The Humans is an excellent dark comedy that sticks an alien, who hates humans, in a human mathematician’s body, and gives it several assassinations to carry out. Advanced math is unexpectedly involved.
Female science fiction authors crushed it in 2019, penning nearly half the books on this list. There are also a ton of female main characters.
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.
Take a bunch of humans, put them in a large but limited space and keep them there for generations. Watch the chaos ensue.
Of course, you can also take the perspective that our entire planet is a generation ship.
I’ve never been a big military SF fan, but The Lost Fleet: Dauntless does a solid job of changing my mind.
A soldier is woken up after one hundred years of drifting in space in survival hibernation and discovers that he’s been made a hero and a legend for his famous last stand. Not only is the war he fought in still raging, but he’s thrown into the command of a fleet of ships, deep in enemy territory and vastly outnumbered.
This fun, goofy chapter book is the latest (after a ten-year hiatus) in the Franny K. Stein: Mad Scientist series. Franny decides to learn about the strangest, craziest thing she knows of: her mother. This results in several adventures involving powerful, shape-shifting, and self-aware hair.
Given a billion more years of evolution, what would plants evolve into? Given that life on Earth went from single-celled organisms to us in a billion years, an intelligent plant evolving in the same period of time seems not only plausible, but likely.
If you’ve got two humans in a room, you’ve got politics. Politics is about governing, which relies on someone being of a higher status, and as social creatures, we are intensely aware of both our status and others’.
If there’s any consistent direction in the past ten thousand years of human civilization, it’s that our societies are getting more and more complex. More complexity leads to more politics, so as we barrel down the razor-blade-lined Slip-n-Slide of time into the future, politics is only going to become a larger influencer in everyone’s lives. Bleah.
Dragon’s Egg is a fun, clever look at life evolving on the surface of a neutron star, where one hour of human time is the equivalent of hundreds of years on the alien star.
While the extreme physics of the story may be accurate, Dragon’s Egg contains some of the most stilted dialogue I’ve come across in a long time, especially in the beginning. I found myself thinking that author Robert L. Forward must have talked to a human woman at some point in his life, but if so, that knowledge did not find its way to his book.
However, this is not a story you read for its character development. Dragon’s Egg is all about examining an alien race evolving on a sphere with a gravity of 67 billion Gs, and living at a million times the speed of humans. The story is most believable when it’s dealing with aliens, and it’s still a fun ride.
Recommendation: Get it at the library. Power through the first chapter and you’ll be fine.