The best fantasy and sci-fi books of 2021 – Polygon

From sweeping space operas to deadly, magical schools

By Nicole Clark, Sadie Gennis, and Tasha Robinson, Dec 12, 2021, 10:13am EST

Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon

This year we read tons of books. Whether we bought a hard copies at the local bookstore or checked out audiobooks from a library app, or consumed them via e-reader.

Lots new authors wrote fantastic debuts in 2021, while many of our favorite authors continued their sprawling series — ones we were extremely excited to jump back into.

If you love books then you know: They aren’t just escapism, they also inspire introspection, making us think harder about the world we live in.

This is precisely the promise of great science fiction and fantasy — categories we’ve chosen to consider in a list together, as fantastic books continue to blur the line between the two speculative genres (and besides, we love to read them all). These 20 books span genres and perspectives — from space operas, to Norse mythology retellings, to romances with a dash of time travel.

But all of them gave us something new to consider. In a year with so many incredible choices, it was hard to narrow down the list. So we’ve also included some of our favorite runners up.

Source: The best fantasy and sci-fi books of 2021 – Polygon