Fantasy and Science Fiction
“War doesn't determine who's right. War determines who remains.”
R.F. Kuang, The Poppy War
The Poppy War by R.F. KuangIn this historical military fantasy, dark-skinned war orphan Rin surprises everyone when she aces the entrance exam for Sinegard, the most revered military academy in all of Nikan. Will her discovery that she has shamanic powers help her prove to herself and her classmates that she’s worthy of her place?
Punctuated with mysticism, treachery, and martial arts, this debut novel (the (the 1st in a planned trilogy) is inspired by real events in 20th-century China.
Only Human by Sylvain NeuvelTen years after alien robot invaders kidnapped scientist Rose Franklin, she has returned to Earth to find a startlingly different landscape than the one she left behind. Now, Rose must uncover a way to hold the planet together before it's too late.
Only Human is the 3rd entry in the Themis Files science fiction trilogy after Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods.
An addictive blend of science fiction, apocalyptic thriller, and chillingly timely cautionary tale” (Kirkus Reviews).
Song of Blood and Stone by L. PenelopeEnduring life as an outcast from a homeland where her Earthsong talents are feared, orphan Jasminda helps care for an injured spy, Jack, who enlists her help in saving the protective mantle around two nations that are preparing for war.
Readers may also like N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which also features a strong-willed female heroine.
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente“Glamrock messiah” Danesh Jalo is fighting for mankind’s continued existence -- by taking center stage in an intergalactic talent show bursting with glitter, lipstick, and rock and roll.
If you like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, David Bowie, or the Eurovision Song Contest, you'll like this humorous science fiction extravaganza too.
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. BeagleIn her quest to seek her own kind, the last unicorn leaves the safety of her forest home and goes in search of other magical creatures. During her travels in the outside world, she finds some intrinsically good humans -- such as Schmedrick the Magician -- but also finds selfish people, mortal danger, and a stunning change in herself.
The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik PohlA collaboration between science fiction giants Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl, in which Sri Lankan mathematician Ranjit Subramanian writes a proof for the “Last Theorem,” bringing him much acclaim. But an impending alien invasion will test him like never before.
You might also like: The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, also featuring an impending alien invasion and hard science reminiscent of Clarke.
The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel KayIn an alternate 9th-century Britain, conflicts between the Viking-esque Erlings of Vinmark, the Saxon-like Anglcyn, and the Celtic-inspired Cyngael escalate through a series of seemingly unconnected events that eventually converge to devastating effect.
Related books: The Last Light of the Sun is set in the same world (but a different time period) as The Lions of Al-Rassan and The Sarantine Mosaic.
The Last Days of New Paris: A Novella by China MiévilleIn 1941, a surrealist bomb explodes in Nazi-occupied Paris. A year later, Parisians and Nazis are fighting for control of the city, now known as New Paris, while “manifs” -- physical realizations of surrealist paintings -- are loose on the streets, creating their own bizarre chaos.
You might also like: The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy, which also features warfare, art, and surrealism.
Last Year by Robert Charles WilsonJesse Cullen lives in 1870s Ohio; the woman he loves is from the 21st century. Both are involved with the City of Futurity, a metropolis built by time travelers to give 19th-century tourists a (selective) glimpse of the future. However, the word on the street is that the portal connecting Futurity and the world of the time travelers is about to close forever.
You might also like: the time-travel classic Time and Again by Jack Finney.
The Last Policeman by Ben H. WintersIn just six months, Earth will be destroyed by an unavoidable asteroid. Although some people see little point in doing much of anything anymore, New Hampshire homicide detective Hank Palace doggedly keeps at it, hoping to bring a killer to justice.
For anyone looking for something a bit different, this police procedural science fiction story fits the bill perfectly.
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