Every year thousands of our readers vote for their favorite books of the year in the She Reads Awards. Find out more about the books that were nominated and see which book was voted the Best Science Fiction of 2022.
The winner of the Best Science Fiction of 2022 is . . .
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility spans three hundred years, from the 1912 Canadian wilderness to a moon colony set a hundred years in the future. Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic by steamship as a young man, bound for the forests of Canada after he is cast out of high society for a faux pas. From his place in the wild, he hears a violin echoing in an airship, an experience that never leaves him. Two hundred years later, Olive Llewellyn is far from her home on the second moon colony for a book tour all over Earth. Within her book is a passage about a man who plays violin on an airship terminal. Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is a detective in the Night City who discovers the stories of a young man driven to madness and a writer stuck on Earth as a pandemic rages. Alongside their stories is the evidence that it’s possible to disrupt the timeline of the universe—and the key to finding out what happened in time to bind the lives of Edwin and Olive forever.
The nominees for Best Science Fiction of 2022 are:
Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi
Ever imagine what the world would look like empty? Well, in the year 2050, healthy places are limited. The Earth’s environment, poisoned from mankind’s negligence, has left the planet in danger. The rich have long left Earth and fled to off-world homes. One diverse community in New Haven, Connecticut, is among the few that remain on the planet. The people of the town attempt to survive off of the scraps and parts they find from the depleting surroundings. But through it all, they learn to appreciate, experience, and make history in a ruined world.
How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
Another pandemic is unleashed in the world. Yet this time it’s the year 2030, and an Arctic plague released by melting ice is set to re-shape the world once more. In the aftermath, while heartbreak, fear and destruction flood the world, stories are told of characters loosely connected, whether it’s seeking a cure, falling in love, and embarking on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet. This is a world of science fiction with slices of real life.
Light Years from Home by Mike Chen
When aliens possibly abduct a father and son, twins Evie Shao and Kass are forever changed. The incident occurred on a camping trip when the girls were younger. Their father returned with stories of aliens, their brother Jakob vanished, and the sisters stopped speaking to each other. That is until the girls become adults, and Evie discovers a life of alien conspiracies and UFO networks that bring their brother back. With Jakob back speaking in a strange manner and of an impending alien war, the family will need to find a way to save their brother and their relationship before it’s too late.
Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell
Tennalhin Halkana is a walking disaster but also a valuable asset. Not only can he read minds, but he can also navigate the chaos surrounding the wider universe, a rare ability that makes him useful to the military where he’s placed under the supervision of Lieutenant Surit Yeni. Surit is the son of an infamous traitor general—but he’s also a principled leader and a good soldier. As a neuromodified architect, he can influence the thoughts and actions of others, and is given the order to use his ability to control Tennal. Refusing to follow the illegal order, Surit instead forms a plan to help Tennal escape. When they’re sent on a mission to the neuromodification lab that Surit’s mother destroyed two decades ago, it’s their best chance. But what they discover amongst the rubble is something crucial and incredibly powerful . . . something that can start a war.
Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield
In this captivating and at times heartbreaking tale, Leah, a marine biologist, returns home after she is stranded for months at the bottom of the ocean in a submarine mission. She has not returned home the same, and her wife Miri fears that the person Leah was is slipping away. Desperate to save the woman she loves, Miri searches for answers about what happened while Leah was below the sea.
Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty
Mallory Viridian has spent too long entangled in murder cases that only she could solve, making her a frequent suspect and social pariah. So when presented with the opportunity to relocate to a space station, she doesn’t hesitate. But not long after her move, the station begins to allow other human guests on board, and Mallory is thrown back into a homicide case after the first Earth shuttle arrives. As aliens and humans alike begin to die, hysteria and panic overtake the station. Now it’s up to Mallory to discover who’s behind the murders before everyone on board becomes a victim.
The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang
Misery Nomaki is an anomaly. A supposed nobody from a mining planet, they have the ability to bend the will of stone—something only “saints” can do. Their power leads them to the center of the Empire, where Misery’s abilities make them the perfect weapon for those hoping to win a terrible war. While they navigate the dangers and politics of the Empire, Misery grows close to rebellious royal Lady Alodia Lightning, and decides to accept their fate as the Ninth Messiah once and for all.
The Measure by Nikki Erlick
When a small wooden box appears on every doorstep in the world, everything changes. Inside the box is a string, which, when measured, indicates the exact number of years each person will live. The story follows a cast of eight different characters whose fates intertwine as the consequences of this new world unfold: A pair of best friends whose futures are entangled, two pen pals seeking solace in the unknown, a couple who thought they’d have more time, a doctor with an unfixable diagnosis, and a politician whose box becomes the catalyst that changes everything.
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
When a highly intelligent octopus species is discovered, marine biologist Dr. Ha Nguyen gets a job with the transnational tech corporation DIANIMA to study them. It’s rumored that this species has created its own language and culture, and there is a fortune to be made for whoever can take advantage of it. As Dr. Nguyen tries to communicate with them, outside forces close in to seize the opportunity for themselves. But the central question that everyone seems to ignore is: what to do the octopuses think, and what will they do about it?
Thrust by Lidia Yuknavitch
Thrust is the story of Laisvė, a carrier who uses meaningful objects to transport herself through time. As she sorts through the ruins of a fallen city called the Brook, she finds a talisman that connects her with a cast of characters from different periods in time: A French artist, a woman of the American underworld, a dictator’s daughter, an accused murderer, and a group of workers building a national monument. Through these interconnected stories, Laisvė must find her way back to the present and to the early days of her country’s establishment to form a connection that could mean freedom for them all.
Upgrade by Blake Crouch
Logan Ramsay has become the first upgraded human. Suddenly, his thinking is clearer, he doesn’t need as much sleep, and he is better at multitasking. It turns out, Logan’s genome has been hacked for a test run of what will soon be rolled out to all of humanity. In order to stop the transformation of all of humankind, Logan must embrace his abilities and use them to fight against the forces behind this technology. Yet as he continues to transform, Logan wonders if his efforts are futile. After all, evolution is a force that can’t be stopped.