I love science fiction – but realized recently that the genre is really different to read than it is to watch. I have two dozen favorite TV shows and movies that are all science fiction, but really struggle to find the same styles and pacing in books. However, I have recently come across some titles that will make many movie fans happy.
I love a good close knit crew doing something difficult and seeing chosen families in space is always awesome. That’s why I loved Becky Chambers most recent installment Record of A Space Born Few, a sequel to The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet and A Close and Common Orbit, which takes us to the space born traditions of the descendants of earths survivors. Even as times change and folks move planet-side there is an aspect of losing culture that is rarely talked about in science fiction. Chambers writing has the right amount of detail while keeping the story moving forward.
If thinking of future space-born generations surviving out there is too distant, let’s bring it closer to home with Seveneves by Neil Stephenson. Taking place on the international space station, the moon is destroyed and Earth is forever changed. Watching survival and innovation from both an Earth side lenses and the ISS is awesome and feels closer to us technology wise than intergalactic travel does right now. Do not be intimidated by its page length, it’s a well-paced book that uses those pages without dragging on. The audiobook is also excellent!
One of my favorite TV shows right now is The Expanse, which just released its 4th season. Did you know it is originally a book series? Leviathan Wakes is the first in a now 8 book long epic that spans Earth, Mars, and the space between – known as the Belt. It’s a big book, but doesn’t get stuck in its own history, focusing instead on a political disaster between three very different groups of people, weird aliens, and the folks who get stuck in the middle. With two folks writing together, James S. A. Corey is a pen name for the duo made up of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, you don’t get the slowdowns you tend to get in longer science fiction.
Want your science fiction based in interesting alternative societies nearly a thousand years into the future? With open source technology and how capitalism is just one system among many! Corey Doctorow wrote Walkaway, which is fabulous. It looks at these issues while following a alternative society and the folks who walk away from the normal comfortable society. It talks about some of the limits to how that works, what we could do if we just took care of each other, and how that normal society tries to reel us back in. With its bright orange cover, you won’t miss finding it in the stacks, and it’s audiobook is wonderfully read as well.
Thinking about future earth, The 100 by Morgan Kass follows the first group of humans to return to earth after a catastrophic event causes all life on earth to be wiped out. A group escapes to orbit, surviving and waiting out the next 100 years. Now, they send 100 troubled teens back to the ground as Guinea pigs to see if the earth is survivable yet. With minimal skills, will these teens survive and is the earth really uninhabited?
While most of these might be well know, it’s a good primer to try some different science fiction that may be more approachable or more engaging that science fiction tends to be thought of. Hope you found something that will get you started in sci fi!
~posted by Margrith