Random (but not really)

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Books of 2023: Science Fiction

As previously noted, I don’t read much science fiction. I’ve got a decade without reading a single SF book. But I tore through Murderbot–more than once–and so I tried a couple other books.

Two, to be exact.

But I do have some others buried somewhere in my TBR pile.


The Hound of Justice (2019) by Claire O’Dell

The Hound of Justice

Dystopia, Mystery, Queer

I generally only put books I rated 8/10 or higher in my yearly review, but the fact that I picked up and read a book that was an SF dystopia pretty much means it deserved a place here.

Janet Watson lost her arm in the war, and has been hoping for a high-end replacement so she can once again become a surgeon. Her roommate Sara is some sort of intelligence agent and never gives a straight answer as to what she’s involved in.

This is set in a dystopian future with another Civil War in the US.

I really don’t like dystopias, but I do like Janet, and I did want to know what happened to her.

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Rating: 7/10

The Janet Watson Chronicles: A Study in Honor (2018), The Hound of Justice (2019)

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

System Collapse

Compulsory (2023) 8.5/10 (novella)
System Collapse (2023) 8.5/10


This is set immediately following the events of Network Effect, so we get Murderbot AND ART and everyone else tying to sort out the giant mess.

But the best part is of course Murderbot and ART.

(According to Martyn, ART is of course capable of doing its own accounting, but it always ends up with extra numbers that no one can trace. So now Turi does it and has to keep a hardcopy ledger because otherwise ART would alter their data. No one knew if ART was making up numbers for the hell of it or if these numbers represented actual credit balances that ART was hiding somewhere.)

Although this is SF, and the Corporate Rim is its own kind of dystopia, the center of the stories is always Mruderbot dealing with its feelings and trying to figure out what it wants to do with itself.

Publisher: Subterranean Press, Tordotcom

The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red (2017), Artificial Condition (2018), Rogue Protocol (2018), Exit Strategy (2018), Network Effect (2020), Fugitive Telemetry (2021), Compulsory (2023), System Collapse (2023)

The Books of 2023: Yearly Reading Roundup

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