I had thought the near-future Daemon was a YA book, but nope, it is definitely not. No Y, all A.
A carefully-crafted artificial intelligence is unleashed after its creator’s death and quickly becomes one of the most powerful forces in the world.
Daemon is a fast-paced thriller with a fascinating villain and a surprising, always-twisting plot. Even with uneven writing and thin character development, I found myself eager to get back to reading it every day.
Author Daniel Suarez has serious computer bona fides, spending years as a senior systems analyst, and his description of what software can and can’t do has the ring of truth, often missing from other stories featuring artificial intelligence.
Recommendation: Read it, if you’re after page-turning fun.
The Gone World is brilliant: part noir murder mystery, part alternate history, part here-comes-the-apocalypse, and part thriller. It’s unique, mind-bending fun.
A time-traveling investigator jumps to the future to find out who committed an especially brutal murder, but she finds far more questions than answers. The longer she stays, the more complicated things become.
Also, the end of the world is coming, and it’s coming sooner all the time.
Recommendation: Read it. This is good, hearty, occasionally brutal stuff.
Axiom’s End is one of those books I went back to every chance I could, and I finished it in two days, even when I had plenty of other work to do. It’s a fast-paced, multi-layered First Contact adventure that accomplishes something too rare in science fiction: not only do the aliens really feel like aliens, the humans really feel like humans.
Cora, a flawed, funny protagonist with a famous but horrible father learns that not only are aliens on Earth, they’ve been here for decades, and the government has covered it up. A new alien arrives, and communication between it and Cora is both strange and touching. The story touches on morality, the role of family, the quest for fame, and more, while still staying a great science fiction adventure.
Recommendation: Read it. I’m about to start on the sequel.
The Sky is Yours is a genre-bending book that takes place in a wild, post-apocalyptic world with both dragons and sci-fi elements. Its fun, imaginative, and completely horrifying settings seethe with colorful, well-developed, and deeply flawed characters. It’s hard to believe a tour de force like this is from a debut author.
On a dystopian island (not dissimilar to a surreal Manhattan), the lives of three very different young people (a rich, spoiled brat, star of his own reality show; his sheltered but whip-smart fiancée who hasn’t met him yet; and a feral beauty raised on an island of garbage), collide as they learn about the truths and lies of the burning world around them.
Recommendation: Read it. It’s strange, but fantastic.
Rabbits is a wild, surreal story that combines the bizarre conspiracies of X-Files and geeky fun of Ready Player One. It’s ridiculously entertaining.
Rabbits is the name of a game where you, in the real world, could find strange coincidences like this:
It’s an average work day. You’ve been wrapped up in a task, and you check the clock when you come up for air—4:44 p.m. You check your email, and 44 unread messages have built up. With a shock, you realize the date is April 4—4/4. And when you get in your car to drive home, your odometer reads 44,444.
While this could just be an unlikely number of meaningless coincidences, in the world of Rabbits, it means you’ve seen the edge of the game. Following these clues to the game’s end could result in immortality, vast riches, or even bigger prizes. Of course, the game can also be deadly. People have reportedly won the game, but many more have died.
Rabbits follows K, who’s been trying to get into the game for years. But when a reclusive billionaire tells K that there’s something wrong with the game and that K needs to fx it before the game starts, K is pulled into a game even larger that what he’d imagined.
Recommendation: Read it, absolutely.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a fun, breezy book that feels like an eccentric Star Trek episode. The characters are bright and quirky, so if you’re in the mood for a story about goofy people getting along in a sci-fi setting, you should pick this up. Continue reading
When authors hit it out of the park on their first book, they often go on to have stellar careers, but some, including a few authors on this list, decide one is enough.