21 New Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Books Arriving in December

As the end of 2023 approaches, there’s still time to squeeze in more reading—which is where io9 comes in, sharing 21 new sci-fi, fantasy, and horror releases coming out in December, including several anthologies perfect for short-fiction fans.

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Image: Simon & Schuster

After World by Debbie Urbanski

This debut novel is set in a world where AI concludes every human must be removed and digitally archived. Things take a turn when the specific AI tasked with documenting the only human left alive on Earth falls in love with her. (December 5)

Image: Tor Books

All the Hidden Paths by Foz Meadows

The author’s sequel to A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is “a sultry political and romantic fantasy exploring gender, sexuality, identity, and self-worth.” (December 5)

Image: DAW

The Dragons of Deepwood Fen by Bradley P. Beaulieu

A new fantasy series begins as an inquisitor and a thief reluctantly team up after realizing they’re trying to solve the same dangerous mystery. (December 5)

Image: Berkley

The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson

In this paranormal romance, “two wolf shifters agree to be fake mates but unexpectedly find something real.” (December 5)

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Him by Geoff Ryman

This sci-fi novel about “identity, divinity and alternate reality” follows a child born to a virgin in Nazareth: a girl named Avigayil who realizes her destiny is to live as a man named Yeshu, who just might be the son of God. (December 5)

Image: Baen Books

The Icarus Twin by Timothy Zahn

The Icarus Series continues as Roarke and Selene, tasked with finding portals left behind by an ancient alien race, realize they’re being followed; things get even more complicated when their pursuer is found murdered, and Roarke is accused of the crime. (December 5)

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Image: DAW

Like Thunder by Nnedi Okorafor

The sequel to Shadow Speaker brings the Desert Magician’s Duology, an Africanfuturist tale set in 2077 Niger, to a close. Read an excerpt here. (December 5)

Image: Harper Voyager

A River of Golden Bones by A.K. Mulford

The first book in this new romantasy series follows “a journey of self-discovery, romance, and adventure for a young heir as she/they comes out of hiding to save her sister from a malicious, powerful sorceress and her dangerous sleeping curse.” Read an excerpt here. (December 5)

Image: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

The Ruined by Renée Ahdieh

The Beautiful Quartet concludes as war continues between the Sylvan Vale and Sylvan Wyld, and the opposing sides draw upon allies and assistance from both the mortal and magical worlds. (December 5)

Image: Bramble

The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

A new series begins as the adopted human daughter of a vampire king decides to enter a deadly tournament to prove herself—and unexpectedly falls for her most dangerous rival. (December 5)

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Sunset, Water City by Chris McKinney

The sci-fi noir Water City trilogy concludes in the year 2160, as the series’ nameless antihero, a former detective, teaches his teen daughter to carry on his world-saving ways. (December 5)

Image: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Where the Dead Wait by Ally Wilkes

A disgraced former explorer sets sail for the Arctic one last time to track down a lost shipmate, but soon finds supernatural peril is a distressingly prominent part of his freezing cold journey. (December 5)

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Image: St. Martin’s Press

Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn

This tale set in climate change-ravaged Brooklyn, circa 2050, follows a woman and her girlfriend as they struggle to secure places in the Inside Project, a weather-safe structure that offers their only hope for survival. But is it really the sanctuary it appears to be? (December 5)

Image: Head of Zeus

House of Open Wounds by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This tale is set amid a brutal war, within hospital tents staffed by unorthodox healers—including a former priest and others who use “unapproved magic, necromancy, demonology,” and the help of orphan Gods to treat the wounded. (December 7)

Image: CAEZIK SF & Fantasy

Ares by L. Neil Smith

“Amidst political turmoil on Earth, a rescue mission to ailing colonists on Mars becomes a battle for power and survival in the harsh realities of space.” (December 12)

Image: The Overlook Press

Dazzling by Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ

This tale about two fatherless girls—one who’s pledged her loyalty to a malevolent spirit; the other, intent on keeping her destiny as a protector hidden—asks: “in a world that always says no to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?” (December 12)

Image: Rising Action Publishing and Blackstone Publishing

Nethergeist by Nick Stevenson

In a universe under the grip of a powerful neuromancer, theRegent-Elect of the last surviving human settlement must band together with reptilians, warlords, “heretic magi,” and other unlikely allies to await the arrival of a mage who might signal their only chance at freedom. (December 12)

Image: CAEZIK SF & Fantasy

The Reinvented Detective edited by Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek

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The stories in this anthology examine questions like “What will criminals, investigators, judges, and juries look like in a complicated future of clones, uploaded intelligences, artificial brains, or body augmentation?” (December 12)

Image: CAEZIK SF & Fantasy

The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction 2022 edited by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Eugen Bacon, and Milton Davis

The 2021 anthology won the World Fantasy Award; this follow-up brings together an “ever more diverse set of writers associated with Africa” and for stories described as “timely and relevant to today’s world … this book will astonish, shock, and amaze the reader while introducing them to a whole new world.” (December 12)

Image: Night Shade

The Best Horror of the Year edited by Ellen Datlow

The 15th volume of this long-running series spotlights “terror, fear, and unpleasantness as articulated by today’s most challenging and exciting writers.”(December 26)

Image: DAW

Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey

“Perfect for longtime fans of Valdemar or readers diving into the world for the first time, the Founding of Valdemar trilogy will delight and enchant readers with the origin story of this beloved fantasy realm.” This is the final book in the trilogy. (December 26)

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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