Fans of science fiction find themselves in the genre for a number of reasons. It could be a love of all the accoutrements that mark the genre: new species, alien warfare, spaceships and gripping anti-heroes. But, it also serves as a crystal ball — showing humanity through imagined reactions to new technology, races or otherworldly locales, often in a way that’s stirring and a little bit scary — in a good way!
The Washington Post will be publishing an ever-rotating list of some of the best science fiction we’ve read, populated by staff and reader suggestions and moderated by us here at Book World. Leave your most recently read sci-fi books in the comments.
Title: Super Extra Grande
Author: José Miguel Sánchez Gómez, aka Yoss
What’s it about? When two ambassadors involved in peace talks with alien capitalists accidentally get swallowed by an extra –large sea worm, veterinarian Jan Amos Sangan Dongo has to figure out how to rescue them without causing political unrest. In this intergalactic space satire, Yoss derides racist and sexist stereotypes and critiques western environmental policies.
Author: Malka Older
What’s it about? In a futuristic world where mini-democracies vote on which global government they want to join, an organization called “Information” oversees everything from the elections to the media. As another election, held every 10 years, approaches, someone is trying to sabotage the election process by taking out Information’s communication system as two parties jockey to stay in the lead. Political operative Ken, Information agent Mishima, and anarchist Domaine team up to find out who is responsible for sabotage.
Title: The Second Angel
Author: Philip Kerr
What’s it about? In the year 2069, most of Earth’s population has been infected by a slow-acting deadly virus. The only cure is clean blood, housed on the moon and only affordable to the wealthy elite. When wealthy systems designer Dana Dallas finds out his infant daughter needs clean blood to survive, and is denied, Dallas’s actions spark a chain of events that puts him at war with powerful, dangerous enemies.
It’s “one of the more believable near-future dystopias.”
Our Recommended Books
Title: Stranger in a Strange Land
What’s it about? Heinlein’s classic novel, a Hugo Award winner in 1962, tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, who was born and raised on Mars and is the only survivor of the first manned mission to the planet. A true innocent, Smith learns about human culture, morality and society – and with the support of his friends, eventually founds his own church based on the principals he learned from Martians.
Title: The City and the city
Author: China Mieville
What’s it about? Part police procedural, part science fiction, Mieville’s novel is about two cities occupying the same geographical space, where citizens must “unsee” the other city and its people or suffer the consequences. That complicates what should be a routine investigation for Inspector Tyador Borlu: a woman’s body is found in his city of Beszel, but the crime was committed in the neighboring city of Ul Qoma, launching a journey both psychological and physical between two rival cities.
“It’s a fantastic and disorienting read.”