Science Fiction – Timelines


The Shining Girls

by Lauren Beukes

Time Travel SF. At the height of the Great Depression, drifter Harper Curtis acquires the keys to a Chicago bungalow with some unusual features, including the ability to visit other time periods. Harper takes advantage of this odd windfall by becoming a serial killer and embarking on a multi-decade murder spree. Targeting so-called Shining Girls, “bright young women burning with potential,” he locates each victim, gives her a trinket, and later returns to kill her. With no obvious connections between the victims, the cops are baffled and Harper believes himself invincible. However, he doesn’t count on college student Kirby Mazrachi surviving his attack, nor on her determination to find her would-be killer. 

The Girl in the Road

by Monica Byrne

Social SF. After surviving an assassination attempt, university dropout Meena escapes from Mumbai and heads for her native Addis Ababa by way of the Trail, or Trans-Arabian Linear Generator, a high-tech bridge spanning the Arabian Sea. Ethiopia is also the destination of 10-year-old Mariama, a child slave in Mauritania who sneaks aboard an oil truck crossing the Sahara. Despite differences in time and circumstance, the two young women’s paths are destined to cross, but in ways neither one could ever predict. In addition to its compelling parallel narratives, The Girl in the Road also offers an insightful exploration of gender roles.

The Peripheral: A Novel

by William Gibson

Near-Future SF. Whenever she can, gamer Flynne Fisher tries to help her brother Burton, a disabled veteran. So when Burton asks her to beta-test a virtual reality game as part of his lucrative but illegal part-time job, Flynne agrees to sub in. During her shift, Flynne witnesses a murder and soon realizes that she’s not playing a game, she’s seeing the future. But how? Cutting-edge technology and crossed time lines create an intricately plotted and thought-provoking science fiction story that slowly builds suspense through parallel, yet intersecting, narratives.

The Cusanus Game

by Wolfgang Jeschke

Time Travel SF. The solution to a global economic and political meltdown precipitated by nuclear disaster and environmental devastation? Well, that’s easy: just use time travel to exploit the resources of the past in order to protect the future. In 2052, biologist Domenica Ligrina is recruited for the Rinascita Project, a top-secret research program sponsored by the Vatican. Her assignment is to study 15th-century Europe, from which she’ll be gathering specimens of extinct plants. Meanwhile, Renaissance man Nicolaus Cusanus, a German philosopher, theologian, and astronomer, hears strange reports of a learned witch who claims to have seen the future and an angel who has invented a means of traveling through time. Past, present, and future collide in unpredictable, mind-bending fashion in this suspenseful, complex novel.


by Connie Willis

Time Travel SF. Something’s gone wrong in 2060 Oxford, where historians conduct their research via time-travel. Thus, with their access to the 21st century inexplicably barred, scholars Michael, Merope, and Polly find themselves stranded in World War II-era Britain, facing air raids, blackouts, unexploded bombs, dive-bombing Stukas, rationing, shrapnel, V-1s, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history — to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. If you enjoy Blackout, be sure to read its companion novel, All Clear. If you’d like to start at the beginning of Connie Willis’ acclaimed Oxford Time Travel series, pick up Doomsday Book


List created 10/6/15 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Posted in Adult Staff Picks, Reading Lists and tagged , , .