personally shelf them separately. I read both but they require different mindsets, in my opinion.


message 45: by Lina (new)

Lina Mark wrote: "William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

Absolutely, I stay well away from female..."


Being male is not your excuse. There is no excuse for your level of ignorance.


message 46: by Elyse (new)

Elyse William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

hahahaha yes you are alone in thinking that.


message 47: by Elyse (new)

Elyse Nancy wrote: "Samantha wrote: "I’m most excited to read Machines Like Me, One Word Kill, and A Memory Called Empire."

One Word Kill is really good. It's book number 2 of a series, but it can be read as a stand ..."


I think OWK is book 1?


message 48: by Elyse (new)

Elyse Mark wrote: "William Bonner wrote: "I am not insulting women authors, but i find it frustrating when i check top ten books to find eight are by women, probably their are more women readers nowdays but i can't s..."

👏👏👏


Jo (A follower of wizards) Lina wrote: "Mark wrote: "William Bonner wrote: "I will be reading exhalation by ted chiang also recursion by blake crouch. Am i alone in thinking their are too many women writers."

Absolutely, I stay well awa..."


I absolutely agree, Lina. 👏


message 50: by Joel (new)

Joel Bass james baker wrote: "How can I be 'excited' when I havent read the book?"

Have you ever been excited about a meal you haven't eaten yet? :)


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