National Science Fiction Day is January 2, 2022! Here are three fun, easy ways to enjoy the moment:

  1. Explore the Team Booksweet Sci-Fi Favorites Q&A (below).
  2. Dive into the 2021 Hugo Award recipient list.
  3. New to Sci-Fi? NPR’s Life Kit has you covered.

What do you look for in a good sci-fi Read?  

Monique: I enjoy sci-fi that creates a complex and unfamiliar world with numerous possibilities for the characters to explore. The characters, while placed in a world that is unknown, must be relatable, likable, and memorable. 

Shaun: I think I want something that offers a new way of looking at our world and societies. I’m looking for a rich universe, where the characters have recognizable and relatable behaviors but where these may be emphasized or given new weight by strange new circumstances. Author N.K. Jemisin has some fascinating thoughts on worldbuilding and the implications of every choice a writer makes in establishing a sci-fi universe, and how these are received by readers. 

Truly: Prescience and relevance. My favorite kinds of sci-fi books explore “real world” ethical and societal issues in wildly imaginative ways with gutsy, memorable characters.

Favorite sci-fi reads of all time:

Monique: A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer, and The Raven Boys Series, by Maggie Stiefvater. 

Shaun: I haven’t read nearly all of them, but I love the Culture series by Iain M. Banks and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Truly: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin, and Station 11 by Emily St. John Mande. 

What’s the last sci-fi book you read? Thoughts?

Monique: Any Way the Wind Blows, by Rainbow Rowell. This is the last book of Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow trilogy starring two of her most unforgettable characters, Simon and his long-time enemy turned boyfriend Baz Grimm-Pitch. They are joined by their friends Penelope and Agatha and a cast of fun and unforgettable  characters as they embark on the last adventure together. Heartfelt and full of humor, this last book of the trilogy has the friends exploring their own unique paths, while also working together to take down a charismatic magician that is calling himself the “new greatest mage.” A fun YA/teen read that this adult enjoyed immensely.  

Shaun: The Wandering Earth Cixin Liu is deeper into “hard SF” territory than I normally venture, but the stories in this collection were fascinating. What would it take for humankind to push the Earth out of the sun’s orbit to avert annihilation, both in terms of technology and global society? What are the points where things break down? I’ll admit my first doubt was whether the nations of Earth could unite long enough to accomplish this feat – but if you allow that they do, if you can get past that hurdle as Liu does, there are more interesting questions to ask. 

Truly: This is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone. Written as a series of love letters between soldiers on opposing sides of a time war, the lyricism and wordplay of this book are sexy as hell. I love that there is a whole TIME WAR happening and, aside from serving as a backdrop and professional context for the protagonists, it is largely unimportant to the story. As with real-world life, desire and a craving for true connection take center stage in this surprising love story.