November 2023 science fiction & fantasy bestsellers

Nov2023 bestsellers, SF&F

 

bestsellers, November 2023

System Collapse (Murderbot Diaries 07)
Martha Wells
Everyone’s favourite lethal SecUnit is back in the next instalment in Martha Wells’ bestselling and award-winning Murderbot Diaries series.
Am I making it worse? I think I’m making it worse.
Following the events in Network Effect (HC/TP, $42.99/$32.99), the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonised planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation, out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.
But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!
Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.
Murderbot, Murderbot: how do we love thee?
If you haven’t read this great little multiple award-winning military space opera series (soon to be an AppleTV+ series!) — then start, at once, with All Systems Red (HC/TP, $29.99/$26.99).
Science fiction novella | HC/TP | $49.95/$34.99

bestsellers, November 2023

Iron Flame (Empyrean 02)
Rebecca Yarros
‘The first year is when some of us lose our lives. The second year is when the rest of us lose our humanity.’ — Xaden Riorson.
Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die, during her first year at Basgiath War College — Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky.
Now, the real training begins, and Violet’s already wondering how she’ll get through. It’s not just that it’s gruelling and maliciously brutal, or even that it’s designed to stretch the riders’ capacity for pain beyond endurance.
It’s the new vice commandant, who’s made it his personal mission to teach Violet exactly how powerless she is — unless she betrays the man she loves. Although Violet’s body might be weaker and frailer than everyone else’s, she still has her wits — and a will of iron.
And leadership is forgetting the most important lesson Basgiath has taught her:
Dragon riders make their own rules.
But a determination to survive won’t be enough this year. Because Violet knows the real secret hidden for centuries at Basgiath War College — and nothing, not even dragon fire, may be enough to save them in the end.
The fiery sequel to the sensational Fourth Wing (PBK, $24.99).
Huge bestseller. Think McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern mashed up with the Lev Grossman Magicians series (ie: the students are more grown-up American college types who swear and have sex, rather than the cute, young English Harry Potter-type children!). They’re a compulsive read and lotsa fun!
Fantasy | TP | $32.99

bestsellers, November 2023

Bookshops and Bonedust (Legends & Lattes 02)
Travis Baldree
‘Glorious’ — Ben Aaronovitch, author of the Rivers of London series.
Set in the world of Legends and Lattes, Travis Baldree’s Bookshops and Bonedust is a cosy fantasy about the power of good bookshops, great friends, and the unexpected choices along the way.
First loves. Second-hand books. Epic adventures.
Viv’s career with the renowned mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned. Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off, against her will, to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk — so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it. What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?
Spending her hours at a struggling bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted. Even though it may be exactly what she needs.
Still, adventure isn’t far away. A suspicious traveller in grey, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.
Sometimes, right things happen at the wrong time. Sometimes, what we need isn’t what we seek. And sometimes, we find ourselves in the stories we experience together…
‘A perfectly-executed prequel… the stakes are higher, and the scones are hotter still!’ — Nicholas Eames.
Start with Legends and Lattes (PBK, $22.99).
(NB: there are days, when Ron can be quite foul-mouthed, also — see bookshop proprietor text above.)
Fantasy | TP | $34.99

bestsellers, November 2023

All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries 01)
Martha Wells
‘As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.’
Need we even print the blurb, again? Just read the damned book, FFS. And it won just about every award, in the field — so it’s not just us, okay?!
Science fiction novella | HC/TP | $29.99/$26.99

bestsellers, November 2023

The Olympian Affair (Cinder Spires 02)
Jim Butcher
For centuries, the Cinder Spires have safeguarded humanity, rising far above the deadly surface world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses rule, developing scientific marvels and building fleets of airships for defence and trade.
Now, the Spires hover on the brink of open war.
Everyone knows it’s coming. The guns of the great airship fleets that control the skies between the last bastions of humanity will soon speak in anger, and Spire Albion stands alone against the overwhelming might of Spire Aurora’s Armada and its new secret weapon — one capable of destroying the populations of entire Spires.
A trading summit at Spire Olympia provides an opportunity for the Spirearch, Lord Albion, to secure alliances that will shape the outcomes of the war, and to that end he dispatches privateer Captain Francis Madison Grimm and the crew of the AMS Predator to bolster the Spirearch’s diplomatic agents.
It will take daring, skill, and no small amount of showmanship to convince the world to stand with Spire Albion — assuming that it is not already too late.
Well, well, well… better late than never! It’s only been about eight years since the first one that got everyone so excited and revved-up and ready for the sequel. But good things do come, to those who wait…
Refresh your memory with the opening book in the series, Aeronaut’s Windlass (PBK, $22.99). Really, really good. Recommended!
Fantasy | TP | $32.99

bestsellers, November 2023

Starter Villain
John Scalzi
Inheriting your mysterious uncle’s supervillain business is more complicated than you might imagine.
Sure, there are the things you’d expect. The undersea volcano lairs. The minions. The plots to take over the world. The international networks of rivals who want you dead.
Much harder to get used to… are the sentient, language-using, computer-savvy cats. And the fact that, in the overall organisation, they’re management…
We say, it’s Scalzi, just read it! Recommended.
Science fiction | TP | $34.99

bestsellers, November 2023

Fourth Wing (Empyrean 01)
Rebecca Yarros
Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from New York Times-bestselling author Rebecca Yarros.
Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College, where everyone has an agenda, and every night could be your last…
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general — also known as her tough-as-talons mother — has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.
But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away… because dragons don’t bond to ‘fragile’ humans. They incinerate them.
With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter — like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.
She’ll need every edge her wits can give her, just to see the next sunrise.
Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.
Alliances will be forged. Lives will be lost. Traitors will become allies… or, even, lovers. But sleep with one eye open — because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.
Fantasy | TP | $32.99

bestsellers, November 2023

Legends and Lattes (Legends & Lattes 01)
Travis Baldree
‘The most fun I’ve ever had in a coffee shop’ — Ben Aaronovitch, bestselling author of Rivers of London.
High fantasy, low stakes — with a double shot of coffee.
After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good. Now she sets her sights on a new dream — for she plans to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though, no one there knows what coffee actually is.
If Viv wants to put the past behind her, she can’t go it alone. And help might arrive from unexpected quarters. Yet, old rivals and new stand in the way of success. And Thune’s shady underbelly could make it all too easy for Viv to take up the blade, once more.
But the true reward of the uncharted path is the travellers you meet along the way. Whether bound by ancient magic, delicious pastries, or a freshly-brewed cup, they may become something deeper than Viv ever could have imagined.
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree is a cosy, heart-warming, slice-of-life fantasy about found families and fresh starts — perfect for fans of T J Klune, Katherine Addison, and T Kingfisher.
‘This is a warm hug of a book, a place to retreat from the world for a little while, drink a coffee, and come out a little better’ — T Kingfisher, award-winning author of Nettle and Bone.
Word of mouth via social media has been great — and regulars here seem just as charmed! Now in paperback. The prequel is Bookshops and Bonedust (TP, $34.99).
Fantasy | PBK | $22.99

bestsellers, November 2023

Defiance (Foreigner 22)
C J Cherryh & Jane S Fancher
The 22nd book in the beloved Foreigner saga continues the adventures of diplomat Bren Cameron, as he navigates the tenuous peace he has struck between human refugees and the alien atevi.
In the east, outright warfare has tied down the Assassins’ Guild, and that region is in confusion. Ready to hand is an age-old feud in the west, where the Master of Ashidama Bay has long hated the Edi people of the north shore and equally hated the Aishidi’tat for bringing the Edi to his shores — and hatred is a resource the Shadow Guild knows how to use to its advantage.
Bren Cameron is tasked with getting Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, back to the capital alive, on an urgent basis. But events are cascading down on the south, the Guild is stretched thin in the east, and the Shadow Guild is within striking distance of critical targets that could bring war to the entire south.
Two lives stand in the breach, two lives the aishidi’tat would not willingly risk — Ilisidi and Bren — and the Shadow Guild will spend anything and everything to take them out.
The Foreigner series sets the standard for sci-fi first contact sagas — a smart, probing, engaging sociopolitical narrative from an acknowledged master of the genre. (a literal SFWA Grandmaster!)
Start with the first book, Foreigner (PBK, $27.95).
Science fiction | HC | $62.95

bestsellers, November 2023

The Narrow Road Between Desires (Kingkiller Chronicles novella)
Patrick Rothfuss
Patrick Rothfuss returns to the wildly-popular Kingkiller Chronicle universe, with a stunning reimagining of ‘The Lightning Tree’.
Expanded to twice its previous length and lavishly-illustrated by Nate Taylor, this touching standalone story is sure to please new readers and veteran Rothfuss fans, alike.
Bast knows how to bargain. The give and take of a negotiation is as familiar to him, as the in-and-out of breathing; to watch him trade is to watch an artist at work. But even a master’s brush can slip. When he accepts a gift, taking something for nothing, Bast’s whole world is knocked askew, for he knows how to bargain — but not how to owe.
The Narrow Road Between Desires is Bast’s story. In it he traces the old ways of making and breaking, following his heart even when doing so goes against his better judgement.
From dawn to midnight, over the course of a single day, follow the Kingkiller Chronicles’ most charming fae — as he schemes and sneaks, dancing into trouble and back out again with uncanny grace.
After all, what good is caution, if it keeps him from danger and delight?
Sigh. Not the novel everyone was hoping for. But still nice to spend time in the Rothfuss universe, in the meantime. And, if it’s been a while — or you’ve not discovered the series, yet — go back to the first — Name of the Wind (PBK, $22.99) which is soooo very good. Recommended!
Fantasy | HC | $45.00

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