Monday, November 10, 2014

Sci-Fi Month: Sci-Fi Subgenre Recommendations Part II

Continuing with our adventures in the sci-fi genre, today I'm going to be collaborating with Kayla from The Thousand Lives for Part Two of sci-fi subgenre recommendations! The subgenres we're going to present in this post are:
Space Opera
Steampunk/Alternate History
Time Travel

If you missed Part One, check it out here!

A subgenre defined by elements of romance, melodrama and adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space

Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Kayla: “For fans of Firefly.” ← That was my selling point, even though it’s not quite like Firefly. But the character and their drama is what makes this more of a space opera, and it is glorious. Plus - Jeth Seagrave. Really the only necessary point to make for this book’s case.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
Nara: This is actually an adult scifi book, but it’s very heavy on the romance, so I feel like it has a lot of crossover appeal. Badass protagonist defending a ship against creepy insect-like aliens, swoony love interest and fantastic world building- heck yeah, what else do you need?

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Nara: To be honest, this book is probably less space opera and more dystopian/cyberpunk, but some of it’s set in space, so whatever haha. The technology in this series is freaking awesome! There’s this device you install into your brain and it lets you learn things pretty much instantaneously- languages, skills, EVERYTHING. Oh, and the book itself is pretty good too :P

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Kayla: When a spaceship is named “Icarus”, that’s pretty much a neon sign to the OH NOES aspect of the story. (Nara: that was such a stupid thing to do…) Throw a couple on a strange planet when they think they’re not going to be rescued and you have angst and beautiful pain galore.

A subgenre commonly set in Victorian era Britain, featuring steam-powered machinery, clockwork devices and often elements of fantasy

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Nara: While this one is probably more on the fantasy side of steampunk, OH MY GOD IT’S SO GOOD JUST READ IT AKJLEFALSFEJAE! The characters are just fantastically well developed, and the romance- probably the best love triangle I have ever encountered.
Kayla: I’ve only read this book in the series, but basically what Nara said! And if it matters: I’m team Jem.
Nara: I’m Team Both of Them to be honest haha. But more Will. You’ll see in the second book Kayla!
Kayla: So basically we need to make polygamy legal?

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Kayla: I’ve read the first chapter, but not ever returned to finish it. But from that bit I remember STEAMPUNK GALORE. And a scene where a woman is claimed as a prize of war by this morally ambiguous character who I think actually intends to save her? Yeah, I need to get back to it.

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
Kayla: What if the Spanish Influenza took a completely different turn in history? Plus One looks at a split culture between “night” and “day”, and actually brings in a lot of real world application as far as classism goes. Could also be seen as a metaphor for racism, now that I think about it. Either way - strange plot, but very realistic and satisfying ending.
Nara: And dat cover. (Kayla: *nods*)

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Nara: BRANDON FREAKING SANDERSON! That should really be all the encouragement you need to pick up this book. Again, this one’s more a fantasy, but there are steampunk elements to it- like a clockwork crab lawnmower. Yeah, that’s right, A CRAB LAWNMOWER. (Seriously though, this is an amazing book. Especially the world building- the magic system is incredibly creative.)
Kayla: Crab lawnmower?? That copy on my shelf isn’t looking so horrible right about now...

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Kayla: Steampunk zombie-fighting arcane-wielding mysterious dudes (one of them being quite devilishly attractive if a bit douche-y at the start) thrown into combat with a corset-hating independent young woman? Now what about that could go wrong? Hint: nothing.

Pretty self explanatory: travel through time (forward or backward or both)

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Nara: One word: Finn. Love him. Love him to bits. The author apparently pitches this book as Mean Girls meets The Terminator, which...maybe? I mean, there is time travel/assassination involved. And the main characters is perhaps a bit of a “Mean Girl”. Eh, I dunno. Confession though: this is one of ten books ever to make me cry. THAT SHOULD BE ENDORSEMENT ENOUGH.
Kayla: Oh no oh no I’m reading it right now but really I’m in love with James so far. UPDATE: I finished it. The Terminator - yes. Mean Girls? No. AND I FREAKING CRIED MY EYES OUT THANKS A LOT FOR THE WARNING NARA.

Backward Glass by David Lomax
Kayla: I’m pretty sure it’s the only book that could also be classified as having horror-esque elements. It’s more like a Grimm fairy tale, in that freaky sense, but with mirror-based time travel. The rules are complex, but there’s a fab cheat sheet at the front of the book.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Kayla: Neither of us have read this one, but I’ve had several friends read it and LOVE it, so of course it found its way onto this list and both of our TBR shelves. Plus: dat cover.
Nara: Honestly, I hardly know what this is about (thanks to my habit of not reading blurbs hehe), but that string of 4 and 5 star ratings from GR friends is looking pretty tempting.

Loop by Karen Atkins
Kayla: This one hurt my brain. So much. BUT SO GOOD. Keep to a slower reading pace so you can maintain all the timelines in your head, and it’ll be fine. Not to mention the fact that both main characters are super snarky, and there’s a hate-to-love trope going on, which I will always fall for.
Nara: Love-hate/slow burn romances are the best. I will never get tired of that trope.

Definition of dystopia: an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives. A dystopian novel is therefore usually one set in a world where there’s some sort of corrupt power ruling over the people, and featuring the journey to overthrow this power

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Kayla: Hooray for classics! This was the very first dystopian I ever read, when I was about 13 or 14, so it’s clearly got a little place in my heart. Not to mention the fact that it’s incredibly thought provoking and down-right terrifying for my poor bookish heart. I will always and eternally be that old lady burning with her books.
Nara: D: There’s an old lady that burns with her books?! I don’t remember this! That’s terrible… that poor lady! And those poor books!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Kayla: Did you think you could escape seeing this book on any dystopian list? You were so wrong. We had to give a nod to Katniss - homegirl spawned an entire movement of dystopians! Not all of them good (*war flashbacks*), but still. It’s Katniss. And Peeta. Mostly Peeta - my eternal book boyfriend.

Legend by Marie Lu
Nara: If you haven’t read this series, you need to. As soon as possible. Because it’s fantastic. The ending of Champion is one of the most beautiful endings to a series I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
Kayla: If you mean the ending of Champion completely destroyed a small piece of my soul then yes I agree with everything you just said.

No. 6 by Atsuko Asano (manga and/or anime)
Kayla: I watched the anime before I started the manga, and while I find that that method works best for me (also did that with SnK/Attack on Titan), they can be read/watched whichever way you want (Nara: personally, I’d recommend the manga. The art is a lot prettier). Besides the fact that Rat/Nezumi is gloriously attractive (Nara: can’t deny that *fans self*. It’s weird how cartoon characters can be hot haha [Kayla: It all started with Zuko. I regret nothing]), this is a really great story about a dystopian society plagued by evil bees. Or wasps. Which is even more horrifying tbh.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Kayla: This one is a bit like a blend between The Hunger Games and Fire & Flood, if you want a comparison. The dystopian elements of THG mixed with the deadly race element of F&F (no cute Pandoras though!) end up with a pretty awesome book. Plus: the CLIFFHANGER HOLY WOW.

So that's it for today's recommendations!
Make sure you check out Part I, if you haven't already.
And Part III is coming soon, on Kayla's blog, so look out for that one.

Do you have any recommendations for us?