Science Fiction Fridays: Five audiobooks guaranteed to make your commute better

friday heinleinFriday by Robert Heinlein
In which an creche-born would-be assassin discovers the joy of polygamy. There isn’t much in the way of plot here, and the misogyny is horribly dated, but there is still plenty of charm in this comic and irreverent romp. Friday is a fun character with brains and beauty in equal bounty who searches for a place to belong–and has a lot of adventure on the way.

Under Heaven
by Guy Gavriel Kayunder heaven
An enchanting and powerful book set in an alternate reality 9th-century China with the usually deft world-building from Kay. The story weaves together many disparate threads and characters around Shen Tai, the son of recently killed general. To honor his father, Tai attempts to bury all the dead soldiers from his father’s army. An epic tale of honor with equal parts historical fiction and fantasy.

sum of all menThe Runelords: The Sum of All Men by David Farland
On his way to ask the beautiful Princess Iome for her hand in marriage, Prince Gaborn uncovers an assassination plot and subsequent war with the powerful Raj Ahten whose thousands of endowments make him a virtually invincible opponent. A dark, gritty fantasy that has shades of Robert Jordan and one of the most unique magic systems in the genre. However, it is the mysterious elementals and their clandestine power grabs that makes this book a must for this list.out of the black land

Out of the Black Land by Kerry Greenwood
The sister of the beautiful Nefertiti and a lowly scribe, Ptah-hotep, find themselves revealing secrets and dangerous conspiracies in the court of Amenhotep IV, the father of King Tut. An alternate history fiction novel with hints of magic that contains a mystery and enough political intrigue to make fans of A Game of Thrones salivate. Wonderful characterization with alternating chapters from narrators that bring ancient times to life.

moon and the sunThe Moon and the Sun by Vonda McIntyre
In an alternate history 17th century France during the reign of Louis XIV, the spunky Marie-Josèphe de la Croix develops a strange connection to a sea creature that kicks off a debate between the pope and the king about the humanity of the monster and its immortal soul. A lush, evocative and enthralling story that features a great protagonist in Marie-Josèphe and her sweet romance with a royal dwarf. A perfect, award-winning novel that should appeal to everyone, even those who don’t normally read genre fiction.

3 thoughts on “Science Fiction Fridays: Five audiobooks guaranteed to make your commute better”

  1. Low. Generally, Alternate History stories are not concerned with science and technology, or at least not the specifics. Science and technology may be a key point of difference in the alternate world, but with a few exceptions, science and technology is rarely the focus.

  2. Hi Shawna,

    Thanks for your contribution! I use “science fiction” in the “speculative fiction” way. This column includes science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror and weird fiction. Speculative Fiction Fridays might be a more accurate description, but I find that the cross readership between genre readers is high enough to use a more inclusive definition.


  3. Thanks for mentioning Under Heaven which I found enthralling. Although Kay “fictionalizes” his historical time and location he does terrific research on the period he is writing about. He deliberately gives different names to Tang Dynasty China in order not to be bound by very specific events. As a college history major (with classes in Chinese history) I can attest that the feel one gets for this period’s culture is as good as a EuroAmerican is likely to get. A book this well written could be read under any genre title. I appreciate your flexible interpretation of your column’s focus.

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