Have You Read Any of These Ten Science Fiction Books from 2023? – Classics of Science Fiction


I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of any of these ten novels and authors from The Shades of Orange YouTube review “The Top Science Fiction Books Published in 2023.” Is this an indication of how out of touch I am with new science fiction, or do my tastes just run much different from the reviewer? When and why did I stop reading new science fiction?

Here are Shades of Orange’s Top 10 SF novels for 2023. The numbers in parenthesis are from Goodreads. They are (average rating / # of raters / # who left reviews). Those numbers are from Goodreads users who have marked the title read. It would also be interesting to see the number of people who have the book in their library marked “Want to read.” Titles with an asterisk have audiobook editions.

  1. The Deluge by Stephen Markley (4.22 / 3,107 / 738) *
  2. The Infinite by Ada Hoffmann (4.27 / 241 / 55) *
  3. Ethera Grave by Essa Hansen (4.09 / 141 / 29)
  4. Generation Ship by Michael Mammay (3.83 / 805 / 187) *
  5. The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown (3.6 / 3,006 / 808) *
  6. The Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon (3.3 / 1,091 / 391) *
  7. Saint Elspeth by Wick Welker (4.11 / 44 / 28) *
  8. The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport Samit Basu (3.67 / 684 / 255)
  9. Bile and Blood by Katherine Franklin (4.50 / 2 / 2)
  10. Rubicon by J. S. Dewes (3.95 / 1,632 / 324) *

I wonder if science fiction fans growing up in the 1930s felt the way I do now when they read best-SF-of-the-year lists in the 1990s? Nearly all my favorite science fiction writers I got to know growing up are dead, and the living ones that became popular during my lifetime evidently aren’t favorites with young readers in 2024 anymore.

If I read these new books, would I find the same kind of excitement I did sixty years ago? Even more interesting to contemplate: Do young readers today find the same kind of excitement that I did in the 1960s and older generations did in the 1930s? Both Doc Smith and Samuel Delany wrote space operas, but were their intent and appeal the same?

If I could somehow get every generation of science fiction readers to write an essay “What I Discovered in Science Fiction” would the revelations be similar?

I am intrigued by the tiles: The Deluge, The Archive Undying, and Generation Ship. Since all three are available as part of my Spotify subscription, I’m going to try them. I keep forgetting that Spotify includes 15 hours of audiobook listening with my music subscription. I think I’ll use that feature to test out new science fiction books since it won’t cost me anything extra.

I’m also impressed with many of the YouTube book reviewers. I assume YouTube is making an enormous impact on what books readers buy today. However, many of my favorite YouTube reviewers only review older science fiction. This is still great because I’ve missed a lot of great science fiction, but it seems to indicate new science fiction gets less attention.

My absolute favorite YouTube reviewer is Bookpilled. He has 36.6 thousand subscribers. I’m absolutely fascinated by which books and authors from the past he still finds significant. Bookpilled doesn’t review new SF.

After Amazon and Audible, I stopped going to new bookstores every week. I think that’s where and why I used to keep up with new releases. Another reason I quit discovering new science fiction at new bookstores is because the science fiction sections grew too large. There was just too much choice, so I gave up.

Shades of Orange has done me a favor by limiting my choices to ten.

by James Wallace Harris, 2/17/24

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