Best Science Fiction Mystery Books

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1

Altered Carbon

by Richard K. Morgan

3.85 avg rating
In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning. . . .
Philip K. Dick
2
6
0

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

by Philip K. Dick

5 avg rating
"The most consistently brilliant science fiction writer in the world."
--John Brunner

THE INSPIRATION FOR BLADERUNNER. . .

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.

Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in.

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

"[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities. . . that other authors shy away from."
--Paul Williams, Rolling Stone
Nebula
3
4
0

The Demolished Man

by Alfred Bester

4 avg rating
Winner of the First Hugo Award. #14 in the Millennium SF Masterworks series, a library of the finest science fiction ever written. "Bester's two superb books have stood the test of time. For nearly sixty years they've held their place on everybody's list of the ten greatest sf novels" -Robert Silverberg "One of the all-time classics of science fiction."-Isaac Asimov "Alfred Bester wrote with the pedal to the floor and the headlights on full beam. His work combined erudition with an unparalleled imaginative inventiveness. Bester was writing cyberpunk while William Gibson was still running around zapping the other kids at school with a toy raygun."-James Lovegrove In a world policed by telepaths, Ben Reich plans to commit a crime that hasn't been heard of in 70 years: murder. That's the only option left for Reich, whose company is losing a 10-year death struggle with rival D'Courtney Enterprises. Terrorized in his dreams by The Man With No Face and driven to the edge after D'Courtney refuses a merger offer, Reich murders his rival and bribes a high-ranking telepath to help him cover his tracks. But while police prefect Lincoln Powell knows Reich is guilty, his telepath's knowledge is a far cry from admissible evidence.
Hugo
4
4
0

To Say Nothing of the Dog

by Connie Willis

4.33 avg rating
From Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, comes a comedic romp through an unpredictable world of mystery, love, and time travel...

Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest.  He's been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's bird stump.  It's part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier.  

But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past.  Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right--not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself.  
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
Nebula
5
4
0

The Caves of Steel

by Isaac Asimov

A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history:  the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain.  Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together.  Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions.  But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer.  The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start.  Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner:  R. Daneel Olivaw.  Worst of all was that the "R" stood for robot--and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!
6
3
0

The Disappeared: A Retrieval Artist novel

by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

In a universe where humans and aliens have formed a loose government called the Earth Alliance, treaties guarantee that humans are subject to alien laws when on alien soil. But alien laws often make no sense, and the punishments vary from loss of life to loss of a first-born child. Now three cases have collided: a stolen spaceyacht filled with dead bodies, two kidnapped human children, and a human woman on the run, trying to Disappear to avoid alien prosecution. Flint must enforce the law—giving the children to aliens, solving the murders, and arresting the woman for trying to save her own life. But how is a man supposed to enforce laws that are unjust? How can he sacrifice innocents to a system he’s not sure he believes in? How can Miles Flint do the right thing in a universe where the right thing is very, very wrong? This Endeavor Award-winning novel is Flint’s first adventure, the story that turns him from a police detective in the Armstrong Dome on the Moon into a Retrieval Artist. “Rusch has created an entertaining blend of mystery and sf, a solid police drama that asks hard questions about what justice between cultures, and even species, really is.” —Booklist "It feels like a popular TV series crossed with a Spielberg film—engaging." —Locus “The Disappeared is a very readable, very thought-provoking novel that lives up to every expectation we have of Rusch and her considerable talents. Buy and enjoy.” —Analog
7
2
1

Chasm City

by Alastair Reynolds

5 avg rating
In a city overrun by a virus that attacks both man and machine, an agent pursues a lowlife postmortal-and uncovers a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget...
BSFA
8
1
2

How to Get Whatever You Want

by M.R. Kopmeyer

This book motivates chapters of more Proven Success Methods to enable you get whatever you want Happiness!..Love!...Success!..Wealth!...Influence!...Power!...Popularity.
9
1
1

When Gravity Fails

by George Alec Effinger

5 avg rating

In a decadent world of cheap pleasures and easy death, Marid Audrian has kept his independence the hardway. Still, like everything else in the Budayeen, he's available…for a price.

For a new kind of killer roams the streets of the Arab ghetto, a madman whose bootlegged personality cartridges range from a sinister James Bond to a sadistic disemboweler named Khan. And Marid Audrian has been made an offer he can't refuse.

The 200-year-old "godfather" of the Budayeen's underworld has enlisted Marid as his instrument of vengeance. But first Marid must undergo the most sophisticated of surgical implants before he dares to confront a killer who carries the power of every psychopath since the beginning of time.

Wry, savage, and unignorable, When Gravity Fails was hailed as a classic by Effinger's fellow SF writers on its original publication in 1987, and the sequence of "Marid Audrian" novels it begins were the culmination of his career.

Nebula
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
10
0
0

Tea From an Empty Cup

by Pat Cadigan

2 avg rating
"How can you drink tea from an empty cup?"

That ancient Zen riddle holds the key to a baffling mystery: a young man found with his throat slashed while locked alone in a virtual reality parlor.

The secret of this enigmatic death lies in an apocalyptic cyberspace shadow-world where nothing is certain, and even one's own identity can change in an instant.
11
1
1

Pattern Recognition

by William Gibson

1 avg rating
The accolades and acclaim are endless for William Gibson's coast-to-coast bestseller. Set in the post-9/11 present, Pattern Recognition is the story of one woman's never-ending search for the now.
BSFA
Locus Science Fiction
Arthur C. Clarke
12
2
0

A Talent For War

by Jack McDevitt

The acclaimed classic novel and fan favorite—the far-future story of one man's quest to discover the truth behind a galactic war hero.
13
0
0

The Automatic Detective

by A. Lee Martinez

Even in Empire City, a town where weird science is the hope for tomorrow, it’s hard for a robot to make his way. It’s even harder for a robot named Mack Megaton, a hulking machine designed to bring mankind to its knees. But Mack’s not interested in world domination. He’s just a bot trying to get by, trying to demonstrate that he isn’t just an automated smashing machine, and to earn his citizenship in the process. It should be as easy as crushing a tank for Mack, but some bots just can’t catch a break.

When Mack’s neighbors are kidnapped, Mack sets off on a journey through the dark alleys and gleaming skyscrapers of Empire City. Along the way, he runs afoul of a talking gorilla, a brainy dame, a mutant lowlife, a little green mob boss, and the secret conspiracy at the heart of Empire’s founders---not to mention more trouble than he bargained for. What started out as one missing family becomes a battle for the future of Empire and every citizen that calls her home.

14
0
0

Gun, with Occasional Music

by Jonathan Lethem

Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-there's a rabbit in his waiting room and a trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is a brave new world where evolved animals are members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage.
Metcalf has been shadowing Celeste, the wife of an affluent doctor. Perhaps he's falling a little in love with her at the same time. When the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in a crossfire between the boys from the Inquisitor's Office and gangsters who operate out of the back room of a bar called the Fickle Muse.
Mixing elements of sci-fi, noir, and mystery, this clever first novel from the author of Motherless Brooklyn is a wry, funny, and satiric look at all that the future may hold.

Nebula
15
1
0

Red Planet Blues

by Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer, the author of such “revelatory and thought-provoking”* novels as Triggers and The WWW Trilogy, presents a noir mystery expanded from his Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated novella “Identity Theft” and his Aurora Award-winning short story “Biding Time,” and set on a lawless Mars in a future where everything is cheap, and life is even cheaper…

Alex Lomax is the one and only private eye working the mean streets of New Klondike, the Martian frontier town that sprang up forty years ago after Simon Weingarten and Denny O’Reilly discovered fossils on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, where anything can be synthesized, the remains of alien life are the most valuable of all collectibles, so shiploads of desperate treasure hunters stampeded to Mars in the Great Martian Fossil Rush.

Trying to make an honest buck in a dishonest world, Lomax tracks down killers and kidnappers among the failed prospectors, corrupt cops, and a growing population of transfers—lucky stiffs who, after striking paleontological gold, upload their minds into immortal android bodies. But when he uncovers clues to solving the decades-old murders of Weingarten and O’Reilly, along with a journal that may lead to their legendary mother lode of Martian fossils, God only knows what he’ll dig up...

*The Globe and Mail
16
0
0

Bimbos of the Death Sun

by Sharyn McCrumb

"Sharyn McCrumb is a born storyteller."

*Mary Higgins Clark



WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD!

        

"Sharyn McCrumb has few equals and no superiors among today's novelists."

*San Diego Union-Tribune



For one fateful weekend, the annual science fiction and fantasy convention, Rubicon, has all but taken over a usually ordinary hotel. Now the halls are alive with Trekkies, tech nerds, and fantasy gamers in their Viking finery *all of them eager to hail their hero, bestselling fantasy author Appin Dungannon: a diminutive despot whose towering ego more than compensates for his 5' 1" height . . . and whose gleeful disdain for his fawning fans is legendary.



Hurling insults and furniture with equal abandon, the terrible, tiny author proceeds to alienate ersatz aliens and make-believe warriors at warp speed. But somewhere between the costume contest and the exhibition Dungeons & Dragons game, Dungannon gets done in. While die-hard fans of Dungannon's seemingly endless sword-and-sorcery series wonder how they'll go on and hucksters wonder how much they can get for the dead man's autograph, a hapless cop wonders, Who would want to kill Appin Dungannon? But the real question, as the harried convention organizers know, is Who wouldn't ?



"I loved BIMBOS OF THE DEATH SUN . . . Beautifully observed, funny, nicely constructed, even compassionate."

*Robert Silverberg


From the Paperback edition.
17
1
0

The Elysium Commission

by L. E. Modesitt

L.E. Modesitt returns to SF with a whole new future world on the brink of destruction.

A brilliant scientist on the planet Devanta has created a small universe contiguous to ours --and a utopian city on one of the planets. The question becomes, though, an utopia for whom? And why is a shady entertainment mogul subsidizing the scientist? More critical than that, does this new universe require the destruction of a portion --or all -- of our universe in order to grow and stabilize? Blaine Donne is a retired military special operative now devoted to problem-solving for hire. He investigates a series of seemingly unrelated mysteries that arise with the arrival of a woman with unlimited resources who has neither a present nor a past.

The more he investigates, the more questions arise, including the role of the two heiresses who are more -- and less -- than they seem, and the more Donne is pushed inexorably toward an explosive solution and a regional interstellar war.

18
2
0

The Plutonium Blonde

by John Zakour

Zachary Nixon Johnson is the last private eye on earth (long story, starts here).  And in the pop culture-crazed, deco-inspired world of 2057, that makes him a bit of a celebrity.  It also makes him a magnet for trouble. In his years as a PI, Zach has seen a lot of strange things and solved a lot of crazy cases.  But when the famous BB Starr, a former exotic dancer who is now the CEO of the world’s largest corporation,  hires him to find her illegal, plutonium-powered, psychotic android clone, Zach knows that the weirdness of his life is about to get a whole lot weirder.

Once Zach takes the case, his life is suddenly filled with unwanted publicity, uncommon dangers, and unexplained assassination attempts. He realizes that not only is this case more trouble than it’s worth, but the mystery of the missing android is deeper than he thought.  

Together with his beautiful, kick-boxing surgeon girlfriend Electra, his genius inventor tech expert Randy, and his holographic, sentient super-computer sidekick HARV, Zach must find a way to unravel the mystery, find the missing android, and quite possibly save all humanity from total destruction.

What some guys will do for five thousand credits per day, plus expenses.

REVIEWS
An excellent first novel in the style of the great Douglas Adams ... This novel can be universally recommended to anyone with a funny bone. Pulp fiction enthusiasts in particular should pick the novel up, if only to see the contemporary state of the genre. Here's hoping Zakour and Ganem are at the beginning of a long career.
--Cinescape

A light, witty SF detective novel ... consistently funny throughout ... a fun weekend read for fans of the genre, obviously written by fans, and worth reading.
--Ain't it Cool News

Surprisingly clever ... spoofs the genre and everything else in sight.
--Science Fiction Chronicle (Best of '01)

A fast-paced science fiction noir thriller that has entertaining plot twists.
--Romantic Times

Fast-paced, witty and shrewd ... futuristic pulp for the thinking reader ... No one who got two paragraphs into this dark, droll, downright irresistible novel could ever bear to put it down until the last heart pounding moment.
--SF Site

A tongue-in-cheek hardboiled attitude .. good fun for those who can handle the concentrated doses of humor.
--Locus

Funny, enjoyable, very well written, extremely well plotted, and contains good tech and lots of subtle humor (both geeky and otherwise). It's also a great detective story that kept me guessing on a lot of things until the very end, and it's graced with all the stock detective story situations and twists that make the great detective novels fun--but with distinctive Zakour/Ganem twists. I can't recommend The Plutonium Blonde highly enough.
--Geek.com

Manages to blend the pulpy hard-boiled detective genre with pulpy sf for an entertaining read that pokes fun at both. The writing and dialogue is snappy and smart and the story is fast paced. I can't recommend enough for anyone looking for a fun twist on sf and detective novels.
--Pink Raygun

The book is hilarious. [It] delights in them [puns] and being a science fiction novel just makes it easier. The AI-protagonist interaction is hilarious. There is a general feeling that the authors were enjoying themselves a lot as they were writing this - and as such, I highly recommend it.
--goodreads.com
19
1
1

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

by Douglas Adams

From Douglas Adams, the legendary author of one of the most beloved science fiction novels of all time, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, comes a wildly inventive novel—in trade paperback for the first time—of ghosts, time travel, and one detective’s mission to save humanity from extinction.

DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY
We solve the whole crime
We find the whole person
Phone today for the whole solution to your problem
(Missing cats and messy divorces a specialty)

Douglas Adams, the “master of wacky words and even wackier tales” (Entertainment Weekly) once again boggles the mind with a completely unbelievable story of ghosts, time travel, eccentric computer geniuses, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the end of the world, and—of course—missing cats.
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