New sci-fi and science reads for November 2019

There’s been a glut of books published this month, all in readiness for you-know-what next month. But never fear: I have you covered with my picks for the most intriguing and entertaining candidates among the pile.

Beyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars by Andrew Rader
Podcast host and SpaceX mission manager Rader takes us on a historical tour of scientific exploration from Classical times to present day, as well as considering what the future holds for space exploration. Sounds like an entertaining read.

Stone Clock by Andrew Bannister
Complex world-building in this conclusion to the Spin trilogy. Likely to appeal to fans of Alistair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter.

Reality Ahead of Schedule: How Science Fiction Inspires Science Fact by Joel Levy
Okay, so I’m cheating on this one as it came out last month. But with a cover like that, how could I resist? It looks at ideas from classic sci-fi authors and inventors and how these have translated into reality. Did you know, for example, that Nikola Tesla invented a remote-controlled drone ship in 1898!?

The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel H. Wilson, Michael Crichton.
The much-hyped sequel to the Andromeda Strain. Reviews suggest that Wilson has done a decent job of matching his style to Crichton’s. I enjoyed the original–book and movie–so will likely give this a try. Note that despite the rather large author credit, Crichton–who died in 2008–played no part in writing book 2.

Space Exploration–A History in 100 Objects by Sten Odenwald
This sounds like a cool space museum in book form! A journey through space history as seen through the objects and inventions associated with it. The “lunar laser ranging retroreflector” sounds like it comes right out of Star Trek, but no–it was real!

The Last Dance by Martin L. Shoemaker
A near-future mystery with strong characters and plausible science? Did they steal my Ballen spiel? 🙂 Seriously, this sounds like a good read and one that would appeal to fans of classic sci-fi. The author has been published in Analog and Clarkesworld and his work has also appeared in the Gardner Dozois-edited The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection.

The New Voices of Science Fiction Edited by Hannu Rajaniemi & Jacon Weisman
An anthology of short stories (some of them award-winning) published in the last five years representing the latest generation of sci-fi authors. It sounds like an entertaining and very readable collection–a good way to discover new authors.

Some excellent titles there to choose from, whether you’re into fact or fiction–and I think for most sci-fans, it’s both. This column will return in January. Until then, happy reading!

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