Monday, 5 October 2015


Just like with the Fantasy list, I'm going to do this in three separate lists. Basics, Further Study, Back of the Bookshelf. 

"But Jamie, how do you define these?" you're asking. Well I do have an answer for that:
Basics are the books that are science fiction lite; they will help transition you into the genre and give you an understanding of the tropes/types of things you will see in most Science Fiction novels. 

Further Study are the books/series that are heavier on the world building and character development; they are typically trilogies so they won't take too long to read.

Back of the Bookshelf are the epic sagas that go so much deeper than world building. I have tried to make these ones books that are not as mainstream.
I'm going to limit each list to five books (or series) per list to not overcrowd you but if you want more let me know: I'm always good to rec a book. I am also going to ONLY place books on here that I have read and can actually recommend that you read -- I'm not a fan of recommending books I haven't read in case I categorize it wrong and/or don't like it because I wouldn't want you to read a book I didn't like. 

I also have no real logic or system behind this other than the fact that I think some of them are easier to read and get into than others. The books on the second shelf are a bit more "science fiction"-y than the books on the first shelf; the books on the third shelf are the same, but have a different type of story telling than what you are probably used to -- and it takes some getting used to in order to read them. A lot of reading Science Fiction to me is figuring out if you want it to be dystopian, alien related, or some mixture of the two.

I tried to cover a wide spectrum of the genre so everyone could (hopefully) find something they want to read, but if you read all the summaries and think "NOPE" let me know and maybe I can find something more tailored to your Science Fiction needs.

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else—his family, his friends, his doctors—believed that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.

As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she’s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family’s farm—and government agents come to claim it—she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma’s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.
Why I recommend it: Everyone has seen at least one episode of the X-Files, right? (I have watched it all. Twice) This is basically an episode of the X-Files but focuses on the people in the story rather than the government agents trying to solve it. It blends the contemporary and the science fiction which makes it a nice easy read to get into the genre.
Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson
Summary: Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
Why I recommend it: Have you ever thought, "I would love to have the show Heroes in the written word?" Well even if you haven't, you get that with this one. In a way. Told from the aspect of those wanting to stop those with power, this is such a good start to dystopian science fiction with a touch of otherwordly. And Megan. There is also Megan.
Escape from Furnace Series by Alexander Gordon Smith
Summary: Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison. Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world. 
Why I recommend it: This blends horror and science fiction perfectly in my opinion. There is a lot of good with this series, but be warned: there are NO GIRLS in this. Like negative female presence basically.
Icons by Margaret Stohl
Summary: Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.
Why I recommend it: Margaret Stohl is a story teller. And while there were some parts of the first book that were a little shaky to me, I think it is a wonderful story overall. It is another alien story (which seems to be a theme on this list but if you know me even a smidgen you know I love me some aliens).
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Summary: Knowing the outcome doesn't always make a choice easier...

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through... and who she can’t live without.
Why I recommend it: This one is also contemporary masked as science fiction so it is a good transition into the genre. It also will help lead you into some of the books further down the recommendation list. 

The Psion Chronicles by Wendy Brotherlin
Summary: The global Ebola-X pandemic of 2022 lasted five months, two weeks, and six days before a cure could be found. In its wake, it left a generation of psionic freaks, who can turn a single thought into a weapon...or worse. Fifteen-year-old Devon McWilliams is one of those freaks, but Devon rates a big fat zero on the scale of cool psychic abilities. Days after escaping from his psionic detainment facility, the military intercepts him. Regaining consciousness, Devon finds himself restrained aboard a military airship headed toward certain death. Aboard this one-way flight to doom are six other psions. One of them, a telepath named Bai Lee Chen, claims to have the means to escape. All the others have to do is convince her that they're worthy of freedom by allowing her to telepathically replay their memories. The last thing Devon wants to do is reveal his useless plant-talking prowess to this destroy-you-with-a-thought crew. To complicate matters further, he's crushing hard on Alya, the group's lovely healer. Devon knows he must keep his wits about him if he's going to survive this wild ride. And that's going to be a tricky thing to do around a telepath who seems to have a diabolical agenda all her own." 
Why I recommend it: The first book in the series (and the only one currently published) has such a good premise and story line. I read it as an ARC and immediately fell in love. There is a lot of mystery and suspense in it that makes you really think.
Earth & Sky Series by Megan Crewe
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.
Why I recommend it: A Canadian author, aliens, and time travel. This one has it all.  I personally was disappointed by the ending, but some people might enjoy it. It is a quick and easy read and there is a more complex story than some of the ones on the first list.
I, Zombie by Hugh Howey

This book contains foul language and fouler descriptions of life as a zombie. It will offend most anyone, so proceed with caution or not at all.

And be forewarned: This is not a zombie book. This is a different sort of tale. It is a story about the unfortunate, about those who did not get away. It is a human story at its rotten heart. It is the reason we can't stop obsessing about these creatures, in whom we see all too much of ourselves.
Why I recommend it: This is a step up from the Escape From Furnace series. If you like Zombies and zombie mythology, this one is for you. It has such a unique perspective on zombies that I couldn't put it down.
The 100 by Kass Morgan

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents - considered expendable by society - are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life... or it could be a suicide mission.

Clark was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. Wells, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves - but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.
Why I recommend it: Have you binged watched this on Netflix? Then I would suggest reading the book. The book and the show are semi similar, semi different. And while I liked the show, I really liked the characters in the book as well. I even read this after I watched the show and still enjoyed myself.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Summary: The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
Why I recommend it: Classic dystopian novel. And really well written. I know you probably were told to read this in your high school english class, but just do it. You won't regret it.

Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood
Summary: Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren's life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood's debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.
Why I recommend it: SO GOOD. Like so good. This one is written beautifully and is so much more than science fiction because there is a great romance in it. I am excited to see where this is going. (Also, it doesn't come out until December 8, 2015, but I stand by my conviction to have it on this list)
The Hero Agenda by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Summary: Kenna is tired of being "normal". The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.
Why I recommend it:  A different (almost opposite) version of Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series but a couple of great female characters. It really blurs the line between what is "good" and what is "bad" -- and how much faith and conviction we should put into what we are taught.
The Corridor by A.N. Willis
Summary: Infinite worlds. Endless possibilities . . .

Stel Alaster has never known life without the Corridor. It appeared suddenly seventeen years ago, the only portal to a parallel version of our world—Second Earth. Everyone on First Earth fears Mods, the genetically modified Second Earthers who built the Corridor. They are too smart, too strong, and have powers that can’t be controlled. Any Mod found on First Earth is branded, then detained in the Corridor’s research labs.

Only Stel has a dangerous secret. She has a power, too: She can open a portal to Second Earth . . . and several other parallel universes she’s discovered. If anyone ever finds out, she’ll be imprisoned, no better than a Mod or common lab rat.

But when the Corridor starts to fail, emitting erratic bursts of energy that could destroy First Earth, Stel must risk everything to save the people and world she loves. With the help of an escaped Mod and an infuriatingly arrogant boy from a third universe, Stel sets out to unravel the mysteries of the Corridor and stabilize it before it’s too late. The fate of every world lies in the balance 
Why I recommend it: I loved The Corridor (The Thirteenth World comes out December 29, 2015 but I am sure I will love that one too). There was so much science fiction goodness. The world building was so good (for each of the worlds) and it all made sense which is rare to find in science fiction. At the same time, it wasn't bogged down with a scientific explanation of every little thing that occurred. It was so good overall.
Poor Man's Fight by Elliot Kay
Summary: "This test completes your compulsory education. Congratulations! You have graduated high school. Your financial obligation is 67,879 credits. Please visit our loan officer as you exit."

Tanner Malone never bought into military myths of honor and glory. He never wanted to wear a uniform or medals. Yet when family upheaval brings his otherwise stellar performance in school to a disastrous end, Tanner's plans for university lie in ruins. Facing homelessness and a mountain of debt, Tanner enlists in his home planet's tiny navy.

It’s a hell of a time to sign up. Vicious pirates stalk the space lanes, claiming to fight an oppressive economic system even as they shed innocent blood. Civil war looms beyond the borders of Tanner’s home star system of Archangel. Corporate security fleets are nowhere to be found when trouble arises.

In response, Archangel begins ambitious military expansion. Basic training becomes six months of daily bare knuckle brawls, demanding cross-training and constant stress. Brutal as it is, Tanner will need the preparation. The pirates grow more audacious with every attack. As if that’s not enough, Tanner is assigned to a small ship whose disgruntled crew has no patience for cerebral new recruits, and they’re on the front lines of all of Archangel’s woes.

Tanner soon learns there is only one way to deal with his bullying comrades, their ruthless foes and the unforgiving void of space, and that’s to get up close and personal.
Why I recommend it: I am not really a fan of Space Operas but this is probably the best one I have read. I thought it was good plot wise just a little unrealistic. But the action sequences were extremely well written. So if you are in the mood for lots of things to be blown up, I recommend this one.
Dust Lands Trilogy by Moira Young
Summary: Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.
Why I recommend it: This is literally my (second) favourite dystopian series because it is so good and so different. The world building is immaculate and the language is out of this world. I don't have a lot of dystopians on this list (because I am actually not a fan of them, surprisingly) but this is an exception to every rule I have about them. 

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