At their best, comics (and their thicker brethren, graphic novels) combine deep, thoughtful storytelling with real works of art. I’m glad to see that great comics are still being written and drawn (and inked and colored) and that science fiction is really well represented in the comics world.
The future is filled with serious girl power, if the best science fiction books of 2017 have anything to say about it.
Interacting with aliens is always tricky, but when you’ve got a whole new world to worry about, things get much more complicated, whether you’re colonizing, invading, or just visiting.
Maybe true utopias are possible, but most science fiction writers suspect that living in perfect peace and harmony will require giving up some vital part of being human. Is it worth it?
We haven’t figured out our morality when it comes to human clones. Should we make them or ban them? Should clones be treated like “normal” humans? How do we raise them? How does one deal with an illegal clone, or does the idea of being an illegal human even make sense?
Sure, all kinds of weirdness and wonder may exist within our solar system, but the feeling of actually traveling out among the stars is something special.
Some great books never get the public love we think they deserve. The books below are what I consider the best science fiction out there that keeps flying under the radar of public perception.
Science fiction in China was repressed as recently as the 1980s as “spiritual pollution.” Fortunately, in the past two decades, Chinese science fiction has blossomed, and the United States is finally getting to read some of it.
Much of this access is due to the translation efforts of Ken Liu, an excellent author in his own right.
Want the big picture of science fiction from China? Well, in Ken’s own words:
“China is also going through a massive social, cultural, and technological transformation involving more than a billion people of different ethnicities, cultures, classes, and ideological sympathies, and it is impossible for anyone, even people who are living through these upheavals, to claim to know the entire picture.
China is dreaming, and its dreams contain multitudes.”
Many of the younger science fiction dreamers in China focus on short stories instead of books, so several of those are listed below. Links go to collections that contain their stories.
The future had a good year in 2016. Great writing, amazing stories, and tons of genre-bending. Fantasy, romance, zombies, data-vampires and more make it into some of the best books of the year. It’s an exciting, wild mix, just like a party with friends, family, bikers, drag queens, drag queen bikers, people from the future, flirty robots, and sentient dogs (not sentient cats—they just eat all the appetizers without talking to anyone).
Lou: “You know what? You’ve got spunk.”
Mary: “Well, ye—”
Lou: “I hate spunk!”
— First episode of The The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970