I stayed home sick yesterday and these were the books that kept me company.
Scent of Metal by Sabrina Chase
From Amazon: The expedition ship Kepler races to Pluto, intent on uncovering the secrets of the alien structure recently discovered under the ice. Computer scientist Lea Santorin can’t wait to figure out the alien technology. Instead, she wakes it up … and it continues its long-interrupted journey across the galaxy, taking Lea and Kepler with it..
And something strange also wakes in Lea. She hears voices no one else can, and sees things the mission command prefers hidden. Why bring so many soldiers along with the scientists? Who concealed the structure, and when?
Who waits at the final destination…and will they survive the meeting?
While this book is sci-fi, the changes Lea undergoes do have an element of fantasy/magic to them (any sufficiently advanced technology and all that), so if you like your sci-fi hard and within the realm of possibility this book will probably annoy you. But if you enjoy sword and sorcery as much as you do spaceships, I urge you to give this one (and her other series, starting with The Long Way Home) a try.
Next I read The Martian, by Andy Weir. It’s the adventures of an astronaut stranded on Mars and it is both funny and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is also well within the realm of possibility for those who prefer that type of sci-fi. There are occasional swears, if that isn’t your thing. But considering the tension all the characters are under, I think a few f-bombs are totally understandable. And sometimes the main character’s humor fell a little flat for me, but in such a way that felt realistic for his character and also the stress he was under.
Andy Weir self-published it to start, but it’s now been picked up by a major publisher and will only be available in the current format and $0.99 price point until the end of April. The print edition will be out in Feb 2014, and its not clear if there will be substantial edits or just a spell check. There is also an audiobook version.
SPOILERS: Both of these books have happy endings, which is a really important factor for me when choosing books to read while sick.