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The Martian's Andy Weir Picks Space Colonization Sci-Fi

Posted by Cybil on July 29, 2017

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Author Andy Weir is definitely a rising star in the science fiction world. His debut book The Martian nabbed the 2014 Goodreads Choice Award for best science fiction, has an average Goodreads' reader rating of 4.39 stars, and was made into a blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon.

So, what's up next for the author?

This November he'll be returning readers to space with Artemis, a heist story set on the moon.

"I’ve always loved the idea of humanity expanding outward into the solar system. The Martian is a near-future look at those first steps," says Weir. "But it’s one thing to visit a place, it’s another thing entirely to build a civilization there. Dropping a flag on a planet and going home hardly constitutes an expansion."

"My second book, Artemis, plays with what that expansion might actually look like, taking us into a city on the moon," Weir says. "So when Goodreads asked me to recommend a few books featuring a science-fiction theme that’s close to my heart, of course I chose early space colonization."


Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
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"In this 1950 Heinlein juvenile, colonists on Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, face a life just as harsh as early European settlers did in North America. And they endure similar results: the majority of them die, and the remainder manage to eke out a sustainable colony. It’s not a happy story, but it’s certainly an exciting read."


Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
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"Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) is usually talked about as a single entity. But for this list I’m just going to talk about Red Mars. This book features the early colonization of Mars by multinational cooperation. Almost immediately, the colonists break into factions, disagreeing about how best to grow their colony. But their petty disputes are quickly mooted by political strife between Mars and Earth. This is a political thriller as much as it is a science-fiction book, and shows the dark side of a colony’s relationship with its original countries."


Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
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"This sequel to Ender’s Game takes place after the events of the bugger war. Ender Wiggin has taken a new alias and moved to the remote colony of Lusitania. It’s inhabited by a small population of settlers, mostly Brazilian Catholics. But the settlers suffer from a virus that threatens to kill all the humans on the planet, and have strained relations with the native intelligent life already present. An ambitious follow-up to Ender’s Game, and an entirely different experience, more anthropological science fiction than thriller."


Runaround by Isaac Asimov
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"Okay, I’m stretching the theme a little on this one. Runaround is a short story, not a full-length novel. But it’s from my favorite novel of all time, I, Robot. It tells the story of a mining operation on Mercury that had once been thriving, but has fallen into disuse. Two recurring characters in the robot stories find themselves tasked with getting it started up again. But a robot with a slightly adjusted set of Three Laws proves to be problematic when they give it an order it can’t correctly follow. Good fun all around and one of my favorite short stories ever."


The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
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"How could I end this list with any other book? This is the gold standard of lunar-colonization tales. And no doubt it will be the impossibly high standard that my own offering will be compared to. Mistress features a full-blown revolutionary war as the lunar population severs ties with Earth. That goes about as well as can be expected (lots and lots of people dying). It’s an absolute classic, and one of Heinlein’s greatest novels."


What's your favorite out-of-this-world novel on space colonization? Share it with us in the comments.

See the complete coverage of Sci-Fi & Fantasy Week including:
Top 50 Science Fiction Books on Goodreads
Top 10 YA Science Fiction Books
Top 50 Favorite Fantasy Novels on Goodreads


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Comments (showing 1-50 of 62) (62 new)


message 1: by Karen M (last edited Jul 29, 2017 03:41PM) (new)

Karen M The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ( a true master of the genre)


message 2: by Uzma (new)

Uzma The Foundation series by Asimov


message 3: by Megharin (new)

Megharin The Lunar Chronicles by Marrisa Meyer (it's not a novel but a whole series which is set on Earth and the moon!)


message 4: by Trevor (new)

Trevor I know we can't all read everything but surely Ian M Banks Culture books belong in here?


message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie Pierce Old Man's War series by John Scalzi

Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey


message 6: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Old Man's War by John Scalzi, particular books #3 and #4 (The Last Colony, Zoe's Tale), are great space colonization books!


message 7: by Debra (new)

Debra Lilly The Sparrow and Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell


message 8: by Sue (new)

Sue Salisbury I'd add CS Lewis's Space Trilogy books, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.

And I loved The Martian - so realistic in showing that things not working out in a complicated setting, despite being meticulously planned, should be considered the norm!


message 9: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice Gormley I immediately thought of Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora, although strictly speaking, it's about colonization that totally fails.


message 10: by Mark (last edited Aug 01, 2017 06:44PM) (new)

Mark Red Rising Trilogy, Pierce Brown. Genius!


message 11: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bowden Children of Time by Adrian Tchikovsky
It was "out of this world"!


message 12: by Rob (new)

Rob Adams Trevor wrote: "I know we can't all read everything but surely Ian M Banks Culture books belong in here?"

I have had numerous discussions about this series with a coworker who loves them. I still haven't gotten too far into it myself but the concept is interesting as hell. That said, he did advise it is very hard(high?) sci-fi. Might transition from Mars trilogy to this.

Thanks for reaffirming his suggestion!


message 13: by Rob (new)

Rob Adams Mark wrote: "Red Rising Trilogy, Pierce Brown. Genius!"

My goodman, from start to finish, this series was one of my favourite of all time. My only complaint, is that I read Red Rising within a week of release, and had to wait a seemingly endless year for the next.

Iron Gold soon, and Sons of Ares in graphic novel!!!

I love it, and rumour has movie potential on the horizon... follow Pierce on Facebook for more info on that, as well as everything going on. Worth it. He's pretty interactive too, which I've found with a lot of authors nowadays; they are making themselves more available, and thus more appreciated/mainstream.


message 14: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Kelly I'm surprised that Tad Williams isn't on either list. For Fantasy you have the fantastic The Dragonbone Chair, and for Sci-Fi, probably my all time favourite book, City of Golden Shadow.


message 15: by Tony (new)

Tony da Napoli Iain M. Banks gets my vote. Awesome and missed.


message 16: by Tony (new)

Tony da Napoli Too many 'old-timers" (like me) on this list.
In recent years I have become a fan of Sci-Fi Nouveau - the new writers that are redefining the genre. Banks, Stephenson, and many younger others. The old-timers will always be remembered and loved for all they have given us, but it has moved on. If you are still using Windows XP, same thing. Time to upgrade.


message 17: by Linette (new)

Linette Hutton I loved the Koban series by Stephen Bennett and I agree the Old Man's War by John Scalzi is also a must read!


message 18: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Have people forgotten about Vernor Vinge's The Children of the Sky the sequel toA Deepness in the Sky? These are both great space operas with the latter totally focused on the complexities of colonization with aging generations


message 19: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Tony wrote: "Iain M. Banks gets my vote. Awesome and missed."
Totally- agree- love the entire Culture series


message 20: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Debra wrote: "The Sparrow and Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell"

Debra- I really thought the Sparrow was a very special book; thanks for reminding me!


message 21: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Tony wrote: "Too many 'old-timers" (like me) on this list.
In recent years I have become a fan of Sci-Fi Nouveau - the new writers that are redefining the genre. Banks, Stephenson, and many younger others. The..."

Did you read The Quantum Thief?


message 22: by Sarah (last edited Aug 02, 2017 07:36AM) (new)

Sarah Seveneves if you can make it through it. Almost put that sucker down so many times....


message 23: by Lori (new)

Lori Karen M wrote: "The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ( a true master of the genre)"
Indeed!! Absolutely love The Martian Chronicles. It is so haunting and most definitely should be on this list. Oh well, we all have opinions. :)


message 24: by Mackay (new)

Mackay Grass, Sheri S. Tepper
Dune, Frank Herbert
Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell


message 25: by Sandi (new)

Sandi Distefano What about the Dune series, the first three books anyway. I tried to read the fourth but didn't like it.


message 26: by Tony (new)

Tony da Napoli I have not read The Quantum Thief, but if you recommend it, it goes on my to-read list, thanks.


message 27: by Tony (new)

Tony da Napoli Sarah wrote: "Seveneves if you can make it through it. Almost put that sucker down so many times...."

I congratulate you... I actually read and liked Cryptonomicon and others by Neal... but gave up on Seveneves. He still is one of my fav newish guys.


message 28: by Tony (new)

Tony da Napoli Sandi wrote: "What about the Dune series, the first three books anyway. I tried to read the fourth but didn't like it."

Right. but three generations old now. Classic. And did you read it before the movie? If so, did you possibly envision it the way Herbert did in the movie? He was the consultant at the start of the production, so it must have been true to his vision. Weirded me out.


message 29: by George (new)

George Hahn It would be self-serving to name "Tau Ceti: A Ship from Earth" as one of my favorites, but it is a favorably (though scantily) reviewed novel about a colony on a planet of the Tau Ceti star system, and the first of a trilogy about that world.


message 30: by Sandi (new)

Sandi Distefano Tony wrote: "Sandi wrote: "What about the Dune series, the first three books anyway. I tried to read the fourth but didn't like it."

Right. but three generations old now. Classic. And did you read it before th..."


I did read them before I watched the movie. I thought it stayed true to the book. It cleared up a few things that I couldn't quite imagine in my mind.


message 31: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale Dune and it's spin offs.


message 32: by Laura (new)

Laura The Expanse series is good as well.


message 33: by Robert (new)

Robert You can all recommend to your friends. These are the author's picks.


message 34: by Scot (new)

Scot Building Harlequin's Moon by Niven and Cooper is one of the more interesting approaches. The Legacy of Heorot and Beowulf's Children, and Destiny's Road, by Niven, Pournelle, and Barnes, and Destiny's Road, by Niven, are really interesting as well. All of them look at well funded, relatively low resource attempts at long distance colonization with small groups.


message 35: by Julie (new)

Julie  Capell Katie wrote: "Old Man's War series by John Scalzi

Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey"


YES!!!


message 36: by Len (new)

Len Charlap The best colonization series by far is Cherryh's Foreigner series.


message 37: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Quist Karen M wrote: "The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ( a true master of the genre)"

This was my first thought when I saw this article. What an amazingly beautiful book. Bradbury was a true wordsmith.


message 38: by Ray (new)

Ray Smithee Karen M wrote: "The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ( a true master of the genre)"

Yes, one of my favorites.


message 39: by John (new)

John The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the best stories I've ever read, space-colonization or no.


message 40: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Sakoi The Mote in God's Eye


message 41: by Matthijs (new)

Matthijs van Soest Neal Asher's Polity universe contains some must read series, though it may stretch the 'space colonization' theme a tiny bit.

The Revelation Space series of Alastair Reynolds is an excellent read.

I also really like the Culture series of books by Iain M. Banks as already mentioned by several others.


message 42: by Tobias (new)

Tobias Taylor Trevor wrote: "I know we can't all read everything but surely Ian M Banks Culture books belong in here?"

For me, Banks built on Larry Niven's Ringworld concepts so I'd have to add this one first.


message 43: by Len (new)

Len Charlap Tobias wrote: "Trevor wrote: "I know we can't all read everything but surely Ian M Banks Culture books belong in here?"

For me, Banks built on Larry Niven's Ringworld concepts so I'd have to add this one first."


Tobias, I must disagree. The main theme of the culture series is people working with AI's. While Ringworld is great, there are no AI's in it, and the seies deteriorates from the first book.


message 44: by James (last edited Aug 03, 2017 06:50AM) (new)

James For me The Knights Dawn Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton is so underrated and hardly ever talked about, such a shame. Maybe it could be a good sleeper series for some or many.

Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson is phenomenal a must read really.
Culture by Ian M Banks as a few have mentioned.
Grass by Sherri S Tepper is amazing.
The Sparrow & The Children of God by Mary Doria Russell.

If any haven't read i highly recommend all and if you do read them enjoy. Those who have read them i salute you.


message 45: by Bruno (new)

Bruno Corticelli Ellen wrote: "Tony wrote: "Iain M. Banks gets my vote. Awesome and missed."
Totally- agree- love the entire Culture series"


Agreed 100% Banks was one of the best if not the best SF writer of the late 20th century ! My favorite Bank's culture novel was "Look to winward"


message 46: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Sakoi Wool by Hugh Howey


message 47: by Programs (new)

Programs Wait, Watership Down is being adapted for film?! I am so curious as to how that will be done! Must see it! Even Bladerunner is on my list, even though everyone says it can't be as good as the first (Rutger Hauer was incredible), but I've got to see what they've come up with. My curiosity is piqued!


message 48: by Naomi (last edited Aug 03, 2017 10:33PM) (new)

Naomi Debra wrote: "The Sparrow and Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell"

That book blew my mind. I did not read the second but I will!


message 49: by Silmarien (last edited Aug 03, 2017 11:34PM) (new)

Silmarien Kelly wrote: "Wool by Hugh Howey"
While I agree that it was a great read, it doesn't fit a "space colonization" category. All action is here, on Earth.

I would recommend a Hayden War series by Evan Currie.


message 50: by Robert (new)

Robert Harvey Dark Eden
An accidental colonisation of a strange and dark world. It has elements in common with Tchaikovsky's Children of Time, isolation, internal conflict and lost technologies. However, "Dark Eden" is about making contact with a truly alien lifeform rather than genetically enhanced Earth spiders.


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