Tomorrow's Toppers
Sci-fi books that may go on to bigger and better things


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Evolution
by Stephen Baxter (2002)


A the title suggests, this is Baxter's hard sci-fi treatment of the story of human evolution - from primate to a post-human future. A huge novel, it is broken into a roughly linked series of tales about future efforts to save the race through the "globalisation of empathy". Perhaps worth checking out Baxter's earlier work first, but this is certainly thought-provoking.





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Pattern Recognition
by William Gibson (2003)


With a contemporary setting, some debate surrounds this book's sci-fi credentials. That aside, cyberpunk supremo Gibson has filled this book with enough techo-insight to please most genre fans. A woman is hired to track down the origins of mysterious internet videos that have obsessed some to search for patterns in their meaning.





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The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)


Bestselling science fantasy romance in which a gentlemanly librarian has to cope with his 'chrono displacement disorder' - a time tripping disease with no respect for basic human dignity. Aside from running into himself a few times, he also unknowingly first encounters his future wife when she is only six. Absolutely beautiful and well worthy of the success it is enjoying.





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Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)


A fascinating treatise on the ethics of human cloning told from the heart-rending perspective of one Kathy H - a clone specifically 'born' and raised to be an organ donor. Set in a parallel late-90s England, the story revolves around the 'special' children of the exclusive Hailsham school and their unusual lives. A modern sleeper worth a look.





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Rainbows End
by Vernor Vinge (2006)


In a near-future of high-tech 'silent messaging', a recovering Alzheimer's patient struggles with virtual non-reality issues while being drawn into some campus unrest. He becomes an innocent foil in a dark biological weaponry conspiracy. Vinge's mix of hard sci-fi and intelligent techno-social commentary may not suit everyone's tastes, but it ensures that his books stay the distance.





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Little Brother
by Cory Doctorow (2008)


Taking direct aim against the abuse of power in the war on terrorism, Doctorow pulls no punches in this street-smart young adult tale about a 17-year-old who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Following a terrorist attack on San Francisco, tech-savvy Marcus and his friends are interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security. Time to fight back.





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The Hunger Games [S1]
by Suzanne Collins (2008)


Mega-popular young adult novel about a post-apocalyptic near-future where the former United States has been replaced by Panem and divided up into 12 districts. The Hunger Games are an annual fight-to-the-death gladiatorial-style event featuring two participants from each district chosen by lottery. When her sister is chosen Katniss takes her place. Book one of a planned trilogy.





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The Long Earth [S1]
by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (2012)


The teaming of fantasy humorist Terry Pratchett and hard sci-fi writer Stephen Baxter might seem unlikely, but both have signed contracts agreeing to collaborate on 'The Long Earth' five-book series. An affordable device called a "Stepper" allows its users to travel to parallel Earths both near and far. Homo sapiens do not exist on any of these worlds, but others in the genus 'Homo' do.


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