2012 has seen a wealth of science fiction novels released throughout the year. There's no shortage of great reads out there to add to the ever-growing to-read pile well into 2013. Here's 15 novels that are sure to please.
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed
Saladin Ahmed has made a name for himself in fantasy’s short-fiction circles, and has recently released his debut novel. Throne of the Crescent Moon takes epic fantasy to an inventive new world, one that has more in common with the Middle East than Middle Earth. Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last ghul hunter in Dhamsawaat finds himself drawn into a revolution and a plot that will devastate the world.
The Drowned Cities, Paolo Bacigalupi
Paolo Bacigalupi follows up his award-winning novel Shipbreaker with a darker and more politically charged sequel, The Drowned Cities. After the fall of the United States, orphans Mahlia and Mouse find themselves in the midst of an explosive sectarian war, where they must risk everything to survive.
The Hydrogen Sonata, Iain M. Banks
After a quarter of a century, Iain M. Banks Culture series is going strong. The latest novel in the series, The Hydrogen Sonata follows a race on the brink of transcendence to another plane of existence, with all of the complicated political ramifications and exploration of existence beyond the material world.
Shadow Ops: Control Point, Myke Cole
In Myke Cole’s debut novel, Shadow Ops: Control Point, magic suddenly finds its way into the world, with disastrous results. To combat and control the new population of magicians, the US Military begins a program to protect the public. When Lieutenant Oscar Britton finds that he’s exhibiting powers, he’s recruited into the Supernatural Operations Corps and finds himself in a vastly new world. Stay tuned for the next entry, Fortress Frontier, later in 2013.
Caliban’s War, James S.A. Corey
The second novel in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, Caliban’s War follows Leviathan Wakes in an explosively paced space opera. The Solar system comes to grips with the existence of an alien protomolocule that’s taken over Venus, and the crew of the Rocinante and various planetary governments race to contain a plot that could radically change humanity as they know it. I already can’t wait for the third novel, Abaddon’s Gate.
The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun, N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin has written a brand new duology, The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. In the ancient City of Dreams, Gujaareh, Gatherers maintain law and order. When Ehiru comes across an envoy, he finds a conspiracy that’s set to rip the peaceful city apart, while a Priestess must rise up when the city is occupied.
Hitchers, Will McIntosh
McIntosh’s sophomore novel Hitchers sees the worst disaster in human history: a terrorist strike in Atlanta, which kills hundreds of thousands of people. In the aftermath, cartoonist Finn Darby suddenly finds that the irascible spirit of his grandfather has inhabited his body, and along with two other people possessed by ‘hitchers’, works to find a way to send the dead back to rest.
The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Two great authors have come together for The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Jumping from alternate Earth to Earth in an exploration of society freed from the constraints of resources. On the distant horizon, parallel universes away, danger lurks and grows.
The Inexplicables, Cherie Priest
The latest installment of the Clockwork Century series, Cherie Priest’s alternate Steampunk world is delightfully detailed. In the aftermath of a disaster in Seattle that left its inhabitants shambling zombies and the city walled off, signs of life emerge from the city as Rector Sherman ventures into the real world. Inside the blighted city, he finds more than he bargains for.
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
The undisputed master of inter-solar system space opera is back with an ambitious novel that spans the length of the solar system. In 2312, a violent attack on a mobile city on Mercury sets two unlikely characters across the planets to uncover an ambitious plot that threatens their existence.
Redshirts, John Scalzi
Ever wonder what happened to all of those nameless Redshirt security guards in Star Trek? Science Fiction Writers of America president John Scalzi has a fun take in Redshirts, where the characters onboard the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid begin to realize that a startlingly large number of Away Team members end up dead by the end of the mission, and begin to question their surroundings.
Jagannath, Karin Tidbeck
Released by Cheeky Frawg Books earlier this year, Swedish author Karin Tidbeck’s debut collection Jagannath has been gaining a critical mass in praise and reviews. This book of short fiction is a quick read, but it’s one that’s utterly sublime, full of stories that are unsettling, creepy and just a little *off*.
Osama: A Novel, Lavie Tidhar
Tidhar’s latest novel, Osama: A Novel is the winner of the 2012 World Fantasy Award, detailing an alternate world without the global terrorism that fills the headlines. A private detective is hired to find the author of a series of pulp novels featuring Osama bin Laden: Vigilante, and is pulled into a shadowy world in a Philip K. Dickensian plot that will keep you riveted.
Blackbirds, Chuck Wendig
Miriam Black has a rough existence. Tortured by her past, and ‘gifted’ with the ability to see the demise of anyone she touches, we’re brought along as she’s sucked into a plot when she sees someone’s future death – with her in it. Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds is the first novel in the trilogy is snarky, dark and a helluva lot of fun to read. The second book in the series, Mockingbird, is also out in stores.
9 Science Fiction Novels of the 1950s, Gary K. Wolfe, editor
This collection of nine science fiction novels from the Golden Age of Science Fiction from the Library of America is a delight to behold. Beautifully bound, the two volumes contain an impressive roster of stories from such greats as Alfred Bester, James Blish, Leigh Brackett, Robert Heinlein and Theodore Sturgeon.