Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Favorite SF novels read in 2015

The following is a list of those SF/F works that I read in 2015 and that stood out among the many other works that I had read.  These will be read again, sometime in the future. 


First time readings

Robert Silverberg           Downward to the Earth

Liu Cixin                        The Three-Body Problem

Emily St. John Mandel   Station Eleven

Andy Weir                       The Martian

China Mieville                 Railsea
Ben Winters                     The Last Policeman


Hal Clement                Mission of Gravity

Alfred Bester               The Stars My Destination

Arthur C. Clarke          Rendezvous with Rama

Gene Wolfe                 Nightside the Long Sun 

David Brin                  The Uplift War


First Readings

Sofia Samatar                 A Stranger in Olondria

Russell Hoban                Linger Awhile, Angelica Lost and Found, Soonchild

It's been a good year for SF/F as there are five new authors on the list.


  1. Fred, with my afternoon plans derailed because of inconvenient illness (the hazards of travel in Latin America), I am taking time to think about your S/F recommendations, and I look forward to including some in my future reading plans, but I want to put you on the spot: which 4 or 5 should be at the top of my list? Yeah, it's unfair to force choices/preferences, but what the hell . . . I'm in that kind of crappy and crabby mood (with no puns intended).

  2. The only one we match up on, Fred, is The Martian. I read it just a couple of months ago and loved it.

    I can't really seem to get into this modern fantasy genre. I loved almost all of the Pern books and Piers Anthony wrote some fantasy that I liked too, but my brief samplings of some of the newer fantasy authors has left me cold.

    1. madamevauquer,

      I'm not much for modern fantasy either--got ruined by Tolkien, I guess. You might want to take a look at _A Stranger in Olandria_ as it's more of an adventure story set in a foreign culture and really not too much in the way of magic.

      Russell Hoban's stuff is really quirky, and his last works were really short novels or long novellas. He might be best known in the wide world as the creator of children's books. His _Riddley Walker_ is one of my all-time top ten
      SF novels. The film Turtle Diary, with Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley, is based on one of his novels. I think it's on YouTube. I did a post on Angelica Lost and Found, as well as other works by Hoban.

      Have you seen the film version of The Martian? I'm on the waiting list at Netflix and the local public library. I've heard good things about it.

    2. Thanks, Fred, for the recommendation of A Stranger in Olandria. I'll keep it in the back of my mind.

      No, I haven't seen The Martian movie yet. From what I've noticed, those who didn't read the book first uniformly loved the movie. Mixed response for those who did read the book first with many really enjoying the movie while feeling it didn't compare to the book.

    3. madamevauquer,

      It's been several months now since I read the book, so I will probably forget much in the book, which will help my attitude toward the film. No doubt, they dropped some of the incidents to make the film. One comment that I remember is that some of the humor in the book got lost somewhere in transferring it to film.

  3. R.T.,

    The top 4 or 5 from this list would be (today anyway)

    Robert Silverberg: Downward to the Earth (echoes of Conrad's Heart of Darkness), a recent discovery which I wish I had read earlier

    Andy Weir: The Martian, recent novel, film version now out, man stranded on Mars, very realistic and high tech stuff, no Disnyish aliens,etc.

    Ben Winters: The Last Policeman, recent novel, combination police procedural and impending catastrophe

    Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination, a classic, one of my all-time top ten SF novels

    Arthur C. Clarke: Rendezvous with Rama, another classic, exploration of an alien spaceship that passes through our solar system. No aliens were killed in the writing of this novel.

    1. Thank you, Fred. When I return to civilization and libraries, I will seek out some of the authors/titles. I very much appreciate your Rx and patience.

  4. tx for the recommends. sci fi was my first love, many moons ago, but i haven't read much of it for forty years or so... i remember loving hal clement, though, except for his last effort which i felt was a bit off at the time; don't recall much of it now... and i can't remember the name of it. darn.

  5. Mudpuddle,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think you will find that SF has changed considerably since you last read some, especially the newer and younger writers.