NEW: The Best Science Fiction of 2018 is out, now!


Love Science Fiction?

I’ve got some great books for you that you might’ve missed in 2017.

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Note: I have not read all of these. This is part “Amazing sci-fi novels I read in 2017” and part “2018 reading list.”

Here’s 9 fascinating science fiction books that came out in 2017:

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1. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

John Scalzi needs to keep writing…

…because every book he writes is 1.5x better than his last.

The Collapsing Empire was, hands down, my favorite Science Fiction Novel of 2017.

What John Scalzi Does Well…

You’ll love it if you also love:

  • Space Operas
  • More than a touch of humor
  • Interesting forms of Interstellar Travel
  • Strong Female and Male Characters
  • Intrigue, smuggling, backstabbing, and ancient holograms

Book 2 (The Widening Gyre) is coming out in 2018, so get to it.

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2. Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee

I love big space battles.

I love insanely large amounts of (fictional) death, destruction, and warfare on an epic scale.

Fortunately, so does Yoon Ha Lee.

His second book in the series doesn’t “thrust you into the madness” as much as his first one does. But it still delivers.

What Yoon Ha Lee Writes Well…

Here’s a quote from 1000YearPlan that I think sums up his books really well:

Before long though, this second dip into The Machineries of Empire gives the people what they want –the exotic weaponry, the surreal settings and gonzo space battles, Lee’s impossibly perfect prose…

My only gripe with this comment (I think) Yoon Ha Lee’s prose is good… but far from perfect. And his dialogue is sorely lacking.

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3. Artemis by Andy Weir

So far, the biggest complaint about Andy Weir’s Artemis is absolutely right:

Everyone in this book sounds the same.

“In the future, there is a city on the Moon. And it’s entirely populated by 13-year-olds and generic father figures.”

I’m going to do a post on this soon, because there is such an easy fix to this mistake.

But if you can get past thatArtemis is an absolute pleasure to read.

Hard science fiction readers will love the in-depth explanations and machinations behind every piece of technology.

And, once you connect with the characters, the main story is actually pretty thrilling.

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4. Borne by Jeff Vandermeer

Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation is getting the Hollywood treatment. Starring Natalie Portman.

So I guess that means he’s a pretty big deal.

I read Annihilation – no, I devoured it. It was creepy, eerie, and really easy to read through (or should I say hard to put down?).

Borne takes place in a different world, but I’m guessing I’ll love it just as much.

What Borne Does Well…

  • Biotech
  • Paranoia
  • Riveting Characters with hard decisions

Actually, Heradas has a great review of Borne on his website:

Ruinous ecology, strange bioluminescent life, forgotten memories, a misplaced sense of self-identity, life that might not be human, animals that (maybe) used to be human, a hint of something much larger happening on the periphery, a creepy company meddling in things they shouldn’t, and a perfect mix of mystery and resolution in the story. All told through beautiful prose that itself lends an eerie literary landscape for the rich characters to inhabit.

If you like “Weird Science Fiction,” put this on your reading list. Right now.

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5. Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Ah, Star Wars. I will never stop talking about it.

But Disney on the other hand…

Well, they did something right recently: they let Timothy Zahn keep writing about Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Thrawn is his origin story.

Who Should Read This?

Do you like Star Wars? Read this.

I think everyone else have a luke-warm reaction this (pretty good, but not mind-blowing).

However, if you want to read anything “Star Wars” that might actually be good (and not the usual pandering cash-grab), Timothy Zahn is where you start.

6. Provenance by Ann Leckie

A space opera with a smaller cast. This one-off novel comes hot on the heels of Ann Leckie’s popular Ancillary Series. (It even takes place in the same universe).

The Tenacious Reader says the main character is:

…intelligent and resourceful and has a determination to follow through, even when the odds are stacked against her.

BiblioSanctum said the book had pacing problems, but was also won over by the main character:

The story also contains a more accessible and reader-friendly plot line, one that concerns itself more with intimate matters like family and friendship.

So if you’re looking for a “less complicated” introduction into Ann Leckie, this is your chance.

What Ann Leckie Does Well…

  • Playing with gender roles and stereotypes.
  • Powerful and interesting female characters.
  • Creating (and demolishing) cultures

I just finished her breakout novel, Ancillary Justice. If you want to read about an entire empire who has thrown off the burdensome rules of gender, you’ll love it. Or, if you want to read about a Hive-minded dystopic utopia that’s falling apart at the seams, you’ll like it.

The Ancillary series is complicated, but a uniquely enjoyable series. Also, Ancillary Justice won the Hugo Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Nebula for best novel.

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7. Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7) by James S.A. Corey

You see that “#7” right there?

Don’t let that scare you. You can eat these novels up quickly.

I’m only on #3 so far, but I plan on catching up ASAP.

As for this installment, here’s a snippet from Tor.com’s review this to say:

Persepolis Rising is ultimately among the darkest chapters of this insatiable saga.

What The Expanse Does Well…

  • The use of aliens is exquisite
  • Interesting characters in a harsh world (Avesarala is my favorite so far)
  • Really great use of the science (non-interstellar travel and use of gravity)

The Expanse series is fantastic, hard science fiction. There’s a reason they keep writing books (I say they, because it’s actually two authors writing this together).

Now the SyFy TV Show on the other hand… 

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8. All Systems Red by Martha Wells

You had me at: “In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future…”

(Quote above from the Goodreads Description).

I’ve never heard of this Author until this year, but this is going up on my “Read next” list.

Why Should You Read This?

Listen to this line:

As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

The main character calls itself “Murderbot.” Because that is what it’s programmed to do.

And then, decides to become something else. Such an excellent premise.

From what I’m hearing on the reviews, it’s quick, witty, a little “fluffy” in places.

If you’re interested in “Robots with Snark” you’ll love this.

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9. The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

The future.

No more aging.

And one smart ass of a protagonist.

This one-off science fiction features an every-day guy who ends up thrust into the midst of intrigue amidst a horrible teleportation accident.

What Tal M. Klein Writes Well…

  • Clever protagonists,
  • Future tech and world building
  • Inter-marital problems that could only happen in this very specific situation…

Some of the more popular and positive reviews were literally begging for people to go read this. For fairness’s sake, here is one negative review that does a great job of crapping all over this book.


Writing Exercise

Tell me about your favorite Science Fiction book from the last couple of years.

  • What did the author do well?
  • How has the author improved since previous works?
  • How would you describe it to get one of your friends to read it?