Last Minute Help: Looking For Some Books


I apparently have some money to spend at Borders. I have no idea how I earned it, but I have it. With that in mind, I want to buy a book or two, and I haven’t the foggiest what to get.

This is where you come in. I’m looking for either high-concept or “literary” science fiction, OR non-traditional fantasy (i.e. not standard urban, epic, sword and sorcery, and things of that ilk). All should be relatively new (within the last few years). I don’t want any old stuff right now.

I have nothing against the subgenres I’ve indicated I don’t want; I just don’t want to buy books in those genres right now (I have too many as it is at the moment). I want something a little different.

Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments or email me at arconna[at]yahoo[dot]com

The deadline is tomorrow, the 4th of October, hence why I stated “last minute help” in the title.

Thanks in advance!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

6 thoughts on “Last Minute Help: Looking For Some Books

  1. The UK hard science scene is quite good currently. Alastair Reynolds, Charles Stross and such.

    Alastair Reynolds "Revelation Space" series is quite good, though some of his novels not set in that universe are just kinda… strange. The most accessible of the Revelation Space series is the titular novel, and probably the novel Chasm City. Outside of that series, Century Rain is kinda cool, but strange and confusing and it gave me a headache. Pushing Ice isn't very good, but it has some interesting high concept stuff and unintentionally hilarious word-use. (Vat-grown wood is called wangwood. lol) House of Suns I never ended up finishing, but I enjoyed it until the story just kinda stalled.

    Charles Stross is a lot of fun, I think he's an awesome writer. Everything by him is awesome. It's not hard sci fi, but check the Atrocity Archives, because it has space nazis and demons.

    Richard Morgans newest novel is a non-trad fantasy with a queer protagonist, but my local 2nd hand bookstore guy said, and I quote; "It's fucked up." Not sure if that is a good review.

    Steph Swainston's The Year of Our War is quite cool alt-fantasy. A little bit tangled, though.

    Mary Doria Russell wrote a novel called The Sparrow, which is cool if you like your sci fi with a bit of theological theory. Tragic novel, and a little bit Christian Martyr complex but a lot of fun to read.

    Unfortunately that's the best I can do. I haven't bought any science fiction novels which were written past about 1975 in the last six months or so. Good luck, hope this came in on time.

  2. Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life and Others" is the best example of literary SF/F in the short form. His stories transcend the form and are works of pure art. 'Division by Zero' will make you rethink SF short stories.

  3. Ok, I am going to make a out of the dark recommendation to you, it is a considered mass market book, but I really want you to think about getting this one.

    I am a huge fan of the combination of Douglas Preston and Lincoln CHild. I picked up "DEEP STORM" because I was in the devourer era. It satisfied the craving for a fantastmic view into the Earth that has never been glimpsed!

    I don't summarize things very well so I will not ruin its chances with a shoddy one. Please just give it a chance, this book changed my way of thinking about the earth, its role in the universe and humans palace in the puzzle. Very engaging and it really makes you have to think thoughts bigger than yourself.

    Again the novel is DeepStorm by Lincoln Child

  4. You could try Acacia by David Anthony Durham, it's relatively literary Fantasy.

    I'm not sure how to classify Anathem, but it probably fits into "High Concept", and it's sort of sci-fi.

  5. Riadan: I have Reynold's stuff! Some of it anyway. I also have Stross's Atrocity Archives. And the Sparrow. I have a whole bunch of those. I will look up Swainston and the new Morgan novel. Thanks!

    Adam: I'll look up some Ted Chiang. Thanks!

    Jodi: Deep Storm shall be looked upon by mine eyes. Thanks!

    Jonah: I own Acacia. Anathem, however, is not on my shelves, so I shall look that up. Thanks!

  6. I have no suggestions, but I'd like to veto Swainston. Tried that book and the writing was imo, horrible. Definitely not something you need to be reading right now, Shaun.

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