Comparatively, I haven’t read a great deal of science fiction so far this year – fantasy has been taking the wheel in 2020. But among the SF books I have read, most have been definite highlights. And so, I’m here to recommend the best of the bunch!
Finding true friends online versus in ‘real life’ is a topic of discussion I’ve seen time and time again, and I’m a literal example of how online friends do count, actually. So I thoroughly enjoyed this book for tackling that sort of question, as well as presenting such a situation – young girl makes friends online – in a more positive light than usual. The near-future worldbuilding is also really interesting, so I’d recommend it to a variety of SF reader types!
Let’s get a bit more adult (in more than one sense) now, because I just can’t write up a list like this and not include this new series opener from Kit Rocha, aka writer duo Bree Bridges and Donna Herren. Perhaps best known for the Beyond novels, their dystopian romance series featuring the O’Kane gang, they’ve gone from indie best-sellers to a whole new level with this new series, published by Tor – but they haven’t abandoned their writing style, their fictional dystopian world or indeed their established fanbase. While Deal With The Devil is cleverly staged as a perfect entry point to their fictional world, it also feels like a more mature ‘next level’ follow-up to the completed Beyond series. Fans get to appreciate it (and the occasional Easter egg), while welcoming newcomers to their corner of the fanverse. Everybody wins! Have you read this one yet? It’s got mercenary librarians. Literally – it’s right there in the series title. Check it out, why don’t you?
Michael R. Underwood knows how to pack action into a story, whether he’s writing science fiction or fantasy (and if you’d like to try that, check out Born To The Blade over at Serial Box). He’s one of those writers I know I can trust to deliver when I want a good, fun read without sacrificing solid worldbuilding. There’s more than enough going on in Annihilation Aria to tick both boxes, and the best part is that Underwood wastes no time in getting on with things. Curious yet? Give it a try!
A Song For a New Day by Sarah Pinsker
Let’s bring things back down to earth, because Sarah Pinsker’s debut novel definitely deserves a spot on this list. There’s a lot to be said for writers who write about something they love, something that forms a significant part of their life. A unique perspective that can translate into a compelling story is always worth the time it takes to read it, and in telling this story about the power of music to connect people, the author is clearly sharing an important part of her life – her own love of music – with the reader. Add to that a dystopian vision of the future, and this book is definitely one I’d recommend to someone looking for something thought-provoking.
Seven Devils by Elizabeth May & Laura Lam
It would be damn near a criminal injustice to let this book go unmentioned here. It thoroughly deserves all the hype it’s been getting, and had a global pandemic not crashed the 2020 party I’m sure it would have been even more of an attention-grabber. Either way, I was excited to read it from the word ‘go’. And it definitely didn’t disappoint – the list of SF books I’m eager to reread is fairly short, but I suspect I’ll be picking this one up again (and again) in the near future.
So that’s it for this list, but keep an eye out over the next week or so for the follow-up, where I’ll be waving my geek flag for some new/upcoming SF releases I’m excited to read!