“The History Of The Universe In Three Words.
― Iain M. Banks
Sophisticated artificial intelligence, gleaming robots, vast intergalactic space ships and enviable technology rooted in scientifically feasible ideas: these are just some of the trademark characteristics of the genre known as Hard Science Fiction! This month we’ve dedicated our science fiction showcase to these very works, so if you like your spacecraft big and shiny and your space suit mega-practical and hi-tech, then this showcase is very much for you. Enjoy!
Below is just a tiny selection of our favourite titles that fit into this genre.
Excession / Iain M. Banks.
“Two and a half millennia ago, the artefact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The complete robot / Isaac Asimov.
“Isaac Asimov’s Robot series – from the iconic collection I, Robot to four classic novels – contains some of the most influential works in the history of science fiction. Establishing and testing the three laws of robotics, they continue to shape the understanding and design of artificial intelligence to this day. Could a robot ever show true creativity? Is it wise to trust self-driving cars? Will robotic body parts transform human beings into machines? Will organic technology allow robots to become human? The Complete Robot combines the stories in I, Robot and The Rest of the Robots.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Leviathan wakes / James S.A. Corey.
“Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship’s captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history. Leviathan Wakes is the breakneck science fiction adventure that launched the epic bestselling Expanse series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The naked god / Peter F. Hamilton.
“Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal doesn’t quite match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonridge from the possessed degenerates into a horrendous land battle, the kind which hasn’t been seen by humankind for six hundred years; then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected direction. Joshua Calvert and Syrinx fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God — which an alien race believes holds the key to overthrowing the possessed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Ninefox gambit / Yoon Ha Lee.
“To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general. Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Altered carbon / Richard K. Morgan.Altered Carbon
“In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Chasm City / Alastair Reynolds.Chasm City
“The once-utopian Chasm City–a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet–has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted–from the people to the very buildings they inhabit–only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, it is the landscape of nightmare through which he searches for a low-life post-mortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Red Mars / Kim Stanley Robinson.Red Mars
“From the first pioneers who looked back at Earth and saw a small blue star, to the first colonists – hand-picked scientists with the skills necessary to create life from cold desert – Red Mars is the story of a new genesis. It is also the story of how Man must struggle against his own self-destructive mechanisms to achieve his dreams: before he even sets foot on the red planet, factions are forming, tensions are rising and violence is brewing… for civilization can be very uncivilized.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)