Sleeping giants by Sylvian Neuvel

Amy Sleeping GiantsA young girl goes out for a bike ride, and falls down a great hole. She is found lying in the palm of a giant, metal hand. What follows is a fast-paced, unpredictable, science fiction story about politics, relationships, intrigue, and the possibility of not being alone in the universe. I found it utterly compelling, and have reserved the second book in the series.

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Doomsday book by Connie Willis

Amy Doomsday BookSet both in Oxford, both in the future and in the 1300s, this is a rollicking, funny, moving, time travel story. Kivrin is a passionate historian, bent on exploring the 1300s, despite the dangers. Something does, indeed, go wrong, and she must adapt to her situation, as those who care for her try to get her back. It’s full of imaginative detail, endearing and infuriating characters, and is life affirming and hopeful.

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Amy GnomonYes, it took me two and a half months to finish this. I always find Nick Harkaway’s books dense, and I can’t race through them, but how I enjoy his convoluted, madcap, far too clever stories! Gnomon is a mystery, an adventure and a complex and confusing maze. Set in a near future of hyper-surveillance, it looks at what is important to self, to society, and what sacrifices are made to achieve the common good. I’ll miss it, now I have finished.

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MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

Amy MaddAddamIt’s great to read a trilogy once it is complete. I have read them all this year, and I am sad to leave them behind. MaddAddam fills in all the gaps, showing how the world came to the “waterless flood”, and how they will move forward now that the world has been reset. Like the other two, it is a spookily possible future for us, frightening, but also hopeful. It’s funny, clever, full of endearing characters and cutting insight.

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The algebraist by Iain M. Banks

jeannie-algebraistThis was my first ever foray into the world of large scale science fiction, and what an introduction it was! The main plot follows Fassin Taak, a quiet and intelligent hero, as he reluctantly embarks on an intelligence mission. He is sent by the capitalist regime into the gas giants to speak to a race of galactic librarians who resemble wheels, live for billions of years, and hunt their own children.

Iain M Banks is an extremely skilled author with an ingenious, if at times somewhat unsettling, imagination.

This book will make your head explode, in a very good way. It is both vast, encompassing a rather overwhelming number of galaxies and their inhabitants, and awesome. If you haven’t tried much science fiction and are looking to give something a go, I highly recommend this book.

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles - Cinder by Marissa MeyerThe familiarity of a fairy tale with a sci-fi twist.

Introducing Cinder. A teen who has no memories of life before her third year yet she carries with her the evidence of traumatic injuries… cyborg limbs! With no known living relatives, Cinder is the property of her stepmother and works skilfully at mechanical repairs trying to meet the living expenses of her stepmother and two stepsisters. Her little stepsister is her only joy, but, while Cinder seems to be immune, Peony succumbs to the mysterious illness sweeping across the country. Can Cinder save Peony from inevitable death? Will we discover the truth about Cinder’s past? Continue reading

The girl with all the gifts by M. R. Carey

Amy The Girl with all the GiftsA librarian recommended this as the one book loved by every member of his fantasy/sci-fi book club. I am reasonably comfortable with sci-fi, indeed some of my favourite books happen to fit in that genre, but I was surprised to realise (about a third of the way through, a bit slow on the uptake) that this is a zombie book. I’m glad I didn’t know that , as I may have been put off and I really enjoyed this book. It is clever and suspenseful, with compelling, endearing characters and a satisfying and hopeful ending.

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Feed by M.T. Anderson

Amy FeedFeed is enough to put me off my devices for good, except that I am using it to write this review – they’ve got me and I can’t escape! It’s a pretty clever take on what might happen down the track, with the ‘feed’ – advertising, chat, TV – installed in our heads. The slang used was interesting, if a little hard to follow, and I didn’t find the romance element compelling, perhaps because the main character wasn’t terribly appealing. A sobering read. Now I’m off to read another book, not check Facebook…..

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