5 Standalone Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels For Your Fall Reading List

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BY September 3, 2019

Crossing over into the realm of science fiction and fantasy can be daunting for many readers. The long-running fantasy series is a mainstay of genre fiction. They keep devoted fans coming back to the genre for years on end. Not everyone has time for sprawling epics however. Even the most dedicated genre readers can be put off by the time commitment required for a long series. However the mainstream popularity of science fiction and fantasy has given rise to a new wave of singular genre novels. For anyone looking for standalone sci-fi & fantasy, we have compiled a list of five sci-fi and fantasy novels coming soon in Autumn 2019. 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

standalone sci-fi and fantasy novels 1 Image via Penguin Random House

The success of the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale has introduced millions to the frightening real-world relevance of Atwood’s work. Atwood returns to Gilead in The Testaments. Set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the novel is narrated by three female characters. We don’t know yet if Offred will be one of the narrators. Or if Atwood will borrow inspiration from the show to flesh out pre-existing characters. Despite being a sequel, odds are good that this book will still stand on its own within the world of Gilead. The Testaments will be out September 10, 2019.

A Song For A New Day by Sarah Pinsker

standalone sci-fi and fantasy novels 1 Image via Penguin Random House

Nebula Award-winner Sarah Pinsker makes her full-length novel debut with A Song for a New Day. A dystopian novel set in a world where public gatherings are illegal, and concerts are a thing of the past. Daring individuals will break the law in order to hear live music again, and share it with others. Pinsker brings her real-world musical knowledge and passion to this debut. A Song For A New Day will be out September 10, 2019.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

standalone sci-fi and fantasy novels 1 Image via Penguin Random House

Several years after his stint writing the Black Panther comics, acclaimed journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates makes his first foray into fiction. The Water Dancer follows a young slave who gains mysterious abilities after a near-death experience. This novel promises to blend historical fiction and fantasy in this highly anticipated coming-of-age novel. The Water Dancer will be out September 24, 2019.

The Future Of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

standalone sci-fi and fantasy novels 1 Image via MacMillan Publishers

Annalee Newitz, founding editor of io9, takes the very concept of editing to the extreme. In this punk feminist time-travel novel, characters utilize mysterious machines to ‘edit’ timelines. The novel pits factions of future feminists vs. misogynists. They race to control time and which gender will hold the power in the end. The Future Of Another Timeline will be out September 24, 2019.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

standalone sci-fi and fantasy novels 1 Image via Penguin Random House

The long-awaited second novel from the author of The Night Circus is a mysterious portal fantasy into an underground library. Replete with strange artifacts, secret societies, otherworldly companions, and strange magic. The Starless Sea promises to be a lyrical, romantic ode to the power of storytelling. The Starless Sea will be out November 5, 2019.

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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

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