Mankind is witnessing enormous progress in the area of space exploration. People are viewing live broadcasts of rocket launches, and NASA sends signals from the dark deepness of space. The Universe is getting closer and closer to us. Who knows, maybe one day the most exciting sci-fi books, some of which we are presenting you this week, will seem like realistic drama novels.
Best books: The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian is the type of science fiction books that depicts events which just a hundred years ago would have been absolutely unrealistic. It would have seemed like a fairy tale. Nowadays, the book seems conceivable, as if everything in it had happened in real life.
The realistic setting achieves the effect where everything conforms to the laws of the Universe. The author never stops reminding the reader, using physics, chemistry, and biology as the basis of the plot.
This is a fictional story about an astronaut Mark Watney, who finds himself stranding alone on Mars. What’s even worse, without the means of communicating with his base on Earth.
Moreover, nobody knows that he is alive. He has got a month’s worth of supplies, and it will be four years before another NASA expedition arrives.
The situation reminds readers of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or episodes from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Both authors devote much attention to the survival of their characters in the wilderness.
What’s next in the books?
The plot, though simple, is still fascinating and intriguing, focusing on the main protagonist’s amazing will to live. The possibility of overcoming desperation and frustration appears as well, but it impresses the reader with creative and smart solutions at the same time.
It takes a miracle to pull this off, but Andy Weir manages to do both in his debut novel. Another advantage of the novel is the author’s constant play with the style of the text.
Firstly, we are reading Mark’s diary (by the way, Mark is incredibly smart and sophisticated).
Then we are on Earth, allowed to observe the routine and daily problems of NASA workers or Mark’s former team members.
At the same time, the author allows us to read family letters or even conversations (practically scientific texts) describing professional issues or objects.
The wonderful plot intersections, easy-to-read language, good humor, and perfect timing make it nearly impossible to take even a short break from reading this book.
As if this were not enough, the author heats up the atmosphere. In certain episodes it does to the point where the book starts to feel like a psychological thriller that makes your spine shiver.
But the main thing is that this isn’t just a story about survival in harsh conditions. It’s a story about people, humanity, self-sacrifice, and helping each other out.
Andy Weir directs our dreamy gaze less to the stars far away and more. He comes to those who live on the same planet with us – the people all around us.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
The Galactic Hegemony, the planets of which are inhabited by descendants of Old Earth, is preparing for a final war with the Ousters, “interstellar barbarians.”
An old prophecy states that in these last days several chosen ones are to be sent to Hyperion. There they will solve a mystery, connected with the Time Tombs, and meet a horrifying creature – the Shrike.
Hyperion is one of those books that binds together several different plots, gently knitted together by the author. The unhurried, epic scale of the novel, based on realistic and thorough details of the world and its characters, keeps you from closing the book and setting it aside.
The themes of Hyperion reach almost anything that fantasy authors of the twentieth century have written about. Here you will find cosmic voyages, planet colonization, contact with extraterrestrial civilizations, time traveling, genetic-, biologic- and nano-engineering, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality…
The book also has serious philosophical notions combined with a powerful text composition, and strong, dark symbols.
The main characters are both charismatic and interesting. Hyperion is more than just a book in the fantasy section. It is worthy of a place among the great fiction literature of the twentieth century.
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
The story Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein is yet another masterpiece in the sci-fi books genre. The author is famous for writing books that can reach beyond the borders of any mind.
People who are capable of creating such masterpieces – whole worlds and planets, inhabited by fantastic creatures – deserve nothing but unconditional admiration.
At the same time, the plot is intriguing, and elaborating even the smallest details.
Starship Troopers tells the reader about a figment of Heinlein’s imagination, a boundless galaxy where there is a war between humans and insects.
It also narrows about the evolution of bugs and the struggle of a man to become a real “citizen”. Juan “Johnny” Rico is a young man from a middle-class family, living in the Terran Federation of Earth.
When war breaks out between mankind and the Arachnids of Klendahu, he decides to join the ranks of the mobile infantry. The “bugs” are getting smarter and more cunning, wiping out entire cities. They lure the human troops into traps, and kill them mercilessly.
The book holds you intrigued and fascinated up to the last page; you won’t be able to stop reading until you find out who won this vicious war – the war of development and progress.
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