1. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
It was something of a radical disconnect listening to this audiobook so soon after listening to the audiobook for Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora. KSM's novel hinged on the notion that generation ships and terraforming new worlds are doomed to failure. The human race evolved specifically to exist on Earth and there is no way we could properly engineer either a ship or another world to properly sustain us for more than a few centuries. By comparison, in Stephenson's novel, humankind needs to find a way to survive without the benefit of Earth after it's rendered uninhabitable for 5,000 years following a freak, inexplicable disaster which shatters the moon and sent shards of into hurtling into Earth.
The one thing both books have in common is that I am considering both for nomination for the Hugo for best novel.
2. Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Microsoft & Melcher Media
Even though Microsoft assembled a rather impressive list of authors for this anthology, I still managed to be somewhat surprised by it. I'm fairly certain that I lowered my expectations because I saw the book as essentially a marketing gimmick by Microsoft -- especially since it was being distributed for free. However, it's clear that everyone was committed to contributing quality work, and by the time I was done, I decided that it contained three stories worth of Hugo nomination consideration:
- "Skin in the Game," by Elizabeth Bear (short story)
- "Riding With the Duke," by Jack McDevitt (novelette)
- "The Tell," by David Brin (novelette)