Reading Challenge: Hard Science Fiction


There are only a few more months of 2016 left to go! How are you doing on the 2016 DCL Reading Challenge? This challenge encourages you to read beyond your favorite genres by exploring new themes and book categories, such as hard science fiction. This category of science fiction is characterized by an emphasis on scientific accuracy or technical detail. Expand your horizon by checking out one of these fascinating hard science fiction books:





Armada by Ernest Cline
Unsure what his life will amount to, our hero discovers that his one passion in life (the video game Armada) is the only thing standing between our species and certain destruction from an invading alien force. Spiritual successor to Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game and the movie The Last Star Fighter.








Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
All his life, Ender – like hundreds of other kids – has been preparing for war.  Children are trained to pilot unmanned ships against a ruthless extraterrestrial force, but the secrets Ender’s commanders are keeping from the child warriors are just as dangerous, if not more so.  Classic young adult tale of violence, choice, and morality.








The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Earth has been blown up to make way for a new space highway, and the last human is flung out into the stars on a crazy road trip, learning firsthand that we are definitely not alone in the universe. Brimming with British humor and otherworldly twists.









I, Robot by Issac Asimov
Series of short stories written by one of the giants of science-fiction, all about robots and humans and the futuristic worlds they live in.  Sometimes utopia, sometimes frightening, definitely thought provoking.










The Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson
An incredible epic in three parts, told from multiple perspectives about the terraforming and colonization of Mars.  The series has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Clarke, Locus, and Nebula.










The Martian by Andy Weir
Tale of survival harsher than any castaway or lost traveler on earth: astronaut Mark Watney has been marooned on Mars. Science fiction so real it feels like science fact, but reads like an adventure.










Redshirts by John Scalzi
Imagine that you were trapped in a world very like Star Trek: action, adventure, command crew members sometimes trailing off into meandering monologues, and wearing a red shirt on an away mission means certain death.  A silly and heartfelt romp in classic science fiction tropes and the ensigns trying to survive them.










Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
Gorgeously drawn and written, this critically acclaimed graphic novel follows two traitors from opposite sides of a war who live on the run with their new daughter.  Intensely thematic space opera; think Game of Thrones meets Star Wars.










Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
When the moon splits apart in the sky, humanity scrambles to find a way to avoid certain death as fragments fall from space.  Some escape in an orbital “ark”, but most don’t.  In a story that spans thousands of years beyond the desolation of Earth, this speculative future is breathtaking in scope and realism.










Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
A man born on Mars and raised by the zen-like Martians returns to Earth, and the world is never the same again.  Part sci-fi, part political/religious satire, and one of the most classic and enduring examples of the genre.










The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
One act of horror committed decades ago can send ripples of reaction and causality across worlds. Between Earth, a virtual game world, and a place far beyond our planet, this is a complex and mind bending take on classic sci-fi by an excellent Chinese novelist.










The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The New People are not like normal people.  They are engineered, grown, and programmed slaves that serve mankind in a future of scarcity and bio-terrorism.  Emiko is a Windup Girl, one of the New People

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