If you love technology, you’ve got to love sci-fi. It’s where the big ideas come from – decades or even centuries before they happen in real life, the inventions of the future are described by some of the world's best authors.
Yes, there is a certain amount of nerditude involved, but in case you hadn’t noticed, nerds get all the best jobs these days. And luckily, we also live in a future where we can pack dozens of holiday books into one pocketable e-reader.
So whether you're looking to board a spaceship and fly through a melodramatic space opera or have your mind blown by a blast of intellectual sci-fi, these modern science fiction classics are the premium reading fuel to pour into your new Kindle.
If you enjoyed...Firefly
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers (£2)
A self-publishing phenomenon, this episodic story follows a fascinating group of individuals, thrown together by fate and stuck together in a small wormhole-building spaceship called The Wayfarer.
The bulk of the narrative is retroactive, as each dysfunctional member of the crew slowly reveal the paths and motivations that led them to the ship and each other. As the ship makes it year-long journey, the crew’s reaction to the places and sights along the way reveal more about the equally curious universe around them too.
Full of memorable quirks (the ship essentially runs on modified Algae) and underscored by a wry sense of humour, this space opera is ambitious, great fun and original - for a debut or otherwise.
If you enjoyed...The X Files
Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer (£4)
‘Area X’ is an environmental catastrophe near a US military base, a bizarro hinterland of freakish flora and fauna. No-one knows what caused it, or what’s really going on inside…just that it’s (very slowly) growing.
Annihilation sees four unnamed, professional women, the latest in a series of small expeditions sent by the US government to map and investigate the area, focusing on what can only be described as a tower that goes down, not up. The book is told from the biologist’s perspective, often flashing back to the motivations that led her to volunteer for Area X.
Secrets, mysteries, freakish occurrences and more questions than answers, Annihilation is a haunting, thrilling start to the trilogy.
If you enjoyed...His Dark Materials (by Philip Pullman)
All the Birds in the Sky
All The Birds In The Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (£3.80)
Two teenage outcasts struggle with their identities and infuriating families. So far, so usual. Except he builds time machines and super-computers, while she’s a witch who can talk to animals. Not to mention the unbalanced assassin following their every move.
Ten years later, they meet again in San Francisco and try and make sense of their unravelling world, where AIs play matchmaker and abandoning Earth via a wormhole seems a genuine option. The story pans out in touching, witty and downright dazzling way, as Anders masterfully combines the worlds of science and magic.
If you enjoyed...Hyperion (by Dan Simmons)
The Dark Forest
The Dark Forest, by Liu Cixin (£5.80)
This second book from the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, by China’s foremost sci-fi author, is a brilliant, century-spanning sci-fi thriller with a heavy emphasis on astro-physics and psychology in the face of impending doom.
The overarching plot of the first two books concerns humanity preparing for an alien invasion that’s still 400 years away. Only, there’s a meddling pro-alien faction on Earth helped by ’Sophons’, alien spy particles sent in advance. So the UN tasks five extraordinary individuals (‘Wallfacers’) with inventing plans known only to them, using near-unlimited resources in order to keep the Sophons in the dark.
Luo Ji, our protagonist, is one such Wallfacer - only, he’s not brilliant, and he has absolutely no idea why he’s been chosen. There are parts that get a little dense, but overall The Dark Forest is a blisteringly original, tender, humorous page-turner.