1. Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi
I can’t recommend this novel highly enough. It’s won a few accolades like the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel and it was a New York Times bestseller. So, it’s merits speak for themselves, but it truly lives up to the hype.
The premiss is fairly simple, it’s a comedic look at the expendable crew members from classic Sci-Fi TV shows like Star Trek. That’s the basic starting point, but from there you go on a hilarious and often touching journey about existence and how we can contribute to the lives of those around us. The three codas in this book nearly killed me; they drive a semi-truck right over your heart.
You don’t need to be a Sci-Fi fan to enjoy Redshirts. As with the very best Sci-Fi, it resonates with our current situation and teaches us about who we are and how we can be better.
2. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
A few years ago, I watched a movie called Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. It’s a Finnish horror movie about the “real” Santa Claus. It’s both haunting and has a quality of magical realism that just breathes the mood of the Holidays. It’s currently streaming on Netflix and I’d suggest watching it if something like that strikes your fancy.
NOS4A2 takes the horror and magical realism to a whole other level. It’s about a vampire (Nosferatu) who abducts children and the woman who has the tools to stop him.
I don’t want to give too much away; it’s really the journey that you go on through the book that is the most enjoyable element. I couldn’t guess what was going to happen next and it kept me flipping through page after page. It’s a unique story.
3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This novel is a great introduction for anyone not familiar with Neil Gaiman or his work. I could talk forever about Anansi Boys and American Gods, but I’d suggest starting here.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a simple, beautifully crafted fairy tale about memory, growing up, and making the “impossible all too real.”