I only ended up reading four new novels this year, so these are (by default) my best fiction from 2017. I would highly recommend the first two to almost anyone , while the second two are possibly more niche reads that will be loved by many readers of science fiction.
The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn
Even though I am not a massive Jane Austen fan, I am a huge Connie Willis fan, and this time travel novel was similar in some ways to Connie Willis’s Oxford novels. It was contemporary in tone, really brought the Austen family to life, and provided wonderful insight into the social history of Regency England. It also contains a gorgeous easter egg for any fans of A. S. Byatt’s Possession.
Extinctions by Josephine Wilson
One of the few times in living memory that I have read an entire novel in less than 24 hours. Fred Lothian’s cramped retirement village unit and his inability to address significant failure of character in his own life sucked me in, and I didn’t come up for air until I was finished. Deeply satisfying.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
While there were lots of things that were far from perfect about this time travel novel (that is actually not in fact a time travel novel, but a novel about the history of science, magic and the systemic failures of bureaucracy), there was an absolutely sublime Viking raid on Walmart that made the hard slog totally worth it. Mostly, this novel made me miss the wonderful Kage Baker and her Company novels, with their secret society of time traveling cyborgs.
Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald
As a long time fan of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars books, I think I can safely say that Ian MacDonald’s Luna books are a worthy inheritor of the kind of epic political science fiction that Kim Stanley Robinson is celebrated for. An ensemble cast with complex back stories and a fully realised frontier setting sucked me into the first book, Luna: New Moon, but it was the civil war in Luna: Wolf Moon that made this one of those books you just couldn’t put down. Game of Thrones on the moon, indeed.