October means cozy nights on the couch with a bowl of soup, a blanket, and a good book, or two, to hand. Let’s see which new books might tempt us this month, including a few that might be jostling for position on the “gifts for the sci-fi/science fan in your life” list.
A Traveler’s Guide to the Stars by Les Johnson
The continual discovery of new exoplanets increases the chance that human settlements in space (like my fictional Kwelengsen) could one day become reality. But how do we get there? Thankfully we have NASA scientist and multi-talented author Les Johnson to guide us through the tantalizing possibilities–and challenges–of interstellar travel, including the latest technologies and missions that are focused on just this issue. Let’s set sail to the stars!
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
This near-future thriller from acclaimed short story writer Nayler is garnering comparisons with Gibson and Atwood. It’s based around octopuses that may have developed their own language and culture and examines the price humans will pay to study and/or exploit the powers of this advanced species. Encompassing themes of human consciousness and AI, this is sure to be a contender when it comes to awards season. (For a decidedly less serious octopus connection, check out septapoid Hyperia Jones.)
Too Big for a Single Mind: How the Greatest Generation of Physicists Uncovered the Quantum World by Tobius Hürter
This is a “Who’s Who” from the world of quantum physics. Hürter focuses on the first half of the twentieth century, which brought us names like Einstein, Curie, Heisenberg, and many more. Their body of work was revolutionary at the time, challenging traditional principles of Newtonian physics against a background of the two World Wars. This will be a fascinating read.
The Ray Bradbury Collection edited by Jonathan R. Eller
A new collection of Bradbury’s works that includes his three novels, three story collections, and over thirty other stories. A sure-fire bet for anyone wanting to fill a gap in their classic sci-fi library. And with the current obsession around possibly colonizing Mars, Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles remains a prescient and humbling tale.
Tickets for the Ark by Rebecca Nesbitt
This is a little-discussed topic but one we urgently need to think about. As our resources and habitable land dwindle, what happens to the millions of species we share our planet with? As extinction rates climb, Nesbitt considers where and how conservation can focus its efforts and the ethical dilemmas involved in deciding which species to save.
Return to Glory by Jack McDevitt
If you have space on the shelf next to Ray Bradbury, here’s another collection for you–thirty plus short stories and a signed limited edition hardcover no less. A great way to discover–or re-discover–the work of this author who’s been nominated numerous times for the Hugo and Nebula awards over his long career.
Space Craze: America’s Enduring Fascination with Real and Imagined Spaceflight by Margaret A. Weitekamp
An entertaining look at spaceflight history (real and fictional) in tandem with highlighted objects from the Air and Space Museum’s extraordinary collection. Buck Rogers, Star Trek, the Moon landing, and streaming TV all feature in this must-read for space and sci-fi enthusiasts.
The Janus File by David Weber and Jacob Holo
The third in the Gordian Protocol series and part of the authors’ hugely popular Gordian Division universe, this can also be read as a standalone. A police procedural set in multiple universes, readers can expect plenty of action, sparky characters and humor, along with plenty of the technical details that Weber is known for.
The Song of the Cell by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and researcher Mukherjee tells the story of the cell, from its discovery in the 1600s through to present-day science. He discusses the potential of cell manipulation to revolutionize medical treatment for diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s and many other diseases, while not forgetting the ethical implications and patient stories behind the research. An accessible take on an essential topic.
That’s all for now. Wishing you a happy World Space Week!