This post was inspired by a prompt from #SciFiMonth, but since I don’t have much to say about time travel (for now) I decided to take the prompt in a slightly different direction. You see, by my calculations, I’ve reviewed a couple hundred books At Boundary’s Edge over the past four years. But I was reading science fiction long before I decided to start blogging about it. So here are some of my favourite books that I’ve never reviewed.
Encounter With Tiber, by Buzz Aldrin & John Barnes
Co-written by the second man on the Moon, this one starts of as a brilliant what-if of the NASA space programme. At the time it was a vision of the future, that comes eerily close to a few real-life incidents. Even now, it’s a fascinating alternate history. All of this builds towards one of the most plausible first-contact scenarios I’ve ever read, and is one of the few books in my library to make a sudden shift in narrative direction work.
The Saga of Seven Suns, by Kevin J. Anderson
Proof that you don’t have to invent everything from scratch to build an interesting universe, this is a real throw-in-the-kitchen-sink space opera. Across seven novels (plus two novellas and a sequel trilogy) Anderson spins a tale of politics, explosions, and dastardly deeds. Despite its length, this is one I would fully recommend to anyone wanting to try out space opera for the first time, especially if, like me, they’re transitioning over from fantasy reads.
JAG in Space, by Jack Campbell
I’ve talked a lot about Campbell’s ongoing Lost Fleet universe, but his other works are definitely worth a look-in too. In particular, the legal drama in space that is JAG in Space stands out as something a little different. I can’t think of another series that captures the day-to-day life of a ship and its crew anywhere near as well.
The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu
It’s rare that the Hugo Awards and I agree on something, but I fully agree that Cixin Liu’s work is worthy of praise. The Dark Forest may just be my favourite piece of twenty-first century science fiction. The entire Dark Forest concept is enough to trigger existential dread, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s a real head-bender at times, but worth the commitment.
Planetside, by Michael Mammay
One of the two books that directly influenced my decision to start blogging, this military/crime SF hybrid has stuck with me largely due to the ending, which I shan’t spoil here. Suffice to say, I’m glad there are more books in the series. But even as a standalone, Planetside is a book that will leave an impression.
Empire of Silence, by Christopher Ruocchio
The second of those massively influential books, Empire of Silence is everything I love about science fiction. It’s a world that has a real feel of history to it, writing that is rich and deep, and a narrative with an unparalleled sense of tragedy looming over it all. Honestly, one of the best debuts I have ever read, and one of the best books full-stop.
The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Wells is about as old an author as I will read recreationally, and The Time Machine is one of his best. As an aside, I could easily include The War of the Worlds here, but I plan on listening to that one quite soon. A rare case of the foundational work being better than almost all of what follows it, The Time Machine is a true classic of science fiction, and one I encourage everyone to read if they get the chance.
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