Not really! But this plot premise is popping up in recent fiction, usually as a virus that only targets men and leads to their widespread demise as the world collectively panics. Is now the best time to read about rampant viruses? Maybe not. But if you want to distract yourself from our current viral situation with some fictional versions then hey, why not? And it is intriguing to envision.
The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
In 2025, a lethal virus breaks out in Scotland which only impacts men. As the Great Male Plague spreads around the world, impacts ripple from the personal to the societal. Pick this one: to view the action through the perspectives and experiences of a large cast of characters, including a doctor, virologists, a historian on the run with her son, a nanny, plus smaller one-off vignettes from a wide swathe of characters. Continue reading “The End of Men”
Science fiction, as a genre, covers many different subgenres and subjects, but one steadfast storyline is a trip to the stars. If you’re in the mood for fictional space exploration, check out one of these recent novels.
We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen Dr. Grace Park has always gotten along better with androids than with her fellow humans. Now the psychologist for an expedition exploring planet Eos for colonization potential, she and the crew are trapped on the ship by a radiation storm ravaging the surface. As the crew – both human and android alike – begin to behave strangely, Grace must unravel the hidden purpose behind their mission to discover the root of their affliction.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir The sun is rapidly and inexplicably dying, leading scientists to predict an instant and catastrophic ice age within the next few decades. Ryland Grace, molecular biologist-turned-middle school science teacher, is reluctantly one of a three person crew headed to Tau Ceti in hopes of saving humankind. When he wakes up mid-flight to find his fellow crewmates dead, he also discovers that he’s not alone in searching for a solution.
Fellow readers, let’s talk beach reads. Don’t be put off by the name – these can be read at the beach, sure, but also by a lake; in a park or on your lawn; on your couch – anywhere you’re taking some time for yourself. And any book can be a beach read*, so long as it is something you find gripping. To get started, here are suggestions for books across genres that grab you and don’t let go until you’ve turned the last page.
Looking to be kept on the edge of your seat? (or beach towel?) Go behind enemy lines with WWII spy Nancy Wake as she trains the French Resistance in Ariel Lawhon’s Code Name Hélène. Or enjoy a tale of revenge and ego as a film shoot in the Caribbean goes awry in The Sirenby Katherine St. John. The dark side of office politics are on display in The Other Black Girlby Zakiya Dalila Harris, as editorial assistant Nella realizes the new girl isn’t what she seems. And when her husband disappears, newlywed Hannah and her stepdaughter Bailey race against time to figure out his true identity in The Last Thing He Told Meby Laura Dave.
Solarpunk is a relatively newer subset of the cyberpunk and steampunk genres, being introduced in 2008. Solarpunk focuses on what the future might be like using renewable resources. Often humanity is managing to coexist in a more harmonious way with the world and while natural disasters might not have been avoided, they are less likely to destroy the planet. Solarpunk focuses on futures that are not dystopias and as much as I love a dystopia novel, it’s great to read something with hope for the future. So take a look at these!
Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-speculation is a great place to start. It’s a collected anthology of stories, artwork, and poetry. Tales of impending ecological doom with hope at the end, with some stories being described as hauntingly beautiful.
Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson takes place in 2065 in California. People live in harmony with nature but this idyllic lifestyle is being threatened by the desire for power and money over others, people’s greed. This is the last book in a trilogy, you can read the other two first but they take place in 2047 (The Wild Shore: Book 1 ) and 2027 (The Gold Coast: Book 2 ) with different main characters. It helps to set the world but your true solarpunk adventure will be found in 2065 with Pacific Edge.