Struggling with gift ideas for your nearest & dearest? The answer, my friend, is always books!
Today we’re serving up a selection of volumes to appeal to the ones who dream of travelling the galaxy and discovering strange new worlds – read on for our suggested tales for sci-fi lovers and some reasons why!
Lindsay Ellis - Axiom’s End
Revelations the U.S. government might have engaged in first contact have created turmoil. Cora Sabino’s whistleblower father is behind it, but Cora wants nothing to do with him―until she learns that an extraterrestrial presence has truly been on Earth for decades. To save her own life, she offers her services as an interpreter to a monster, the voice for a being she cannot ever know or understand, and starts to question what future she’s setting up for all of humanity.
Why you should buy: Arrival meets The Three Body Problem in the highly anticipated debut novel from popular Hugo-nominated video essayist Lindsay Ellis.
Charlie Jane Anders - The City in the Middle of the Night
A new book from the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Charlie Jane Anders. On a planet that has never-changing zones of day and night, time means only what the government proclaims, and lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage. One such pariah, sacrificed to the night, forms a bond with an enigmatic beast, and will rise to take on the entire planet--before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence.
Why you should buy: A 2019 Books of the Year pick from both The Guardian and SciFi Now!
Simon Jimenez - The Vanished Birds
Mankind has spread to the stars. Captain Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. She lives only for the next paycheck until she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. Fumiko Nakajima, the great scientist who built the bird-like Stations, has been searching for one such as he for a thousand years. Together, they must protect the boy from the interstellar corporations hunting him across decades and light years.
Why you should buy: Received glowing reviews all round on release earlier this year, including in The Guardian who said: "Part thriller, part coming-of-age story, encompassing romance, escapades of planetary adventure and poignant meditations on the passage of time... An impressive epic that is much more than the sum of its parts".
Gareth L. Powell – Embers of War
The warship Trouble Dog was built and bred for calculating violence, yet following a brutal war, she finds herself disgusted by conflict and her role in a possible war crime. Seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organisation dedicated to rescuing ships in distress. But, stripped of her weaponry and emptied of her officers, she struggles in the new role she’s chosen for herself.
The former warship Trouble Dog is called upon to investigate a distress call from the human starship the Lucy's Ghost. Recovered war criminal, Ona Sudak, faces a firing squad for her actions in the Archipelago War. But, at the last moment, she is smuggled out of her high security prison. The Trouble Dog and her crew find themselves not only fighting to save the crew of the Lucy's Ghost but also for their own survival.
Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion—an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada? Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy.
Why you should buy: A truly epic space opera that ponders what it means to be human, told on an intimate scale through a group of disparate characters who become found family. And even better, the trilogy is complete so there's no impatient waiting for the next book!
Agnes Gomillion - The Record Keeper
After World War III, Earth is in ruins, and the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law or risk shattering the fragile peace. Arika Cobane is a member of the race whose backbreaking labor provides food for humanity, she is destined to become a member of the Kongo elite. Everything changes when a new student spews dangerous words of treason: What does peace matter if innocent lives are lost to maintain it?
Why you should buy: A thrilling near future dystopia, perfect for fans of Octavia Butler and Margaret Atwood. Get to know Arika Cobane before the 2021 release of Seed of Cain (read an excerpt on Book Riot)!
Roger Levy - The Rig
Humanity has spread across the depths of space but is connected by AfterLife – a vote made by every member of humanity on the worth of a life. Bale, a disillusioned policeman on the planet Bleak, is brutally attacked, leading writer Razer on to a story spanning centuries of corruption. On Gehenna, the last religious planet, a hyperintelligent boy, Alef, meets psychopath Pellonhorc and so begins a rivalry and friendship to last an epoch.
Why you should buy: A 2018 Book of the Year pick for The Guardian in the UK and Barnes & Noble in the US, this intriguing and thoughtful exploration of the effects of capitalism and unregulated control feels very timely even 2 years after publication.
Alex White - Alien: The Cold Forge
With the failure of the Hadley’s Hope, Weyland-Yutani has suffered a devastating defeat. Yet there’s a reason the company rose to the top, and remote station RB-323 abruptly becomes their greatest hope for weaponizing the Aliens. But there’s a spy aboard—someone who doesn’t necessarily act in the company’s best interests. If discovered, they may be forced to destroy RB-323… and everyone on board.
Why you should buy: Critically acclaimed, brilliantly written and loved by Alien fans all over? What more could you ask for!
David Wong - Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits
In a prosperous yet gruesomely violent near-future, superhero vigilantes battle thugs whose heads are full of supervillain fantasies. The peace is kept by a team of smooth, well-dressed negotiators called The Men in Fancy Suits. College grad Zoey discovers her scumbag dad was one of the founding members of the Fancy Suits, and quickly becomes entangled in the city's surreal mob war when she is taken hostage by a particularly crazy villain.
Zoey Ashe returns in New York Times-bestselling author David Wong's sequel to Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits. It’s really not easy running a sophisticated criminal empire you’ve just inherited. It’s something else when someone delivers a rampaging disembowelled corpse that smashes up your house and accuses you of being its murderer. How does that even work? As Tabula Ra$a prepares for its annual Halloween parade,beset by a world of madness, ultra-tech spider-drones and electric crotch whips, Zoey sets out to prove her innocence.
Why you should buy: If the titles of these New York Times-bestselling books aren't enticing enough, I don't know how to help you but maybe this review from the Big Issue will: "Wong is a great storyteller, and he imparts warmth, nuance and humanity in a way that amplifies his vibrant humour. in grim times he will lift your spirits" We could all use a bit of spirit lifting in 2020, I'm sure.
That's all for now, but check back tomorrow for more recommendations! And don't forget to follow us on social media so you won't miss any of our 12 Days of Christmas posts; you can find us at Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!