The Martian was a phenomenon – at least, that’s how I see it! But it’s not just me: this book was a massive hit and was even turned into a film starring Matt Damon. Nuff said. The humour was impeccable and the science fascinating.
Sometimes all you want to do is escape into space. There’s a reason so many of us love movies like Star Wars, Star Trek and The Guardians of the Galaxy… sometimes you just want to go to a planet far, far away and explore the ‘verse.
It’s the same with sci-fi books, is it not? For those of you who loved The Martian by Andy Weir, here is a list of 8 books you should read!
Do You Dream of Terra-Two?
by Temi Oh
“This book was beautifully written. Temi Oh has a way of exploring emotions that is so raw and moving that it ripped straight through my chest and into my heart. Her characters felt so real to me. Their pain and fear, their uncertainties and desires, all seeped into me as I read, to the point where it felt like I was the one going off into space and leaving everything I knew behind.”
I meant every word. I really enjoyed this book and urge you to pick it up. It has a slow burn aspect to it, much like The Martian, but this time our protagonists are young adults – so this is perfect for younger folk looking for a great space read!
Buy Do You Dream of Terra-Two? here.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
by Becky Chambers
Longlisted for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is a profound and delightful novel that will whisk you away into the deepness of space.
Protagonist Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer with low expectations. She is desperate for a peaceful place to hide from her troubled past and this is the perfect spot.
That is, until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. Lots of money incoming. Sounds good, right? Sure does… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space.
Definitely pick this one up! You won’t regret it.
Buy The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet here.
by Andy Weir
If you loved The Martian, then of course you should check out author Andy Weir’s other novel Artemis!
This high concept thriller is set in a city called Artemis – the first city on the moon with a tiny population of just 2,000 people. Mostly tourists. Some criminals. What could go wrong?
The story follows Jazz Bashara, one of the criminals inhabiting this moon-city. Jazz is poor, working as a smuggler to make ends meet. But it’s not enough.
So when Jazz is offered the chance to make a lot of money she jumps at it. Who wouldn’t? Living on the moon, barely getting by…
Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One, had this to say about Artemis: “Weir has done it again: he’s created a diverse and fantastic new world, filled with eclectic and memorable characters, and woven them into a dazzling work of contemporary science fiction!”
Buy Artemis here.
by Alastair Reynolds
And, of course, revenge.
Revenger is a sci-fi tale of epic proportions. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride with Captain Rackamore and his crew.
Their business? To find forgotten worlds that have been hidden away (and booby-trapped) and crack them open for the ancient relics and awesome tech inside.
Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of the crew. Their mission? To save their family from bankruptcy.
Since Rackamore has many enemies in space – and lots of competition – this isn’t going to be an easy job for anyone involved.
Buy Revenger here.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams isn’t just a classic. It’s a mega-cult-blockbuster-bestseller. It’s epic and the world knows it.
For those of you who haven’t read it, this is the gist. One Thursday lunchtime Earth is unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this is already more than he can cope with.
Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun. And the Galaxy is a very, very large and startling place indeed…
Buy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy here.
by Emily St. John Mandel
While not set in space, I had to include Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel on my list.
The reason? For me, it had a similar sense of isolation to it that I felt when reading The Martian.
In Station Eleven, the world has been all but wiped out by a plague (I’m talking like 99% of the world’s population) and this tells the story of a few survivors trying to make ends meet.
This isn’t a big explosive book. There are no epic wars. There is no big-bad-evil-corporation that needs to be defeated in order to restore Earth to it’s somewhat-former glory. No. This is a quiet, reflective and adventurous book about a new world and those left behind to inhabit it.
Like The Martian, I found myself deeply moved by the simplicity of it. This is a stunning book and you must read it!
Buy Station Eleven here.
The Three-Body Problem
by Cixin Liu
“A marvellous melange of awe-inspiring scientific concepts, clever plotting and quirky yet plausible characters, all conveyed in in a plain style capable of signalling hidden depths.” – The Times.
“A milestone in Chinese science fiction.” – New York Times.
“Even what doesn’t happen is epic.” – London Review of Books.
Do I need to go on? Nope, didn’t think so. The reviews of The Three-Body Problem speak for themselves.
Buy The Three-Body Problem here.
The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin
I’ve had a deep love for Ursula K. Le Guin ever since I fell in love with her Earthsea books. Then I picked up a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness when I was in the Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris (*swoon*) and was instantly reminded of why I love her work.
The Left Hand of Darkness is a beautiful, thoughtful, and powerful novel that reminds me so much of The Martian. It’s another ‘quiet’ book that really gets you thinking.
This is the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning masterpiece that has become one of the all-time greats of sci-fi.
Protagonist Genly Ali is an ethnologist observing the people of the planet Gethen, a world perpetually in winter. These people are androgynous, normally neuter, but they can become male or female at the peak of their sexual cycle. To him they are wholly alien, not to mention unsophisticated and confusing.
But before long, Genly is swallowed up by the complex politics of this planet. Go figure!
Buy The Left Hand of Darkness here.
So that’s my list! If you haven’t read some of the books on the list, I hope you’ll take my word for it and try them out.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
About the Contributor
Before entering the exciting world of books, Bronwyn served in the Royal Australian Air Force, travelled extensively and worked (still does!) as a barista on the weekends. Books are her true passion. Bronwyn's debut fantasy novel Relic is coming out in 2019 with indie publishing house Talem Press. They are to publish her entire trilogy called The Relic Trilogy. In her spare time, Bronwyn writes, reads and enjoys keeping fit (which she undoes by eating loads of chocolate) with Martial Arts and personal training. She can't answer what her favourite book is but she has a soft spot for Peter Pan (J.M Barrie), Outlander (Diana Gabaldon), Stardust (Neil Gaiman), The Illuminae Files (Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman) and Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo). Fantasy, sci-fi and YA make up the majority of her bookshelves.
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