Monday, September 9, 2019

Seven books about remaking the world

Annalee Newitz is an American journalist, editor, and author of fiction and nonfiction. They are the recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from MIT, and have written for Popular Science, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post. They founded the science fiction website io9 and served as Editor-in-Chief from 2008–2015, and then became Editor-in-Chief at Gizmodo and Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica. Their book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction was nominated for the LA Times Book Prize in science. Their first novel, Autonomous, won a Lambda award. The Future of Another Timeline is Newitz's latest book.

At they tagged "seven works that define the new subgenre of geoscience fiction," including:
The Murderbot series by Martha Wells and the Cordelia’s Honor duology by Lois McMaster Bujold

I wanted to mention these two series together because they both feature heroes who are part of planetary survey teams. This is an old trope in science fiction, and shows up a lot in Golden Age stories about people exploring other worlds. Often they’re taking environmental samples and studying geology for the purpose of future mining operations. The Murderbot series begins with a group landing on a planet and studying it for resource exploitation, while the Cordelia’s team in Bujold’s duology—which began her legendary Vorkosigan Saga—appear to be doing basic research for scientific discovery. Either way, the planetary survey team is key to geoscience fiction because they treat planets as holistic systems, looking at everything from their internal composition and ecosystems, to atmosphere and magnetic field.
Read about the other entries on the list.

All Systems Red also appears among Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael's five top books that give voice to artificial intelligence, T.W. O'Brien's five recent books that explore the secret lives of robots, Sam Reader's top six science fiction novels for fans of Westworld, and Nicole Hill's six robots too smart for their own good.

--Marshal Zeringue