Martha's Science Fiction Picks
When I am in an especially dark mental place I like to think of the future this book imagines where the west coast is its' own country and the cities are full of skyscrapers covered in plants. A bit preachy, sure, but still fun.
Soft Skull Press has a reputation for smart and edgy female authors and this book is no exception. Soma for a new generation, this satire nails everyone to the wall in one way or another.
A post-apocalyptic future where the Simpsons have become Greek mythlike stories that are told around the campfire and performed as plays.
Brockmeier is adapt at being both poetic and pulpy at the same time. He drops us into a story of the afterlife and we are compelled to keep reading to see what disaster on earth lead to this netherworld suddenly changing.
With echos of of Gibson and Ballard —Void Star does not disappoint. A meditation on the risks of an elite technocracy combined with the tension and murkiness of a noir film, Mason sucks the reader into a tangled web they will want to be trapped in.
This book is both utopian and dystopian at the same time. How does it get away with it? Multiple timelines of course. This is the only debut novel to make it on this list and it earns its spot. Funny and sweet.
There is a reason this is one of Folio Book's all time best sellers. I loved it. Paula loved it. Beatrice loved it. One of the best books of the last decade. Mandel captures both the fragile nature of civilization and the resilency of art in the face of disaster. Any book that has extensive Shakespeare and Star Trek references is also going to have my heart.
This thriller takes place in a not too distant future when states fight tooth and nail over water rights to the point of border wars. As the rich build themselves walled cities to escape the crisis the poor are left to fight over the remaining drops.
This list wouldn't be complete without some Ursula LeGuin. Reading about her anarchists on the moon and how they both succeeded and failed at their utopian visions is LeGuin at the peak of her form.
Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors of the past 100 years. This to me is one of the most prescient of all recent dystopian novel(s). Do yourself a favor and just buy this and The Year of the Flood and Maddaddam all at once. You won't regret it.
No book list that mentions the apocalypse would be complete without Cat's Cradle. Vonnegut's dark satire is a fantastic and funny take on the doom that looms over us all.
Cloud Atlas is a book that I can reread every few years and still enjoy. The characters are beautiful. The writing is elegant. The storytelling is epic and magical. What more do you need?
JG Ballard was the master of the sci-fi short story. Ahead of his time in so many ways, this collection, which first came out in 1978, will grab you by the neck and not let go.
This is a dystopian classic and was a major influence on Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome. Hoban's use of language is masterful.