In which I talk about 30-ish of my favourite science-fiction novels, organized by trope and subgenre.
Time Travel & Alternate Realities...
- Dark Matter – Blake Crouch A college physics professor wakes up in an alternate version of his life where nothing is as he as he knows it; having to solve the mystery of what happened to him in order to find out the truth and make his way back to the wife and son he misses.
- Doors of Eden – Adrian Tchaikovsky A disappearance on the Moors merges with a physicists theoretical research into the small cracks between our world and countless others. Parallel Earths where monsters live. These cracks are getting wider every day, so who knows what might creep through? Or what will happen when those walls finally come crashing down...
- One Word Kill – Mark Lawrence Teenage Nick is used to escaping the real world horrors of his cancer-treatements by playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends. One night, reality and fiction begin to merge as Nick finds himself followed by a man with strange abilities that shouldn't exist, warning him his friends are in danger. What follows is a tale of time, fantasy, friendship and bravery, worthy of a honorary D&D campaign.
In the wake of an earthquake that disrupted a nation, the hardest hit area's of Japan have broken up into time-zones: areas of space where time flows at different speeds. Both Sora and her father, grieving the loss of their partner and mother, have been obsessively exploring these zones in secret, each with motives of their own. Her father seeks a scientific answer to the incomprehensible. Sora seeks her mother, who went missing during the quake, hoping to find her trapped in time somewhere.
Out of this world: stories set in space...
- Shards of Earth – Adrian Tchaikovsky After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
50 years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It's clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why?
Following a terrible accident during the first manned-mission to Mars, one man is left alone behind, presumed dead by his colleagues. With nothing but himself and his wits to fall back on, Mark is determined to survive until rescue arrives.
During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, a female austronaut finds an alien relic, that attaches itself to her skin. Soon, she finds herself wrapped up in events of stellar proportions. As war erupts among the stars, she is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn't at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.
Stuck on an unexplored planet after a radiation storm wrecked their ship, it's up to the misanthropic ship-psychologist to determine whether their strange behaviour is due to cabin-fever, or something more sinister alltogether.
More novels about Space, but not (completely) set in Space
Keith has spent his entire life preparing to be an astronaut. At the moment of his greatness, finally aboard the ISS, hundreds of miles above the earth’s swirling blue surface, he receives word that his 16-year-old daughter has died in a car accident, and that his wife has left him. Returning to earth, and to his now empty suburban home, he is alone with the ghosts, the memories and feelings he can barely acknowledge, let alone process.
A scientific discovery leads a Dutch marine biologist with a traumatic past on an unprecedented journey across the natural world, and ultimately up into the stars.
Two isolated individuals; one stranded on an arctic base and the other an astronaut on a one-way-trip towards Jupiter, find connection and solace in communication with eachother over the radio.
A pastor leaves his family behind on Earth as he's called to the mission of a life-time: join an extraterrestial colonisation-mission to teach the life-forms found there about religion, in this philosophical novel about connection and distance (both literal and metaphysical).
Cozy Science Fiction: These books will warm you heart after your track into the cold depths of space...
A queer (loose) retelling of Pinoccio, in which one of the last remaining humans in a dystopian future overrun by AI assembles a family for himself out of found and spare parts.
A cozy, futuristic adventure set in California's San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.
Decades after robots have gained selfawareness and walked off into the woods, never to be seen again, the life of the tea monk is upended when one of them returns. This robot asks him a simple question; the one that started its life altogether. What do you Need?
First contact: books about the trouble of communicating with Aliens...
When several people suffer strokes after seeing dazzling lights over Edinburgh, then awake completely recovered, they’re convinced their ordeal is connected to the alien creature discovered on a nearby beach…
When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover.
A young girl accidentally makes a discovery that will change humanity's future forever: a gigantic metal hand, buried beneath the Earth. 17 years later, Rose is now the leader of a team of scientific top-minds, hoping to unravel the persistant mystery of the bizarre artifact; it's origins, architects, and purpose.
Forced to land on a planet they aren't prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape, while the ruins of an alien race are found entwined in the roots of a strange plant. Conflicts between generations arise as they struggle to understand one another and grapple with an unknowable alien intellect.
Set in the wake of civilization's collapse due to a devestating flu pandemic, we follow the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. also recommended by the same author: The Glass Hotel, Sea of Tranquility
A trio of friends grow up in an isolated English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. When two of them leave the grounds as adults, the remaining girl finally gains a little insight into the world beyond, and begins to realize the full truth of what her entire childhood at Hailsham has been leading up to.
A novel told in vignettes that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague.
Genre-benders: blurring the line between Sci-fi and Fantasy
The great city of Ebora, once the home of riches, wisdom and ruling tree-gods, has fallen into derelict, following a cataclysmic event in the past only referred to as “the Eight Rain”. We follow an unlikely aliance of an adventurous archaeologists, an outlawed witch, and a former nobleman fallen from grace, as they try to unravel the events surrounding the Eight Rain, hoping to stop, or at least prepare for the imminent Ninth Rain.
A sci-fi-fantasy hybrid set in a prison on an inhospitable jungle-island in a postapocalyptic world. We follow the trials and tribulations of Stefan Advani, a scholarly political prisoner, as he attempt to navigate prison-politics with his brain, rather than brawl.
A thief gets her hands on more than she bargained for when she accidentaly steals an object of immeasurable power from a powerful mob-family. An object that not only begins to communicate with her, but allows her to unlock a hidden talent for a unique form of powerful science.
Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear.
In a postapocalyptic frozen world, the baron's personal phycisian dies a horrible death, seemingly by his own hand. The new replacement doctor has one mystery to solve: how the Institute lost track of one of its many bodies. Soon they find themselves up to a foe they didn't expect: a parasite even more devious and cunning than they themselves.
In a ruined, nameless city of the future, a scavenging woman, finds a creature she names “Borne” entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic, despotic bear that has roamed the corridors of the biotech organization known as the Company for years. As she nurtures Borne to health and fruition, he grows into something neither of them could've expected.
If you're looking for even more books that caught my eye (and might catch yours); you can check out my dedicated Sci-fi/Speculative Goodreads-shelf here. Note that this is a perpetually running list: entries may be added or changed at any time as I read more.