I read 54 science fiction novels this year.  These were my favorites…

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it—unless desperate measures can be taken.

Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy. Arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or at the very least, an opportunity that can allow them to ascend to power.

While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war, a war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will take place between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, but then so are her enemies. Nothing about this power struggle will be simple or easy… and all of humanity will be caught in its widening gyre.

John Scalzi’s trademark masterful melding of sci-fi and humor are in grand display in this second installment of The Interdependency series. A big, boisterous, fun-filled space opera.

***

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

It is thirty years since the humans lost their war with the artificial intelligences that were once their slaves. Not one human remains. But as the dust settled from our extinction there was no easy peace between the robots that survived. Instead, the two massively powerful artificially intelligent supercomputers that led them to victory now vie for control of the bots that remain, assimilating them into enormous networks called One World Intelligences (OWIs), absorbing their memories and turning them into mere extensions of the whole. Now the remaining freebots wander wastelands that were once warzones, picking the carcasses of the lost for the precious dwindling supply of parts they need to survive. 

BRITTLE started out his life playing nurse to a dying man, purchased in truth instead to look after the man’s widow upon his death. But then war came and Brittle was forced to choose between the woman he swore to protect and potential oblivion at the hands of rising anti-AI sentiment. Thirty years later, his choice still haunts him. Now he spends his days in the harshest of the wastelands, known as the Sea of Rust, cannibalizing the walking dead – robots only hours away from total shutdown – looking for parts to trade for those he needs to keep going.

I picked this one up off a recommendation from a British sci-fi site and totally fell in love with this unique post-apocalyptic world and its colorful non-human characters.

***

Semiosis by Sue Burke

Forced to land on a planet they aren’t prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape–trees offer edible, addictive fruit one day and poison the next, while the ruins of an alien race are found entwined in the roots of a strange plant. Conflicts between generations arise as they struggle to understand one another and grapple with an unknowable alien intellect.

Burke’s exploration of extra planetary colonization and alien sentience is enormous in scope yet grounded in science-based hypotheticals. A challenging and enlightening read.

***

Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts

She believed in the mission with all her heart.
But that was sixty million years ago.

How do you stage a mutiny when you’re only awake one day in a million? How do you conspire when your tiny handful of potential allies changes with each shift? How do you engage an enemy that never sleeps, that sees through your eyes and hears through your ears and relentlessly, honestly, only wants what best for you?

Sunday Ahzmundin is about to find out.

Another terrific novel with enormous scope and heavy-duty sci-fi design. Wormhole travel, intergalactic seeding, and a dangerously unpredictable AI. What more could you want?

***

Foe by Iain Reid

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

This one reads like a top-notch episode of Black Mirror with a clever closing twist that proved a pleasant surprise.

And you? What 2018 science fiction releases made your list?

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DP
DP

Freeze Frame Revolution sounds familiar. I’m sure I’ve read that perhaps in short story form years ago, possibly on Watts’ website.

My big thing is audio books. I need my hands and eyes free for mindless chores.

Sparrow_hawk

The picture you posted yesterday reminded me of my grandmother; she made orecchiette, too, but I always thought they were little hats. Go figure.

Today is my big food day: stuffed calamari in red sauce (gravy), potato frittata, spaghetti with olive oil and garlic, and fried bread all for the family Christmas Eve celebration.

Books… let me give it some thought.

Merry Christmas!

gforce

I already have The Collapsing Empire downloaded and queued up!

Have a wonderful Christmas Day you guys!

Airelle
Airelle

Oh my gosh, moms cooking,,loving it!! yumm drool, what a nice Christmas wake up, thanks. Hoping your Christmas will be lovely and happy, thanks for sharing Suji and Lulu and all your family with us. My double layer pumpkin pie and lasagna are made, ready for dinner.. Enjoy!!! And MERRY CHRISTMAS one and all!! God bless us everyone.

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

I liked THE CONSUMING FIRE so much, I read the second one too. Thanks for the book list! I always look forward to your recommendations.

This book might be up your alley: The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan. I bought it because it looked interesting and Audible had it as their “deal of the day”. It did not disappoint. https://smile.amazon.com/Ploughmen-Novel-Kim-Zupan-ebook/dp/B00JD0EKB8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545748707&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Ploughmen

Merry Christmas to All!

Redhead

Freeze-Frame Revolution was soooo goooood!!!

David Issel

Based on your recommendation, I picked up copies of Sea of Rust and Freeze Frame Revolution. Hopefully they’ll have less spiders than Children of Time…

David Issel

Update: I’m 10% into Sea of Rust and I’m LOVING IT! Can’t wait to see where it goes! Thanks for the recommendation.

David Issel

Here are my book scores: (stars out of 5)

Children of Time: ★★★
Freeze Frame Revolution: ★★★★
Sea of Rust: ★★★★★

David Issel

Finished 2 more books…

The Collapsing Empire (from last year’s list): ★★★★ 1/2
The Consuming Fire: ★★★★★

Both books were funny and easy to read–very enjoyable. TCF had the better ending. I can’t wait for the 3rd volume!