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Emily Recommends… (Sci-Fi Novels)!

Welcome to the latest post in our brand new blog series: Emily Recommends! In case you missed our previous post, this is where our founder talks about some of her favourite books, focussing on a different genre each month!

July’s Theme: Sci-Fi Books!

1) Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

Blurb“Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the colour-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow, and Reds like him, are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.”

Emily SaysFor me, Red Rising sums up what sci-fi is all about. Set in not only a futuristic world, but on an entirely different planetMarsthis young adult novel weaves a thrilling, highly emotive tale about justice, loyalty, and love. (I can also recommend the audiobook of Red Rising; it really is fantastic.)

2) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Blurb: “Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts, but, upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness.”

Emily SaysMary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often considered to be the “first” science fiction novel. Published during the midst of the Industrial Revolution, Frankenstein did something that had never really been done before: it suggested that the “progress” humankind was making could have consequences—deadly consequences.

3) How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.

Blurb“Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but, owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history, performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. So he moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher.”

Emily Says: Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time is a difficult novel to place in terms of genre. This quirky, engaging tale focusses on the human condition, questioning what it means to be alive, and yet its pages are also filled with time travel, genetic conditions, and secret societies, making it a fantastic sci-fi novel.

4) The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs.

Blurb“The village of Wolfheim is a quiet little place until the geneticist Dr Victor Hoppe returns after an absence of nearly twenty years. The doctor brings with him his infant children, three identical boys all sharing a disturbing disfigurement. He keeps them hidden away until Charlotte, the woman who is hired to care for them, begins to suspect that the triplets, and the good doctor, aren’t quite what they seem. As the villagers become increasingly suspicious, the story of Dr Hoppe’s past begins to unfold, and the shocking secrets that he has been keeping are revealed.”

Emily Says: If you want to experience the power of Frankenstein without struggling through early-nineteenth century prose, or if you simply want a similar encounter, I can recommend The Angel Maker; for me, this is an accessible sci-fi novel written in the style of a classic.

5) Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Blurb“All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil. Published as a “shilling shocker”, Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of the respectable Dr Jekyll’s strange association with the “damnable” Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde’s true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil.”

Emily Says: I debated recommending this book for some time. I have read it twice now, and although it is renowned, influential, engaging, and extremely interesting, it is quite a difficult book to read, and so although I do recommend it, this recommendation comes with a word of caution!

Thank you for reading! We’ll be posting more book recommendations next month!

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