As science continues to push the boundaries of humanity, space colonization books continue to usher in fascinating stories about the possibilities of human life beyond Earth. Back then, it seemed impossible to have aircraft, androids, and smartphones, yet modern society has consistently proven that science fiction can indeed be reality at some point. While the future of humanity is uncertain, it’s always interesting to image what lies ahead. Thus, space colonization books need to be read to develop genuine curiosity and creativity.
The Martian Way by Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov is one of the most prolific sci-fi writers of all time. Published way back in Galaxy Science Fiction in November 1952, The Martian Way was one of the earliest examples of fiction that examined the exploration of space. Here, you will meet Mario Rioz and Ted Long, two humans born in Mars who live by collecting scraps of spacecraft for recycling purposes. However, things get interesting when a politician from Earth tries to persuade the citizens that colonizing Mar and other planets wastes the energy and capacity of Earth. If this politician gets his way, Rioz and Long will lose their work as space scavengers. Here, readers will understand just how difficult it can be to move from one home to another. It’s a fantastic combination of science fiction and political intrigue.
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Released in 1977, Gateway is the first book of the Heechee saga. As soon as it was published, the book garnered praise from many organizations, establishing itself as one of the greatest space colonization books around. It won a Hugo Award, a Locus Award, and a Nebula Award—all for the Best Novel nod. In Gateway, humans try to understand the technology of the Heechee aliens that have perished long ago. A space station is located inside an asteroid, and the most powerful governments on Earth hope to learn the controls and capabilities of this massive structure. After many fatal attempts, humans finally uncovered the power of Heechee technology. Soon, they discover habitable planets aside from Earth. As their own planet is under extreme stress due to overpopulation and poverty, are people willing to try their luck and use the Gateway space station?
Desolation Road by Ian McDonald
Ian McDonald made an impressive debut in 1988 with Desolation Road, a sci-fi novel that imagines life on Mars. In the distant future of humanity, settlements became available in Mars through terraforming. This process basically means changing the atmosphere, ecology, and all the conditions of an area to replicate Earth and allow humans to thrive. Desolation Road tackles many aspects of society including politics, economics, and art. It’s a phenomenal work of fiction in that it thinks of existence through centuries, eventually delving into multiple realities, dystopian environments, and futuristic forms of engineering. As much as Ian McDonald’s work seems to include every bit of what defines humanity, all of the elements work out in the end to develop the story. Truly, Desolation Road is a delight to read.
Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
Aside from being one of the more memorable space colonization books of the 21st century, Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden is also a fantastic example of social science fiction. Instead of focusing on the technical aspects of space exploration, Dark Eden is more interested in how societies develop. More than 150 years after two people become stuck on a planet called Eden, incestuous relationships have created a human settlement with its own way of life. Unlike other books that show advanced societies outside earth, Dark Eden portrays a relatively low-technology society connected through rituals, stories, and myths. In the “Family” society of Eden, matriarchy is apparent and social cohesion is as important as ever. In a way, this book illustrates the beginning of humanity in a whole new light.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This award-winning young adult novel was the start of the celebrated Chaos Walking series. Published in 2008, The Knife of Never Letting Go earned the Booktrust Teenage Prize, the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and the Guardian award. As a YA novel, Ness’ book tackled information overload, which is something most teenagers are experiencing today. In the New World lives a boy named Todd Hewitt. The world is strange, as only boys and men live in the settlement. This became the harsh reality once all the female humans and half of the men perished after contacting a deadly germ and battling the Spackle, a species that has long thrived in the New World. Although the men survived, the germ led to an unusual development: They are now able to hear what everyone else is thinking. In an odd world where privacy seemingly nowhere to be found, Todd Hewitt attempts to find silence. This is one of the most intriguing space colonization books around.
Alphanauts by J. Brian Clarke
Space colonization is meant to provide human beings with another home. After all, there is no way to be sure that a massive disaster won’t erase every human being on Earth. Even if that doesn’t happen, constant issues such as environmental degradation and climate change will force humans to find a way to keep on living. Thus, space colonization is one viable option. However, what happens when astronauts suddenly find themselves incapable of living on Earth due to a strange medical condition? Left with no other choice, this team of space explorers must find another habitable planet. But as they will soon realize, finding a new home apart from Earth is filled with risks and unexpected encounters with the unknown inhabitants of the greater universe.
Coyote by Allen Steele
Instead of having only a single main character all throughout the story, Coyote contains multiple narratives. Through these various stories, readers are given an extensive view of what it is like to live on a new planet. Allen Steele’s sci-fi book started actually began as short stories before being compiled into a rewarding novel. In Coyote, Captain Robert E. Lee has the job of controlling a massive starship built by the United Republic of America called the URSS Alabama. However, Lee has another idea on his mind as he decides to take the starship away and take a different route of interstellar travel. Other soldiers tried to stop him, but it was too late and they are forced to join the captain’s uncertain journey through space. If you want to read more about one of the most exciting space colonization books, search for Coyote Chronicles and Coyote Destiny.
Half Way Home by Hugh Howey
Space colonization is a risky objective, and humans need to make sacrifices if they wish to make progress. In Half Way Home, 500 humans are sent on a mission to find a new home outside Earth. Sadly, only 10 percent of the group survives the journey. Worse, these 50 young people did not complete their training after regaining their consciousness earlier than expected. What can these survivors do in an unfamiliar land? They are aware that danger lurks in this new planet. Aside from that, trust among each other isn’t assured. Before the survivors can learn more about this strange planet, they must learn to cooperate with each other if they wish to continue the mission. Half Way Home is a gripping and exciting sci-fi novel that examines both the human spirit and the horrors of space exploration.
Ark by Stephen Baxter
As a sequel to 2008’s Flood, Ark is about the tenacity of humanity to survive in times of desolation. It is a fine example of how space colonization books create intrigue and drama. By 2052, the land of Earth will drown due to a catastrophic flood. Of course, hope is not lost as a billionaire decides to build a huge shop to help human beings travel a flooded planet. However, not everyone trusts that this will work. As an alternative, the US government decides to build a different kind of ship with the help of billionaires. Instead of simply floating on the waters of the blue planet, the Ark One ship hopes to transport humans from Earth to another habitable planet. Thus, there are two ships being built with the objective of saving humanity. Still, speculations abound as to what another ship, the Ark Two, is capable of doing.
The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars form the critically acclaimed Mars trilogy. With a story taking place for almost 200 years, the various stories told by several characters allow the reader to imagine the vast, primarily utopian settlement of humans on Mars. Combining politics, society, and science in one grand work of fiction, the Mars trilogy showed how humans thrived on the red planet while those on Earth faced environmental degradation and overpopulation. Robinson even tackled the issue of corporations becoming powerful enough to influence and exploit governments around the world. Fascinatingly, the Mars trilogy goes beyond the red planet as human attempt to thrive on the other parts of the solar system. Fans of space colonization books will always recommend this amazing trilogy, and it will continue to influence future works tackling space exploration.