City of Illusions★★★★☆
Ursula K. Le Guin How can you be yourself when you don't know who you really are? A story of isolation, adaptation, kindness, cruelty, trust and hope, and above all, how to piece together the truth (or at least pick out the lies) on a future, depopulated Earth.
The Daughter of Odren★★★★☆
Ursula K. Le Guin A small, stand-alone tale set in Earthsea, reminiscent of the folk tales glimpsed throughout the series. Betrayal, revenge, kindness, and power - and just living
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell★★★★★
Mira Grant Seared into my memory. Cascading failures as zombies attack an elementary school. Well-written, but I never, ever want to read it again.
The Defiant Agents
Andre Norton An enjoyable space western with Apaches as the good guys, wrapped up in the cold war and tossing in the Golden Horde, a lost alien city and Russians with a mind-control ray.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones★★★★★
Seanan McGuire Creepy tale of twins transported to a world out of 1930s monster movies. Hangs together better than the first book.
Bram Stoker The original Dracula is a great read, not just for the way it codified modern vampire lore, but the way it's built as a collection of letters, diary entries, and so on.
A Dragon for William★★★★★
Julie Czerneda A welcome return to the world of A Turn of Light (though shorter!)
Michael Flynn Detailed and thoughtful exploration of first contact with aliens in the midst of the Black Death.
The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)★★★★★
Katie Mack An engaging read for the general audience about what we currently know about the history and structure of the universe and what that knowledge – and the pieces we don't know – might mean for its future and eventual end.
Every Heart a Doorway★★★★☆
Seanan McGuire A fast read with an intriguing concept that reverses multiple YA fantasy tropes.
Robert J. Sawyer A fascinating exploration of time, destiny and free will after everyone on Earth gets a glimpse of the same moment 20 years in the future.
Four Lost Cities★★★★★
Annalee Newitz Fascinating look at how cities form, live and die, seen through archaeological discoveries at Pompeii, Angkor, Cahokia and Çatalhöyük.
John Scalzi Not sure it's better, but it is more enjoyable than the original, with better characterization and less deus-ex-machina. Same overall story of colonization, corporate greed, enviromnental exploitation and who counts as people, but different enough to enjoy both.
A Game of Thrones (Book)
George R.R. Martin I should have liked this book. I tend to enjoy big epic fantasy, but I just couldn't get into this one.
John Scalzi The sequel to Lock In is a fast read with intriguing concepts, fun characters and an interesting mystery. This time locked-in FBI agent Chris Shane investigates the death of a locked-in athlete in a sport too extreme for human bodies, played with remotely-controlled robots.
Key Out Of Time★★★★☆
Andre Norton Lost in time, lost in space, out of their depth, a handful of humans are caught in the middle of a four-way power struggle on the high seas of an alien world.
The Lathe of Heaven★★★★★
Ursula K. Le Guin A surreal tale of dreams changing reality, global stakes anchored by the three people involved. Be careful what you wish for.
The Law of Superheroes★★★★★
James Daily, J.D. and Ryan Davidson, J.D. A fun read that applies real-world law to comic book tropes. Shape-shifters, alternate realities, resurrections and massive property damage are all explored.
H. Beam Piper An enjoyable tale of first contact, colonialism, environmental stewardship, corporate greed vs. ethics, and most importantly, who counts as "people" on an alien world that turns out not to be uninhabited after all.
Night Watch (Discworld)★★★★★
Terry Pratchett Time travel, barricades and a mix of humor and darkness in a rebellion with good cops, bad cops and time monks.
Neil Gaiman Entertaining, sometimes gruesome, sometimes funny and sometimes sad collection of stories about Odin, Thor, Loki and the other gods of Asgard.
People of the Crater★★★☆☆
Andre Norton Standard fantasy rescue-the-princess adventure with sci-fi trappings, nodding vaguely toward Hollow Earth tropes.
A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching★★★★★
Rosemary Mosco A fast, funny, informative read about pigeons, their long history with humans, appearance and behavior, and even modern extreme pigeon breeds.
Robert J. Sawyer Intriguing premise, well explored: Quantum entanglement, psychopaths, and mob behavior. Can we reboot humanity amid a rising tide of xenophobia?
Ready Player One★★★☆☆
Ernest Cline Back when I read it, the nostalgia and scavenger hunt were enough for me. Now, not so much.
Ursula K. Le Guin A serviceable quest story that melds fantasy and sci-fi. Engaging enough, but I'd only recommend it to someone who's read her later work.
Sue Burke A fascinating take on space colonization, intelligence, and language, following multiple generations of humans on a world dominated by sapient plants.
Shy Little Kitten’s Secret Place★☆☆☆☆A 1980s sequel to the classic The Shy Little Kitten that completely misses the point of the original book and tells shy kids they need to change themselves.
Soon I Will Be Invincible★★★★☆
Austin Grossman Austin Grossman’s novel Soon I Will Be Invincible is a fun read for fans of the super-hero genre, an affectionate parody featuring every cliche in the book.
Catherynne Valente Fun sci-fi social satire from Catherynne Valente: The world is a mess, but we can find the sublime in chaos.
Andre Norton An adventure woven through the post-war struggles of an alien world, with humans caught on both sides, exploring identity, colonialism and prejudice. Definitely worth the read.
Andre Norton A standard survival adventure with mismatched partners and ruthless rivals, only with weird stuff going on and in space.
John Scalzi A fun, fast read, parodying the James Bond Villain archetype. With talking dolphins and typing cats.
The Time Machine★★★★☆
H.G. Wells A bit dry, but it draws you in, and if the plot is simple, it's enough to wrap around some thought-provoking speculation about the future of humanity - and a critique of industrial society.
The Time Traders★★★★☆
Andre Norton A fun time-travel spy thriller through the bronze age that's very rooted in the cold war.
Robert J. Sawyer It's an interesting take on memory and identity, but not one of Sawyer's best.
Tune in Tomorrow★★★★☆
Randee Dawn A fun romp through backstage theater, mystery, soap opera, mythology, fandom and screwball comedy romance tropes. (*whew!*)
Under Alien Skies★★★★★
Philip Plait A fun look at what it would be like to visit other planets or star systems, weaving together sci-fi scenarios, the science behind them, and the history of how those discoveries were made.
Under the Influence★★★★☆
Trey Ratcliff Trey Ratcliff details a fascinating look at a side of Instagram that I've mostly ignored.