16. Beyond: Edward Snowden
A short graphic novel that explores the character of NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden, Dan Lauer’s comic attempts to explain why the bespectacled desk jockey abandoned everything in order to expose the US government’s wide-ranging program of snooping.
17. Another Great Day at Sea, Geoff Dyer
This book is one of the results of a programme called Writers in Residence, in which well-known authors are assigned to a large organisation to record it from within. Which sounds like it might be a bit worthy, but this book, in which novelist Geoff Dyer spends two weeks on board a US Navy aircraft carrier, is full of fascinating detail, nicely drawn characters and self-deprecating humour.
More after the break...
18. The Paper Trail: an Unexpected History of the World’s Greatest Invention, Alexander Monro
Information is the perfect weapon and the ultimate currency, and for most of history paper was the substrate on which all information has been recorded. Alexander Monro tells the story of how this powerful material came to be, how it spread learning and democratised knowledge, and how it might not be around for much longer.
19. Parasites Like Us, Adam Johnson
Republished in paperback this year, Adam Johnson’s accidental apocalypse follows in the footsteps of Kurt Vonnegut with a funny, poignant story of a bumbling archaeologist who breaks into the tomb of an ancient hunter and unleashes the end of the world. Oops.
20. The Violent Century, Lavie Tidhar
An alternate history weaving together espionage, superheroes, World War II and the struggle between powers political and supernatural that follows, Lavie Tidhar’s ambitious sci-fi novel is high on both style and plot. John Le Carré meets Stan Lee meets Cormac McCarthy in this noirish literary thriller.