I’m a huge fan of Andy Weir’s first book, The Martian, and his new book, Project Hail Mary, is even better. It’s fast-paced, fun, smart, and bold.
No? That’s the premise of Charles Stross’s hard-science Halting State, where virtual characters rob a virtual bank for millions of not-virtual dollars, and no one has any idea how to solve the crime. It’s fast-paced, seriously smart, and filled with more Scottish that you usually get in science fiction.
There’s a sub-sub-sub genre of books out there I’ll call “Baffling Worlds.” The main character is in a world so bizarre and with such strange rules that it’s not clear whether they’re on an alien planet, in a magical landscape, or in a surreal dream. The focus of the book is not on character development or having adventures, but in the reader slowly learning about how this strange world works. Hearts of Oak is one of these books.
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.