Up today, Science Fiction
An Ancient Peace, Tanya Huff
Ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is back, and taking a run at civilian life. Sort of. Pragmatic, practical, she does the job that needs doing and she gets it done. But she doesn’t have the weight of the Confederate Army at her back anymore, and she’s landing planetside on worlds in which the occupants are trying to kill her or her crew. You can read this as a kind of non-stop rollercoaster ride, or you can read it and note the things that Torin’s beginning to notice about her own instinctive reactions and her place as an ex-soldier in a civilian universe. Either way, read it!
The Expanse Series (5 books and counting), James S.A. Corey
Space opera meets noir mystery in this exciting series (now a major TV series on Space!). Start with Leviathan Wakes, and meet Holden and Miller. The former makes runs from Saturn’s rings to the Asteroid Belt and is in possession of a dangerous secret; the latter is a detective looking for a missing girl with wealthy and influential parents. Together, they have to tread the gossamer-thin line between the Earth government, powerful corporations, and a rebellion about to happen.
The Martian, Andy Weir
NASA astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars, left for dead after an emergency forces his team to abort the mission. He can McGyver the hell out of anything, but will it be enough to keep him alive through the four years it’ll take another team to pick him up? Assuming he can figure out how to tell Earth he survived…?
A fantastic book — the best kind of hard SF, where the science meshes with the story and both are good enough to get you excited and keep you reading for hours.
My Real Children, Jo Walton
Simultaneously the anatomy of one dementia-stricken woman’s choice between histories – and lives, worlds, children – and not one but TWO subtley alternate histories, My Real Children‘s simplicity belies how skillfully it’s balanced. There are a lot of balls in the air here, and yet they don’t feel overly complex or overwhelming. The end result is seamless. Recommended for fans of subtle alternative history, literary SF, and strong craft.
Transferral, Kate Blair
Talia Hale’s father is running for Prime Mister of a Britain where everything from a cold to a life-threatening disease can be transferred to another human host, and illness has become the criminal sentence of choice. After Talia saves a young girl from a violent man, she’s hailed as a tough-on-crime campagn hero. But the attack is more complex than it seems, and in searching for the girl, Talia realizes her whole world is, too. Brimming with subtle worldbuilding and deft characterization, it’s a slim little book that punches way above its weight and balances commentary with an emotionally satisfying, fast-paced story.