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For today’s top five post thingamajig, I wanted to share with you some obscure titles that are on my to-be-read list (this thing is bigger than Middle Earth, I swear it). One of the things that I love the most about this genre is that there are so many strange and eccentric narratives out there; ones that aren’t very popular or known very much at all. From my past reading experiences, these types of titles end up being some of the finest that the science-fiction genre has to offer. Additionally, they tend to have the greatest, cheesiest book covers as well, which just adds to overall pleasure.
I went ahead and chose books that I physically own, but sort of forgot about after I moved into my new house (about three years ago). I was recently polishing my shelves when came across these babies, and felt compelled to toss them into a list of some sorts. Viola! Here we are.
Please, take a look at these books and let me know if any of them sound remotely interesting to you, or if you have already read them!
5. The Sensory Deception by Ransom Stephens
Okay, I’m cheating with this book as it technically belongs to Sir Betrothed. I stole it from them while they were putting their new bookshelf together. The premise sounded too good not to steal. No regrets!
The Sensory Deception is a hard science-fiction novel steeped in technology and physics about a venture capitalist who after interactively experiencing what is feels like to be a polar bear, realises that she has found something truly remarkable and revolutionary. A group of geeky engineers and neurologists have created a sensory saturation virtual reality system that drops users into the psyches of endangered animals as they fight for survival. These individuals come together, strongly believing that they have found a way to turn indifferent masses of people into avid environmentalists.
4. Proxima By Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter is not an obscure name when it comes to the science-fiction genre, but I believe his novel, Proxima is (for me anyway) as it’s one that I have never heard of before. A lot of that has to do with the fact that it was written only a few years ago, and modern science-fiction isn’t something I kept up with back then.
Proxima is a space opera about a person named Yuri, who is a reluctant settler on the planet Proxima Centauri; one planet within a red dwarf star. It’s a promising land that could be the answer to help maintaining the never-ending existence of humankind. But before it can become this saving grace, it must be colonised. A feat no one wants to partake in as it’s hard, back-breaking work with no glory. However, when no one wants the job, you must force the job onto someone and that someone is Yuri.
3. Recursion by Tony Ballantyne
Tony Ballantyne is a British author who has shown a lot of potential with his novels Dream London & Dream Paris. He’s quite visionary. So, when I realised I had some of his earlier works, it was a no-brainer as to whether or not I wanted to read them.
Recursion is a futuristic novel—the first in a trilogy—the revolves around sentient AI (artificial intelligence). Anyone who knows my blog thus far will know that I couldn’t have a list of sci-fi and not put a book about AI on it. The story takes place in the twenty-third century, and follows Herb, an aspiring entrepreneur. He travels to an isolated planet where he has illegally been building a city, yet upon his return to the plant he finds his dream project in ruins as it has been overrun by self-replicating machinery (anyone who as seen Stargate SG-1 should immediately see some bugs in their heads, and then further understand the appeal of this thing for me). As if that wasn’t bad enough, the all-knowing Environment Agency knows about his illegal shenanigans and as punishment has banished him to far reaches of the universe to fight a terrible battle alongside an AI who may not be what he claims…
2. Expendable by James Alan Gardner
Another non-obscure author from the genre, Gardner has written many novels that have ranged from traditional sci-fi to pretty damn fucking strange sci-fi. Expendable is one that I have read before, but it has been years since then, and I don’t remember enough other than the fact that I really liked it. This is another one that hasn’t received much love or attention.
Expendable is an interstellar, space opera novel and the first book in the League of Peoples series. Under the benevolent rule of the League Peoples, there has been very little crimes, no war, and life is quite sacred. The only exception to the last rule is explorers, who are ugly and flawed. They consist of misfits and deformed folks that are utterly unwanted. They are tossed to the far reaches of the galaxy to investigate hostile planets and vicious creatures. Festina Ramos is an explorer, who is highly-trained and rising in the dwindling ranks of the Expendable Crew Members. When her and her partner, Varrun, are ordered to escort an unstable Admirable Chee to a place called “The Planet of No Return,” they encounter a most unusual race of beings and quickly understand why no one survives the visit.
1. Saturn’s Race by Larry Nevin & Steve Barnes
If there is anything that I cannot resist when it comes to books, it’s going to have to be creature features, especially shark narratives. This one… let’s just say it takes the best of science-fiction and creature features and squishes them together to create a story that will either be fantastically brilliant or brilliantly godawful. I mean, look at that cover!
Saturn’s Race is a hard sci-fi novel that takes place on a planet called Xanadu, a near-perfect society that hosts the wealthiest people from Earth. Yet, with that perfection comes a dangerous and shocking truth that would stun the galaxy to disbelief if it were ever revealed. When Lenore Myles, a student travelling to Xanadu for research, through various circumstances, finds herself in the secret laboratories housing the planet’s secrets, she gets hunted by Saturn, a mysterious entity that moves violently in order to protect security breaches. Xanadu cannot risk Lenore making it out and sharing the dark, dirty truths that could threaten to destroy the galaxy’s richest and most technologically-advanced civilisation.
Alrighty, those are all of the obscure science-fiction novels on my TBR list that I consider to be priority above all the others. That last one definitely sounds like something I would adore the most and I hope one day soon I will conquer that sucker.