What a year it’s been for Science Fiction and Fantasy! While some books transported us to fantastical lands beyond our wildest imagination, others proved that sometimes the most spellbinding stories are the ones closest to home. From the craggy landscape of the red planet to the powerful kingdom of Alethkar, we invite you to lose yourself in these picks for best sci-fi and fantasy novels of 2014.
This year’s most compelling, extensively researched sci-fi came from debut author Andy Weir. When astronaut Mark Watney finds himself struggling to survive against all odds on Mars’ unforgiving surface after a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate, he’s left completely stranded with damaged machinery and no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. Unwilling to give up and driven by his steadfast will to live, Mark draws on his ingenuity and engineering skills in order to conquer one seemingly impossible obstacle after the next. But will his efforts be enough?
In a not too far off future, a highly contagious virus has spread globally, indiscriminately affecting billions of people from every walk of life. While the symptoms are mild for most, an unlucky one percent of the world’s population suffer a far worse fate: “lock in”, a disease that leaves its victims trapped within their own bodies, fully awake and aware, yet completely unable to move or respond to the outside world. A book that asks important questions about disability and society while thrilling the reader at every turn.
The old world is buried and a new one has been built atop the shifting dunes, a lawless and ignored land of brutal winds and scorching sand. With their father gone, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost, left to fend for themselves in an unforgiving world. Their father was a sand diver, one of the elite few who could travel deep beneath the desert floor to bring up the relics and scraps that keep their people alive. But their father is gone now and the world he left behind might go the same way as the last. If you’re a fan of expertly written dystopic fiction, Howey’s latest is a can’t-miss.
Deepening the series’ themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences, The Book of Life is an impressive, highly satisfying finale to Harkness’s enchanting All Souls Trilogy. Whatever your feelings are about vampires and witches, Harkness’s ability to weave together science, history, magic, and folklore into a tight, suspenseful page-turner in remarkable.
In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys—each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected. Monica Byrne may not be a household name yet, but if this debut novel is any indication, her future is bright. Written with stunning clarity, deep emotion, and a futuristic flair, The Girl in the Road is a triumph of the first order.
So what say you, readers? Did you any of these books have you wondering what else is out there? If not, let us know what books did in the comments below!