The Baby Yoda show—oops, we mean: The Mandalorian is back! We bet you’re looking for some space adventures to dive into between weekly episodes, and we’ve got you covered. Here are four science fiction books that hit shelves in 2020, and four to look forward to in 2021.

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back edited by Elizabeth Schaefer

What’s a Star Wars-inspired list without a Star Wars book? There are an incredible number of novels and comics set in the Star Wars universe for readers to choose from, but this November release is something truly special. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, 40 authors were asked to recreate a scene from the movie from the eyes of a supporting character. With authors like Daniel José Older, R.F. Kuang, Zoraida Córdova, and Mark Oshiro in the lineup, we know this collection is going to be out of this world!

Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Marie Lu’s latest YA novel is the first in a new science fiction series. Talin is a refugee working as an elite soldier in Mara, the only nation on Earth free from the clutches of the Federation. Her loyalty is put to the test when she’s told to kill Red, a Federation deserter. When she refuses, her commander forces Talin to take Red on as a fighting partner to keep an eye on him. As they grow closer, Red reveals that he’s a Skyhunter, the Federation’s experiment to create fighters who were half-human and half-machine. With their combined skills, Talin wonders if together they can stop the Federation once and for all.

To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

Cixin Liu is China’s most popular science fiction author, and he’s been making waves in America since the Ken Liu translati for reon of his Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. This newly released collection includes eleven of his short stories—making it the perfect pickaders who want quick bites of sci-fi. Those who dive in can expect high-concept ideas woven into tales of life in modern China. There are dinosaur overlords, galactic symphonies, and more to be found here. New readers will find it to be a strong introduction to Liu’s work, while those familiar with his other books are certain to enjoy the wide variety of tales shared here.

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This fall authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner teamed up to bring readers the first in a new YA series that blends science fiction and fantasy. Prince North lives in a sky kingdom powered by machines, while the living goddess Nimh watches over her people on the Surface. Neither knows of the others’ world, until an accident sends Prince North’s glider crashing to the Surface, bringing into question everything they’ve both been taught to believe in. Fans who enjoy explorations of faith in Star Wars will find a lot to love here. 

Here are four books to look forward to reading next year!

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor’s books are a must for sci-fi fans. We may not have a date for the release of the upcoming Hulu adaptation of her Binti series, we do know that this January readers will be able to dive into her next book! Remote Control is set in near-future Ghana, where a child discovers a strange seed that came from the sky and gifted her with the power to take away life. Unable to control the ability, tragedy strikes and sends her off on a mission to recover the seed her father sold to the government.

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders’ YA debut puts readers in the middle of an action-packed intergalactic war. When Captain Thaoh Argentian died, her clone was disguised as a human and hidden on Earth from her enemies. Years later, teenage clone Tina has begun dreaming Thaoh’s memories and seeing visions of her killer, Marrant, in her nightmares. Tina’s always known that her destiny would catch up with her, and she fears it may be closer than she’s ready for.

I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories by Bo-Young Kim

This collection of four short stories should be on the TBRs of readers who enjoy speculative fiction. Bo-Young Kim thematically links the first two and the final two stories together. “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way” explore love’s timeless nature as an engaged couple sent on separate missions across the galaxy try to find their way back to each other. Meanwhile “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life” look at Earth through the lens of its creators. Bong Joon-ho, the Oscar-winning director of Parasite, called Kim’s fiction “a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art.” Sold!

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

With early buzz from Brandy Colbert and Elana K. Arnold, this YA sci-fi novel is high on our 2021 must-read list. Ambrose and Kodiak must put aside their past rivalries when they’re tasked with a rescue mission. The first settler on Titan sent off a distress signal, and their respective countries have agreed to send them each off abroad the Coordinated Endeavor to rescue her. But all isn’t well on the ship: Ambrose wakes without any memory of takeoff, there’s evidence of unauthorized passengers abroad, and Kodiak has locked himself away. He tries to stay focused on the mission, even as he uncovers secrets aboard the ship that could spell disaster.

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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