For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, the prompt was “Single-Word Titles.” Because most of what I read is either Adult or YA sci fi and speculative fiction, I decided to make a list of my top ten SFF (Science Fiction/Fantasy) books with one-word titles! Oh, and I didn’t count the word “The” as a word because, well, I just decided I didn’t want to. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here they are:
- Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett: I am forever and always a fan of adult speculative short fiction, and Vigilance is the genre at its very best. I read this in January and I already know it will be one of my favorite reads of the year. This novella is timely and fascinating, and very readable despite the violence depicted. Vigilance imagines a near-future United States that’s obsessed with staying ever-vigilant against domestic threats and terror attacks. It’s twisty, so well written, and has some really powerful themes that will stick with you way after you finish reading. CW: gun use and gun violence
- Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky*: I did a full review on this sci fi novella already, so I’ll keep this short and say that if you’re at all interested in themes of class and/or climate change, or if you just enjoy good speculative fiction, then you need to read Firewalkers when it comes out on May 12, 2020.
- Randomize by Andy Weir: Randomize is a fun little novellette that’s part of the Forward Collection by Amazon, a collection of short fiction sci fi works by some really amazing writers, like N.K. Jemisin, Veronica Roth, and Blake Crouch. This was my first Andy Weir work, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the near-future aspect of this story verses the hard sci fi of some of the other stories in this collection. The science was cool and well-thought-through (computer science and hacking!) and it made me pretty excited to read more Andy Weir in the future.
- The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: The Naturals is the coolest YA Criminal-Minds-esque story with fun characters and a bit of a supernatural undercurrent to the story as a whole. It’s entertaining as heck, and that’s why I come to YA.
- Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok*: I have a full review of this one too. Spectacle is one of my favorite recent YA reads, and has a really cool preternatural/supernatural twist to it that is really fun. Set in the 1880s in Paris, this book is a delightful historical fantasy with smartly crafted and likable characters.
- The Dispatcher by John Scalzi: The Dispatcher is another adult speculative fiction novella, and is an audiobook exclusive through Audible. Best of all, it’s narrated by the one and only Zachary Quinto. The setting is a near-future world where it is nearly impossible to murder someone, because people come back if they are killed intentionally. I enjoyed it immensely, and found the world really fascinating. It is so well written and Zachary Quito is, no surprise, utterly fantastic with his narration.
- Jackaby by William Ritter: Jackaby is a fun paranormal YA historical mystery with an entertaining plot and interesting characters. If you liked the mysteries of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Spectacle, this might be a fun book to give a try. It has two main characters, Jackaby and Abigail, and they don’t have a romance with each other, which is a nice twist in YA literature. It’s a series of four books, but I haven’t read past this first book yet.
- Ark by Veronica Roth: Ark is another short story in the Forward Collection, which I mentioned in #3. While it’s probably my least favorite on this list, it’s definitely worth reading and deserves a mention. This is the only adult work by Veronica Roth that I’ve read, and it was so different than her YA books. It’s slow and methodical and purposeful, and has beautiful narration by Evan Rachel Wood. I’m very excited to see what Roth does with her full length Adult novel Chosen Ones coming out later this Spring.
- / 10. Divergent by Veronica Roth and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: Were either of these perfect books? Nope. But they are classic titles for me and really pushed my interest in the speculative genre. In my opinion, The Hunger Games is YA speculative fiction at its best, and Divergent created such an interesting near-future take on Chicago. They deserve a place on this list just because of how freaking revolutionary they were.
So that’s all! I’d love to hear about your favorite SFF titles!
*This star means I received the book as an arc through Netgalley in exchange for a review. My thoughts are my own, though!