The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy

scifi2Amberlough / Lara Elena Donnelly

Cosmopolitan Amberlough City is home to intelligence operative Cyril DePaul and his lover, Aristide Makricosta, whose role as emcee at the Bumble Bee Cabaret serves as a front for his criminal activities. However, perhaps not for much longer, due to the rise of the authoritarian One State Party. If you have ever wished Christopher Isherwood had written political fantasy, Amberlough — with its well-drawn characters and a vivid setting reminiscent of the Weimar Republic — is the book for you.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter / Theodora Goss

Alone and penniless, Mary Jekyll hunts for her father’s killer, a former friend named Edward Hyde, along with help from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson resulting in the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists.

Spoonbenders / Daryl Gregory

A generations-spanning family of psychics, blessed and burdened by their abilities, is challenged to use their powers collectively to save themselves from the CIA, the local mafia, and a skeptic bent on discrediting them.

The Stone Sky: the broken earth. Book three / N.K. Jemisin

In this concluding volume of N.K. Jemisin’s acclaimed Broken Earth trilogy, orogene Essun and her daughter Nassun find themselves on opposite sides of an ideological battle for the future of the Stillness. Like its predecessors, this novel boasts a vivid apocalyptic setting and thoughtful explorations of the nature of personhood and the ways in which systems of oppression operate. Due to the complexity of the story, newcomers will want to start with the first of the series, The Fifth Season.

Six Wakes / Mur Lafferty

Awakening in a cloning vat, streaked with blood and possessing no memory of how she died, new clone Maria Arena discovers the clones of six former starship crewmembers and must identify their murderers before the killer strikes again.

Jade City: the Green Bone saga. Book one / Fonda Lee

In this action-packed series opener, Green Bone warriors use the magic-enhancing powers of jade to protect their island nation of Kekon and its capital, Janloon. However, times are changing, as rival syndicates headed by the feuding Ayt and Kaul families go to extreme lengths to consolidate their power and gain control of the city. Detailed world-building and exciting martial-arts battles enhance this gritty crime drama, which takes place in an East Asia-inspired fantasy world. — Description by Gillian Speace.

Autonomous / Annalee Newitz

Big Pharma is watching you. In a near-future society dominated by multinational corporations, drug pirate Jack Chen reverse-engineers expensive medications and distributes free copies to those who cannot afford the real thing. As a result, her activities have attracted the attention of the International Property Coalition, which sends military robot Paladin and Paladin’s human partner, Eliasz, to apprehend Jack. With its noir-tinged dystopian setting, suspenseful plot, and themes of bioethics and artificial intelligence, this debut may remind readers of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

 The Martian: a novel / Andy Weir

Stranded on Mars by a dust storm that compromised his space suit and forced his crew to leave him behind, astronaut Watney struggles to survive in spite of minimal supplies and harsh environmental challenges that test his ingenuity in unique ways.

Ready Player One / Ernest Cline

Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

Cat’s Cradle / Kurt Vonnegut

A young writer decides to interview the children of a scientist primarily responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb.

Station Eleven / Emily St. John Mandel

The sudden death of a Hollywood actor during a production of “King Lear” marks the beginning of the world’s dissolution in a story told at various past and future times from the perspectives of the actor and four of his associates.

Cloud Atlas / David Mitchell

Recounts the connected stories of people from the past and the distant future, from a nineteenth-century notary and an investigative journalist in the 1970s to a young man who searches for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world.

Never Let Me Go / Kazuo Ishiguro

A reunion with two childhood friends–Ruth and Tommy–draws Kath and her companions on a nostalgic odyssey into the supposedly idyllic years of their lives at Hailsham, an isolated private school in the serene English countryside, and a dramatic confrontation with the truth about their childhoods and about their lives in the present.

Seveneves / Neal Stephenson

When a catastrophic event dooms the planet, nations around the world band together to devise an ambitious survival plan in outer space 5,000 years before their progeny organize an audacious return.

The Hike / Drew Magary

Becoming lost on a surreal wilderness path during a business trip in rural Pennsylvania, a suburban family man is confronted by otherworldly predators and overwhelming flashbacks of terrifying moments of his life before finding unexpected magical help.

I am Providence: a novel / Nick Mamatas

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