I value the gift of books and hope you’ll use my recommendations to fill the stockings of your science fiction and fantasy loving friends and family members.
Before I give you my short list of recommendations, I want to tell you that the links below help support my podcast through Amazon.com’s affiliate program. As I’ve mentioned on my podcast several times, I’d always rather you get your books at independent or local bookstores. However, if you’re using Amazon, I’d appreciate it if you’d use my link.
My number one pick for the holiday season is Zen Cho’s Black Water Sister, an urban fantasy set in Malaysia. I thought Zen’s book was a great mix family drama, fantasy, lore, and eastern myth. Not only is her writing good, but she interviews very well also. Listen to episode 52 to see what I mean. Get a copy of Black Water Sister and enjoy the read.
Number 2 on my list goes to C. Robert Cargill’s Day Zero, which I read in about three days this year and cried at the end. I believe it’s his best work. It is the prequel to his previous novel, Sea of Rust, which I also read this year and enjoyed. We discussed both of those books on Episode 51.
Rounding out my top three is Xueting Christine Ni’s anthology called Sinopticon 2021. Xueting joined me on a very informative podcast episode to talk about putting together this translated anthology. Enjoy that episode and then pick up a copy of the book to read different perspectives on future tech and culture.
All Systems Red, by Martha Wells, is number 4 on my list. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to have Martha on the show, but I’m hoping to have her on in the future. All Systems Red comes with a really good price and I think you’ll enjoy the story about a cyborg who wants to be more than she is.
Honorable mention goes to Andy Weir, celebrated author of The Martian and most recently, Project Hail Mary. Andy joined my show for episode 50, and Andy was just a real treat. I really enjoyed Project Hail Mary, and I think you will too.
Recommendations for those wanting to start a series:
1. Derek Kunsken’s Quantum Evolution series, starting with Quantum Magician. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Derek Kunsken is a great writer and an even better person. I’ve always been a fan of his writing. Quantum Magician will get you on his fan list too. You get an Oceans’ 11 feel in space with galactic-level stakes. Listen to episode 20 to learn more about his series. Get a copy of Quantum Magician and enjoy the heist!
2. Michael Mammay wrote a trio of great books about an old warrior who is too tired to care what people think about him and too stubborn to let something go when he thinks he’s onto something. I enjoyed all three books immensely. I think you will too. Get book one, Planetside, and see for yourself! Oh, and once you’ve got the book, listen to the most recent podcast episode where we talk about the whole series!
That’s it for this year. For sure these aren’t the only books I enjoyed, nor are they the only books you should consider. But for me personally, these are my top picks. Enjoy!