Friday, January 4, 2013

Favourite Science Fiction

Over the summer I went into a strange science fiction feeding frenzy. These are my favourite books from that time and from the rest of the year. Except for Robinson and Banks these were all from authors new to me.

1. The Immortalists - Gabriel David
2. The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi
3. And Blue Skies From Pain - Stina Leicht
4. Redshirts - John Scalzi
5. The Killing Moon - NK Jemisin
6. Wool - Hugh Howey
7. 2312 - Kim Stanley Robinson
8. The Hydrogen Sonata - Iain M Banks
9. The Song of Achilles - Madeleine Miller

You can look up the plot synopses for yourselves, I mean why is it that I always have to do all the work around here? The Quantum Thief, I think, is the most original and intelligent of the books above and The Song of Achilles the most poetic. The Immortalists is the most perverse and Ballardian. Perhaps the most disappointing was the Kim Stanley Robinson which I reviewed at greater length here and liked it better then than now it seems. The funniest book of the year of course was Redshirts which I liked very much until the 3 long codas at the end. The one closest to my heart was probably Stina Leicht's And Blue Skies From Pain which takes in the fairy realm and Derry. 
If you havent read science fiction for a while - perhaps since the days of Clarke, Dick and Asimov - you really are missing out. The last couple of years have seen an explosion of new voices who explore themes much more diverse and interesting than boring old space opera. Pity JG Ballard couldnt have lived to see this new crop of writers digging deep into what he liked to call "inner space". And if you still like old fashioned space opera go read the new Iain M Banks which I enjoyed and read in about 5 hours.