Dr. Greta Helsing specializes in caring for the undead, and she does it with kindness, respect and good humor. That earns my respect. This is the first in a trilogy about a fantastical world in which the undead live next door, mummies require osteopathic fixes (old bones turn to dust, you know?), and love flourishes willy nilly. Vivian Shaw sprinkles allusions and homages to vampiric and horror canons of old throughout the series, but you don't have to get all the references to enjoy the story, and when you're done with this one, there are two more.
So you've practiced your necromancy with Gideon the Ninth, navigated the Tarot Houses of The Last Sun, and you're looking for the next thing to read. Might I suggest a time warp to The Nevernight by Jay Kristoff? In an assassin's school dedicated to the Lady of Blessed Murder (of course), located on a three sunned world (harsh), Mia Corvere will have her revenge (Yes!). As the ancients say, the brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.
This is a blossoming romance set among the rubble of incomprehensible destruction. This is not Doctor Who fan-fiction, nor is it the concrete, expository science fiction we're used to. This is for the dreamers who want to look through broken windows into another reality.
I’ve been struggling with how to describe this novel, other than it’s often pensive and irregularly balanced for a “dystopian” story. Finally, I came to the conclusion (after 3 pages of notes) that it needs to be read because of the struggle it shows and invokes in us. That may not be very helpful, but as stubborn and intellectual Cedar says at the start, “...maybe you’ll understand. Or not. I’ll write this anyway…” I mean...what do you record for a possible life in a world unknown to you?
Relentless adventure, extreme weirdness, gorgeous and energetic art, a dash of low humor and gore, and reverence for Things Not Seen--’Creature Tech’ is bizarre and entertaining from first page to last. In a world of increasingly ‘transgressive’ comics, TenNapel is a true subversive: at heart, under everything, a gutsy and radical traditionalist. God bless Doug TenNapel
The aliens have already packed up and left as Roadside Picnic begins, but their brief and apparently pointless visit has left the earth irrevocably altered. And in writing this brief, beguiling novel of first contact, the Strugatsky brothers forever altered the terrain of science fiction; their book has gone on to inspire successive generations of artists and writers, most famously Andrei Tarkovsky and Jeff VanderMeer.
In my mind, the thing that really makes this edition essential for science fiction readers is the forward provided by another pillar of the genre, Ursula K. Le Guin. In a few short, pithy pages, Le Guin uses the numerous possible readings of Roadside Picnic--a parable of Soviet failure? a referendum on human intelligence?--to prompt a much broader meditation on the possibilities of the genre.
Do you like the Twilight Zone? Of course you do. But you might not know Richard Matheson. And you should, because arguably the most iconic episodes were adapted from his masterfully-written short fiction. Each story is so tightly crafted as to border on pulp, each ending twists with a stinger that demands your return. If I'm on a plane: 1) I have a Richard Matheson collection in my carry on and 2) I'm not going to look at the wing of the plane. Yeah. He wrote that.
It's been years since alien bio-warfare killed off all the women on the new world, leaving the men alone with nothing but their thoughts. Literally. They call it the Noise. It is constant, it sounds like the inner voices of everyone nearby, and it is all Todd has ever known. When he senses an impossible gap in the Noise, he looks for the source, and discovers a second impossible thing: the source of the gap in the Noise is a girl. If you like post apocalyptic societies, science fiction, or nail-bitingly compulsive reads, this is for you.
If you enjoy the fiction of Ursula Le Guin, and seek something new, read Karin Tidbeck. Her novel Amatka is powerful but Tidbeck's short stories are nigh perfect, perfectly weird.
A sci-fi bender that details what would happen if Lara Croft and Indiana Jones reluctantly teamed up to decode and ancient alien message in an ancient alien temple.
Read while waiting for OBSIDIO, the final book in the Third Place bookseller-beloved Illuminae trilogy.