As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!
“The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell
Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as
‘the radio people,’ Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.
For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics — and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves — even the ones who are not yet born.
A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting on the war in Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list — all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.
Rich with character and realms of possibility, The Bone Clocks is a kaleidoscopic novel that begs to be taken apart and put back together by a writer The Washington Post calls ‘the novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction.’
An elegant conjurer of interconnected tales, a genre-bending daredevil, and a master prose stylist, David Mitchell has become one of the leading literary voices of his generation. His hypnotic new novel, The Bone Clocks, crackles with invention and wit and sheer storytelling pleasure — it is fiction at its most spellbinding.
“Exo (Jumper #4)” by Steven Gould
Award-winning author, Steven Gould, returns to the world of his classic novel Jumper in Exo, the sequel to Impulse, blending the drama of high school with world shattering consequences.
Cent can teleport. So can her parents, but they are the only people in the world who can. This is not as great as you might think it would be — sure, you can go shopping in Japan and then have tea in London, but it’s hard to keep a secret like that. And there are people, dangerous people, who work for governments and have guns, who want to make you do just this one thing for them. And when you’re a teenage girl things get even more complicated. High school. Boys. Global climate change, refugees, and genocide. Orbital mechanics.
But Cent isn’t easily daunted, and neither are Davy and Millie, her parents. She’s going to make some changes in the world.
“Final Days” by Gary Gibson
The first installment in a riveting new SF series from the author of the Shoal Sequence
It’s 2235 and through the advent of wormhole technology more than a dozen interstellar colonies have been linked to Earth; but this new mode of transportation comes at a price and there are risks. Saul Dumont knows this better than anyone. He’s still trying to cope with the loss of the wormhole link to the Galileo system, which has stranded him on Earth far from his wife and child for the past several years. Only weeks away from the link with Galileo finally being re-established, he stumbles across a conspiracy to suppress the discovery of a second, alien network of wormholes which lead billions of years into the future. A covert expedition is sent to what is named Site 17 to investigate, but when an accident occurs and one of the expedition, Mitchell Stone, disappears, they realize that they are dealing with something far beyond their understanding. When a second expedition travels via the wormholes to Earth in the near future of 2245 they discover a devastated, lifeless solar system — all except for one man, Mitchell Stone, recovered from an experimental cryogenics facility in the ruins of a lunar city. Stone may be the only surviving witness to the coming destruction of the Earth. But why is he the only survivor — and once he’s brought back to the present, is there any way he and Saul can prevent the destruction that’s coming?
“Hieroglyphs: Stories and Visions for a Better Future” edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer
Inspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction.
In his 2011 article ‘Innovation Starvation,’ Neal Stephenson argued that we — the society whose earlier scientists and engineers witnessed the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, the computer, and space exploration — must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and do Big Stuff. He also advanced the Hieroglyph Theory which illuminates the power of science fiction to inspire the inventive imagination: ‘Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place.’
In 2012, Arizona State University established the Center for Science and the Imagination to bring together writers, artists, and creative thinkers with scientists, engineers, and technologists to cultivate and expand on ‘moon shot ideas’ that inspire the imagination and catalyze real-world innovations.
Now comes this remarkable anthology uniting twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries — among them Cory Doctorow, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson — to contribute works of ‘techno-optimism’ that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff. Engaging, mind-bending, provocative, and imaginative, Hieroglyph offers a forward-thinking approach to the intersection of art and technology that has the power to change our world.
“Nature Futures 2: Science Fiction from the Leading Science Journal” edited by Colin Sullivan & Henry Gee
100 writers — including Neal Asher, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, Tobias Buckell, Brenda Cooper, Kathryn Cramer, David Langford, Tanith Lee, Ken Liu, Nick Mamatas, Norman Spinrad, Ian Stewart, Rachel Swirsky, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Ian Watson — offer their take on what the future will look like in this anthology of sci-fi short stories from the award-winning Futures column in the science journal Nature.
“Sherwood Nation” by Benjamin Parzybok
It was morning and the power was not yet on. Zach and Renee lay in the heat of the bed listening to the city wake outside the building’s windows.
In drought-stricken Portland, Oregon, a Robin Hood-esque water thief is caught on camera redistributing an illegal truckload of water to those in need. Nicknamed Maid Marian — real name: Renee, a twenty-something barista and eternal part-time college student — she is an instant folk hero. Renee rides her swelling popularity and the public’s disgust at how the city has abandoned its people, raises an army…and secedes a quarter of the city.
Even as Maid Marian and her compatriots build their community one neighbor at a time, they are making powerful enemies amongst the city government and the National Guard. Sherwood is an idealistic dream too soon caught in a brutal fight for survival.
Sherwood Nation is the story of the rise and fall of a micronation within a city. It is a love story, a war story, a grand social experiment, a treatise on hacking and remaking government, on freedom and necessity, on individualism and community.
“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: ‘Because survival is insufficient.’ But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.
Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
“Yesterday’s Kin” by Nancy Kress
Aliens have landed in New York. After several months of no explanations, they finally reveal the reason for their arrival.
The news is not good.
Geneticist Marianne Jenner is having a career breakthrough, yet her family is tearing itself apart. Her children Elizabeth and Ryan constantly bicker, agreeing only that an alien conspiracy is in play. Her youngest, Noah, is addicted to a drug that keeps temporarily changing his identity. The Jenner family could not be further apart. But between the four of them, the course of human history will be forever altered.
Earth’s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster — and not everyone is willing to wait.