Aren’t we used to the future in books mostly being… well, bleary? I don’t know, just a little dystopian? All is well with a little death and destruction in a book, but… Sometimes you need to keep that hope going. So this time, I’ll be sharing 5 titles that really boosted my belief in humanity and its future.
I’m going to start with one of my absolute favorites! It’s a total gem, and it’s also a hidden gem, at that. Not as many people know it! Clifford Simak is more famous for his book City, which I admit I did enjoy, but nowhere as much as this one. Way Station tells the story of a man, Enoch Wallace, who has willingly become a hermit of sorts, keeping a secret galactic gateway through Earth, but since Earth is deemed an uncivilized, crude planet, the gateway is a secret from the rest of the planet. What happens in the Way Station will require Enoch to show incredibly strength, humanity in the face of adversity and… plain old kindness. This book is so focused on the kindness that I had a tough time believing it was scifi at all, at first. It is just so beautiful! Way Station truly tells one of those stories that are the reason I read books at all. You should definitely check it out.
A list about hopeful scifis would be incomplete without this one! A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet has been one of my best reads of 2016. Deemed “space for non-space readers”, or “space-lite”, it’s just as representative of the scifi genre as anything, in my opinion. This here, I should say, is the female take on space. Not centered on politics, technology or machinations – A Long Way is a completely character driven story, and believe me, you will weep when something happens to at least one of them. Praised for the incredible diversity it can boast, as well as simple human (and non-human) warmth and understanding, it will give you a hopeful lookout towards our future in space. If you are curious about my review of this book, you can read it here.
Don’t you start thinking that if I say gives hope about humanity I mean fluffy and soft. NO. That’s not what this list is about! And at this precise moment, I present Seveneves. This book sufficiently dark and grim, at certain points. As dark as it should be, considering the human race is dying. Hopelessly. However? As it normally is with Neal Stephenson, there’s a big picture. A very big picture. And it completely blows your mind. It felt very hopeful for me too. I don’t really want to say more though, as I believe you should go into this book completely blindly to enjoy the full experience. But I truly do recommend it.
I bet you haven’t heard of this one. It’s another hidden gem! You might have heard about the author though – M.J Sullivan wrote the Riyria Chronicles which are quite famous (and which I can’t spell for the life of me…) But even if you haven’t read his fantasy books, do consider reading Hollow World. It’s diverse, it tells a tale about the future, which is actually a Utopia for once! What I liked a lot about the book was that it centers on the idea that humans have built a synthetic world for themselves underground (hence hollow world) in order to preserve nature and not interfere with its ways. So ecologic! That’s reason #1 why I find it so hopeful. Reason #2 would be that Hollow World has truly wonderful, honest, sincere and loving characters. It was so endearing! I read it several years ago, and I still warmly rememeber it.
Okay, so I said no dystopia? K, I lied. But!!! Good reasons!! Believe it or not, I found The Girl With All The Gifts very hopeful. Okay, so normal humans die. But so what? We kind of suck anyway! Look at what we’re doing to the planet! I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for those who haven’t read this book yet (which you should), I will just say that I… absolutely loved that ending. It was amazing. Other than that, this book is incredible for many other reasons. Kindness and empathy against self-preservation, or sanity, even. Extremely well written characters. Extremely well written villain! (Like, when does that EVER happen??) So even if you like a little bit of dystopia in your life, you will not leave this list without something!
Do you have any suggestions for books to add to the list? I would love to see them!