12 New Must-Have Speculative Fiction Books For Fall 2023

Christmas came early this year!

This upcoming fall is packing some hard-hitting sci-fi and fantasy. Here are 12 highly anticipated titles to look out for!


In the alternative world of Sim Kern’s upcoming novel, THE FREE PEOPLES VILLAGE, Al Gore has won the 2000 election and climate change is seen as a more important issue – and tackled as such. However, not all resonate with these sentiments.

In the historically Black neighborhood of Houston, Maddie Ryan, who teaches there and participates in a local punk band, witnesses a sudden threat to the community when an electromagnetic hyper way is built. Ultimately, Maddie realizes she must stand up for what’s right and vows to fight back. As such, she joins a local movement that will shift things in a significant way.

THE FREE PEOPLE’S VILLAGE is a courageous and unshrinking story where Maddie is forced to confront her whiteness and the damage she has caused to the community she calls home, and in the end, use her privileges for the betterment of it.


STARLING HOUSE features Opal, a barren and impoverished young woman from Eden, Kentucky. Well-aware of the ominous history of the Starling House – specifically, an author from the 19th century who seemingly vanished – she unwillingly begins work as a housekeeper for Arthur Starling, rightful heir to the property, as she’s in desperate need of income.

At first, the connection between Opal and Arthur is rather strained and the two find it difficult to trust one another. But as the pair spends more time together, the connection eventually grows as they confront antagonistic forces than put them both at high risk.

Given its occultic elements, Harrow’s STARLING HOUSE is a perfect Halloween read.

THE NAVIGATING FOX By Christopher Rowe

Set in an alternative North America, the ‘voiceless’ and the ‘knowledgeable’ animals are separate. Quintus Shu’al, the main character of this story, falls under the knowledgeable vein, gifted with the abilities of human intelligence and spoken language communication.

After a journey to the gates of hell comes to a tragic end, Quintus is forced to lead a second expedition with three others to save himself.

Inspired by Roman history, THE NAVIGATING FOX suits readers who delve into complex theological theories and nuanced philosophy.


Charlie’s life isn’t quite ideal, considering he’s a divorcée with only his cat as a companion. But when his distant and notoriously villainous uncle dies and leaves his business behind, that all changes.

One would think being an evil bad guy carrie’s only perks, but that’s furthest from the truth. With his uncle gone, Charlie’s now left to deal with the enemies he’d made along the way.

Most stories with a villain end in said villain paying the ultimate price. STARTER VILLAIN is unique in the sense that the reader will likely root for the villain to win, and for good reason.

ROUGE By Mona Awad

Awad is fairly gifted at uncanny stories that captivate you from the first page and stay with you long after you’ve read them – which is to say, you should likely carve out a good portion of time before diving into ROUGE.

This book unravels the rather unsettling, disturbing and unattainable standards of the beauty industry in a concise way. Belle, the protagonist, is drawn to an iconic spa called La Maison de Méduse after the bewildering death of her mother. There at the spa is where Belle learns about her mother’s toxic fixations and the entities lurking around.

ROUGE is ultimately a tale about what it costs to fit into a certain view of society, as well as the complex connection between close relatives.


Courtney Smyth’s absolutely amazing new novel, THE UNDETECTABLES, features a ghost dressed as a cat and three mystery-solving witches – quite timely for Halloween season, and fall as a whole.

In the magical city of Wrackton, an issue brews when a rampant serial killer is on the prowl, using a luring whistle signifying his arrival and sending victims into a truly terrifying act of self-inflicted violence.

Cornelia, Mallory, Delia and Theodore (the disguised ghost) are not given many clues or evidence to work with in terms of finding the killer. But an incomprehensible race against time to stop him before he strikes again becomes imminent.


V.E. Schwab has brought back her beloved characters from the SHADES OF MAGIC trilogy, now in a new adventure.

Kell Maresh and his fellow Antari saved the world from utter ruin seven years prior. In the time following, he’s spent his life as a privateer at sea with Delilah Bard, all while grappling with losing his magic.

Kell’s lamenting is quickly disrupted when he and Lila hear of a recent assassination attempt on his brother and the pair return to Red London to inquire further. There, they are introduced to Kosika, a brand-new Antari. Additionally, they find White London’s throne in possession and learn of a rebellion aiming to unravel the monarchy thread by thread.

THE FRAGILE THREADS OF POWER is a great addition to this expansive world Schwab has created, with the avid promise of more down the line.

MENEWOOD By Nicola Griffith

A decade later, author Nicola Griffith brings back the historically- detailed world of seventh-century England, home of protagonist St. Hilda of Whitby.

A strong 700-page successor to HILD, the world of MENEWOOD continues its expansion.

Hilda, now older, confronts a budding war on the horizon, making new connections along the way as she navigates such horrors.

SHIELD MAIDEN By Sharon Emmerichs

BEOWULF has been re-told countless times, but never in this way.

Growing up with endless stories of King Beowulf, her beloved uncle, Fryda desires the noble role of a shield maiden. However, a horrible accident experienced in her younger years prevents her from carrying out her goal. So far, that is.

When her father’s kingdom has outside invaders, she’s called into action and must find her inner power to fight the forces that be.


Hand’s novel deliberately nods to Shirley Jackson’s work, with a refreshing sapphic twist. Always timely for this time of year.

Holly Sherwin is overly keen at the chance of renting out Hill House. Nisa, her partner, doesn’t seem so, but agrees to accompany Holly. The longer they stay at the property, the stranger things become.


Jonathan Abernathy isn’t exactly the luckiest person in the world. So, he hardly believes it when he has a dream one night of the greatest job prospect he’s ever been given – a government program that takes all of his student loans away.

Not before long, he becomes overwhelmed by the demands of the job (taking away the undesired dreams of high-earning professionals).

In JONATHAN ABERNATHY YOU ARE KIND, the reader is forced to confront subjects such as capitalism addiction, partial loss of identity, mortality, and the ultimate meaning of life itself.


Marske is a genius at close, sensual interactions. And in A POWER UNBOUND, a conclusion to THE LAST BINDING BOOK series, that juicy element stays prevalent.

Bereaved twin Jack Alston is called to a part of himself he thought he’d left behind. Specifically, magic. When he meets Alan Ross, along with a rag-tag group of unlikely allies, everything changes.

As Jack and Alan continue to work together, they get closer and familiarize themselves on a deeper level, especially when Jack’s ancestral property is at risk of being overrun and ruined.

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