2020 was quite the year for science fiction, but it wasn’t all about escaping to other worlds. It’s easy to imagine flights of fancy in a spaceship to be a reprieve to reality, but science fiction and fantasy literature is the product of people with real concerns about the real world, and accordingly, they write about the challenges that we see in the world around us. Over the last 12 months, I’ve been thinking about the value of speculative literature in a time like this. There’s a meme going around that reading is a collective hallucination that we get by staring at bits of a dead tree. That’s certainly accurate, but I like to think of science fiction as a sort of cheat guide or rough map of directions.
This year’s crop of books are ones that have a thumb on the pulse of everything that’s been going on around