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One of the wonderful things about science fiction is that with every new breakout novel we don't just get a new story; we get the author's latest imagined reality rife with its own technology, history, species, aliens, and many (many) problems. 2016 was a great year for the genre; newly-minted authors and veteran ones alike delivered breakout science fiction books that made me equal parts intrigued and downright frightened by the twisted future that humanity—and a universe of other species—may be heading towards.
Forsaken Skies by David Wellington (aka D. Nolan Clark)
“I try never to predict the future,” Wellington muses. “That way I'm never wrong.”
Aliens are en route to attack an isolated planet inhabited by a colony of people not important enough for anyone to rescue. In the 2016 breakout science fiction book Forsaken Skies, by David Wellington (under the pseudonym D. Nolan Clark) a ragtag group of pilots steps up to defend thousands of innocent lives from a mysterious fleet of alien drones, and find out what it is these intruders are looking for on their otherwise disregarded planet.
Follow the author @LastTrilobite
Read more by David Wellington
A Dream of Ice by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
The truth is out there.
In this case, the truth is that Gillian Anderson has returned to her sci-fi roots, but taken a very different path this time around.
Under different circumstances, a child psychologist would likely be thrilled with the supernatural gift to heal patients telepathically and to perceive the human condition on an unprecedented level. But, every rose has its thorn, and Caitlin O'Hara's newfound ability makes her a target for an ancient mystical civilization that wants to make an earthly comeback. Breakout science fiction book A Dream of Ice is the second in "The EarthEnd Saga" series co-written by X-Files star Gillian Anderson. If Caitlin fails, she risks her career, her patients' lives, and the end of the world.
Follow the author @GillianA
Read more by Gillian Anderson
Eternity's Mind by Kevin J. Anderson
"I make up stuff. I adventure hard, so you don’t have to." - Kevin J. Anderson
Peace has finally been restored in the galaxies after the all-out cosmic war that nearly destroyed it 20 years prior. But inter-galactic peace might all be for naught if the transportal network that connects various gateways across space are shutting down one by one. In Eternity's Mind, the 2016 breakout science fiction novel by Kevin J. Anderson, "The Saga of Shadows" series continues as a team of disparate species join forces in an alliance that's just as unpredictable as it is unlikely.
Follow the author @TheKJA
Read more by Kevin J. Anderson
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” - Blake Crouch
It's not a case of mistaken identity; Jason Dessen is abducted and wakes up in an alternative reality in which he achieved the professional heights in quantum physics research that he could have sworn he had abandoned for the sake of his family. And yet, his captors demand information on the inter-dimensional travel that his work supposedly enabled. In 2016 breakout science fiction novel Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Jason Dessen reaps the benefits—and suffers the pain—of a chance to do it all over.
Follow the author @blakecrouch1
Read more by Blake Crouch
After Atlas by Emma Newman
Emma hosts the Hugo-nominated and Alfie winning podcast 'Tea and Jeopardy' which involves tea, cake, mild peril and singing chickens.
Detective Carlos Moreno's mother left on the space mission to colonize a new planet 40 years prior. Carlos remained on Earth and became grossly hyperconnected; he has an implanted brain chip that effectively renders him a cognitive cyborg. In After Atlas—a 2016 companion to breakout novel Planetfall by Emma Newman—Carlos is tasked with investigating the murder of his cult leader and an unexpected delivery from his mother's departed spaceship.
Follow the author @EmApocalyptic
Read more by Emma Newman
Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black
J. Patrick Black has worked as a bartender, a lifeguard, a small-town lawyer, a homebuilder, and a costumed theme park character, all while living a secret double life as a fiction writer.
All is right with the world, and it will stay that way so long as humans keep the aliens at bay. Five hundred years earlier, aliens invaded Earth and brought with them a technology so advanced and powerful it might as well have been magic. In Ninth City Burning, a breakout sci-fi book by author J. Patrick Black, another attack is imminent, and the students at an elite military academy are the only ones that can harness the aliens' universe-altering force. Here's hoping they're well-trained.
Follow the author @JPatrickBlack
Read more about J. Patrick Black
Faller by Will McIntosh
"There’s something about hot water pelting my face that unleashes a flow of ideas." - Will McIntosh
A cataclysmic event has destroyed Earth as we know it. The planet was broken up and now islands of land fragments float around aimlessly in space. People are stuck without food, electricity, and all of their memories. Faller, Will McIntosh's breakout sci-fi novel, features a lonely man who has nothing to lose. Armed only with a smattering of objects he finds in his pockets, he'll try to remember and find the people he once loved.
Follow the author @WillMcIntoshSF
Read more by Will McIntosh
Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
"The universe is our picture. Only the immature imagine the cosmos to be what they think it is." - Brian Herbert
Four interstellar organizations are still fighting the anti-technology forces that threaten to preclude the events of Frank Herbert's Dune from taking place 10,000 years later. Brian Herbert's Navigators of Dune (co-written with Kevin J. Anderson) is the final installment in the prequel trilogy that affords Dune fans a deeper appreciation of his father's work and insight into a universe that almost wasn't.
Follow the author @DuneAuthor
Read more by Brian Herbert