Still on my To Read List for 2016

There were lots of books I didn’t get through in 2015, even though they were on my to read list.  On the top of the pile for the new year are:

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
One of the most popular science fiction novels in China, I hope that the Cultural Revolution background story for this novel will be the driver for some really serious political science fiction.  If it’s The Dispossessed meets Red Mars, like I am hoping… I will be very happy indeed.  The second novel in this series sounds even better.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
For the simple reason that I have never read anything by Kate Atkinson, but believe she is quirky and interesting.  Reincarnation, here, takes the place of my usual go-to (time travel) as a tool for exploring history, so hopefully Atkinson is an author that I can recommend to people who like Connie Willis (and vice versa).

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
Ever since I heard Geordie Williamson do a speedy but passionate ‘back of the cigarette packet’ push for Faber at an event back in 2014, I have had this novel on my mind. The premise alone reminds me of one of my favourite reads, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, and can’t wait to see if my instinct is right there, or if it is in fact possible to write an entirely different kind of novel about an evangelical mission to another planet.

A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists by Jane Rawson
My mother suggested this book to me after she finished reading Station Eleven on my recommendation.  Most of my post apocalyptic imaginings since my rising teen obsession with post-civilisation societies have been antipodean, and it’s nice that other people have been imagining likewise and these are now readily available for me to devour.

The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall
A fictional account of the reintroduction of wild wolves in the UK? Wolves, English Gentry and Country Estates, Female Scientist Protagonist, Returning home to family ghosts? What’s not to love?

Best Reads of 2015: Not Actually 2015 Books

I did have a great year reading lots of not so new books, with Station Eleven being my absolute favourite read in 2015.  I also discovered Barbara Trapido, found a potential new favourite urban fantasy author in Jo Walton, and finally read a classic I had been meaning to read for years.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
(Public Library)

Among Others by Jo Walton
(Interlibrary Loan)

Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido
(Purchased from Kinokuniya)

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
(Public Library)

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
(Public Library)

Best Fiction from 2015

I was running a couple of book clubs this year and, with all that reading, I didn’t actually get through much new fiction.  It was a great year for Science Fiction releases, however.  I also enjoyed the new Sarah Waters and tore through Fates and Furies, which seems to be shaping up to be one of the big reads in Australia this summer.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
(Public Library)

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
(Public Library)

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
(Public Library)

The Chimes by Anna Smaill
(Public Library)

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
(Public Library)

Reading Round Up: Science Fiction

It’s been an exciting year for science fiction, with two of the genre’s largest names publishing very 21st century novels about intergenerational space journeys.

Scifi Round Up

Neal Stephenson’s new novel Seveneves is typically Stephenson-esque, with fast pacing, adventure, lots of geeky science detail, and a nice little ongoing dialogue about the philosophical and practical merits of science vs politics.

When an unexplained event breaks the moon into multiple pieces, Earth’s population must rapidly plan and execute an evacuation strategy to avoid the 10,000 year meteor shower that will soon render the surface of Earth uninhabitable. A rapid hack of the International Space Station, followed by a mad cap space race to secure the resources required for continued human existence in space takes up the first half of the book. The second half of the book speculates on what remaining human life may look like 5,000 years in the future.

Continue reading