New sci-fi and science reads for September 2021

Hope you had a great summer and are feeling in peak condition to begin priming your to-read list for the fall season. This month sees the release of a special new edition of Leviathan Wakes, to mark its ten-year anniversary. But if you’re already up-to- date on your Expanse reading, don’t despair. The conclusion to the series is coming in November, and in the meantime, there are plenty of other intriguing new sci-fi and science titles to investigate!

Our Biggest Experiment: an Epic History of the Climate Crisis by Alice Bell
A very readable history of climate change and energy use, with profiles of the scientists who first sounded the alarm. These include Eunice Newton Foote who, all the back in 1856, warned about the effects of CO2 in our atmosphere. Bell also covers the evolution of environmental groups and climate science skeptics.

Invisible Sun by Charles Stross
If you enjoy techno-thrillers with tangled timelines, the third installment of the Empire Games is for you. Plenty of political intrigue, espionage, and even some robotic alien invaders to add to the mix in this high-stakes, inter-dimensional adventure.

Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World by Michael J. Benton, illustrations by Bob Nicholls
A collaboration between a paleontologist and a paleoartist (a new word to me), this book vividly brings to life the latest in dinosaur research. Technological advances and new fossil finds have led to more accurate re-creation of what these amazing creatures looked like, and each chapter sheds new light on a specific dinosaur species.

The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel
A dystopian, cyberpunk mystery set in a near-future New York where genetic editing and body modifications are commonplace. A baseball scout, with his own body image issues, is hired to investigate the murder of his best friend. Sounds like a refreshingly different read.

Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution by Elsa Panciroli
Mammals, it turns out, have been around for over three hundred million years, co-existing with dinosaurs rather than succeeding them. Fascinating science, an engaging writing style, and a refreshing acknowledgment of the historical colonialism within the field of paleontology make this a standout title.

The Truth and Other Stories by Stanislaw Lem
Best known in more recent times for his novel Solaris, Polish author Lem was a prolific short story writer and twelve of those are collected here, nine of them translated into English for the very first time. Spanning a period of fifty years, many of the often humorous stories feature AI and provide an excellent introduction to a classic sci-fi author.

Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters by Steven Pinker
How is our society simultaneously becoming more sophisticated yet ever more stupid? Canadian psychologist Pinker attempts to answer this timely question, and considers how important skills like critical thinking lead to better decisions for us as individuals and for the population as a whole.

Activation Degradation by Marina L. Lostetter
One to recommend to fans of Murderbot, this new standalone (for the moment at least :-)) features Unit Four, a newly activated robot protecting a valuable mining station. But its programming is veering off course, leading it on a gritty, action-packed journey of discovery.

Fire and Ice: The Volcanoes of the Solar System by Natalie Starkey
We tend to think of volcanoes as Earth phenomena, yet they are scattered around our entire solar system, notably the Moon and Mars. Starkey, a geochemist and StarTalk Radio host, provides an accessible and informative exploration of the topic, including how study of volcanic activity can help in the quest to discover whether there is life on other planets.

That’s all for this month. Let me know in the comments which of these titles grabs your attention the most, and happy reading!

Need to catch up?
New reads for August
New reads for July

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