SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction as a genre of literature has always been difficult to define. Hard-science stories using warp drive spaceships fit easily; tales revolving around psychic phenomena, not so much. Neither has much scientific support.

I prefer to be inclusive. Telepathy, for example, can be treated as a mode of perception as reliable as vision. It would obey different rules but be equally explainable — even if we can't currently explain it. So I'll put all "speculative fabulation" here, unless it relies on out-and-out magic.

List of available reviews of science-fiction books

PRINCIPAL
AUTHOR
TITLE
(Linked to review)
RATING
(0-5)
REVIEW
DATE
ONE-LINE
DESCRIPTION
Aldrin, Buzz Encounter with Tiber 5.0 9/159/1996 In this novel by Buzz Aldrin & John Barnes, a decoded ET signal reveals that visitors from Alpha Centauri once set up camp on Mars.
Anderson_Kurland Ten Years To Doomsday 5.0 6/23/2016 The Federation has ten years to prepare for invasion — and it needs fifteen.
Anthony, Patricia Brother Termite 5.0 4/28/2012 Reen is not really a termite — but he is White House chief of staff, and his people really are in charge here. But Reen has both external and internal conflicts. The way Anthony depicts those conflicts makes this a gripping and truly excellent novel.
Anthony, Patricia Cradle of Splendor 0.0 7/05/2001 Here, the acclaimed author of Brother Termite presents an inconclusive mishmash of events which may or may not have happened to conflicted characters who, if they're male, are almost all weak or perverted.
Anthony, Piers Isle of Woman 5.0 10/07/2011 Volume 1 of Piers Anthony's Geodyssey series dramatizes the ascent of humankind.
Anthony, Piers Macroscope 5.0 4/13/2012 Packed with high-tech adventure and unconventionally inventive, this novel is one of Piers Anthony's best.
Bear, Greg Eon 5.0 5/05/2015 Fascination and foreboding compete in this nvel by Greg Bear which depicts a future fraught with fear yet pregnant with promise.
Biggle, Lloyd The Chronocide Mission 5.0 5/14/2010 In this novel by the late, great Lloyd Biggle, a contemporary man mistakenly swept 300 years into a barbaric future finds a way to return and set time to rights.
Bradley, Marion Zimmer Heritage and Exile 5.0 11/24/2011 Two of Marion Z. Bradley's popular and engrossing Darkover novels — The Heritage of Hastur and Sharra's Exile — are collected in this volume.
Bradley, Marion Zimmer The Ruins of Isis 5.0 9/24/2011 Dallard Malocq came to the matriarchal planet of Isis to study its million-year-old ruins, believed to be those of the mysterious Builders. But all he got was delay — while the women looked on him as his wife's plaything.
Bradley, Marion Zimmer Web of Light 4.0 7/24/2011 Domaris is just coming of age when the Atlantean Micon comes to her city. He sets in her young heart admiration which blossoms into love — and he sets in motion events which lead to a war of magics.
Brunner, John Quicksand 5.0 2/18/2012 A young woman out of time tests the psyche of psychiatrist Paul Fidler to destruction.
Brunner, John The Sheep Look Up 4.5 1/10/2013 This is Brunner's dystopian sequel to Stand on Zanzibar: worth reading, even if the disasters are a bit overblown.
Burton, Levar Aftermath 4.5 4/26/2010 Levar "Geordie LaForge" Burton's 1997 debut novel sends the inventor of a revolutionary medical device on a run for her life through an impoverished near-future America.
Cherryh, C. J. Downbelow Station 5.0 5/10/2012 Here is the foundation of Cherryh's Alliance/Union tales: Downbelow Station. It's a great read — complex, but well worth the trouble.
Cherryh, C. J. Rimrunners 5.0 9/23/2011 In the universe of Cherryh's Downbelow Station, spacer Bet Yeager is out of cash and down on her luck. She needs a berth on a ship. Will the arrival of Loki be a blessing or a curse?
Clarke, Arthur C. Rama II 4.0 8/06/2017 The sequel to Rendezvous with Rama, Clarke's first collaboration with Gentry Lee, is as much soap opera as science fiction.
Clarke, Arthur C. Rama Revealed 4.0 10/28/2011 The final volume in the Rama quintilogy, written mostly by Gentry Lee, is workmanlike and enjoyable but not exceptional.
Clement, Hal The Nitrogen Fix 5.0 12/19/2012 Harry Stubbs, writing as Hal Clement, gives us another of his masterpieces of hard-science SF.
Cook, Gene Stars' End 5.0 8/04/2011 To a region of the galaxy just recovering from the Human-Ulantonid War, and still plagued by Sangaree raiders, comes a new menace: a race out of galactic center that eradicates every living world it finds. Can the secrets hidden at Stars' End save the day?
Crichton, Michael State of Fear 3.0 1/05/2011 The late Dr. Crichton penned a decent adventure story, but it's intended as — and being used as — a scientific reference. That's its downfall.
Crichton, Michael Sphere 4.0 3/12/2013 When he dips into the waters plumbed by H. G. Wells in The Man Who Could Work Miracles, Crichton once again spins a tale that's entertaining but shallow.
DeCandido, Keith R. A. Articles of the Federation 5.0 7/11/2012 Star Trek fans will be delighted by the references to canon in this novel. Everyone else will have to settle for an absorbing and inspiring tale of how future government ought to be run.
DeCandido, Keith R. A. Resident Evil: Extinction 4.0 1/11/2012 The unstoppable Alice Abernathy is back again in Keith DeCandido's third novelization of a Resident Evil film.
Del Rey, Lester Pstalemate 5.0 4/06/2012 A surprisingly mundane plot twist is what makes this novel of telepathy and "alien possession" stand out.
Flynn, Michael Firestar 5.0 10/11/2012 The future is what we make it, and here Michael Flynn imagines bold men and women, by means of arduous and innovative but plausible efforts, making a bright future indeed for the world.
Flynn, Michael Rogue Star 5.0 4/14/2013 Michael Flynn's epic moves forward into a world with more shades of gray, as Mariesa van Huyten goes behind her corporation's board to make a deal she will come to regret.
Flynn, Michael Lodestar 5.0 6/24/2013 Shifting the emphasis more toward character development, Michael Flynn's third volume of the Firestar epic brings the crisis Mariesa van Huyten foresaw to center stage.
Flynn, Michael Falling Stars 5.0 7/28/2013 The Firestar saga concludes in fine fashion with a resolution of the crisis that is satisfyingly far from a "Hollywood ending."
Foster, Alan Dean Bloodhype 5.0 10/02/2011 Ever on the hunt for ways to disadvantage their enemy the Humanx Commonwealth, minions of the AAnn Empire think they have something specially destructive in a creature called the Vom. They're right. But they're closer to the Vom.
Foster, Alan Dean Cachalot 5.0 5/02/2011 Something is destroying the human settlements on the ocean world of Cachalot. Is it the whales that were moved there from Earth centuries ago, and have lived peacefully since? Everyone suspects human agency. Then the investigators catch whales in the act.
Foster, Alan Dean The End of the Matter 5.0 8/26/2011 Flinx goes home to find the identity of his father, if he can. What he finds is a funny-looking, nonsense-babbling alien who is the key to a massive problem that menaces the whole of the Commonwealth.
Foster, Alan Dean The Howling Stones 5.0 4/30/2010 Set in the universe of the Humanx Commonwealth created by Foster, this novel weaves an engrossing tale of a trade mission to the Parramati, who care nothing for trade, and the awesome secrets that make them that way.
Foster, Alan Dean For Love of Mother-Not 5.0 9/27/2014 Here, on the backwater world of Moth, begins the saga of Philip Lynx, or Flinx, that takes him to some strange places indeed.
Foster, Alan Dean Mid-Flinx 5.0 1/24/2013 Bent on escaping a well-connected thug from Samstead, Flinx arrives by chance on mysterious and deadly Midworld.
Foster, Alan Dean Orphan Star 5.0 3/28/2018 Seeking to learn the identity of his real mother, Flinx penetrates the blockade of a primitive world under Commonwealth Edict — only to find himself trapped by AAnn-supported criminals.
Foster, Alan Dean Sentenced to Prism 5.0 2/03/2018 His company sends top troubleshooter Evan Orgell to Prism to find out what stopped their efforts to exploit that world's life. They give him the best protection money can buy, but Prism ruins it — and the troubleshooter too, but not in the same way.
Foster, Alan Dean The Spoils of War 5.0 8/06/2011 Never mess with the bird-woman Lalelelang of Mahmahar. Sure she's small, physically fragile, and hates the sight of blood. But she's tough as they come where it counts — tough enough to end a thousand-year war.
Foster, Alan Dean The Tar-Aiym Krang 5.0 3/27/2018 Flinx's first venture into space has him aboard a merchant's KK-ship, pursued by AAnn warships, in a race to reach the unknown world that may hold an artifact of the vanished Tar-Aiym race: the legendary Krang, whatever it may be.
Gibson, William Neuromancer 5.0 4/27/2012 In William Gibson's unique universe, Case undertakes a mission he barely understands, half in cyberspace, half in the real world.
Gordon, Stuart Time Story 5.0 10/27/2011 When he got a good look at the woman who rescued him from the well, Phil Kitson saw she was the same woman who had tried to kill him, and died herself. How could this be? And how did she know about the stolen moongems floating in the bag beside him? Time would tell.
Heinlein, Robert A. For Us, the Living 4.5 2/06/2004 Heinlein's just-published first novel is a thinly disguised series of lectures, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Heinlein, Robert A. Revolt in 2100 5.0 3/21/2018 The third volume in Heinlein's "Jeremiah Scudder" trilogy is a cracking good read.
Hogan, James P. Code of the Lifemaker 5.0 11/10/2011 The mission was headed for Mars. At least, that's what the public and most of the participants were told. But, after the ship left Earth orbit, a stage psychic named Zambendorf learned they were bound for Titan, and picked up rumors of an alien civilization there — a civilization of machines.
Hogan, James P. Giants' Star 5.0 9/08/2016 Messages from the Giants' Star drop into Earth's lap a mystery that portends extreme danger for both humans and Ganymeans.
Hogan, James P. Inherit the Stars 5.0 12/10/2002 Gifted scientist Victor Hunt embarks on an other-worldly quest that leads to a shattering conclusion.
Hogan, James P. Mission to Minerva 5.0 1/08/2011 Victor Hunt finds himself once again venturing into the wonder-worlds of fiction and science.
Hoyle, Fred October the First Is Too Late 3.0 3/12/2015 The narrator, a classical musician, improbably finds himself on military missions into areas of Earth that have mysteriously time-shifted to past or future eras.
King, Betty Women of the Future 5.0 12/15/2011 The author traces the improving status of female characters in works of science fiction from the late nineteenth century through the 1980s.
LeGuin, Ursula The Dispossessed 5.0 4/06/2011 LeGuin's award-winning novel of social criticism featuring Shevek, an idealistic temporal physicist, as the potential agent of change.
MacDonald, John D. Time and Tomorrow 5.0 4/22/2010 From a master of the mystery form, three supremely fascinating tales of science fiction — including The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything
MacLeod, Ken The Sky Road 4.5 4/03/2015 British writer MacLeod provides here a gripping, two-timeline tale of how we lost and are slowly regaining that road.
Mason, Douglas R. Eight Against Utopia 3.5 9/05/2016 This is a run-of-the-mill escape-from-stifling-civilization story, action-packed but not exceptional.
Miller Jr, Walter M. A Canticle for Leibowitz 5.0 10/27/2012 Walter M. Miller's best known work is tragic but not hopeless, and the start of a series.
Nim, P. S. Double Mobius Sphere 4.0 3/30/2013 An enjoyable tale of a voyage to seek out the Capacians, highly advanced aliens — with a disappointing ending.
Niven, Larry Footfall 5.0 12/27/2012 Aliens that look like baby elephants invade and conquer Earth. But can they hold it? The answer depends on more than just technology in this well-crafted and engrossing novel.
Norton, Andre Time Traders II 4.5 3/20/2012 Two novels set in Norton's Time Traders universe pit marooned agents against hostile forces.
Oreskes, Naomi The Collapse of Western Civilization 4.0 3/10/2015 The authors' tale is not good fiction, but works as a warning.
Pangborn, Edgar A Mirror for Observers 5.0 9/10/2016 Edgar Pangborn gives us a gripping tale of ethical conflict that mirrors much of today's politics.
Piper, H. Beam First Cycle 5.0 3/06/2018 Completed by Michael Kurland from a manuscript found after Piper died, this novel is a grim allegory of Cold-War paranoia.
Pohl, Frederik The Singers of Time 5.0 2/26/2011 Another hugely enjoyable collaboration from SF veterans Pohl & Williamson, with some surprising plot twists.
Pohl, Frederik The Starchild Trilogy 5.0 9/26/2011 The Reefs of Space anchors this Pohl & Williamson classic, and is the standout of three enjoyable tales.
Reeves-Stevens, Judith Prime Directive 5.0 12/28/2012 Talin IV's promising civilization has destroyed itself in thermonuclear war, and the officers of the Enterprise are held responsible. Now cashiered from Star Fleet, they race to uncover what really happened on Talin IV.
Russell, Eric Frank The Mindwarpers 4.5 10/18/2011 Why had he killed Arline? Richard Bransome could not remember, though his memories of doing so were vivid. His home life in tatters, he had to take a leave from his defense job to track down the mystery. Soon he found a bigger one to grapple with.
Schmitz, James H. The Demon Breed 5.0 9/02/2016 Seventy years ago, Parahuans invaded several water-worlds of the Federation and were brutally repulsed. Now they were back, infiltrating themselves into the seas of Nandy-Cline, preparing to prove their prior defeat was a fluke. But they didn't reckon with Dr. Nile Etland.
Schmitz, James H. The Witches of Karres 5.0 9/23/2015 Captain Pausert buys himself three witches and tons of trouble in this rollicking, well-crafted space opera.
Silverberg, Robert To Open the Sky 5.0 7/30/2012 Reynolds Kirby's high-level UN job has him frazzled. A girl with a cosmetic-surgery face persuades him to give it up for the scientific religion of the Vorsters. Then things really get interesting. Silverberg's tale throws the reader curve after curve, and in an Afterword Russell Letson places it in the context of the author's other work.
Smith, Cordwainer Norstrilia 5.0 4/27/2013 A remarkable tale in which Rod McBan buys the planet Earth and then gives it away for the sake of liberty and justice for all.
Smith, E. E. Imperial Stars 5.0 3/07/2013 The creator of the Lensman series here begins the saga of the Family D'Alembert with a comparatively lighthearted tale of plots and intrigues among the stars.
Stableford, Brian Journey to the Center 5.0 12/26/2017 Asgard, a world of mystery with layers like an onion, reveals some of its secrets to treasure-hunter Mike Rousseau.
Sturgeon, Theodore More than Human 5.0 2/18/2015 Sturgeon's best novel shows us a group of individuals whose powers push them out of the realm we think of as humanity.
Sturgeon, Theodore A Touch of Strange 5.0 3/15/2013 This collection of nine stories may not be Sturgeon's best work, but it comes close.
West, Wallace The Bird of Time 5.0 4/27/2012 The unscrupulous Pitaret Mura and a nearly immortal Martian demigoddess vie with invading Earthmen for the future of the two planets. Will Princess Yahna save the day? Will the Avron have her way? This rollicking tale from the 1950s is great fun.
White, James Hospital Station 5.0 1/08/2013 Here is the inaugural novel in James White's famous "Sector General" series.
White, James The Watch Below 4.0 9/05/2017 While intriguiging, this tale of humans and aliens surviving very similar problems in wildly differing environments drags in places.
Williamson, Jack Lifeburst 5.0 2/26/2011 The first of two novels from SF Grand Master Jack Williamson about the world of SkyWeb has humans provisionally accepted by the eldren.
Williamson, Jack Mazeway 5.0 2/26/2011 In the second of the two SkyWeb novels, humanity wins full acceptance through the actions of Benn Dain.
Williamson, Jack Manseed 5.0 2/26/2011 SF grandmaster Jack Williamson gives us an original and engrossing tale with plenty of high tech.
Quality Ranges for Book Reviews
The books are rated from 0 to 5 in increments of 0.5. Colors represent the following quality ranges:
4.0 to 5.0 Quality: HIGH (Color = Aqua) Competent to exceptional; well worth the money
2.0 to 3.5 Quality: FAIR (Color = Lime) Useful despite some flaws; may or may not be worth buying.
0.5 to 1.5 Quality: POOR (Color = Yellow) Seriously flawed; read it if you wish, but don't buy it.
0.0 to 0.0 Quality: YUCK (Color = Fuchsia) Avoid this book at all costs!
Valid CSS! Valid HTML 4.01 Strict To contact Chris Winter, send email to this address.
Copyright © 2005-2018 Christopher P. Winter. All rights reserved.
This page was last modified on 12 October 2018.