On the occasion of the imaginary month, The Pathfinder has selected the five SF novels, this inventive literary genre, to read at least once in your life.
1 One year spaceby Becky Chambers
First volume of the cycle of Traveler (Hugo Award for Best Literary Series 2019), One year space narrates the adventures of Rosemary, an inexperienced young person, and the colorful crew members Traveler, intergalactic ship whose mission is to dig tunnels in space. The queen of cozy space opera, Becky Chambers takes us aboard Traveler, where humans and aliens of different species live together (more or less) harmoniously. A little gem of ingenuity and sweetness, with characters each more endearing than the other.
One year spaceby Becky Chambers, The Pocket Book, 2020, €8.90.
2 The displacedby Ursula K. Le Guin
On Anarres, a utopian anarchist society where people live poor but free, the physicist Shevek is working on the creation of ansible, a revolutionary technology that would allow people to communicate instantly across the galaxy. Blocked by invisible power plays in a society officially devoid of coercive beings, Shevek decides to go to Urras, a capitalist planet that his revolutionary ancestors left more than 200 years ago to found Anarress.
Le Guin brilliantly explores these two twin societies with such different political systems and offers us a powerfully topical critique of consumer society, capitalism, power and institutions. The displaced obtained Nebula 1974, Hugo 1975 and Locus 1975 award.
The displacedby Ursula K. Le Guin, The Pocket Book, 2006, €8.40.
3 The fifth seasonby NK Jemisin
In a post-apocalyptic world plagued by particularly hostile natural phenomena – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, acid rain… – which intensify during the “seasons”, humanity somehow survives. A portion of the population has powers that allow it to control volcanoes and earthquakes. They are the Orogens, a martyred people subject to the implacable control of the Guardians and the Fulcrum. Essun, Damaya and Syenite are among them. Through their intertwined stories, NK Jemisin explores trauma, resilience and resistance to dehumanization. The first novel in a gripping Afrofuturist saga, winner of the Hugo Award 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The fifth seasonby NK Jemisin, I read, 2019, €8.90.
4 Dawnby Octavia Butler
Lilith Lyapo, survivor of the nuclear war that destroyed Earth, wakes up centuries after the disaster aboard an alien Oankali ship. The Oankali are willing to bring humans back to a regenerated Earth in exchange for participating in genetic manipulations that will have them combine their DNA with that of humans. The goal: to create a new species exempt from the destructive hierarchical tendencies of Earthlings. A masterpiece of Afrofuturist literature, the Xenogenesis trilogy is also a philosophical exploration of what it means to be human.
Dawn, by Octavia Butler, To the Devil Vauvert, 2022, €23.50. In bookshops from 27 October 2022.
5 Foundationby Isaac Asimov
Trantor, beginning of the thirteenth millennium of the Empire. The brilliant scientist Hari Seldon invents psychohistory, a statistical science that predicts the future. Thanks to her, Seldon predicts the fall of the empire within 500 years, followed by 30,000 years of darkness and chaos. Only the Foundation, responsible for gathering the knowledge of all humanity in an encyclopedia, will make it possible to reduce this dark period to 1,000 years. An ambitious project full of pitfalls…
Composed of five short stories published in 1951, the cycle of Foundation is one of the great classics of science fiction. The trilogy won the Hugo Award in 1966.
Foundation – The Foundation Cycle Volume 1by Isaac Asimov, Folio SF, 2009, €7.80.