The Ferryman

by Justin Cronin

A utopian dystopia (dystopian utopia—and aren’t they all?) starts unraveling when Proctor Bennett starts dreaming.

On the one hand, it’s a much-used formula. On the other hand it’s a pretty good formula as long as you haven’t read The Giver or The Hunger Games or Red Rising or watched Elysium or Æon Flux or Pleasantville or played BioShock too recently. And as long as the formula comes with a good twist, which The Ferryman does. I could hardly put it down.

The Book of Joan

by Lidia Yuknavitch

Humans living on a space station run by a twisted demagogue cover themselves in grafted-on skin flaps to make up for the loss of their reproductive organs. While they die out from an inability to reproduce, a few humans survive on the Earth below in isolated underground pockets, and one of them may have the ability to restore the planet. One skin-grafting storyteller begins branding herself with the story of Joan, fomenting a rebellion on the station that spreads to the surface.

This book is just weird. Not good-weird. Just weird.


by Carrie Vaughn

A post-apocalyptic murder mystery. Decades after economic and environmental collapse, a string of modest communities on the West Coast are committed to sustainability and avoiding the mistakes of the past. Only those households that have demonstrated their value to the community earn a banner—the right to have a child. This book considers what crime and punishment would look like in such a setting.

Vaughn’s optimistic take on post-apocalyptic storytelling sucked me right in. I loved Enid the Investigator and thinking about what justice would have to look like in such a setting. One of the better books I read this year.

The Departure

by Neal Asher

I’m a big fan of Neal Asher’s Polity Universe, so I was trying to figure out if I missed anything. I didn’t. But it turns out he wrote another sci-fi series. It’s good! This guy basically upgrades himself by merging with an AI, saves the planet from a space station that can kill anyone, any time, and hijacks the space station to rescue his sister from Mars. Echoes of the Polity Universe in a compelling series of its own. Loved it.