Looking for some Scifi? 5 recommended reads

The word exchange

5 Scifi books recommended by Kirkus magazine

The word exchange by Alena Graedon

In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted ‘death of print’ has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers and magazines are a thing of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication, but have become so intuitive as to hail us taxis before we leave our offices and order takeout at the first growl of a hungry stomach. Anana Johnson works with her father, Doug, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is hard at work on the final edition that will ever be printed.

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

In a world where God is a drug, one woman has to get sober. Lyda Rose was one of the neuroscientists who helped create Numinous, which produces the illusion of a personal deity, but since unwittingly overdosing, she has been haunted by her own visions of an angel she calls Dr. Gloria. After a stay in an asylum, she thinks she’s put it behind her. The others start overdosing. Who is still producing the drug, and why?

Defenders by Will McIntosh

When Earth is invaded by telepathic aliens, humanity responds by creating the defenders. They are the perfect warriors – 17 feet tall, knowing and loving nothing but war, their minds closed to the aliens. The question is, what do you do with millions of genetically engineered warriors once the war is won? ‘Defenders’ is a novel of power, alliances, violence, redemption and yearning for connection – from one of the brightest new stars in science fiction.

AnnihilationThe Rhesus chart by Charles Stross

Bob Howard is an intelligence agent working his way through the ranks of the top secret government agency known as ‘the Laundry’. When occult powers threaten the realm, they’ll be there to clean up the mess – and deal with the witnesses. There’s one kind of threat that the Laundry has never come across in its many decades, and that’s vampires. Mention them to a seasoned agent and you’ll be laughed out of the room. But when a small team of investment bankers at one of Canary Wharf’s most distinguished financial institutions discovers an arcane algorithm that leaves them fearing daylight and craving O positive, someone doesn’t want the Laundry to know. And Bob gets caught right in the middle. Final part of The Laundry Files

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

For 30 years, Area X has remained mysterious, remote, and concealed by the government as an environmental disaster zone even though it is to all appearances pristine wilderness. For 30 years, too, the secret agency known as the Southern Reach has monitored Area X and sent in expeditions to try to discover the truth. Some expeditions have suffered terrible consequences. Others have reported nothing out of the ordinary. Now, as Area X seems to be changing and perhaps expanding, the next expedition will attempt to succeed where all others have failed. What is happening in Area X? What is the true nature of the invisible border that surrounds it? Other volumes in the Southern Trilogy are Authority and Acceptance

Happy Birthday Nevil Shute – 18 post apocalyptic novels to celebrate

On the beachIt’s Nevil Shute’s birthday this week, born 17th January 1899 so paying homage to ‘On the Beach’ here’s a selection of post apocalyptic fiction from the 40’s to 2014 – all in stock so you can read anything that takes your fancy.

Books from the 1950s tended to reflect worries about communism and nuclear war. In the 1980s, plague and danger from space were concerns. Now, we’re worried about everything: war, viruses, genetically modified humans, natural global disasters, computers running the world. Of course there are lots of Young Adult books in this genre but we’ve just included one in the list.

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart 1949 The story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its rebirth. Written in at the beginning of the Cold War, ‘it lacks some common post-apocalyptic conventions found in later novels: no warlords or biker gangs (as in Mad Max); there is no fear of atomic weapons or radiation; no mutants and no warring tribes’. Stephen King says Earth Abides was an inspiration for his post-apocalyptic novel, The Stand, see below.

The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham 1951 A classic of the genre. It traces the fate of the world after most of the world’s population are blinded by a comet shower. The Cat's cradlefew left with sight must struggle to reconstruct society while fighting mobile, flesh-eating plants called Triffids.

Arthur C. Clarke called it an “immortal story.” Director Danny Boyle says the opening hospital sequence inspired Alex Garland to write the screenplay for 28 Days Later.

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke 1953 Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. Manned by the Overlords, in fifty years, they eliminate ignorance, disease, and poverty. Then this golden age ends–and then the age of Mankind begins…Childhood’s End is often regarded by both readers and critics as Clarke’s best novel and has been The day of the triffidsdescribed as “a classic of alien literature.”

I am Legend by Richard Matheson 1954 By day, Robert Neville, the last living human being, hunts the sleeping undead vampires. By night he barricades himself in and prays he’ll survive. How long can it be before he joins the undead too.

On the beach by Nevil Shute 1957 Like all the best post-apocalypse stories, the famous and well-respected On the Beach examines ordinary people facing nightmare scenarios. In this case, a mixed group of people in Melbourne await the arrival of deadly radiation spreading towards them from the northern hemisphere following a nuclear war. Sad at the end

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. 1959 This is Miller’s first and only novel, but he didn’t hold back: it spans thousands of years, chronicling the rebuilding of civilization after an apocalyptic event. Despite early reviewers that called Miller a “dull, ashy writer guilty of heavy-weightWool irony,” it’s never been in  print for over 50 years and made the Best 23 Science Fiction Books of All Time list.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut  1963 A satiric look at the arms race, religion, technology, and just being human, it features  Vonnegut’s famous creation, ice-nine, a special kind of solid ice that turns all liquid water it touches into more ice-nine.

Writer and critic Theodore Sturgeon gave it one of the best reviews of any book, ever: “[A]ppalling, hilarious, shocking, and infuriating…this is an annoying book and you must read it. And you better take it lightly, because if you don’t you’ll go off weeping and shoot yourself.”

 The Stand by Stephen King 1978 First came the days of the plague, then came the dreams. Dark dreams that warned of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil. His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms

 The girl with all the giftsOryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood 2004 Atwood doesn’t consider Oryx and Crake to be Scifi because it does not deal with “things that have not been invented yet.” Instead, she categorizes it as “adventure romance.” !! It features the effects of genetic engineering, climate change run wild, and primitive semi-humans. Oryx and Crake’s sequel is The Year of the Flood

World War Z: an oral history of the zombie war by Max Brooks 2006 It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. A world still reeling from bird flu and limited nuclear exchanges had had enough of apocalypse. Based on interviews with survivors and key players in the fightback against the horde, this title brings various traditions of American journalism to bear on an incredible story

 The Road by Cormac McCarthy  2006 A nameless son and father wander a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all life on Earth. The novel won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and critics have called it “heartbreaking,” “haunting,” and “emotionally Childhood's endshattering.”

 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 2009 It’s YoungAdult but rated 5* by over 100 Leeds readers. 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before and survival, for her, is second nature

Sleepless by Charlie Huston 2010 Parker T. Haas is a straight-arrow LAPD cop whose cast iron sense of right and wrong has made him a lone wolf on the force. But when a plague of sleeplessness attacks Los Angeles and the world beyond, his philosophical certainties are tested to destruction

Wool by Hugh Howey  2011 In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

“The biggest influence on me was probably Fraggle Rock. As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the intro to that show, which revealed an entire world underground.” – Hugh Howey

The roadThe Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey 2014 Review by filmmaker Joss Whedon: “The story spirals towards a conclusion so surprising, so warm and yet so chilling, that it takes a moment to realize it’s been earned since the first page, and even before. It left me sighing with envious joy, like I’d been simultaneously offered flowers and beaten at chess. A jewel.”

The Remaining by D J Molles 2014 In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the population. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed.  Soon the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: rescue and rebuild

  The current Golden Age started in 2004 – The “Pop score” is the number of Amazon stars multiplied by number of reviews

 

Good Reads best Scifi 2014

SandGood Reads Best Scifi 2014 has lots to choose from but the most popular book is The Martian!

The Martian by Weir, Andy – with 0ver 30,000 votes

So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m screwed

 Both with over 14,000 votes

Lock in by Scalzi, John

Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. 4% suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And 1% find themselves ‘locked in’ – fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. 1% doesn’t seem like a lot. But in the US that’s 1.7 million people ‘locked in’ – including the President’s wife and daughter. Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can fully restore the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge

 Sand by Hugh Howey

The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this scorched desert, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost. Deep within the sand lies the key to bringing their family together. And the secret that could tear their world apart