Sci-fi has always been a glimpse of the future. This gives its propagators an almost endless amount of ways to write their fiction. As a result, we get a fresh crop of sci-fi writers each year. And the past year has given us some incredible authors, who have redefined sci-fi, only for the better.
To see how the world (and your TBR list) may turn out, here are five new authors in modern sci-fi that you should be reading right now.
This seasoned writer has been penning articles for publications like The New York Times and Slate. This year, she set her sights on fiction and published her first novel Followers.
This dystopian novel follows the lives of Orla Cadden and Floss. Orla is a clickbait writer and aspiring novelist while Floss dreams of becoming an A-list celebrity. They device a clever (albeit shady) plan to get what they want. Meanwhile, in the distant future, a celebrity named Marlow discovers unsavoury facts about her past. It’s a tough situation to be in, especially since she lives every second of her life in front of a camera. Not only that, but she also resides inside a government-built village exclusively for celebrities.
Despite being a novel set in the future, it talks about issues that are very relevant today. That makes Megan Angelo one of the best authors in modern sci-fi right now.
When he was a young reader, half-Filipino writer Simon Jimenez saw something missing in the vast and fascinating world of science fiction: queer and non-white characters. Now, he is filling that void with his debut novel The Vanished Birds.
The novel introduces us to Nia Amani who is on a lonely journey across space. One day, she meets a boy of mysterious origins with stunning melodies to play on his wooden flute. They soon find solace in one another and become a small yet happy family. Just as everything is going well for them, the boy’s past comes back to haunt him. Now, they must fight together to preserve the home that they created.
The Vanished Birds employs mind-boggling concepts that the genre is known for without the heart and humanity that good literature always promises.
Chana Porter has contributed to the art of theater for many years. For the first time, she lends her voice to fiction with her debut novel The Seep.
This blend of sci-fi and social commentary brings an alien entity called the seep. It disrupts life as we know it, brings society to a standstill, and drapes it all under the veil of utopia. When a woman named Deeba discovers Seeptech, which can transport her to a different reality, her partner Trina comes to the rescue with a lost boy she met along the way.
Despite only being her debut, this page-turner is proof that Porter is someone we can rely on to envision the otherworldly terrors that wait for us in the future.
Trans author K.M. Szpara has been writing sci-fi short fiction for a while now. His work can be seen in various collections. His first foray into the novel format is Docile, and it is a scathing commentary on abuse.
In the world of Docile, you can take a drug called Dociline and sell yourself to the extremely wealthy. The drug allows you to become a shell of a person while your owners do as they wish with your body and soul. Elisha Welder, whose family is ravaged by debt, resists taking the drug. This only drives Alexis Bishop III – whose family created the drug – to find out a way to turn Elisha into a Docile without using Dociline.
“There is no consent under capitalism” reads the tagline of the book. Let’s hope that Szpara is just writing science fiction and not a prediction of things to come.
Australian author Jeremy Szal pulls from diverse influences (“Blade Runner and The Dark knight meets Mass Effect 2”) to write his debut Stormblood.
The tale is about Vakov Fukasawa, a former Reaper for the Harmony. When an evil empire invades their world, he gets transformed into a super soldier with the help of stormtech which was created from the DNA of an ancient alien race. The plan backfires when stormtech finds its way to the public and gets citizens addicted to it. Now, he must find out why his old friends are being murdered one-by-one.
Stormblood combines the grandeur of space operas with the grittiness of noir and mystery. With this seamless blend of genres forming a unique voice, it’s hard to believe that this is only the first book in Szal’s The Common trilogy. Honestly, I just can’t wait to read more of this modern sci-fi masterpiece.
Now that you’ve read about the fresh voices in sci-fi, it’s time to take your pick and journey into the great beyond. Sound off in the comments below about your favourites from the list or if there’s anyone that we missed!