After the glut of new releases during the last few months, December’s publication schedule is a little less hectic. But quality over quantity, right? Here are my picks from the latest science and science fiction books, sprinkled with a few seasonally appropriate choices for your holiday reading.
We, Robots edited by Simon Ings
Billed as “Artificial Intelligence in 100 stories” this compendium features a diverse mix of big-names (think Dickens and Asimov) and less well-known writers. The stories are divided into six themes that cover the fictional robot evolution from servant to the point where they replace humans completely. A great addition to the bookshelf or ereader for any sci-fi fan.
Fleet Elements by Walter Jon Williams
If you’re in the mood for some fast-paced, military space opera, this might be just what you’re looking for. A little confusingly, it’s the fifth book in the Dread Empire’s Fall series and also the second installment in the Praxis trilogy. But never mind the details. Start with The Praxis and you’ll be all set!
Memoria by Kristyn Merbeth
And if one space opera’s not enough for you, wait–there’s more! Merbeth’s writing has received positive reviews and comparisons with John Scalzi’s Collapsing Empire series and Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers books. This, the second in the Nova Vita Protocol trilogy, is definitely one to check out.
Snow: A History of the World’s Most Fascinating Flake by Anthony R. Wood
Maybe my least favorite seasonally appropriate topic! But a fresh snowfall can look magical, and here, veteran weather forecaster Wood takes an entertaining look at the science, the history, and our love-hate relationship with the white stuff.
Lockdown Tales by Neal Asher
Fans of Neal Asher and his Polity universe are in for a Christmas treat: a brand new collection of novellas and novelettes from the prolific and popular British sci-fi author. Unlike some of us, he clearly hasn’t been struggling to write this year! 🙂
Canadarm and Collaboration: How Canada’s Astronauts and Space Robots Explore New Worlds by Elizabeth Howell
The Canadarm and much more! Science and space writer Howell takes an in-depth look at Canada’s contributions to space technology since the 1960s. Although the book was released back in October, I only recently heard about it via an interview with the author on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks.
Take a Look at the Five and Ten by Connie Willis
I love the retro feel of the cover, and this novella sounds like the ideal holiday read: neuroscience, comedy, and romance, wrapped up with plenty of nostalgia. One to curl up with for a few hours on a snowy day. (If you like this, you might also enjoy my short story A Place in the Sun).
So that’s the last reads column for 2020, a year when we’ve probably all relied on books for entertainment and escapism more than ever before. I hope you’ve found a few favorites in among my suggestions. Happy reading and good health for the festive season!
Need to catch up?
New reads for November
New reads for October