Make Some Room: March

Header (text): MAKE SOME ROOM (there's always room for one more)

We’re nearly at the bottom of the month, so it’s time to pull up a chair and look at what March has in store for us. If There’s Always Room For One More, these are books I need to make some room for…

Let’s start by taking a look at some intriguing debut novels coming our way?

First up is Premee Mohamed with Beneath the Rising on March 3rd, where the price of clean energy may be the subjugation of humanity by ancient eldritch horrors. Given it’s Arrival-esque cover art and Mohamed’s quirky sensibilities, this one promises to be unnerving and unusual.

Eeleen Lee’s debut hits the shelves on March 17th: Liquid Crystal Nightingale is an SF thriller that starts with a girl framed for murder and builds to political upheaval and the return of a shadowy alien threat. I’m wary of marketing that compares debuts to series I love, but… well, if it really is as good as The Expanse and Machineries of Empire, it’s going to be my new SF addiction.

For your fantasy shelf, have The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo on March 25th. A princess is forced into a political marriage, separated from her people and supported only by her loyal servants – the bones may be familiar, but we’ll see her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden in an explicitly feminist fantasy about empire and female rage. Yes, please.

I don’t read much horror or many thrillers, but there are three coming out in March that I’m willing to make an exception for.

I can’t resist a tale of the Titanic, so Alma Katsu’s The Deep is my first temptation (out March 3rd). Here the ship is haunted from the day she sets sail, with mysterious disappearances and unexplained deaths casting a shadow long before the iceberg appears. It’s ghosts and disaster all the way down…

The Deep isn’t the only watery horror splashing our way in March. Melinda Salisbury is back on March 5th with Hold Back The Tide, an atmospheric horror of open secrets and fresh terror as dark creatures rise from a remote Scottish loch. This promises unsettling family drama to go with its monstrous threat.

My final pick is Matt Hill’s new book, out on March 17th. Hill has a knack for irresistible concepts: in The Breach, a female reporter covering the death of a young climber is drawn into the urban exploration scene and bang, that’s it, I’m hooked. Urbex is a perfect set-up for an atmospheric thrill ride, and given this is Matt Hill it’s safe to assume nothing will be quite what it appears…

Echo Cycle by Patrick Edwards deserves your attention for being an unexpected mash-up of SFnal ideas. Set in a near-future where a decaying UK is tentatively reaching out to accept the hand of its European neighbours, this is a political thriller – but it’s also a timeslip tale of an English public schoolboy desperately trying to survive the year of four Caesars in first century Rome. Sometimes knowing what’s going to happen is no help at all.

Lavie Tidhar also appears to have accepted the mash-up challenge with By Force Alone, out March 5th (although not until June in the US). Here’s the Arthurian retelling Guy Ritchie wishes he’d made: all attitude and gangsters, where Guinevere’s a hitwoman and nothing is what you expect. I’m not even sure if the aliens are a joke – but I look forward to finding out.

Last but not least, SFnal powerhouse NK Jemisin is back on March 24th with an urban fantasy of New York in The City We Became. Welcome to a world where cities have souls and New York has an ancient evil deep beneath her. It’s a classic premise, and I can’t wait to see where Jemisin takes it.

What are you looking forward to in March?

All release dates quoted are for the UK.