Roadside Picnic is short, bleak, and fantastic. It has a typical Russian life-is-a-meaningless-struggle-against-absurdity vibe, but there’s enough going on to make it an interesting read.
Sometimes, at the end of a long day (or even a short one), I want to be thrown into the middle of a bunch of exploding weirdness and not have to think too hard. Or, if a book is going to make me think when I’m tired, it better be sneaky about it, and do it while I’m having a lot of fun.
If you’re a child of the 80s, reading Ready Player One is like mainlining heroin-strength nostalgia. It’s so ridiculously fun that I frequently imagined author Ernest Cline giggling and saying to himself, “I can’t believe I’m getting away with this!”
One of my favorite moments in any science fiction book or movie is when someone in a spaceship stands up, points at the viewscreen, and says, “What the hell is that?!”
I’m an absolute sucker for stories where hapless humans stumble across mysterious alien megastructures cruising their way through space.
Nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards in 1975, The Mote in God’s Eye has not aged particularly well. There are some clever twists and exciting sequences in this far-future first-contact tale, and the alien Motes are, in some ways, truly alien.
Most young adult science fiction books are set in weird dystopias and involve awkward, doomed romances. Based on what I remember from high school, this is completely appropriate.
A ship, powered by a tame black hole, is on a multi-million year mission to place wormholes throughout the galaxy, allowing humans to travel interstellar distances. The people on this ship are awoken by an AI for a couple days every ten thousand years or so to create these wormholes.
The people on board the ship discover something’s not right. But how do you solve anything when you’re in cryosleep for thousands of years at a stretch?
Horror seems like a strange thing to enjoy reading: why would you want to be terrified while mental images of grotesque bloodshed are burned into your head? What’s wrong with you?
Of course, nothing’s wrong with you. One of the jobs of fiction is to give us clues on how to survive, and seeing how characters defeat horrific beasts gives us hope in fighting our own monsters.