The Tourist by Robert DickinsonSF Mystery. In this intricately plotted novel, recreational time travel is a 24th-century growth industry and the most popular destinations are time periods before the Near Extinction Event (NEE) that changed the course of human history. Multiple narratives converge (and, at times, contradict one other) as Tri-Millenium guide Spens pursues a missing tourist through a 21st-century world of shopping malls and airports and a 25th-century prisoner carries out a covert mission that could alter several timelines. If you enjoy twisty time-travel thrillers such as Ellen Larson's In Retrospect or Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit, you'll want to read (and then maybe reread) The Tourist.
Death's End by Cixin Liu; translated by Ken LiuHard SF. Stay hidden while threatening to reveal your enemy's position. That's the essence of Luo Ji's "dark forest" doctrine of deterrence, which has allowed rival planets Earth and Trisolaris to coexist for centuries. Without giving too much away, all that's about to change. Don't miss this final volume of the trilogy, which begins with The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest. With its sprawling cast of characters, intricate plot, and willingness to tackle complex moral and philosophical questions, this series may appeal to fans of millennia-spanning SF sagas such as Stephen Baxter's Xeelee sequence or Vernor Vinge's Queng Ho novels.
Children of the New World: Stories by Alexander WeinsteinShort Stories. Fans of television's Black Mirror will want to pick up this short story collection, which explores the complex ways in which humans and technology interact. Set in a recognizable near-future world and ranging in tone from the darkly humorous to the heartwrenching, these 12 tales tackle topics including (but not limited to) artificial intelligence, implanted memories, virtual reality, and digital reincarnation.
Crosstalk by Connie WillisScience Fiction. When her boyfriend Trent asks her to get an EED ("even better than getting engaged," gushes a coworker), telecommunications executive Briddey Flannigan undergoes the "minor procedure," hoping that neurological enhancement will strengthen their relationship. Instead, she ends up telepathically linked to a coworker, her company's (sub-)basement-dwelling misanthrope C.B. Schwartz. Madcap romantic comedy combined with a satirical look at modern technology makes this latest offering from multi-award-winning author Connie Willis a must-read.
Books You May Have Missed
The Race by Nina AllanScience Fiction. Comprised of four linked novellas, this debut depicts a near-future dystopian world transformed almost beyond recognition by environmental disaster. The British town of Sapphire, once a seaside resort, is now a wasteland. With limited opportunities and economic prospects, siblings Jenna and Del Hoolman survive by racing illegal "smartdogs," greyhounds genetically modified using human DNA. However, the kidnapping of Del's daughter Lumey quickly upends their already precarious existence. The Hoolman family's saga alternates with the tale of a young woman living in present-day London, whose fate is tied to theirs.
Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake CrouchScience Fiction. Once a rising star in the scientific community for his research on quantum superposition, physicist Jason Dessen now teaches undergraduate physics at a small college. It's a good life, just not the one he imagined for himself. One night, a mysterious assailant abducts him at gunpoint; after an ill-fated escape attempt, Jason finds himself living a life that's not the one he remembers. As he tries to return home (wherever and whenever that is), he must confront the road(s) not taken. Readers who enjoyed Peter Clines' The Fold or David Walton's Superposition may be interested in this suspenseful novel of an ordinary man contending with alternate realities.
Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.Hard SF. An asteroid dubbed the Solar Express for its sun-bound trajectory turns out to be an artificial mechanism built by extraterrestrials? Post-doctoral researcher Dr. Alayna Wong-Grant and space pilot Captain Christopher Tavoian join forces to discover the origins and purpose of the device. However, their task is complicated by the immutable laws of physics as well as shifting geopolitics on Earth. Presenting a classic space exploration plot that doesn't stint on the technical details, Solar Express may appeal to fans of Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama.
Barren Cove: A Novel by Ariel S. WinterSocial SF. Broken and on the verge of obsolescence, an android named Sapien contemplates self-deactivation as he travels to Barren Cove, a stately home that dates from the time when humans reigned. Upon arrival, Sapien meets the robot inhabitants of the estate, learns of their tragic history, and witnesses firsthand their dysfunctional family dynamics. Isaac Asimov meets Wuthering Heights in this lyrical, if bleak, novel.
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