Science Fiction and Mystery may be starkly separated genres for some, but recently I love the way they blend together in three great series. The examples below range from the lighter, funny end of things to the traditional and even the darker genre mixtures. Check them out if you’d like to see for yourself.
KOP, Ex-KOP, and KOP Killer by Warren Hammond
This is a contemporary blend of science fiction and mystery from an up-and-coming and gritty author. The unusual setting had me from the first page. Lagarto was supposed to be an economic paradise among Earth’s distant colonies. The brandy unique to this world was prized among space travelers, but now Lagarto is just a rainy jungle city filled with mud, criminals and lizards. Most Lagartans are poor descendants of immigrants whose hopes of a better life have failed. Others are offworlders – wealthy tourists with the money to live on an orbiting space station and the power to make Lagarto a criminal’s playground. Juno Mozambe is a detective at KOP – the terribly corrupted Lagarto police. He is a quick and dangerous kop and Hammond takes him through brink of danger, personal conflict and the gray areas of morality that can haunt us all.
The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov
Science Fiction fans need no help finding Isaac Asimov, but these three hits of the Robot Novel series would be great for mystery lovers looking to dip their toes into the science fiction waters. I’ll never forget Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw. Elijah is a skilled albeit agoraphobic detective living 3000 years in Earth’s future. His partner Olivaw appears to be human but is really a robot that is supposed to abide by certain programming laws. The pair face murder mysteries in a time when Earth and its distant colonies are at odds over power and the proper place of robots in society.
You’ve Got Murder, Click Here for Murder, Access Denied, and Delete All Suspects by Donna Andrews
So, I liked the Kop series above because it was dark, and the Robot series because it was classic, but the Turing Hopper series is a fun, creative and lighter mixture of mystery and science fiction. Turing Hopper is unlike any detective I have followed before. As sharp and witty as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Turning is an artificial intelligence personality with mystery novels downloaded into its memory. Now its creator has disappeared and Turning suspects foul play. I went through the whole series in about two weeks, mostly on its own merits, but also because Turning reminded me of the sentient computer in another science fiction classic, The Moon is Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.