Six More Science Fiction Favorites to Dive Into
More Science Fiction Faves
I love character-driven science fiction stories. Sci-fi books can be so lovely and weird and immersive, and the stories can dive into so many fascinating big-deal issues--like feeling a greater purpose, facing a deep responsibility to other beings, undertaking noble missions, bravely exploring new worlds, or finding common ground with those who are different from you.
You might also like the books on the Greedy Reading Lists Six Science Fiction Favorites to Dive Into and Six Great Stories about Robots, Humans and Alien Life, and SI.
Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear what you thought. Which other books should I add to my science fiction to-read list?
01 The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Johnson offers a wonderfully imperfect heroine and her fascinating journeys through the multiverse, her various lives, and her alternate selves in this science fiction debut.
Cara is one of a dwindling number of traversers. She can travel through the multiverse, but only to worlds where another version of herself no longer exists. Her other selves seem uncannily apt to die, so Cara is able to visit 372 other Earths where her counterparts are no longer living.
But when one of Cara's eight remaining selves mysteriously dies while she is world walking, shocking secrets are revealed that connect various worlds and shake Cara to her core. She must cobble together the various bits of knowledge and savviness she's gained through tracing the steps of her many other selves if she's going to stand any chance of outsmarting the canny and intelligent Adam Bosch--a man who will otherwise almost certainly be the source of her undoing.
This was a fascinating story that offered satisfying character depth. Cara isn't superhuman; she's imperfect, sometimes selfish, tough, and occasionally she's wonderfully vulnerable. I loved her as an unlikely heroine, and I loved that it wasn't too easy for her to attempt to address complex issues within the multiverse.
Click here for my full review of this book.
02 Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Settle in and prepare to roll with this unique book--it keeps you hooked the whole way through.
After Jason Dessen, a physics professor, is abducted from the street in Chicago, he awakens in a different life, one in which he is not married to his wife and he has no son, but he is welcomed "back" to an existence in which he is a scientific genius. It all feels like a mistake, and an overwhelming, life-ruining one at that.
Jason struggles to determine which reality of the multiverse is true and how the hell he might get back to his family. Crouch's Dark Matter is a fascinating blend of action-packed and poignant.
I cared deeply about the characters, and Crouch's scientific passages don't require you to remember your high school physics to feel entrenched in that element.
Click here for my full review of Dark Matter.
03 How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
Nagamatsu's science fiction centers around a resurgence of an ancient Arctic plague. These interconnected stories are odd, fascinating, and sometimes panic-inducing, yet they offer glimmers of hope.
It's 2030, and an archaeologist in the Arctic Circle discovers a body perfectly preserved in the permafrost.
His personal situation is complicated by his grief for his recently deceased daughter, and he aims to continue the research work she began.
But the young woman he has found may have died of an ancient virus, and thawing the body for study could unleash the long-eradicated illness all over again.
The stories are steeped in death and in coming to terms with mortality while fighting for answers. Yet deep connections are forged. As the virus passes like a whirlwind through societies and nations around the globe, Nagamatsu's science fiction work How High We Go in the Dark highlights interpersonal connections spanning centuries--and extending as far as the stars.
I was intrigued by all of this. For my full review, see How High We Go in the Dark.
04 Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu
You may see much of this young adult story coming, but Warcross is an action-packed quest to right wrongs in an immersive video game and beyond--with some romance!
Emika Chen is an orphaned young woman in a futuristic New York City. She's gifted when it comes to computers, but she's been driven by desperate circumstances to become a bounty hunter seeking out those who bet illegally on the worldwide phenomenon Warcross game.
She's hacked into the game plenty of times and glitched the system to work in her favor. But when she accidentally disrupts a high-stakes championship and draws the attention of the game's creator, she finds herself in Tokyo considering an invitation she could never have dreamed of: a job working for the powerful Hideo Tanaka. If she accepts, she'll never have to worry about money again.
But seeking to uncover the identity of those trying to destroy the game--and figuring out the other elements at work--turns out to be more high-stakes and dangerous than Emika ever dreamed.
You may be able to see much of this one coming, but the action-packed fight for justice coupled with the promise of a clever, ragtag group of heroic characters entering book two for an even higher stakes battle make for a satisfying Marie Lu experience.
For my full review, please see Warcross.
05 A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (Salvagers #1) by Alex White
The first in Alex White's Salvagers space opera series offers diverse characters, strong women, a heist setup, and, ultimately, a ragtag group of underdogs saving the day.
In Alex White's science fiction novel A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, the first in White's Salvagers series, a group of outcasts bands together to locate a legendary ship before it falls into the hands of the wrong people, people who would use it as a weapon.
A Big Ship is a space heist book with lots of action, strong female characters driving the plot, and a great underdogs-unite premise.
I was in this for the characters, among them Cordell, the tough captain with a heart of gold; Boots, a jaded former fighter pilot turned reality star who hopes for a miracle; and Nilah, a privileged and daring racer who falls for the grumpiest crew member of all.
Each character in A Big Ship is reeling from planet-level destruction and heartbreak, and it's satisfying to follow them as they seek redemption, take comfort in and build loyalty to one another, and identify and aim to outsmart their enemies to try to save the world with scrappiness and luck.
For my full review, please see A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.
06 Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Andy Weir offers the fascinating story of a desperate space mission, creative innovation, and enduring optimism, with an enormous amount of heart that surprised me.
Ryland Grace wakes up as the sole survivor of a last-chance effort to save Earth and its inhabitants.
But he doesn't know that yet. He seems to be in space and isn't sure what has happened, and not only does he not remember his own name or where he's from, he also doesn't remember his scientific expertise or anything else that could help him survive and succeed in his quest. The memories are beginning to slowly shift back into focus, but he needs them now.
He's millions of miles from Earth, and he's got two dead crewmates, a chatty AI robot caregiver, a lot of complicated equipment, and a mysterious mission whose purpose and execution he'll have to unravel if he's to possibly survive--much less save humanity.
Weir is asking most of the big questions here, about faith and belief; selflessness and selfishness; and meaning and worth. Through exploring seemingly impossible routes toward understanding and communication, he presents a story that illustrates universal expressions of emotion, desire for purpose, and love--across life forms.
For my full review, please see Project Hail Mary.