Best Science Fiction of 2014

Best Science Fiction

The future is closer than you think. Are there boundaries? Where is our world going too? Will there be a technology rush or will we succumb to our own inventions, will robots or AI take over for good? These are some of the aspects that are discussed in Science Fiction, but of course with every subgenre there is always more. What I like most about Science Fiction are the daring stories, stories that closely resemble our own reality and where authors have introduced several scenarios of possible futures. When author take examples of our current technology and translate them into possible happenings I think that the whole setting comes even more to justice as I then I always think the question just what if? David Ramirez's The Forever Watch is a very interesting start, imagine a ship that seeks new planet to live on. In the depths of this spaceship much more is going on than what meets the normal unsuspected eye. Its a powerful and evocative story with a hauntingly twist. Binary by Stephanie Saulter is the direct sequel to her outstanding debut Gemsign. The human society has been divided into norms and gems norm being the normal human and gems are modified humans, genetically engineered. Besides this science aspect, Stephanie Saulter writes a very emotional story about the perception and societal difference associated with being a gem or norm. The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi is the conclusion to the Jean Le Flambeur series. I am going to be honest, The Causal Angel isn't for everyone. Hannu Rajaniemi involves mathematical models in his story telling which does make it a hard read BUT most rewarding in the end. Accessing multiple universes and much more in his story makes it utterly intriguing. One of the biggest Orbit released this year was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (the pseudonym of Catherine Webb). What if you could life endlessly? Returning when you die to the say that you were born and live your life once over? This is exactly the case for Harry. But where many would see the direct benefits a lot more comes looking around the corner, as not everyone is using this unique trait fairly. Some are after ultimate power... Lock In by John Scalzi is well brilliant. John Scalzi plays very well into the fears of society. A modified flu, unknown origin, decimates society. As inventive as humans are they are able to come up with a solution, however this is just the start. This flu caused a division amongst society similar to the emotional side in Binary. Now with in between this all, a locked in person and a healthy human have to team up to solve a serious murder. 

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- The Forever Watch by David Ramirez, Hodderscape

With The Forever Watch, David Ramirez creates a powerful and unique entry into the dystopian science fiction genre. I am always on the look for books that have a heavy science influence,being a scientist myself it is something that I really enjoy reading about. I have encountered a few wherein the author itself had facts checked by people in the field, but David Ramirez was able to use his own background when setting up this story, and I have to say I was very impressed with the ideas he brought to life. For some readers it might seem like another fiction story but our technology is advancing as well... What makes The Forever Watch even better is that it is David Ramirez's debut, and he hits all the right snares: an interesting, unpredictable story, well developed characters and an amazingly rich storyline. The Forever Watch is a rich and evocative story, is has many dark influences and in the end everything comes together producing an hauntingly beautiful story. Definitely recommended.

Read the full review here


- Binary by Stephanie Saulter, Jo Fletcher

Just as with her debut, Gemsigns, Stephanie Saulter creates a powerful entry in the science-fiction genre with Binary. She never stopped surprising me with her twists and turns that were riddled all throughout the story. What Stephanie Saulter managed to do in Gemsigns, exploring both the science of science fiction and a heavy emotional side with the gem and norm society, she does so again in Binary and perhaps even better. Given the fact that Aryel character and the relation to Zacka is explored in much more depth. Great characters and a superb storyline that will make you stop and wonder. If you are looking for a unique concept in science-fiction, get the revolution series. You wont go wrong. 

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- The Causal Angel by Hanny Rajaniemi, Gollancz/Tor

The Causal Angel is the best yet in the Jean Le Flambeur series. From the start of the series in The Quantum Thief Hannu Rajaniemi dared something new and defied most of the rules of the current science fiction genre. Creating a complete new set of rules with his hard wired science science fiction space opera. There are some concepts in the books that took me sometime to fully grasp or look up to what the theories really mean but I am always in for a challenging read and what made these books even better for me is the limited explanation of several of the technology that Hannu Rajaniemi uses in his story, this readily allows you to think for yourself that what it all could mean. In The Causal AngelHannu Rajaniemi again hits all the right spots, the characters and the rich and interesting surroundings from the spaceships down to the vir's. The bottom line for The Causal Angel and the Jean Le Flambeur series: it's evocative and can be mind-bogglingly at times but this creates a highly addictive air around it, and once you get through to the fine details you will be amazed. This is must read science fiction.   

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- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, Orbit

With The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, the anonymous author Claire North (pseudonym of a well known author), creates a stunning and genre-defying entry in science fiction. I don't know if this is her first science fiction book but is good. It's solid. In short it's brilliant. From start to finish I was absorbed in the story. Claire North carefully plans her story from the initial setup with the trigger of "Let us begin at the beginning" wherein she explained all the previous events of Harry's lives and eventually the young girl that appears on his deathbed, which leaves only Harry to save the world from imminent doom, was plotted into the finest detail. Through all the experiences of Harry, you as a reader learn a lot of the rules that apply and again these are brought very casually and not as an information dump. Here the narration really helps as gradually you learn more and more, creating a very engaging storyline. Though the focus is really on Harry himself there are plenty of secondary characters, most of them kalachakra, that each stand out, the interplay between Harry and Victor was shown in a great way and even though Victor was the bad guy in this part, I did feel for him. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is much more than a simple time travel story. Clair North explores a lot of boundaries of human life; actions, morale, virtues and vices. I can safely say that this is another book that will make it on my best off 2014 list in December! What are you waiting for go. read. this. book. 

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- Lock in by John Scalzi

I think you can make up from the glowing review I am writing here that John Scalzi's Lock In is just brilliant stuff that you don't want to miss out on. From the first sentence I read of Unlocked I was hooked line and sinker to the idea behind Lock In. John Scalzi presents his idea in full colors and has created a very dangerous and dire setting, it's not only a story that focuses on the virus alone or it's consequences alone or how society is dealing with it, it is much more than those parts alone. It's a detective kind of story that combines all of the above mentioned aspects in a brilliant story. Besides the world, the two lead investigators, Shane and Vann are just as unique to read about, they offer some interesting perspectives that help bring this story to another level. You can see that I write brilliant a lot and it is justified, this book only get better the more you think about it. Now I had a quick peek on Goodreads and it says Lock In #1, will this be a series?? Fingers crossed! But in the mean I suggest you start reading this book. Right about. now.   

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Comments

  1. I've read a few good reviews of Claire North's book, including this one, and need to go ahead and give it a try. Glad you enjoyed Lock In, I haven't gotten to it yet, but loved the prequel novella.

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