Science fiction is defined as “fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently depicting travel in space or time and life on other planets. “Essentially, these representations exist within the realm of the possible, which makes it more realistic than fantasy as a genre, but moves away from the contemporary path to an imaginary world.
Science fiction emerged over two hundred years ago, which has given rise to a diverse range of books. However, the genre we know and love today mostly developed during the 20th century. This boom is largely due to the increase in scientific innovation and the integration of science into everyday life leading to an interest in books exploring the connection between technology and society itself.
Diving into science fiction can seem a bit intimidating at times, which can make it difficult for you to choose books like Frankenstein Where War of the Worlds, so with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of five books you should read if you’re considering dipping your toes into the genre. These books definitely turn the pages, so they should put you on the right path to finding a new genre to love!
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Calculating stars was Kowal’s first science fiction film and won him the Nebula, Locus and Hugo awards for best novel. It’s pretty realistic in that it’s based on events that actually happened, like NASA using women as calculators, and only features humans, no other species. This book is part of the Lady Astronaut series, which currently consists of three books. If you like this one, there are two more for you!
The plot follows Elma York, a pilot and mathematician of World War II, after a meteorite destroys Washington DC and triggered global warming on an alarming scale. Together with her husband, Elma understands that this means that the oceans will warm to such a degree that the Earth itself will be habitable. The result is the formation of the International Aerospace Coalition (IAC) to explore space and potentially find humanity a new home on the Moon or Mars. The problem is, this is 1952, and much like at the start of NASA (or rather the National Aeronautics Advisory Committee at the beginning), women were not employed as astronauts and Elma cannot get than a calculator station. She is brilliant at math but she wants to explore the stars from a rocket and not from the ground.
Calculating stars explores what it is like for Elma to fight for herself and other female pilots for the right to become respected astronauts, but it also explores how the system is rigged to discourage black and POC women from doing so. do too. Elma is a white woman who throughout the book has various accomplishments and learning experiences with the black community, opening her eyes to systemic racism. This is certainly not the subject of the book, but it is good that it has been included. This book also features a representative of anxiety as Elma suffers from severe anxiety (to the point of vomiting) at the thought of speaking in a public space, on the press or on television. The root cause of this is explained, and his anxiety has been explored in a way that would have made sense both in the 1950s and as an astronaut in the public eye. The supporting characters are well developed and the plot advances at a steady pace.
All in all, if you are looking for a strong female lead character in the context of the early days of space exploration, this is the one to read.
An absolutely remarkable thing by Hank Green
This one is an absolute and seriously underrated page turner! It is part of a duology but this first volume is the best to read.
April May leaves her job in New York at 3 a.m. when she stumbles upon what at first glance appears to be a three-meter tall statue in samurai attire. Instead of walking past like her, and probably most of the city, usually would, she stops and calls her best friend Andy. Together, they film a video and put it online. When April wakes up, she finds out that the video they filmed has gone viral – the statue they called Carl isn’t the only one.
These “Carls” popped up overnight all over the world and April and Andy were the first to document it, asserting themselves as somewhat unconventional experts. Pushed into the spotlight, April must deal with the instant pressure that comes with being famous as she tries to find out all she can about the sudden emergence of the Carls.
This book is better the less you know. It is a compulsive and extremely relevant novel about the demands of fame and the influence it can have on an individual, on what happens when a group of people learn to work together and on defamation and the mentality. a crowd.
The Long Road to an Angry Little Planet by Becky Chambers
This book is easily popular, and for good reason. If you like your books on the heartwarming side with a big dollop of family found, add it to your TBR. It was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 and is part of a series that takes place in the same world but can be read as stand-alone novels.
““Ninety percent of all problems are caused by assholes. “
“What’s causing the remaining ten percent?” Kizzy asked.
“Natural disasters, ”said Nib.
This book follows the Wayfarer’s crew and their new recruit, Rosemary Harper, as they travel through space to drill holes and build tunnels. The Wayfarer crew are a mix of species, each with their own distinct personality that really shines. They are given the opportunity of a lifetime – their chance to tunnel to a distant planet with which the galaxy has just formed an alliance, earning them a big payoff. But as everyone knows, the best paying jobs are never the easiest.
A long way to an angry little planet addresses so many issues that are relevant today, including gun control, colonialism, xenophobia and racism. It brutally reminds us that whether we stay on Earth or manage to expand on other planets in the Universe, we will always have to tackle these things, we can’t just leave them behind. The characters are not gender binary compliant (one character is non-binary and another begins life as a female, then becomes a male and ends life as non-binary) and there is an LGBTQ + representative. Not only that, but the characters are adorable and completely flawed. This book is a warm and heartwarming hug and the epitome of family found. Perfect for snuggling up on a rainy day with your favorite hot drink.
The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
This is a short story, so it’s a little over a hundred pages long. This is a YA intended for readers with difficulty or dyslexia, so the writing is easy to follow and can be read all at once. This news is the perfect thing to read if you’re not sure you prefer your sci-fi on the realistic, mostly human side, or if you’re happy with the addition of other species.
Hugo is a watchmaker in a prestigious academy. He is one of the lucky ones – many androids like him are unemployed and homeless, as their owners get newer and better models, ditching the old ones without warning. But when Dorian nearly breaks Hugo’s door by demanding that his time travel watch be repaired before his exam, Hugo is thrown into an adventure where he and Dorian must reconcile their differences and get to the bottom of a mysterious ploy in the world. within the academy.
Hugo is a lovable character to follow as a narrator. He knows how androids are viewed, so he stays hidden in his attic, fixing watches and convinces himself that he’d rather be alone, until Dorian crashes into his life and pulls him out of his attic for the help find the part to be repaired. his watch.
He slowly realizes that he really enjoys being around people and making conversation and it becomes one of the best days he’s ever had. The mystery that runs throughout is just enough to grab you too. It’s also great to see the interplay between an android, a human and well, a planet that is currently a wall. They are all curious about each other but not to the point of being rude and this is a great lesson in appreciating each other’s differences. This is another relevant book, especially as we are still living in the days of COVID. It’s a reminder that no matter who you are or how introverted you are, everyone needs this connection with others to enrich their lives.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
You can’t really have a sci-fi list without adding The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a pop culture classic and has been a radio show, TV series, novel, play, comic book, and movie.
The original novel came out in 1979 and is part of a series, so if you like it there are more books in this world. It’s full of British satire, irony, and biting wit, so if that’s not your thing, don’t hesitate to skip this one.
This book follows Arthur Dent, who, after bulldozing his house, discovers that the Earth is demolished to make way for a new bypass of hyperspace. Just seconds before this erasure, Arthur is rescued and kidnapped from the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the past fifteen years, has been posing as an unemployed actor. A crazy and strange road trip in space follows.