Human Wave Science Fiction – Reading List

As a followup to the post about a previous post about science fiction, Sarah Hoyt has posted two blog posts about what the group of us are calling “Human Wave science fiction“. Science fiction with a positive tone, a solid story to entertain, and with purpose. One of the things we are doing is making a list of the books we love who would fit into it.

What is Human Wave Science Fiction? Here is Sarah‘s Manifesto, in which she says:

“The purpose of this is to create a new “idea” in science fiction, a new way to look at the genre. Properly observed (and I’ve observed it) I think the genre should be a way to play with possible futures, with possible outcomes, with possible ideas. The wonder of science fiction lays in the open possibility…Because we are rebelling against enforced conformity of style and opinion, of belief and ideology, this list is not “though shalt nots” but “You’re allowed to.””

And the lists are great. In fact, many of the guidelines, well, they are the basics of the author-reader contract, which I will soon repost here.

But, in the meantime, here is my short-list of beloved stories, and links if I can find them.
Human Wave Science Fiction - Reading List

Anne McCaffrey’s original Pern trilogy (Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon) and the Harperhall trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrum)

E.E. “Doc” Smith: The Lensmen series

The Girl with the Silver Eyes” by Willo Davis Roberts

Space Cat” series by Ruthven Todd (I know it was for young kids and backlist is really expensive, but it was cute, funny, and positive!)

Alan Mendelsohn: The Boy From Mars” by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet” by Eleanor Cameron

The White Mountains” by John Christopher and the rest of the Tripod series

Human Wave Science Fiction - Reading List

A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

The Trumpets of Tagan” by Simon Lang (and the other books in the Skipjack series. Start with “All the Gods of Eisernon“)

There are many many others out there, but the above are a few I personally loved reading. The above list also makes me sad, seeing how many of them are out of print, not available as ebooks, or downright collector items. Hopefully some will be revived as ebooks in the future. I would buy them again in a heartbeat.

If you have any other suggestions of what might be considered positive Human Wave science fiction, please post them in the comments section!


Another fun Human Wave SF manifesto is located here.


J.A. Marlow

Human Wave Science Fiction - Reading List

The String Weavers (The String Weavers – Book 1)

Kelsey Hale thinks she’s just a typical mixed-up teenager. Everyone feels that way, her teachers assure her. Yet, strange things happen to her, like food disappearing before she can eat it and hearing music no one else hears.

Then a giant flaming bird drops an alien at her feet. Well, good grief, how can you ignore something like that?

Abducted from Earth, the only planet she’s ever known, Kelsey finds herself thrust into the middle of a deadly conflict among alien worlds and parallel universe. She must not only survive herself, but also find a way to rescue her father from a dangerous group with unknown motives.

In the process, she’s confronted by a hidden secret about herself which will shake the very foundation of who and what she thought she was.

And connecting it all are the mysterious Weavers.

A 97,100 word, 389 page (approximate), science fiction novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Science Fiction – As Both Reader and Writer

Sarah Hoyt has had a series of blog posts about the state of Science Fiction, starting with this one called “Bring Back That Wonder Feeling“. All I can say is YES YES YES! Do yourself a favor and go read it.

Done? Good, now I can comment (and yes, this is modified from the comment I made to the blog post).

I loved this post. It reminds me of the essay written by Kris Kathryn Rusch years ago about “the barbarians at the gate.

I adore science fiction, grew up on it in the 80’s by reading from the local libraries, which, thank goodness, still had so much of the old stuff shelved with only some of new agenda stuff filtering in. It created a deep love, as did the fun and campy TV and movie science fiction starting with Star Wars, then Buck Rogers, the original Battlestar Galactica (not the new “Shoot them all and put them out of their misery” incarnation), and later stuff in both film and TV.

But, as a reader, I found fewer and fewer SF books to buy. Finally, by the turn of the century, I pretty much stopped other than a handful of authors. I knew this wasn’t a reader issue, as so many I talked to who enjoyed the genre complained about the same thing. It had to be coming from the editors in charge of the gates. So, as a reader, I reluctantly shifted the majority of my reading to other genres, mostly romances and mystery cozies.

The thing is, as a writer; I couldn’t write what I viewed as ‘SF depressing please-kill-me drivel’ to get through those gates. Just could not. I kept hoping for a swing towards the fun stuff I remember enjoying, yet the years kept going by without signs of hope.

As a writer, I kept writing the kinds of stories I loved. Fun adventures, good (and yes, the kiss-of-death happy) endings, main characters who make mistakes, romance, fantastical settings, and a sense of hope. The type of stories I wished I could go out and buy. I knew I couldn’t sell them in the current climate, but the creative side of me didn’t care.

I still remember a night four years ago in the Forward Motion Writers chat as a group of us were doing word sprints (writers actually writing while in chat. Now, that’s an amazing concept! 😛 ). I was literally crying while writing, sitting in a chatroom full of published writers, telling the others I knew there was no publishing market to sell my work, but I couldn’t stop writing. I was sunk, I knew it, but I just had to keep moving forward because I had to feed the writing part of me that had stories to tell.

Now fast forward today. I’m glad I kept writing, no matter how heartbroken I was about it in the past. When the world of publishing changed, I was able to join in with a backlist of never seen work inspired by the old sense-of-wonder stories. The stories I thought would never see the light of day are now out there. I’m having the time of my life as a writer!

I’m ecstatic as a reader, too. Suddenly I’m buying books in my favorite genre again! Not from the traditional gatekeepers, who keep putting out stuff I can’t stand. The works I’m buying from are put out by the authors themselves or the new small presses that have sprung up. I hope they keep putting the books out, too. There are other readers out there like me (and the commenters I see on this post) who are willing to spend money on this type of science fiction. The old gatekeepers can’t fight this rising tide!

It’s a great time to be a reader AND a writer!


J.A. Marlow

Coffee Cup Dreams New CoverCoffee Cup Dreams

She wasn’t supposed to wake up when dead…

During what should have been a simple operation, Tish Douglas died. And yet, she also awoke… in what the doctors called a ‘psi event.’

Despite having no memory of the incident, it means she’s required to go on a life-time course of debilitating drugs designed to reign in her supposedly new psi gifts. She’s left with the option of existing on Earth in a drug-haze, or leave the planet.

When an opportunity for a good paying job on a space station known as Redpoint One is offered, she jumps at the chance. Even though she doesn’t have any experience as a ‘maintenance engineer.’ Even though the station sits in the middle of nowhere, a still-operating construct of a long-gone alien species.

Between pirate attacks, intelligent repair robots, and maintenance emergencies, Tish must find a place for herself.

All complicated by a growing attraction to the one person on the station she can’t have: boss Arthur Getty.

A stand-alone 48400 word, 193 page (approximate), science fiction romance novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Big 6 Ebook Pricing Insanity

For about 15 years I only bought used books due to economic reasons. No money went to the publishing houses or authors.

Then I bought a Kindle. I could increase the font so that suddenly I could read comfortably again (the print in the last few years is getting far too small in so many books). Suddenly I’m buying and reading like crazy, and the money I spend IS going to the publishing houses and authors.

That is, if their prices are reasonable. If the price of the ebook version is lower than the print version.

Random House opted out of the Agency model for so long. Well, this past week that changed. And the old books that are 30+ old that I was slowly buying in ebook format, after first buying in paperback way-back-when, went up in price. To $8 and above?

For books that old? When I can get paper replacements for under a dollar?

Good grief.

Well, goodbye Random House. You were getting money after I already owned the book, just so I could have it in ebook format. Not now. There are plenty of smaller presses and Indies with reasonable prices I can buy. I’ll miss my favorite authors, but enough is enough.

Newsflash Big Guys: Your games will not stop me from reading on my ereader or buying for my ereader. It will not slow me down a bit in making a nearly-complete switch to the digital format. It will only drive me to other authors and publishing houses.

Your loss is their gain.