Below are the suggestions for our next round of books. Please cast up to five choices on our Doodle Poll!
The results will be finalised at our 10th Anniversary meeting on the 21st of January.
- Friend of the Earth – TC Boyle (288p)
- Ridley Walker by Russel Hoban (256p)
- Ralph 12C4 41+ by Hugo Gernsback (144p)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (448p)
- Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (432p)
- This is How You Loose the Time War by Amil L Motta & Max Gladstone (208p)
- Redshirts by John Scalzi (320p)
- The Bees by Laline Paull (352p)
- Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox (496p)
- The Testaments – Margaret Attwood (432p – Hardback)
- Blood Music – Greg Bear (272p)
- Intrusion – Ken MacLeod (416p)
Also suggested but not included in the list were Revelation Space by Alaistar Reynolds (576p) and Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver (608p) both of which are unfortunately much too long. Our Child of the Stars was suggested by my Mum since she knows the author’s Dad.
1. Friend of the Earth – TC Boyle
It’s 2025, and 75-year-old environmentalist Ty Tierwwater is eking out a bleak living managing a pop star’s private zoo. It is the last one in southern California and vital for the cloning of its captive species. Once, Ty was so serious about environmental causes that as an eco-terrorist committed to Earth Forever! he endangered the lives of both his daughter, Sierra, and his wife, Andrea. Now, when he’s just
trying to survive in a world cursed by storm and drought, Andrea returns to his life. Frightening, funny, surreal and gripping, T.C. Boyle’s story is both a modern morality tale, and a provocative vision of the future.
2. Riddley Walker by Russel Hoban (256p)
‘Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddels where ever theyve took
me and walking them now on this paper the same.
There aint that many sir prizes in life if you take noatis of every thing. Every time will have its happenings out and every place the same. Thats why I finely come to writing all this down.
Thinking on what the idear of us myt be. Thinking on that thing whats in us lorn and loan and oansome.’ Composed in an English which has never been spoken and laced with a storytelling tradition that predates the written word, RIDDLEY WALKER is the world waiting for us at the bitter end of the nuclear road. It is desolate, dangerous and harrowing, and a modern masterpiece.
3. Ralph 12C4 41+ by Hugo Gernsback (144p)
By the year 2660, science has transformed and conquered the world, rescuing humanity from itself. Spectacular inventions from the farthest reaches of space and deep beneath the earth are available to meet every need, providing antidotes to individual troubles and social ills. Inventors are highly prized and respected, and they are jealously protected and lavishly cared for by world governments. That support and acclaim, however—as the most brilliant of scientists, Ralph 124C 41+, discovers—is not without its price. This visionary novel of the twenty-seventh century was written by Hugo Gernsback (1887–1964), founder of the influential magazine Amazing Stories. Marvelously prophetic and creative, Ralph 124C 41+ celebrates technological advances and entrances readers with an exuberant, unforgettable vision of what our world might become.
4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (448p)
A dark enchantment blights the land in the award-winning Uprooted – a enthralling, mythic fantasy by Naomi Novik, author of the Temeraire series.
Agnieszka loves her village, set deep in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. One young village woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all they value behind.
Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she’s everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it’s not Kasia he takes.
5. Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (432p)
One woman. One mission. One chance to save the world.
It’s 1952, and the world as we know it is gone. A meteorite has destroyed Washington DC, triggering extinction-level global warming. To save humanity, the world unites to form the International Aerospace Coalition. Its mission: to colonise first the Moon, then Mars.
Elma York, World War Two pilot and mathematician, dreams of becoming an astronaut – but prejudice has kept her grounded. Now nothing – and no man – will stop her from reaching for the stars.
6. This is How You Loose the Time War by Amil L Motta & Max Gladstone (208p)
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?
7. Redshirts by John Scalzi (320p)
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is even more delighted when he’s assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better… although there are a few strange things going on:
(1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces
(2) the ship’s captain, the chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these encounters
(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Suddenly it’s less surprising how much energy is expended below decks on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned an Away Mission. Andrew’s fate may have been sealed … until he stumbles on a piece of information that changes everything … and offers him and his fellow redshirts a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives …
8. The Bees by Laline Paull (352p)
Enter a whole new world, in this thrilling debut novel set entirely within a beehive.
Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.
But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and is allowed to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.
But enemies are everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. And when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all her instinct to serve is overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce love that will lead to the unthinkable . . .
Laline Paull’s chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world both alien and uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, ‘The Bees’ is the story of a heroine who, in the face of an increasingly desperate struggle for survival, changes her destiny and her world.
9.Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox (496p)
Molly and Gene Myers were happy, until tragedy blighted their hopes of children. During the years of darkness and despair, they each put their marriage in jeopardy, but now they are starting to rebuild their fragile bond.
Then the Meteor crashes into Amber Grove, devastating the small New England town – and changing their lives for ever. Molly, a nurse, caught up in the thick of the disaster, is given care of a desperately ill patient rescued from the wreckage: a sick boy with a remarkable appearance, an orphan who needs a mother.
And soon the whole world will be looking for him.
Cory’s arrival has changed everything. And the Myers will do anything to keep him safe.
10. The Testaments – Margaret Attwood (432p – Hardback)
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel.
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’ Margaret Atwood
11. Blood Music – Greg Bear (272p)
In the tradition of the greatest cyberpunk novels, Blood Music explores the imminent destruction of mankind and the fear of mass destruction by technological advancements.
Blood Music follows present-day events in which the fears concerning the nuclear annihilation of the world subsided after the Cold War and the fear of chemical warfare spilled over into the empty void of nuclear fear. An amazing breakthrough in genetic engineering made by Vergil Ulam is considered too dangerous for further research, but rather than destroy his work, he injects himself with his creation and walks out of his lab, unaware of just quite how his actions will change the world.
Author Greg Bear’s treatment of the traditional tale of scientific hubris is both suspenseful and a compelling portrait of a new intelligence emerging amongst us, irrevocably changing our world.
12. Intrusion – Ken MacLeod (416p)
Imagine a near-future city, say London, where medical science has advanced beyond our own and a single-dose pill has been developed that, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn child.
Hope Morrison, mother of a hyperactive four-year-old, is expecting her second child. She refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known. This divides her family and friends and puts her and her husband in danger of imprisonment or worse. Is her decision a private matter of individual choice, or is it tantamount to willful neglect of her unborn child?
A plausible and original novel with sinister echoes of 1984 and Brave New World.
Please cast up to five choices on our Doodle Poll!
MANCHESTER #SCIFI BOOK CLUB: NEXT BOOKS:
- 21st Jan – All Systems Red by Martha Wells (160p)
- 18th Feb – Planetfall by Emma Newman (352p)
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