2023 is here! And what better way to ring in the New Year than with some scintillating sci-fi and science to while away the long winter evenings. Here are some hot reads for cold nights!
Why Does Math Work…If It’s Not Real?: Episodes in Unreasonable Effectiveness by Dragan Radulovi??
An intriguing look at how certain mathematical concepts that appeared “useless” in their day have turned out to be vital foundations of modern technologies. Using anecdotes and humor, theoretical mathematician Radulovi? peels back the layers of how the mathematical research process works.
The Last Resort by Michael Kaufman
My first fiction pick this month, set just over a decade from now in a climate-ravaged Washington, D.C., is sure to appeal to fans of sci-fi murder mystery and police procedurals. After an environmental lawyer is found dead, police detective Jen Lu suspects murder and embarks on a dangerous investigation with her unconventional partner: a synthetic brain implant with an oversize personality.
The Matter of Everything: How Curiosity, Physics, and Improbable Experiments Changed the World by Dr. Suzie Sheehy
A new sub-title and cover for the North American release of this title that was selected as one of the top popular science books in the UK last year. Accelerator physicist and science communicator Sheehy breaks down a complex topic into the nuts and bolts of twelve individual experiments, allowing us to appreciate the intricate and creative work that leads to new groundbreaking theories and discoveries.
Critical Mass by Daniel Suarez
Following on from the hugely popular Delta-V, this high-tech, high-stakes story conveys the all-too-likely political and environmental challenges facing us as we pursue an off-world economy. When two astronauts, part of a commercial asteroid-mining project, are left stranded in space, their colleagues undertake a daring and innovative rescue mission. Heavy on the science detail, this will appeal if you enjoy Andy Weir and Michael Crichton.
What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner by Dan Levitt
Prepare to be dissected! In a completely non-gory and fascinating way, that is. The atoms in our bodies–and it turns out we contain a lot of them–owe their existence to the Big Bang. Award-winning documentary maker Levitt traces their journey through distance and time, charting the stories of the scientists whose work has led to a better understanding of what exactly we’re made of.
The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz
An unconventional and intriguing read from the author of The Future of Another Timeline, the story is split into three sections, centuries apart. The inhabitants, human and alien, of a distant planet battle to protect their ecosystem against corporate exploitation, uncovering some deeply-buried secrets along the way. If you’re looking for something a little different with fantastic worldbuilding, this is a great choice.
Remnants of Ancient Life: The New Science of Ancient Fossils by Dale Greenwalt
Fossils are not only dead lumps of rock but also key to understanding so much of our biological and environmental history. Here, Greenwalt focuses on the study of biomolecules–pigments, protein, and DNA, that allow an understanding not just of the behavior of an individual creature, but also patterns in evolution itself. This is a fascinating historical and scientific journey, reaching back tens of billions of years.
Hamlet, Prince of Robots by M. Darusha Wehm
If you’re looking to start the year with something quirky and amusing, but also thought-provoking, Wehm’s Shakespeare/sci-fi mash-up is an ideal choice. Humanoid androids have arrived, but the Hamlet v1 model soon comes to a sticky end. His successor, Hamet v2, vows revenge. But juggling v1’s memories and his own feelings is not going to be straightforward.
Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature’s Secrets to Longevity by Nicklas Brendborg
Do you want to live forever? Then it’s time to catch up on the science of longevity, presented in an accessible and entertaining style by Danish biotech researcher Brendborg. Combining research and stories from the natural world, he shows that many species are way ahead of us when it comes to the secrets of long life. And yes, it’s true–jellyfish really can reverse, then re-start, the aging process!
Will any of these earn a place on your 2023 TBR list? Happy New Year, and cheers to plenty of great reading ahead!