STELES OF THE SKY by Elizabeth Bear
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Having amassed an army of warriors and teamed with a wizard, an exiled heir to the Great Khan finally stakes his claim to the rule the Khaganate and defeat the evil that threatens all the lands with war.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: The previous books in The Eternal Sky trilogy, RANGE OF GHOSTS and SHATTERED PILLARS, were met with wide acclaim and deservedly so. Its depiction of magic, politics and war set amongst diverse cultures makes for great reading.
SHIPSTAR by Gregory Benford & Larry Nevin
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Human space exploration is thrown into uncertainty when a massive artifact—an enormous bowl-shaped object that encompasses a star and contains a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths—is found to be headed toward the same system that Humans are trying to colonize.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Two science fiction masters team up for a classic space story filled with sense of wonder? A better question would be: Why wouldn't you read it?
TRANSHUMAN by Ben Bova
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A brilliant cellular biologist named Luke Abramson abducts his granddaughter from the hospital to circumvent the red tape that would allow him to cure her brain tumor with a new experimental enzyme. But the clock is ticking: Abramson has lung cancer and it's spreading rapidly, despite injecting himself with another experimental enzyme that reverses his aging.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Bova's premise is enticing and his books are grounded in realistic science.
THE REVOLUTIONS by Felix Gilman
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Set amongst spiritualist and occult societies of 1893 London, a young journalist-turned-accountant fights to save his fiance, who is fighting for her own survival somewhere in the vicinity of Mars.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This standalone Victorian science fiction story is a throwback to planetary romances of yesteryear where the emphasis is on adventure and fun.
AFTERPARTY by Daryl Gregory
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Technology meets Big Pharma in a story where anybody with an Internet connection can download recipes and print their own drugs—even if those drugs turn out to be deadly.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Science fiction excels at asking "What if?" questions and this merging of mind-altering drugs with easily accessible technology is a great platform that does just that.
VALOUR AND VANITY by Mary Robinette Kowal
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Set in a world where illusionary magic is possible, a couple who fell victim to a scam that cleaned them out of all their money devise a scheme to get it all back. Think: old-fashioned heist with magic.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Unlike sprawling epic fantasies where the fate of the word is at stake, Mary Robinette Kowal's quaint Regency stories are more intimate and personal, and thus quite refreshing.
THE FOREVER WATCH by David Ramirez
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The last survivors of humanity—on a 1,000-year journey across the stars to find a new planet to call home—are all aboard one generation starship...and one of them is a dangerous serial killer.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This mystery-in-space story features a woman who is a gifted psychic and finds purpose in her life again after she serves her society-mandated Breeding Duty.
Eviction Notice by K'wan
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
Excellent picks, Library Journal! If you readers want to see all of Library Journal's great picks from 2011, you can see their "best of" lists right here.Read more