We celebrate adventure in all its forms at Salt + Snow, and since every adventure starts in the mind, we thought it would be a perfect time to give you three vivid and exciting reads for the summer. It’s been a challenging couple of years for everyone, so if you’re like me, you could use a break to get out of your head and engross yourself in another world or universe altogether. Reading science-fiction can take you places you’ve never conceived, so I’m recommending three sci-fi books to put on your summer reading list that will blow your mind and change your outlook.
1. “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin Liu
This one is a wild, creative ride that actually keeps close to the principles of physics, but don’t worry; it doesn’t read like a textbook. The author studied physics and worked as a computer engineer, but also has an incredible and award-winning talent for writing. “Three-Body Problem” refers to a physics dilemma about solving for the motion and trajectories of three celestial bodies, foreshadowing the forces and concepts that will come together in the story. The book is set in Communist China and that backdrop provides so much color and weight to this mind-bending story of communication across our universe. Plus, if you are not familiar with Chinese history, the historical and cultural aspects alone are worth the read. Bonus: There are two more books that finish out the trilogy (“The Dark Forest” and “Death’s End”), so if you’re hooked, you can dive right into the next chapter.
2. “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin
Jemisin is a sci-fi legend for a reason. Her brilliant writing takes us to a new world where constant seismic activity has created an unstable society, and where the forces of magic are feared and kept hidden. The book centers around a middle aged mother of two young children during the destruction of their planet, but she holds secrets and could change the planet’s future. Jemisin does a remarkable job telling the story through different perspectives and from different periods of time while still keeping the characters and plot easy to follow. And, spoiler alert, there’s a twist in there that you won’t see coming (I sure didn’t). This is a perfect book for someone just dipping a toe into sci-fi, but it’ll still open your mind to some stunning new dimensions.
3. "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons
“Hyperion” is simply one of the most beautifully written science fiction books of the last half century. It’s a joy to read and the descriptions of these bold new worlds are absolutely transportive. On the eve of a universal war that could end humanity as we know it, a small team of would-be heroes are dispatched to the planet Hyperion to find out why ancient tombs are moving backwards in time. The answers to that mystery could stop the war and save the universe, if only they can find them before it’s too late. Author Dan Simmons is known as a horror writer, so there are moments that aren’t for the squeamish, but the character development, relationships, and the overarching story are all so engaging that the gore will not distract you. Once you sit down with this one, you won’t get up till you’ve turned that last page.