It’s been a wild year for science fiction enthusiasts, as real life continues looking more like something out of an Arthur C. Clarke novel. Case in point: we just sent a robot to Mars and received a photo from it 8 minutes later. Here are our 10 favorite sci-fi books of 2018, from small-press debuts to Big Five bestsellers.
By Bethany C. Morrow
“A clever work of speculative fiction that reads like a Black Mirror episode set in Jazz Age Montreal.” —Adam Morgan in Electric Literature
The Book of M
By Peng Shepherd
A stunning apocalyptic thriller where people gain extraordinary powers…at the cost of their memories.
By Sue Burke
“The whole thing started with the houseplants on my dining room table. One day, I discovered that the little pothos in a mixed planter had wrapped itself around another plant and killed it.” —Sue Burke on her writing process in the Chicago Review of Books
By Ling Ma
“It’s a stunning book. I devoured Severance in as close to a single sitting as possible with a two-year-old daughter.” —Adam Morgan in the Chicago Review of Books
By Tade Thompson
The first book in a trilogy set in Nigeria, where a human city has been constructed at the edge of a mysterious alien biome.
The Calculating Stars
By Mary Robinette Kowal
“The first novel in the [Chicagoan]’s new Lady Astronaut series imagines a very different space race, with women taking to the stars after a meteor destroys Washington, D.C., in 1952.” —Adam Morgan in Chicago magazine
Black Star Renegades
By Michael Moreci
St. Martins Press
“Combining Marvel wit with the geeky jokes of Galaxy Quest, the book is set in a universe filled with Jedi-like warriors, star-destroying weapons, and planet-hopping misfits.” —Adam Morgan in Chicago magazine
By Sam J. Miller
“A timely, engaging, imaginative, and ultimately hopeful novel about the importance of human connection in an era of great uncertainty.” —Amy Brady in the Chicago Review of Books
By Malka Older
“Sparkling with big ideas, this cyberpunk political thriller sits smack dab in the intersection of policy wonk and science fiction geek.” —Eliot Peper on the trilogy in the Chicago Review of Books.
The Strange Bird
By Jeff VanderMeer
“This book, like much of his earlier work, explores some of humanity’s darkest impulses and the devastating ways we treat the natural world.”
—Amy Brady in the Chicago Review of Books
Adam Morgan is the founding editor of the Chicago Review of Books and the Southern Review of Books. His essays and criticism have appeared in The Paris Review, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, and elsewhere.