Books shelved under “Science Fiction”

558 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Planetfall

    Planetfall

    by Emma Newman

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    What happens when your life is built on a lie? This is Renata Ghali’s problem in Planetfall. Emma Newman manages to construct a science fiction mystery with a mentally ill protagonist that is simultaneously about our need to believe and our desire to forget. The result is a captivating read I didn’t want to put down.

    Ren is one of many colonists who came to this planet as part of an expedition led…

  2. Book cover for Rogue Protocol

    Rogue Protocol

    by Martha Wells

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    After reading Artificial Condition earlier this year I decided that I shouldn’t wait too long before reading the next Murderbot novella. This is my first time reading one of these books in hard copy as opposed to an ebook!

    Murderbot has decided to travel to a remote planet where GrayCris claimed a terraforming operation failed. This is likely a cover story for something more sinister, such as research into alien synthetics! If Murderbot can find…

  3. Book cover for Nyxia Unleashed

    Nyxia Unleashed

    by Scott Reintgen

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I guess it’s the summer of Kara reading sequels to books she read 3 or more years ago! I just barely remember Nyxia, but the good news is that most of that memory is of how excited I felt after reading the book. It was good young adult science fiction. Scott Reintgen balanced an anti-corporation message with adventure, teamwork, the bonds of friendship and family. There was a lot to recommend about it, and…

  4. Book cover for Ninefox Gambit

    Ninefox Gambit

    by Yoon Ha Lee

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    When I finished Ninefox Gambit, I was left with so many questions. But they probably weren’t the questions you’d think I would have, if you know this novel’s reputation.

    Captain Kel Cheris has been Noticed™, and that’s never good. Political machinations have found her brevetted to general and saddled with a ghost-like companion named Shuos Jedao. He was a renown general a few centuries ago, until he apparently went mad and massacred his own…

  5. Book cover for The Echo Wife

    The Echo Wife

    by Sarah Gailey

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    While I wouldn’t say I was hyped for The Echo Wife, you might call me intrigued. A story about a woman whose husband cheats on her with her own clone? I don’t think I’ve read that before, and it’s exactly the kind of scenario I would expect human cloning to lead to. It took me a while to get into the book (just Gailey’s writing style), but eventually I was hooked on the relationship…

  6. Book cover for Olympos

    Olympos

    by Dan Simmons

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sometimes, Kara, you need to listen to yourself more. I really should have read my review of Ilium before diving into Olympos. Not only would it have refreshed me on the plot, but I actually mentioned the uncomfortable, rapey, male-gazeyness of Simmons’ writing in that review. This is what clinched my dislike of Olympos. As with Ilium, I almost gave up on it—but I soldiered on, and honestly? Not worth it.

    Picking…

  7. Book cover for Prototype

    Prototype

    by M.D. Waters

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Not sure what my record is for “longest time between book and its sequel,” but Prototype might be the holder. I read Archetype over 6 years ago. Since then, this sequel has sat on my to-read list, never quite making it to my bookshelf. Until now! I recently conducted a joyous purge of my to-read list as part of migrating it to The StoryGraph—somehow, Prototype made the cut, but I was galvanized to finally borrow…

  8. Book cover for Artificial Condition

    Artificial Condition

    by Martha Wells

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A year and a half and one gender identity change later, here I am reading the second Murderbot Diaries novella, Artificial Condition! My review of the first book focuses quite a bit on Murderbot’s portrayal as agender, along with some critiques of the worldbuilding (or lack thereof). The good news is, I think I liked this book even more than the first! That being said, I’m happy with the current lengths of these books—I…

  9. Book cover for Wilder Girls

    Wilder Girls

    by Rory Power

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Could we teach this book in schools instead of Lord of the Flies? Pretty please? I say this even though I didn’t particularly like Wilder Girls, which just goes to show how unenthusiastic I remain about the idea that, 67 years and how many gender revolutions later, we’re still claiming there are no better books out there to teach to children. Wilder Girls hits me in the same place, but I think in…

  10. Book cover for Babel-17

    Babel-17

    by Samuel R. Delany

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I recently rediscovered this book hiding in a crate in my home library, waiting several years to be read. As with most of my experiences reading Samuel R. Delany, Babel-17 proved at various times frustrating, inscrutable, exceptional, and interesting. When a friend asked me if I had enjoyed it, I replied, “I respect it.” That’s perhaps the best way to sum up a lot of my feelings about Delany’s science fiction.

    Babel-17 takes place in…

  11. Book cover for Victories Greater Than Death

    Victories Greater Than Death

    by Charlie Jane Anders

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So excited to read this new YA novel from Charlie Jane Anders. Previously I read her debut, All the Birds in the Sky, which I thought was full of fun, quirky writing and good ideas but whose ending didn’t quite gel. Victories Greater Than Death, I was hoping, would deliver the same kind of quirky entertainment but with an overall plot that was more focused and more satisfying. In this sense, it succeeds.…

  12. Book cover for Forward the Foundation

    Forward the Foundation

    by Isaac Asimov

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Maybe it’s because this is Asimov’s last Foundation novel, published shortly after his death. Maybe it’s because it’s the last Asimov novel I am likely to read, now that I have completed my re-read of this entire series. Whatever the reason, I am inclined more favourably towards Forward the Foundation than I have been to the other books. Now, I will still pan Asimov’s writing skills and the general plot of the book. Nevertheless, this…

  13. Book cover for The Just City

    The Just City

    by Jo Walton

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Jo Walton’s novels are always so creative and refreshing, and The Just City is no exception. This book stretched my mind and my imagination just enough without overwhelming me with the philosophy. Perhaps the best part of this book is how Walton plays with the Greek gods (primarily as inspired by Homeric tradition) while simultaneously acknowledging their rapey tendencies in a very real way. This is a challenge for authors who want to play in…

  14. Book cover for Common Bonds

    Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Fiction Anthology

    by Claudie Arseneault, C.T. Callahan, B.R. Sanders, RoAnna Sylver

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I was a Kickstarter backer for this book. I was very excited for Common Bonds, because I am aromantic, but that’s an identity that isn’t well-represented in mainstream media (and when it is, it’s usually conflated with/paired with asexuality—I am also asexual, but I like the split attraction model because it helps me discuss my experiences with nuance). A great deal of this review will be me talking about the importance of…

  15. Book cover for Mirage

    Mirage

    by Somaiya Daud

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Mirage reminds me, in a good and less racist way, of Dune. I wish I had liked it more, because honestly this is the type of science fiction I want more of: science fiction that might be set in space and in the future, sure, but that focuses more on the intrigue and relationships than on the tech and whizz-bang special effects, and in a way that centres people of colour. Mirage does…

  16. Book cover for The Midnight Library

    The Midnight Library

    by Matt Haig

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So I have had mixed results with Matt Haig to date: I adored How to Stop Time but disliked The Humans. In both cases, I appreciated Haig’s perspicacity and philosophy, but the overall storytelling in The Humans didn’t work for me, whereas How to Stop Time was cute and romantic and poignant. So I was looking forward to The Midnight Library acting as a kind of tie-breaker to tell me if I should keep…

  17. Book cover for The Space Between Worlds

    The Space Between Worlds

    by Micaiah Johnson

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The idea of the multiverse is captivating, no? The thought that there are infinitely-many yous out there, that at any moment the choice you make diverges you from them a little more. I do so love parallel-universe fiction and other, similar, world-hopping stories, so I was excited for The Space Between Worlds. The fact it has a queer protagonist of colour? Even better! Indeed, Micaiah Johnson isn’t just telling a multiverse thriller here. This…

  18. Book cover for Earth Girl

    Earth Girl

    by Janet Edwards

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was not expecting to fall for this book quite as hard as I did. If you asked me how Earth Girl ended up on my to-read list, I could not tell you. But my library had a copy (I love my library!). The description is lacklustre and didn’t make me too excited, but within a few pages I was on Jarra’s side, and within about 3 chapters I was loving this book. It made

  19. Book cover for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

    The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

    by Becky Chambers

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Well, this book lives up to its title: they definitely take the long way around. Although nominally space opera, if you were hoping for sweeping galactic politics and high stakes, you might want to look elsewhere. The Wayfarer is in the middle of a tense diplomatic situation for sure, but this story isn’t about that. This story is about the Wayfarer crew, their journey rather than their destination, and the things you learn along the…

  20. Book cover for Prelude to Foundation

    Prelude to Foundation

    by Isaac Asimov

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There must be some law about how, the longer an author is allowed to play in their sandbox, the worse their stories get. At some point, every author who has a long-spanning saga feels encouraged to go back and fill in gaps in the chronology, creating that wonderful dichotomy of possible reading experiences: publication order and chronological order. L.E. Modesitt’s Recluce saga is one of the most notable modern examples. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series is…

  21. Book cover for Seven Surrenders

    Seven Surrenders

    by Ada Palmer

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    For some reason I thought this book seemed way shorter than the first one, but I’m realizing now it’s just that I read Too Like the Lightning in hardcover, so it seemed thicker and more imposing. That being said, Seven Surrenders was less exhausting and easier to digest than the first book. At first I thought that was because I was just used to Ada Palmer’s writing, but now I think it’s also because this…

  22. Book cover for Nucleation

    Nucleation

    by Kimberly Unger

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    When I learned after finishing this book that Kimberly Unger is a video game designer, much more about this book began to make sense. Nucleation is a science-fiction novel that wants to wow you with its video game–like aesthetic—this is a novel that craves the label of cinematic for its descriptions of how its protagonist virtually manipulates robots in another star system in high-stakes, high-pressure situations. Nevertheless, even if such moments capture your attention (I’m…

  23. Book cover for Stars Beyond

    Stars Beyond

    by S.K. Dunstall

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Turns out I remembered almost nothing of Stars Uncharted, the first book in this series (duology?). As I began Stars Beyond, very little of the overall story came back to me. I contemplated re-reading Stars Unchartd, but by that point I was 50 pages in and felt committed. Fortunately, as I forged onwards, the plot of this volume cohered into something pretty easy to follow. Or should I say … plots? Because,…

  24. Book cover for The Psychology of Time Travel

    The Psychology of Time Travel

    by Kate Mascarenhas

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    From women writing subversive TV now to women inventing time travel! The Psychology of Time Travel is a quirky part mystery, part love story. As the title suggests, Kate Mascarenhas focuses more so on what it would be like to be a time traveller rather than on the social, historical, or future repercussions of mucking about with a timeline. Along with bringing up the usual questions of free will versus determinism, etc., this book seeks…

  25. Book cover for Fleet of Knives

    Fleet of Knives

    by Gareth L. Powell

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A little over a year ago, I curtailed my review of Embers of War because of my broken elbow. I have now returned, stronger than ever, to review this sequel, Fleet of Knives. I finished this book in a single day, taking a break only to make dinner and watch Mean Girls (because it was October 3). This book is like candy to me. It is an invigorating space opera that balances grand, epic…

  26. Book cover for The Stone Sky

    The Stone Sky

    by N.K. Jemisin

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Look at me, finishing a series within a year! Who even am I?

    The Stone Sky is the last book of The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. She give us answers to some of the questions from the first two books, as well as closure—of sorts—for most of the main characters. I’m not sure I would call the ending satisfying, but it is certainly thoughtful. This is how I’ve come to regard…

  27. Book cover for Victory Conditions

    Victory Conditions

    by Elizabeth Moon

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Let’s pause for a moment and savour the feeling of completing a series. That’s not always an easy undertaking, especially when reading them entirely through the library! After five books, this series is ready for a conclusion. Elizabeth Moon delivers everything you might think you want—tension and build-up to a big, fancy space battle, and then a little resolution—but I’m not sure always delivers it how one would want. As always, this series has hovered…

  28. Book cover for The House of Styx

    The House of Styx

    by Derek Künsken

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Let me tell you how I thought this review would go. As I began reading The House of Styx (which I received free via NetGalley and publisher Solaris), I thought that I would enjoy this book, for sure. Derek Künsken had, after all, reignited the faint embers of my love for posthumanism with The Quantum Magician and then fanned those flames with a dose of time travel in The Quantum Garden. However, I also…

  29. Book cover for Foundation and Earth

    Foundation and Earth

    by Isaac Asimov

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I simultaneously enjoyed and loathed reading Foundation and Earth. This might be the best Foundation novel yet also the worst. I know I called Foundation’s Edge the best, but this one surpasses it in terms of plot. Asimov does as amazing a job of ratcheting up the tension surrounding the search for Earth as he does a terrible job of avoiding the objectification of women. Moreover, when we look at this novel in the…

  30. Book cover for The Relentless Moon

    The Relentless Moon

    by Mary Robinette Kowal

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I didn’t realize until I started reading that The Relentless Moon, while technically a sequel to The Fated Sky, is more of a spin-off in the series. Mary Robinette Kowal writes from the perspective of Nicole Wargin, a white woman who was a side character in the first two books. She is one of the original astronauts (or astronette, ugh) alongside Elma York, the Lady Astronaut and narrator of the first two books,…

  31. Book cover for This Is How You Lose the Time War

    This Is How You Lose the Time War

    by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Like so many time-travel stories, This Is How You Lose the Time War is frustratingly, endearingly, eerily beautiful. It takes a special kind of talent to write time travel well—you need not only that non-linear perspective that many writers find necessary even for linear plots, but you also require a certain level of sheer, Lewis Carroll-like madness to conceive of a multiverse so vastly alternative to our tiny slice, or strand. Amal El-Mohtar and Max…

  32. Book cover for Foundation's Edge

    Foundation's Edge

    by Isaac Asimov

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This might be the best Foundation novel yet?

    Foundation’s Edge departs from the formula of the previous installments in the series: instead of related novellas, this is an actual, honest-to-goodness novel. It follows two, parallel stories: Golan Trevize is a Foundation council member who suspects the Second Foundation was not actually destroyed, and he strikes off (not exactly of his own accord) to investigate; meanwhile, Stor Gendibal is a Second Foundation council member who believes…

  33. Book cover for Black Sheep

    Black Sheep

    by Rachel Aukes

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I had finally caught up on my NetGalley reading, so I went on the hunt for more books to request, and Aethon Books was kind enough to grant my request for Black Sheep: A Space Opera Adventure. The description sounded very promising, and for the most part I would say that Rachel Aukes delivers on that promise. The protagonist is also disabled! Content note: the book contains ableist language, which I will discuss shortly…

  34. Book cover for The Sound of Stars

    The Sound of Stars

    by Alechia Dow

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Yet again I feel like I steered myself wrong on NetGalley!! The Sound of Stars, courteously provided to me by Inkyard Press, didn’t win me over. What should have been a tale of survival and starcrossed love set in the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth proved to be a somewhat boring adventure across open country full of exposition and underwhelming action. It’s not all bad—Alechia Dow does her best to give us…

  35. Book cover for The Light Years

    The Light Years

    by R.W.W. Greene

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Relativity can be awful sometimes. You get in your spaceship, leave a planet, and you come back a few months later only to find that years have passed and your family is old or dead and all your plants died because YOU COULDN'T WATER THEM LIKE I ASKED, KEVIN?

    Anyway, most science fiction stories use a trope, like faster-than-light travel, to avoid dealing with relativity. Not so R.W.W. Greene. In The Light Years, the…

  36. Book cover for The Obelisk Gate

    The Obelisk Gate

    by N.K. Jemisin

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    In a very rare move for me, I picked up The Obelisk Gate on my visit to the library after reading The Fifth Season. N.K. Jemisin’s sequel picks up where it leaves off, with a little backtracking to fill in Nassun’s story. Short review? If you liked the first book, you’ll like this one. The mysteries of this world deepen, the characters grow and both gain and lose. Longer review? Well, keep reading.

    Spoilers…

  37. Book cover for Lizard Radio

    Lizard Radio

    by Pat Schmatz

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Lizard Radio is a lovely, messy, very queer book with queer characters. I enjoyed it and also didn’t, if you know what I mean—I’m glad I read it, but reading it was a bit of a chore, because Pat Schmatz’s style is quite distinctive. This feels more like a novella than a novel to me, despite its length, because it doesn’t quite have the narrative completeness I desire, personally, in my novels. Nevertheless, Kivali’s journey…

  38. Book cover for Too Like the Lightning

    Too Like the Lightning

    by Ada Palmer

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I'm not sure if it's a positive or negative that I read Too Like the Lightning so soon after reading Ilium. That is, Ada Palmer’s writing here reminds me a lot of Dan Simmons’ writing: science fiction heavily saturated with literary and philosophical references. In this case, Palmer grounds her story in the duelling philosophies of the Enlightenment—humanists vs rationalists, individualists vs collectivists—while simultaneously springboarding us into a vision of a future for humanity…

  39. Book cover for Killer of Enemies

    Killer of Enemies

    by Joseph Bruchac

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was excited to read a YA novel with an Indigenous protagonist, because there aren’t enough of those. Killer of Enemies is an action-packed dystopian thriller from Joseph Bruchac. Yet what it gains from tense action sequences it loses in sloppy writing elsewhere.

    Lozen is the eponymous Killer of Enemies, a post-apocalyptic job position that involves being sent on hazardous missions away from the haven of Haven to kill dangerous beasties that might otherwise threaten…

  40. Book cover for All Systems Red

    All Systems Red

    by Martha Wells

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As with The Fifth Season I’m very late to the party with this one. So many more books in this series! But I finally got around to All Systems Red, and it was every bit as enjoyable as I was led to believe it was, even if it wasn’t quite as memorable as I’d like. Then again, considering this is a novella, I will cut Martha Wells some slack. Indeed, I appreciate how skilfully…

  41. Book cover for Ilium

    Ilium

    by Dan Simmons

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Longtime readers of my reviews will recall I have a tumultuous relationship with Dan Simmons’ books. I didn’t like The Terror or Drood, but I warmed up to Simmons through his epic Hyperion Cantos. In my review for the final book of that cycle, The Rise of Endymion, I commented, “Even if you don’t like the series, it is hard to dispute the scope and style of it.” Simmons lives up to…

  42. Book cover for The Humans

    The Humans

    by Matt Haig

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Matt Haig surprised me with the unexpectedly sweet How to Stop Time. So, of course when I learned he has a novel involving a mathematician who might have proved the Reimann Hypothesis, well … I just had to read it! The alien as fish-out-of-water is a tried-and-true trope of science fiction these days, allowing authors to comment on how wacky some human social and cultural conventions would seem to a true outsider. Haig seizes…

  43. Book cover for Permafrost

    Permafrost

    by Alastair Reynolds

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Every single review panning this story for not making sense is entirely deserved. Time travel stories are difficult to write and, even when written well, difficult to parse and read. If it’s not your thing, that’s fine.

    But Permafrost is so very much my thing.

    In structure, it reminds me of Palimpsest, by Charles Stross. Both are novellas with a single protagonist recently initiated in time travel. Both are fairly convoluted in terms of…

  44. Book cover for The Quantum Garden

    The Quantum Garden

    by Derek Künsken

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Time travel stories are tricky. The best ones give me a headache but not too much of a headache. I guess it’s the literary equivalent of the adrenaline rush one gets from momentarily being upside down on a roller coaster (which is definitely not for me): I want my brain to hurt as I contemplate 4-, 11-, or 22-dimensional spacetime … but I don’t want to get so confused that I feel the author could…

  45. Book cover for Waterdown

    Waterdown

    by Anastasia Slabucho

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Why does AI always end up being the bad guy? Because we love to explore evil in the form of the Other. Also, it usually turns out that the bad guy was us, the creators of the AI, all along! Anastasia Slabucho’s Waterdown retreads these ideas but within the context of the climate change crisis we currently face. She posits that someone might have the right combination of drive, ingenuity, and wherewithal to create an…

  46. Book cover for Apocalypse How?

    Apocalypse How?

    by Galen Surlak-Ramsey

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I received this book from Tiny Fox Press and NetGalley in exchange for a review.

    Apocalypse How? is a messy trainwreck, and if that’s your style, you’ll probably enjoy it. For the rest of us … let’s just say that I kind of knew how I felt about this book less than 50 pages in, and maybe I should have stopped there. This is basically “Indiana Jones in space” but make Indiana a young woman…

  47. Book cover for Shadow Captain

    Shadow Captain

    by Alastair Reynolds

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I love fierce sister duos. You know, the kind where the two sisters have complementary skills and get on each other’s nerves yet always have the other’s back? That kind.

    Yeah, Shadow Captain isn’t quite that kind of story.

    Adrana and (Ara)fura Ness have managed to dispatch the fearsome space pirate Bosa Sennen, taking her ship in the process. These young women are way out of their league, however, and now that they are in…

  48. Book cover for Jumper

    Jumper

    by Steven Gould

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’ve had Jumper on my computer for a while now and never got around to reading it, not sure why. Sometimes with books like that, I feel extra trepidation going into it. Why haven’t I read it yet? Is it because I can sense it’s bad? What if I don’t like this book?? I’m on vacation; I want my reading to be good!! Fortunately, although by no means a home run—by dint of Gould’s somewhat…

  49. Book cover for Labyrinth

    Labyrinth

    by Lois McMaster Bujold

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Labyrinth is a short Miles Vorkosigan adventure that starts as a simple covert pick-up and ends with a new recruit for Miles’ Dendarii mercenaries, not to mention some romance for one of the side characters. There’s a lot to like about this novella: it’s paced quite well for its length, and although very science-fictional, it’s definitely more special-ops thriller than anything else.

    Labyrinth shows why Miles is the hero of this series. He’s capable of…

  50. Book cover for Second Foundation

    Second Foundation

    by Isaac Asimov

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Okay, so instead of five years passing between re-read books, I’ve only let a year elapse. That’s not too bad on the Ben Scale of Book Series Completion! My reception of Second Foundation is much more positive than my review of Foundation and Empire, in which I skewered Isaac Asimov’s writing style. Honestly, I found this book to be far more readable and even enjoyable at points!

    As with the previous book, this one…