Brave New Worlds: Upcoming SF in 2021

2020 was a rough year for most, but definitely for science fiction. A lot of industries ground to a halt, meaning that many of this year’s expected releases have been ushed back to 2021. On the plus side, that means next year is going to be absolutely packed with science fiction goodies. Here’s just a snippet of the things I’m looking forward to:

January 1: Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks – After the Doctor was arrested at the end of last series, this one-off special promises to reunite her with Captain Jack, while Earth faces (yet another) Dalek invasion. This will also be the last regular appearance for Toisin Cole and Bradley walsh.

January 2: Masterful, by James Goss – Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Master’s first appearance, this audio drama unites all surviving Master actors (except for Sacha Dawhan for unfortunate licensing issues) as the Master throws a party for himself.

January 5: Star Wars: The High Republic #1: Light of the Jedi, by Charles Soulle – The start of a new series set centuries before the Skywalker Saga, this ought to be an interesting look at the glory days of the Jedi Order.

January 5: Star Trek Picard #2: The Dark Veil, by James Swallow – A Star Trek Titan novel set in the new canon? Don’t tell me more, just count me in.

January 7: Dogs of War #2: Bear Head, by Adrian Tchaikovsky – The sequel to Dogs of War, I’m intrigued to see where Tchaikovsky goes next with his enhanced animal soldiers.

January 22: Star Trek Lower Decks: Season 1 (Amazon Prime) – While the pesky Americans have already seen this, I’m looking forward to Star Trek’s delve into full-on comedy. Though I’m not crazy about animation, this should definitely be worth a look.

January 26: The Expert System’s Brother #2: The Expert System’s Champion, by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Tchaikovsky’s novellas are always interesting, and this sequel to one of his lesser-known works demands a reread of the first.

January 29: Planetside #3: Colonyside, by Michael Mammay – The concluding story of Mammay’s underrated military SF trilogy promises the same mix of military action and investigations as the previous books.

February 23: The Farian War #3: Out Past The Stars, by K.B Wagers – The Indranan War was space opera at its most fun, and I’m looking forward to being able to finish the follow up trilogy.

March 2: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron #3: Victory’s Price, by Alexander Freed – Freed’s Twilight Company is easily my favourite book in the new Star Wars canon. Though I haven’t got round to reading the Alphabet Squadron series yet, I’m sure his take on pilots will be just as good as hs ground-pounding action.

March 2: One Day All This Will Be Yours, by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Another novella, this one a less than fully serious time travel adventure. I have no idea what to expect from this one.

March 4: Teixcalaan #2: A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine – The delayed sequel to one of my favourite books of recent years, if this can match the excellence of A Memory Called Empire, then we have a winner on our hands.

March ?: Master!, by Robert Valentine, Robert Whitelock, and Matt Fitton – Another Master-based audio drama from Big Finish, this time featuring Eric Roberts in the title role, alongside the return of Chase Masterson as Vienna.

April 6: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (script), by Sarah Kuhn – I loved this audio drama so much, and am looking forward to having the script on my shelves.

April 27: Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy #2: Greater Good, by Timothy Zahn – Though I’ve fallen massively behind on my Star Wars reading, a new Zahn novel is always a cause for celebration.

May 4: Stolen Earth, by J.T. Nicholas – Nicholas’ Re-Coil was one of the year’s best surprises, and the prmise for his new book sounds equally interesting. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

May 4: Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir – I loved The Martian, and quite enjoyed Artemis too, so I’m eager to see what Weir has in store for his third novel. Hopefully his unique blend of warm humour and cold-hard science.

May 18: The Lost Fleet: Outlands #1: Boundless, by Jack Campbell – At long last, the story of John ‘Black Jack’ Geary continues. From what I’ve read, Boundless will weave together the Lost fleet and Lost Stars series, so this is easily one of next year’s most anticipated releases.

May 18: The Final Architects #1: Shards of Earth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky – This is the Tchaikovsky release I’m most looking forward to next year. A great big space opera and the start of a new series.

June 22: The Palladium Wars #3: Citadel, by Marko Kloos – This might be the last part of the series that started with Aftershocksbut I’m not sure. Regardless, it should be an action-packed slice of light reading.

June 29: Star Wars: The High Republic #2: The Rising Storm, by Cavan Scott – The second part of the High Republic. Even if I am behind, it’s nice to see Disney/Del Rey stepping up their release rate.

August 24: Light Chaser, by Gareth L. Powell & Peter F. Hamilton – While I’m not much of a Hamilton fan,Powell’s space opera is great stuff. I’m fascinated to see how their very different styles work together.

August ?: The War Master #6: Killing Time, by James Goss and Lou Morgan – Another outing for Derek Jacobi’s War Master, this also features the return of Katy Manning as Jo, a reunion I’m eagerly awaiting.

September 21: Caladan #2: The Lady of Caladan, by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson – Middle volumes can be a tricky thing, but herbert and Anderson have been working with Dune  for long enough that I know the sequel to The Duke of Caladan will deliver.

October 1: Dune – Delayed by the pandemic, Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation is still up in the air at the moment, but the trailers have me convinced that this is going to be brilliant.

October 28: The Expanse #9: Leviathan Falls, by James S.A. Corey – After a decade, the Expanse comes to a close. Wrapping up such an epic series is a tall order, but it looks like Corey has things under control. The TV adaptation will also wrap up with its sixth season, presumably out in 2021 as well.

December ?: Star Wars; The Mandalorian, Season 3 – It’s difficult to see where Din Djaren will go after season 2’s finale, but I am 100% here for his journey to continue.

December ?: Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett – The first Mandalorian spin-off is weirdly about an established character. Oh well, it’s Boba Fett, so you know it’s going to be good, right?

No dates confirmed, but release anticipated:

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Season 1 – I’m not all that confident of a 2021 release for this one, but an episodic Star Trek with the optimism that Anson Mountt brought to Pike will definitely be worth tuning in to.

Star Trek: Lower Decks: Season 2 – Though I haven’t seen the first season yet, the trailers give me enough hope for this show that I’m happy it will get a chance to find its feet and grow.

Star Trek: Picard: Season 2 – Production obviously affected by the pandemic, but I’m fairly confident of a 2021 release. More Jean-Luc will always be appreciated, and it sounds like we may be seeing more familiar faces too.

Star Trek: Discovery: Season 4 – Currently filming, so odds are good for a 2021 release. Season 3 has been a massive step up in my enjoyment, so I’m hoping Season 4 can build on that.

The Orville: Season 3 – Late 2021 if not the year after, but Seth McFarlane’s SF comedy is one of the most uplifting shows around, and I’m glad it will be back, whenever that may be.

Warhammer 40,000: Bequin: Pariah & Bequin: Penitent, by Dan Abnett – I really need to read Eisenhorn, but a new Dan Abnett book will always get my attention. The rerelease of Pariah should come fairly soon, and it’s nice to see some traction on the older Warhammer 40k series.

Tales of the Sun Eater: Volume 1, by Christopher Ruocchio – Book 4 of the Sun Eater (the ominously named Kingdoms of Death) has been delayed until 2020, but there will be a short story to tide us over until then. There won’t be a phsyical release, but I have my fingers crossed for audio.

Skyward #3: Nowhere, by Brandon Sanderson – This is an outside bet, but Sanderson’s output rate is legendary, and I look forward to more intergalactic dogfighting action.

New Albion Murder Mystery, by Paul Shapera – Exactly what it says on the tin this one. Shapera has promised less instrumentals and more lyrics, so I am very excited about this upcoming album.

Well that is a lot of Sci-Fi goodness coming our way, and as usual I’m sure there are plenty of releases I’ve forgotten. In particular, I’d like to pick up a few more debuts next year. Be sure to drop in recommendations and tell me what you’re looking forward to in the comments.

See you all in the new year!

Published by Alex Hormann

I'm a writer, reader, and farmer, with an interest in all things speculative.

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