The Homecoming, by Andrew Pyper (2019)

Horror Fiction
Adult

The Homecoming, by Andrew Pyper

Four members of the Quinlan family – surgeon Aaron, his adored teenaged sister Bridget called Bridge, middle child Franny mourning the son she lost because of her addiction to heroin, and mother Eleanor – gather at Belfountain Estate to hear the terms of Ray Quinlan’s will. A largely absent father and husband, he was a secretive man – no one knew of this spectacular estate, not to mention a sizeable fortune which they stand to inherit. But there’s a catch. The four must stay at Belfountain for 30 days, with no technology or outside contact, starting immediately, or all the money goes to a charity.

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The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

Science Fiction
Adult

The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

In this alternative history of space flight, a meteorite strikes in 1952 just off the east coast of the United States, destroying Washington D.C. and forcing the New White House inland. It also spawns a “meteor winter” and future global warming that threaten humanity’s survival, fomenting the development of rockets a full decade earlier than in real life. But historical reality retains its grip in this novel that spans most of the 1950s – racism abounds, as does a chauvinist perspective that limits women to the role of computers as they perform the mathematical calculations that will launch rockets and eventually put (male) astronauts in space.

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The Spaceship Next Door, by Gene Doucette (2018)

Science Fiction 14-Adult
Here’s a great new sci-fi novel for young adults with great crossover appeal for adults. Sixteen-year-old Annie Collins lives in Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts, where a spaceship landed three years ago. It landed, and has been sitting there ever since. Nothing happened. No alien invasion, no first contact, no “bring me to your leader” or space rays. Nothing. Nada. Oh, sure the military arrived, and an Independence Day-type motorhome camp has been set up with nerdy tech pointed at the squat black ship, but that’s it. Except something has changed, and government analyst Ed Somerville arrives, in the clumsy pretense of a reporter, to figure out just what is going on. The top expert on the spaceship, he’s never set foot in Sorrow Falls before, so General Morris tells him to hire uber-socially connected Annie as his local guide and interpreter. Read More »

Quantum Night, by Robert J. Sawyer (2016)

Science Fiction
Adult
Quantum Night, by Robert J. SawyerRobert J. Sawyer is arguably Canada’s best science fiction writer – winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Aurora awards, along with a lifetime achievement Aurora Award, though he is still in his 50s. A meticulous researcher, his writing pokes at the intersection of science and ethics – what if an extraterrestrial creature unintentionally broke the law? What if a soul could exist apart from a body? Should right to privacy trump technology that would virtually guarantee public safety? Thoughtful stuff. Quantum Night examines the idea of conscience and consciousness. You lose consciousness under surgery, but it comes back. What if one could also “lose” and “gain” a conscience? Read More »

The Gone World, by Tom Sweterlitsch (2018)

Science Fiction
Adult
The Gone World, by Tom SweterlitschFirst, take your time in reading this book. It is not one to rush. It’s to be savoured, taking time to ponder the latest plot twists as you try to figure out what the heck is going on! It’s at heart a mystery set in a science fiction world, not unlike the film Inception. In fact, I predict you’ll be seeing this story on the big screen in a year or two. Shannon Moss is a criminal investigator for the U.S. Navy. It’s 1997, and she’s called into the case of what appears to be a domestic murder involving a Navy SEAL. A wife and two children are dead, and both the eldest daughter and the husband are missing. But what the police don’t know is that the husband is actually an astronaut whose spaceship Libra and its entire crew is missing, lost during a secret trip to the future. Read More »

Artemis, by Andy Weir (2017)

Science Fiction
Adult
Artemis, by Andy WeirOh how we have been waiting for this book! Weir won international fame for his first novel, The Martian, which (as I, ahem, predicted) then blew us away as a blockbuster movie. Sophomore efforts often pale after such a success, and Weir makes a pretty good effort here. Set in the not-too-distant future, Artemis is a small colony of about 2000 on the moon. Jazz Bashara has lived there for two decades, since she was six years old. A non-practising Muslim, she makes a living as a deliveryperson with a profitable side gig as a small-time smuggler. Despite the constant hussle, her bank balance is dismally low, a problem as she has a debt to pay, and wants a better place to live where she doesn’t have to pad down the hall to a communal bathroom. Read More »

Zero Repeat Forever, by G.S. Prendergast (2017)

Science Fiction
14-18
Zero Repeat Forever, by G.S. PrendergastCalgary teens Raven, her boyfriend Tucker, and Tucker’s twin Topher are all sent to do community service as camp counsellors in the Alberta foothills of the Canadian Rockies. While they are in training, aliens called Nahx invade Earth, and the teen campers are left to fend for themselves. Their only hope is to hunker down, “sheltering in place” and wait for a rescue, but weeks pass and no one comes. When a Nahx kills Tucker while he is on a hunt for food, Raven and Topher swear revenge. But are all the Nahx killers? Eighth is a Nahx who struggles against the directives to “Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.” When Eighth uncovers Raven’s hiding place, he chooses to not dart her, but instead protects her from the other Nahx. Read More »