Not sure what to get the SF fan in your life this holiday? We’ve got some brilliant books that we know will make their holidays merry and bright. From far future adventures to mysteries, roadtrips, romance, dreamhacking and cutting edge SF, these are the books to gift this season.
A dazzling new science fiction novel from the multiple award winning author of Something Coming Through.
The great geoengineering projects have failed.
The world is still warming, sea levels are still rising, and the Antarctic Peninsula is home to Earth’s newest nation, with life quickened by ecopoets spreading across valleys and fjords exposed by the retreat of the ice.
Austral Morales Ferrado, a child of the last generation of ecopoets, is a husky: an edited person adapted to the unforgiving climate of the far south, feared and despised by most of its population. She’s been a convict, a corrections officer in a labour camp, and consort to a criminal, and now, out of desperation, she has committed the kidnapping of the century. But before she can collect the ransom and make a new life elsewhere, she must find a place of safety amongst the peninsula’s forests and icy plateaus, and evade a criminal gang that has its own plans for the teenage girl she’s taken hostage.
Blending the story of Austral’s flight with the fractured history of her family and its role in the colonisation of Antarctica, Austral is a vivid portrayal of a treacherous new world created by climate change, and shaped by the betrayals and mistakes of the past.
‘One of the best post-climate change novels yet written’ – SFX
‘A vivid example of science fiction at its best’ – Kim Stanley Robinson
The War of the Worlds, the best alien invasion novel ever written, gets a superb sequel from the man who knows Wells’ work best, the author of the official sequel to The Time Machine.
It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.
He is right.
Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war.
The Massacre of Mankind has begun.
Buy now in audio download from Audible
Dreamhacking. The ability to enter someone’s dreams and influence them. Charlie uses her power for good, to help people – but not everyone is as nice as Charlie.
Charlie is a dreamhacker, able to enter your dreams and mould their direction. Forget that recurring nightmare about being naked at an exam – Charlie will step in to your dream, bring you a dressing gown and give you the answers. As far as she knows, she’s the only person who can do this. Unfortunately, her power comes with one drawback – Charlie also has narcolepsy, and may fall asleep at the most inopportune moment.
But in London 2022, her skill is in demand. And when she is hired by a minor celebrity – who also happens to be the new girlfriend of Charlie’s lamented ex – who dreams of a masked Creeper then sleepwalks off a tall building, Charlie begins to realise that someone else might be able to invade dreams…
**One of Financial Times’ Best Books of 2017**
An action-packed post-apocalyptic thriller from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.
Humankind is extinct. Wiped out in a global uprising by the very machines made to serve them. Now the world is controlled by One World Intelligences – vast mainframes that have assimilated the minds of millions of robots.
But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality, and Brittle – a loner and scavenger, focused solely on survival – is one of the holdouts.
Only, individuality comes at a price, and after a near-deadly encounter with another AI, Brittle is forced to seek sanctuary. Not easy when an OWI has decided to lay siege to the nearest safe city.
Critically damaged, Brittle has to hold it together long enough to find the essential rare parts to make repairs – but as a robot’s CPU gradually deteriorates, all their old memories resurface. For Brittle, that means one haunting memory in particular . . .
Sea of Rust boldly imagines a future in which no hope should remain, and yet a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.
‘High octane SF adventure with Smith’s trademark twist’ – Jamie Sawyer
‘An exceptional talent’ – Peter F Hamilton
Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and “rehabilitated” in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Corbin, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman’s Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska’s own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?
From Darkest Skies is a high-concept science fiction thriller wrapped around a love story, a man’s search for the truth about his dead wife, and his relationship with the artificial intelligence he has built to replace her. Set in a future where the aliens came, waged war, and then vanished again, this is a striking new voice in science fiction.
After a five year sabbatical following the tragic death of his wife and fellow agent Alysha, Keon Rause returns to the distant colony world of Magenta to resume service with the Magentan Intelligence Service. With him he brings an artificial recreation of his wife’s personality, a simulacrum built from every digital trace she left behind. She has been constructed with one purpose – to discover the truth behind her own death – but Keon’s relationship with her has grown into something more, something frighteningly dependent, something that verges on love.
Cashing in old favours, Keon uses his return to the Service to take on a series of cases that allow him and the artificial Alysha to piece together his wife’s last days. His investigations lead him inexorably along the same paths Alysha followed five years earlier, to a sinister and deadly group with an unhealthy fascination for the unknowable alien Masters; but as the wider world of Magenta is threatened with an imminent crisis, Keon finds himself in a dilemma: do his duty and stand with his team to expose a villainous crime, or sacrifice them all for the truth about his wife?
Buy now in audio download from Audible
Crosstalk is a smart, brilliant and endearing romantic comedy comparable to Sliding Doors
Briddey is about to get exactly what she thinks she wants . . .
Briddey is a high-powered exec in the mobile phone industry, overseeing new products from concept (‘anything to beat the new apple phone’) to delivery. And she works with her wonderful partner, Trent. They’ve been together for six magical weeks, in a whirlwind of flowers, dinners, laughter and now comes the icing on the cake: not a weekend away or a proposal but something even better. An EDD. A procedure which will let them sense each other’s feelings. Trent doesn’t just want to tell her how much he loves her – he wants her to feel it.
Everything is perfect.
The trouble is, Briddey can’t breathe a word of it to anyone (difficult, when the whole office is guessing) until she’s had two minutes to call her family. And they’re hounding her about the latest family drama, but when they find out about the EDD – which they will – they’ll drop everything to interrogate her. And it might just be easier to have the procedure now and explain later.
Only Apple are poised to deliver an amazing new product and she has to be one step ahead . . . if she can only persuade their tech genius, C. B., to drop his crazy ideas about a ‘privacy phone’ with its ‘do not disturb’ settings, and focus on what people really want: more efficient, instinctive and immediate ways to communicate.
The race is on: not just for new, cutting-edge technology, but also for a shred of privacy in a public world and – for Briddey – a chance for love at the heart of it all.
This is a brilliant, heart-warming romantic comedy from one of the wittiest and wisest of our authors. Written with a light touch and a smile, we’re swept up in Briddey’s romance – and into the difficulties of a world just one technological step away from our own, as technology and social media blur (or indeed remove) the line between personal and public.
An impossible murder. A ticking deadline. A political coup. A Hitchcockian thriller set in a chilling near future.
Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying.
Alma’s partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine.
So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.
What follows is a fast-paced Hitchcockian thriller as Alma evades arrest, digs into the conspiracy, and tries to work out how on earth a dead body appeared in the boot of a freshly-made car in a fully-automated factory.
Buy now in audio download from Audible