Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Books I read in September 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in September 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Wandering EarthLiu Cixin9/10
Hold up the skyLiu Cixin8/10
The Supernova EraLiu Cixin5/10
Twisted Planet Book OnePeter Schinkel7/10
On Love and SexKhushwant Singh8/10
Books I read in September 2023

At the end of August, I decided to read Liu Cixin‘s work. A bit intimidated by the behemoth trilogy that is Remembrance of Earth’s Past, I decided to start easy.

Wandering Earth is the name of a short story. But also the name of a book with a collection of other short stories. I found them immensely enjoyable. Unlike Ted Chiang, Liu Cixin‘s stories are centred around China with Chinese people as main characters. The stories are too good, I must write a bit about each of them individually.

Wandering Earth

  1. The Wandering Earth – This story is about the Sun eventually going supernova and humanity’s plan to move the earth to Proxima Centauri.
  2. Mountain – This story is about an alien spaceship visiting earth and how one man climbed a water mountain to speak with them.
  3. Sun of China – This story is about China constructing an artificial reflector in space to engineer their climate and a group of mere window-cleaners who maintain it.
  4. For the benefit of mankind – This story is about an assassin going about his business while an alien race is on the cusp of invading humanity.
  5. Curse 5.0 – This story is about a jilted lover unleashing a harmless computer virus to insult her ex. And how a bunch of drunk homeless people accidentally modify it to destroy humanity.
  6. The Micro-Era – This story is about how humanity genetically engineers themselves to microscopic size to escape annihilation. And a macro-human who was in space for decades’s encounter with them.
  7. Devourer – This story is about spacefaring dinosaurs coming back to earth to take humans with them and raise them for livestock.
  8. Taking Care of Gods – This story is about the gods returning to earth and how the earthlings treat them.
  9. With her eyes – Cannot say anything about it without spoiling it.
  10. Cannonball – A story of a Chinese scientist over decades of cryogenic sleep.

I really enjoyed Chinese sci-fi, so I decided to continue with Liu Cixin and read Hold up the sky. Just like Wandering Earth, it is a collection of Sino-centric stories.

Hold up the sky

  1. The Village Teacher – A story about a teacher’s dedication to his students and how that eventually saves the planet earth.
  2. The Time Migration – Is a story about immigrants travelling through time to experience what becomes of humanity.
  3. 2018-04-01 – This is a story about humans editing their genes to age slower and live longer.
  4. Fire in the Earth – This one is not actually Sci-Fi at all, but nonetheless a good story about mining reforms.
  5. Contraction – Perhaps the most fascinating of them all. It is about the universe stopping its expansion and beginning the contraction phase.
  6. Mirrors- This one is about someone inventing a supercomputer which can simulate everything since the Big Bang. It reminded me of the TV series Devs.
  7. Ode to Joy – A bizarre story about an alien mirror arriving to the Milky Way to play an inter-galactic concert.
  8. Full-Spectrum Barrage Jamming – A fascination story of war between NATO and Russia. Till the end you keep thinking “What does this have to do with Sci-Fi?” And then you realise.
  9. Sea of Dreams – This one is about a low-temperature artist visiting earth and putting all of earth’s oceans in orbit.
  10. Cloud of Poems – This one is about gods coming to the solar system and using its matter to write all combinations of Classical Chinese poetry possible.
  11. The Thinker – Is about a doctor and an astronomer stumbling into a galaxy-spanning discovery and how they track it over decades.

After this, I started reading The Supernova Era, my first full-length novel from Liu Cixin. It is about all the adults on earth being killed by a Supernova and the children taking charge. Much of it was Chinese propaganda and well-known stereotypes. American children doing drugs, carrying guns and shooting each other, threatening to sue, impeaching their President, Britishers always delivering memos about everything. Similarly, the Japanese children have been depicted as blood-thirsty savages, their children eating a live whale.

More Sci-Fi

Not willing to commit to another full-length novel, I started Twisted Planet Book One by a lesser-known author named Peter Schinkel. It contains many Sci-Fi short stories. I found them to be reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. My only gripe is that some of the stories were a bit too short. Like just a page.

No more Sci-Fi

I had enough of Sci-Fi by now, so I started reading On Love and Sex by Khushwant Singh. There was not much love in it, mostly sex. Lectures on sex, Khushwant’s first hand and second hand experiences. Like most Khushwant novels, it didn’t disappoint.

I probably won’t do much reading in October, because my parents are visiting and I have loads of TV shows to catch up on.

Books I read in August 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in August 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Project Hail MaryAndy Weir10/10
RecursionBlake Crouch8/10
ArtemisAndy Weir9/10
UpgradeBlake Crouch7/10
Randomize (Forward Collection)Andy Weir5/10
ExhalationTed Chiang7/10
Books I read in August 2023

In August, I decided to continue my Science Fiction streak. I saw an advertisement for Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and decided to give it a go. Within a few pages, it was clear to me that this was the best Science Fiction novel I had ever read.

Andy Weir is quite unlike the other Sci-Fi authors I normally read (Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov etc). While the latter are serious and scientific, I found Andy Weir to be positively comic. But that doesn’t mean the science is lacking; that is also explained in detail. After a long time, I had found a book that I couldn’t put down and was completely engrossed.

Apparently, there would be a movie based on this book which I will surely go watch it.

After this, I tried reading The Devgarh Royals trilogy by Alisha Kay, but didn’t like it after a few pages and abandoned it.


I saw a recommendation from Andy Weir for a book called Recursion by Blake Crouch, so decided to give it a go. Recursion is a psychological thriller mixed with Sci-Fi. It took a lot of mental power to keep track of all the time travel, but the story was engaging. I was afraid it would become as complicated as Tenet, but thankfully, it didn’t. One of the most intense books I have ever read.

After this, I went back to Andy Weir‘s Artemis. Just like Project Hail Mary, it was humorous Sci-Fi. The book also has a unique protagonist – A promiscuoussaudi female porter on the moon. I really enjoyed the book, although I found some parts a bit hard to believe.

After this, I went back to Blake Crouch‘s Upgrade. It was entertaining, but nothing special. I probably won’t go back to the author again.

Wanting to go back to Andy Weir; I considered reading The Martian, but since I had already seen the movie twice, gave it a skip. Instead, I bought Randomize (Forward Collection). The story started off interested, but then ended within 40 pages on a cliffhanger. WTF!

Amazon recommended me Exhalation by Ted Chiang, which is a collection of short stories. The short parables were perfect for weekday reading, where I could finish 1 story before I went to bed. The stories had a definite Black Mirror vibe.

PS: I also switched from reading on my Kindle Paperwhite to the Kindle app on the iPad, because I also wanted to read magazines. Below are the magazines I am reading

  1. Reader’s Digest India
  2. Travel+Leisure India

Books I read in July 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in July 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
2001: A Space OdysseyArthur C. Clarke8/10
2010: Odyssey TwoArthur C. Clarke9/10
2061: Odyssey ThreeArthur C. Clarke7/10
3001: The Final OdysseyArthur C. Clarke7/10
Books I read in July 2023

In July, I went back to my trusty Kindle. I had a yearning to read Sci-Fi and not able to find anything new that I wanted to read, I went back to books I had already read.

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the rare books, which was adapted from the screenplay of a movie, also written by Arthur C. Clarke along with Stanley Kubrick. Now, there are 2 versions of the book. The original one and the one based on the movie screenplay. I seem to have read the original one, because when I moved on to the second part, I could see several inconsistencies. That is because the second book onwards are adapted from the screenplay version instead.

2010: Odyssey Two is even better than the first part and I enjoyed reading it.

2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey were both above average, but not awesome. Although I had read all these books, it was long ago. And I did enjoy reading them again.

2001: Differences between original book and movie

After spotting the inconsistencies between the books 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two, I decided to watch the movie, and document the differences, because I did not find a good summary online

  1. In the book, TMA-2 is on Iapetus, a moon of Saturn. But in the movie and the sequels, TMA-2 is in Orbit around Io, a moon of Jupiter.
  2. In the book, Frank Poole is killed by HAL 9000 and floats away. But in the movie and the sequels Dave Bowman goes out to rescue him and gets locked out of the ship by HAL.
  3. In the book, Discovery uses Hydrogen as a propellant. But in the movie and the sequels, the propellant is Ammonia.
  4. In the book, Discovery carried only enough propellant to go into Orbit around Iapetus. But in the movie and the sequels, Discovery has enough propellant to return back to earth.
  5. In the book, Discovery was already running out of air when Dave Bowman left. But in the movie and the sequels, Discovery has sufficient air even after jettisoning the stale putrid air into space.