#RRSciFiMonth 5 Books I Read in 2015 That Deserve More Attention
2015 saw a number of big science fiction releases, but here are five books that might have flown under radars!
Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper (Pyr: March 3, 2015)
The first book of a planned duology, Edge of Dark also takes place in the future of the same timeline as Brenda Cooper’s Ruby’s Song series, which made me very happy because I loved The Diamond Deep when I read it a couple years ago. I certainly didn’t expect to like it so much, but was surprised at how addictive the story was. (Read my full review…)
What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way?
The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.
In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body….
Evensong by John Love (Night Shade Books: January 6, 2015)
I’ll admit, at first I didn’t think this would be my type of book, but after I finished Evensong, the emotional impact it had on me was something I just couldn’t ignore. The ending touched something deep inside me, and as the dust settled, I was left with a numbness, a melancholy that even now I find hard to explain. (Read my full review…)
The future is a dangerous place. Keeping the world stable and peaceful when competing corporate interests and nation-states battle for power, wealth, and prestige has only gotten harder over the years. But that’s the United Nations’ job. So the UN has changed along with the rest of the world. When the UN’s “soft” diplomacy fails, it has harder options. Quiet, scalpel-like options: The Dead—biologically enhanced secret operatives created by the UN to solve the problems no one else can.
Anwar Abbas is one of The Dead. When the Controller-General of the UN asks him to perform a simple bodyguard mission, he’s insulted and resentful: mere bodyguard work is a waste of his unique abilities. But he takes the job, because to refuse it would be unthinkable.
Anwar is asked to protect Olivia del Sarto, the host of an important upcoming UN conference. Olivia is head of the world’s fastest-growing church, but in her rise to power she has made enemies: shadowy enemies with apparently limitless resources.
Anwar is one of the deadliest people on earth, but her enemies have something which kills people like him. And they’ve sent it for her. It’s out there, unstoppable and untraceable, getting closer as the conference approaches.
As he and Olivia ignite a torrid affair, Anwar must uncover the conspiracy that threatens to destroy her, the UN, and even The Dead.
Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Saga Press: October 27, 2015)
Frankly, I’m surprised this book hasn’t gotten more attention, since the author has written several well-received books before this one. Our Lady of the Ice is a very different kind of sci-fi novel. Infused with hard-boiled noir vibes, it features wonderful characters and takes place in one of the most mind-blowingly unique settings I’ve ever seen. I found this book simply irresistible. (Read my full review…)
Hope City, Antarctica. The southernmost city in the world, with only a glass dome and a faltering infrastructure to protect its citizens from the freezing, ceaseless winds of the Antarctic wilderness. Within this bell jar four people–some human, some not–will shape the future of the city forever:
Eliana Gomez, a female PI looking for a way to the mainland.
Diego Amitrano, the right-hand man to the gangster who controls the city’s food come winter.
Marianella Luna, an aristocrat with a dangerous secret.
Sofia, an android who has begun to evolve.
But the city is evolving too, and in the heart of the perilous Antarctic winter, factions will clash, dreams will shatter, and that frozen metropolis just might boil over…
Cash Crash Jubilee by Eli K. P. William (Talos: May 5, 2015)
Cash Crash Jubilee is utterly fascinating, from cover to cover. The premise is disconcerting, with details that sometimes bordered on the absurd, but it did make me think. I love a book that gets my brain juices flowing, and I found myself so completely absorbed in the sights and sounds of William’s dystopic Tokyo. It’s a trove of insanity and wonder, all in one place. (Read my full review…)
In a near future Tokyo, every action—from blinking to sexual intercourse—is intellectual property owned by corporations that charge licensing fees. A BodyBank computer system implanted in each citizen records their movements from moment to moment, and connects them to the audio-visual overlay of the ImmaNet, so that every inch of this cyber-dystopian metropolis crawls with information and shifting cinematic promotainment.
Amon Kenzaki works as a Liquidator for the Global Action Transaction Authority. His job is to capture bankrupt citizens, remove their BodyBank, and banish them to BankDeath Camps where they are forever cut off from the action-transaction economy. Amon always plays by the rules and is steadily climbing the Liquidation Ministry ladder.
With his savings accumulating and another promotion coming, everything seems to be going well, until he is asked to cash crash a charismatic politician and model citizen, and soon after is charged for an incredibly expensive action called “jubilee” that he is sure he never performed. To restore balance to his account, Amon must unravel the secret of jubilee, but quickly finds himself asking dangerous questions about the system to which he’s devoted his life, and the costly investigation only drags him closer and closer to the pit of bankruptcy.
In book one of the Jubilee Cycle, Cash Crash Jubilee, debut novelist Eli K. P. William wields the incisive power of speculative fiction to show how, in a world of corporate finance run amok, one man will do everything for the sake of truth and justice
First Light by Linda Nagata (Saga Press: June 30, 2015)
First Light is the excellent, smart, and action-packed introduction to The Red series, originally indie-published but then re-released by a major publisher – because it is JUST. THAT. GOOD. This book gets my recommendation, especially for fans of military science fiction. It’s been getting all kinds of attention lately, but I say it could always use more! (Read my full review…)
Reality TV and advanced technology make for high drama in this political thriller that combines the military action of Zero Dark Thirty with the classic science fiction of The Forever War.
Lieutenant James Shelley, who has an uncanny knack for premeditating danger, leads a squad of advanced US Army military tasked with enforcing the peace around a conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. The squad members are linked wirelessly 24/7 to themselves and a central intelligence that guides them via drone relay—and unbeknownst to Shelley and his team, they are being recorded for a reality TV show.
When an airstrike almost destroys their outpost, a plot begins to unravel that’s worthy of Crichton and Clancy’s best. The conflict soon involves rogue defense contractors, corrupt US politicians, and homegrown terrorists who possess nuclear bombs. Soon Shelley must accept that the helpful warnings in his head could be AI. But what is the cost of serving its agenda?
Our Lady of Ice is going on my to-read list today 😀 Also, cash crash jubilee sounds really interesting – both horrifying and intriguing. To no be able to shut off advertisements?! To have to pay to blink or have sex? What in the world happened?? Okay, this one’s going on my to-read list, too!
Cash Crash Jubilee was filled with insane ideas like those! Trust me, it’ll blow your mind 🙂
What a great post! I’m happy to say I’ve read three of these, and I couldn’t agree more, since I enjoyed them all. Now I’ll have to check out the other two.
Yeah, Evensong was an awesome surprise, wasn’t it? 🙂
Excellent post, I love when bloggers give shout outs to great books that might have flown under the radar 🙂 I NEED Our Lady of the Ice in my life! Cash Crash Jubilee and First Light sound really awesome too 😀
Definitely give Our Lady of the Ice a look. Cassandra Rose Clarke is a fantabulous storyteller 🙂
Well, I think we all know how much I loved Edge of Dark, and I agree 100% that it is going way under the radar! (If anyone else reading this is curious, here is my review: http://wp.me/p53gyJ-pR)
I remember your review of Crash Crash Jubilee left me on a cliff-hanger! So I do want to check that on out still. But I had no idea The Red series wasn’t get a lot of attention. From your reviews, the books sounded great.
Yep, I remember seeing that you enjoyed Edge of Dark as well! Such a great book. And The Red has been getting a lot attention this year due to its re-release and also the publication of the whole trilogy. But it can always use more 🙂
That Ice one sure looks interesting
You’d like it, I think.
“Our Lady of the Ice” has been sitting on my reader for a while now, so it’s probably going to be one of my next-in-line books, and I’ve heard nothing but good reviews about “Edge of Dark”, but the most intriguing title in your post is indeed “Cash Crash Jubilee” – and I use the word ‘intriguing’ as a huge understatement… 🙂
Haha, wait til you see just how “intriguing” Cash Crash Jubilee gets 😉
I love these types of lists that highlight under-hyped books so thanks for putting it together! I am really drawn to Edge of Dark because of the natural resource vibe in the description but it does sound like it would be a little…well…dark. Which is fine but just need to be in the right mood. Also intrigued by Our Lady of Ice mostly because of Antartica and your mention that it is an especially unique setting. I am definitely familiar with the author but hadn’t heard boo about this book!
Oh yes, if you like the natural resource/nature vibe, I think you’ll really enjoy Edge of Dark. I guess I’d consider it “social science fiction” but it’s really subtle and quite nice. And I know, right? Most people have heard of Cassandra Rose Clarke and her books with Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry but for some reason it doesn’t seem like Our Lady of the Ice is getting as much exposure.
Interesting list! I’ve added a them to my TBR 😉