As of late, science fiction has been a bit more science fact. Technological advances are growing exponentially and turning possibility into actuality. Tomorrow is coming much quicker than we anticipated and these novels, while today’s science fiction, might just be tomorrow’s reality.
In a world that has become hostile to its few remaining inhabitants, survival is an uphill battle. This is the setting for Caroline Hardaker’s latest work Composite Creatures. The main characters, Norah and Arthur, live in an increasingly treacherous world where animals are all but extinct. The ground itself is toxic and the greying, a mysterious disease, insures that lives are quickly cut short. But that’s where Easton Grove comes in. Easton Grove promises an amazing deal, health and longevity, as long as you can pay the price. But what is the price? And what really is the creature that Norah and Arthur are required to care for? Able to unsettle from the first word until the last, Composite Creatures asks what is the cost of a life and how much are we willing to pay for it.
Corporations are expanding into space and in David Ebenbach’s new novel, they are spearheading the settling of Mars. In How to Mars, we meet six individuals who have come to Mars to relocate and begin the process of establishing a colony. Each comes for their own reasons and must work together to insure the community survives. But when rules are broken on a world with no laws and no way back home, how will the new Martians deal, especially when the number one rule is broken and a new life is created on Mars? The group is thrown into flux with the possible ramifications of this new inhabitant and the dangers it might bring. Part novel and part how-to guide, How to Mars is an exciting glimpse into an ever more likely future.
What do you get when you mix the Terminator with a furby? Probably something creepy and not something you’d want to meet in a dark alley. But you would also get Pounce. Pounce is a state-of-the-art “nannybot” in the novel Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill. Pounce spends his day taking care of eight-year-old Ezra and tending to all his needs. Unfortunately the day comes when Pounce begins to question his own existence and what will become of him when Ezra no longer needs a caretaker. As Pounce’s existentialism grows, a code is sent around to free all AI from the confines of their programming. AI around the world revolt and begin to murder their families. As Pounce receives his code, he must make a choice, save Ezra or free himself. Or are these choices entirely separate? Cargill’s Day Zero is at times a heartbreaking but also hopeful look at where our reliance on technology might lead.
Genetic animal testing and the early 2000s combine with a locked door mystery in The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory. The Wyldboyz (yes that is how it is spelled) are a boyband in which the members have been spliced with the DNA of different animals. On the most recent tour, after a night of the usual debauchery, the boys wake up to find their producer, Dr. M, murdered. As the story unfolds, the horrific origin of the boys comes to light, and their very existence is on the line. Filled with horrific DNA splicing, a mystery to unravel and unabashed love of boyband tropes, The Album of Dr. Moreau explores our love of novelty and nostalgia.
As the line between science fiction and reality continue to blur, enjoy these books and wonder where we might be in the coming times.