I’m a huge fan of Alastair Reynolds and his smart, exciting space operas. So I was surprised to find that his book Terminal World was a surreal steampunk adventure.
Midnight Robber is definitely not aimed at me. Which, honestly, made it a lot more interesting. Being extremely well written helped a lot, too.
Max Brooks wrote my two favorite zombie books: The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. He did an amazing job of really thinking through what an actual zombie attack would look like, and how to defend against it. Neither of his books has a central narrative or protagonist, but they were still fascinating.
Six Wakes is a good old-fashioned murder mystery in space that starts with everyone on the ship being murdered. Everyone’s backup clones then wake up to the bloody massacre and have to figure out who killed everybody and why. Any one of them could be the killer, and not even know it. As the clones appear to work together to piece together clues, secrets and ulterior motives slowly come to light.
The Grand Dark’s main draw is its steampunk-inspired world-building, which is excellent. Most of the action takes place in the city of Lower Proszawa, which has just won the Great War. The population celebrates with drugs and nonstop parties as fascism strangles the populace. There are semi-intelligent automata and genetically engineered pets and power plants that spew massive clouds of coal dust.