Make Some Room: February

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

I have been a bit overwhelmed recently, so this month’s list of exciting SFF releases is much later than usual, if as haphazard as ever. Boosting titles you might not already have heard about is my favourite thing about book blogging so open up your heart (and your TBR) and prepare to make some room…

There are some Very Big Releases heading our way this month (she typed, gazing in doorstop at Samantha Shannon) and many very shiny ones, along with the usual stack that leave me itching to write a terribly snarky and deeply subjective post about book titles and cover art (I’m not going to. I can see why and how colons and parentheses and marketing blurb in book titles sell books to other people, just… not to me – although I admire the confidence of Fantastic Cock: Mantle of Superhero even if it is not – surprisingly – a TikTok sensation).

Book cover: Please Report Your Bug Here - Josh Riedel

A young tech worker at a dating start-up trips over a bug that transports him to another dimension, kicking off a wild ride as he navigates acquisition, corporate corruption and staying afloat in San Francisco. I’m hoping Please Report Your Bug Here is going to give me Several People Are Talking vibes for 2023. Josh Riedel’s debut is out on February 28th (Henry Holt & Co).

Two magical women embark on a road trip to New Orleans to unite seven mythical spoons (yes, really) that will help a corporation of witches defeat an ancient enemy. It sounds like an absurdist urban fantasy, but Cherie Dimaline has form for crossing unexpected threads with haunting results. VenCo is out now in the US (support the HCP strikers, buy from the HarperCollins Union bookshop).

Book cover: VenCo - Cherie Dimaline
Book cover: Liar City - Allie Therin

Solving a string of murders with psychic empathy in a charged political climate put Liar City firmly on my list of intriguing titles for February. On second look, I suspect Allie Therin’s new series starter may be more romance than tense speculative thriller, so I’m probably not the right reader – but you may be. Out on February 28th (Carina Adores).

Salman Rushdie is one of those authors I’ve always meant to read; Victory City may be my long-delayed point of entry to his work. A young girl is chosen by a goddess to address women’s rights in 14th century India, introducing an epic feminist tale rooted in the power of storytelling. Out now from Jonathan Cape (hardcover) / Vintage Digital (ebook).

Book cover: Victory City - Salman Rushdie
Book cover: The Crane Husband - Kelly Barnhill

Sure that cover would have caught my eye, but The Crane Husband also has the dark allure of being a Kelly Barnhill re-imagining. Here the familiar bones of love and sacrifice are recast through the lens of children and (step)parents as a teenager tries to protect her family from the demanding new man in her mother’s life. Out on January 31st (Tordotcom).

Set the dial for nostalgia, trope-aware thrills with Head Cleaner by David James Keaton, in which a VCR rental machine may have the power to change the endings of films – and history. The employees of the last Blockbuster in the country and about to have the night of their lives. This sounds like a brilliant diversion, available from February 23rd (Polis Books).

Book cover: Head Cleaner - David James Keaton
Book cover: World Running Down - Al Hess

A dystopian setting on the salt flats of Utah, emerging sentience, a transgender salvager in search of safe haven and salt pirates make World Running Down a promising bet for those seeking a sweet, romantic tale of finding your people and fighting for them. Out from Angry Robot on February 14th.

Gelethel is a city bound by impassable ice, ruled by merciless angels. CSE Cooney is back with a glittering tale of false saints and cinephilic immortals (and holy popcorn!), which has garnered rave reviews from bookworms I trust. Out now from Mythic Delirium Books (the perfect publisher name for this fantasy).

Book cover: The Twice-Drowned Saint - CSE Cooney
Book cover: The Last Tale Of The Flower Bride - Roshani Chokshi

I am rather more cautious of Roshani Chokshi’s adult debut, but The Last Tale Of The Flower Bride has an intoxicating premise that will likely overcome my reluctance to revisit Chokshi’s work (I was wholly underwhelmed by The Gilded Wolves). This Gothic fairytale of love and secrets is out on February 16th from Hodder & Stoughton.

Shout outs also to Ray Nayler’s The Mountain In The Sea (angry sentient octopus) and Camilla Bruce’s The Witch In The Well, both of which I have featured previously for their digital / audio releases, but which finally get UK physical editions this month. Look out for them on shelves near you.

What else is coming out this month that I should be getting excited about?

All release dates and publishers are for the UK unless otherwise mentioned.