I got to do a guest post a while back about ensemble fiction (books with at least 5 – 8 main characters), and these are my suggestions!
From Lord of the Rings to Ocean’s Eleven to Crash, I almost always enjoy ensemble movies. But my particular favorites are sci-fi ensembles like Independence Day or Inception. So, in their honor, I’ve put together a Top Five reading list for other science fiction (and ensemble) lovers.
(For my purposes I’ve left out classic authors like Arthur C. Clarke or Isaac Asimov and focused on newer authors and books you may not have read yet.)
1. Robopocalypse (Daniel H. Wilson)
This book is an explosive collision of I, Robot and The Day After Tomorrow – big, crazy violence and big, crazy heroes. You’ve got conflicted, noble robots and super-scary evil ones, heroes you love and heroes you kind of hate (in a good way). The story starts when the main human character finds a “hero archive” compiled by the arch enemy computer – who, despite the fact that he’s been decimating humanity, is fascinated by the heroes who fight him. I’m bugging my husband to read it so I can talk to him about it!
2. The Ghost Brigades (John Scalzi)
This is the second book in the Old Man’s War series (which is generally fantastic) but this novel was the standout in my opinion, and could be read alone (though I bet you read the others, too!). In a cutthroat universe, the human military has developed a way to take the DNA of dead people (who’d volunteered for military duty but died before they could begin) and turned them into perfect clone soldiers. Following a group of these cold ghost soldiers as they come to life is a surprisingly emotional and satisfying read.
3. Bruiser (Neal Shusterman)
You might have read this in school in the last few years, but if you haven’t, put it in your to-read list! Yes, right now, I’ll wait…. Okay.
Told from four perspectives, this is the story of Brew, a young man who absorbs the pains and injuries of those he cares about, and almost destroys them in the process…Because without pain, you can’t learn and you can’t really live. And you can’t put down this book, either.
4. Agent of Change (Sharon Lee and Steve Miller)
This is the first novel of the Liaden Universe, and although the authors began it in the 1980’s, it’s been kept alive by a small but fanatical fan base and now contains upwards of sixteen books! The books are a mix of regency romance and space opera – lots of dancing, piloting, and matchmaking. (I understand they had some copyright problems, but I see that they’ve just released a new kindle version of this book for free! The cover is a little less awesome here- copyright issues, probably. But it’s free! Go get it!)
5. Revenge of the Sith (Matthew Stover)
It’s hard enough to write a good novelization of a sci-fi movie, but throw in a really lackluster script and angry fans, and you’ve got your work cut out for you. Incredibly, (some might say miraculously) this is an EXCELLENT book. I’ve never been a huge Star Wars gal, but this book converted me. Mace Windu and Yoda and all these people I’m vaguely familiar with suddenly came to life…and took my breath away.
I know this is woefully short, so tell me – what sci-fi ensembles do you love?