Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #515 - All the SF novels you need to make it through the WINTER
Hi Mom, Looking to send me a Christmas gift from the grave?
Or to anyone looking to send me a Christmas gift? How about these. My reading list is already quite huge -- I will do another picture of books to read soon -- but how about these??
I have been reading Stross' Laundry Files books, so I am not quite finished with others and ready to read the most recent. Other than that, if any of these books are in a series, I need to dial back, otherwise, I am keen to read them all, like Jemisin's book. I need to dial back and The Fifth Season before I read The Obelisk Gate.
I am also keen to read Claire North's Touch and her The Sudden Appearance of Hope. I have heard good things about Marie Brennan's Cold-Forged Flame. I may tackle Alan Moore's Jerusalem next year. I need to get to John Twelve Hawks' Spark. And I am still working my way through books by new favorite authors like Marjorie Liu, Vernor Vinge, and Don DeLillo.
So much to read, so little time.
This article was originally presented here: at ARS TECHNICA.
All the science fiction and fantasy novels you need to make it through winter
Ten books that will help you escape the cold, the dark, and the apocalypse.
Four Roads Cross, by Max Gladstone
This is the fifth standalone novel in Gladstone's utterly riveting Craft Sequence, a series about lawyers and financial experts in a world where magic takes the form of contractual obligations and market forces. Most of the gods in this world have been overthrown, but a few remain. Talented lawyer Tara Abernathy has to represent the interests of one whose creditors are trying to mount a hostile takeover of his church. Unfortunately, she already has her hands full trying to help a moon goddess recover control of her seized property, while her friends in the local police force are trying to stop a rash of demonic possessions. Smart, funny, and action-packed, this is fantasy writing for people who love politics and economics.
The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
Underground Airlines, by Ben Winters
Earlier this year we gave a stellar review to Winters' novel, which ups the ante on alternate histories of American slavery by imagining that abolition never happened. Here, Lincoln was assassinated in 1861, the Civil War was never fought, and the US has taken a different path. As the novel opens, it's 2016, and four Southern states still practice slavery. Activists on the underground railroad are using airplanes to deliver slaves to freedom, and meanwhile, the United States is scarily similar to what it's like today.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
The Nightmare Stacks, by Charles Stross
Recommending this novel is just a sneaky way of recommending that you read the entire Laundry Files series leading up to it. This latest tale is the seventh in Stross' ever-expanding universe about the Laundry, a secret organization devoted to preventing the apocalypse. That task is actually harder than you might think, given that computer scientists, data analysts, and other number-crunching weirdos are constantly dabbling in demonic sorcery just to do their jobs. Stross combines the intricacies of technology with magic, much the way Max Gladstone combines law with magic in his Craft series. The results are hilarious and inventive, especially if you're one of those people who spends all day conjuring beasts with a command line. You can begin with The Nightmare Stacks, the tale of a young vampire with tons of student loan debt who's been drafted into the ranks of the Laundry, or go right to the beginning of the series with The Atrocity Archives. Either way, you're in for a very diverting read.
Everfair, by Nisi Shawl
Revenger, by Alastair Reynolds
The Devourers, by Indra Das
The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin
Last year I recommended that you read the Hugo-winning The Fifth Season, the first novel in Jemison's Broken Earth series. I'm back to tell you to read the incredible sequel: set on a planet whose single mega-continent is being rent in two by megavolcanoes and earthquakes, this is geoscience fiction at its best. Our hero Essun is an orogene, a person who can control geophysics with her mind. She's also an outcast, like all orogenes, who must submit to government control or risk death. Using the power of orogeny was akin to magic in the first book, but in The Obelisk Gate we begin to realize that orogenes are likely connected to a fallen high-tech civilization that once controlled plate tectonics using huge, crystal Obelisks that orbit the planet. As volcanoes usher in an era of scarcity and conflict, Essun joins forces with a group of rogue orogenes. She's also trying to find her daughter, kidnapped by her husband when he discovered Essun's hidden powers in the last novel. Separated by a continent, mother and daughter cope with an increasingly hostile world, and we plumb the mysteries of how orogeny works. It's a disturbing tale of climate apocalypse but also an incredible exercise in using geology as the foundation for science fiction.
Reflect and connect.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
I miss you so very much, Mom.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
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- Bloggery committed by chris tower - date - time
NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.