Book picks similar to
Souls in the Great Machine by Sean McMullen


science-fiction
fiction
steampunk
post-apocalyptic

Dark Universe


Daniel F. Galouye - 1961
    Then terrible monsters, who bring with them a screaming silence, are seen and people start to disappear. One young man realises he must question the nature of Darkness itself.

Dancing with Bears


Michael Swanwick - 2011
    The only thing harder than the journey to Muscovy is their arrival in Muscovy. An audience with the Duke seems impossible to obtain, and Darger and Surplus quickly become entangled in a morass of deceit and revolution.The only thing more dangerous than the convoluted political web surrounding Darger and Surplus is the gift itself, the Pearls of Byzantium, and Zoesophia, the governess sworn to protect their virtue.

Behemoth: Seppuku


Peter Watts - 2004
    The facility they commandeered was more than a secret station on the ocean floor. Atlantis was an exit strategy for the corporate elite, a place where the world's Movers and Shakers had hidden from the doomsday microbe ßehemoth-and from the hordes of the moved and the shaken left behind. For five years "rifters" and "corpses" have lived in a state of uneasy truce, united by fear of the outside world.But now that world closes in. An unknown enemy hunts them through the crushing darkness of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. ßehemoth- twisted, mutated, more virulent than ever-has found them already. The fragile armistice between the rifters and their one-time masters has exploded into all-out war, and not even the legendary Lenie Clarke can take back the body count.Billions have died since she loosed ßehemoth upon the world. Billions more are bound to. The whole biosphere came apart at the seams while Lenie Clarke hid at the bottom of the sea and did nothing. But now there is no place left to hide. The consequences of past acts reach inexorably to the very floor of the world, and Lenie Clarke must return to confront the mess she made.Redemption doesn't come easy with the blood of a world on your hands. But even after five years in pitch-black purgatory, Lenie Clarke is still Lenie Clarke. There will be consequences for anyone who gets in her way-and worse ones, perhaps, if she succeeds...ßehemoth: Seppuku concludes the final act (begun in ßehemoth: ß-Max) of Peter Watts's chilling and powerful Rifters series.

Wolf and Iron


Gordon R. Dickson - 1990
    Now he must make his way across a violent and lawless America, in search of a refuge where he can keep the spark of knowledge alive in the coming Dark Age. He could never make it on his own, but he has found a companion who can teach him how to survive on instinct and will. Jeebee has been adopted by a great Gray Wolf.

The Mount


Carol Emshwiller - 2002
    He wants to be painted crossing the finish line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck. But Charley isn't a runner. He is a human mount, the property of one of the alien invaders called Hoots. Charley hasn't seen his mother in years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the humans want it back. Charley knows how to be a good mount-now he's going to have to learn how to be a human being. This remarkable novel, winner of the 2002 Philip K. Dick Award, should be read by every fan of speculative fiction, teenagers and adults alike.

Hello America


J.G. Ballard - 1981
    Now, a century later, a small group of European explorers returns to the now climatically mutated continent. But America is unrecognizable—the Bering Strait has been dammed and much of the country has become a desert, populated by isolated natives and the bizarre remnants of a disintegrated culture. The expedition sets off from Manhattan on a cross-country journey, through Holiday Inns and abandoned theme parks, to uncover a shocking new power right in the heart of Las Vegas.

The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF


Mike Ashley - 2010
    These stories describe the fall of civilization, the destruction of the entire Earth, or the end of the Universe itself.Contents:When we went to see the end of the world - Robert SilverbergThe End of the World - Sushma JoshiThe Clockwork Atom Bomb - Dominic GreenBloodletting - Kate WilhelmWhen Sysadmins ruled the World - Cory DoctorowThe Rain at the End of the World - Dale BaileyThe Flood - Linda NagataThe End of the World Show - David BarnettFermi and Frost - Frederik PohlSleepover - Alastair ReynoldsThe Last Sunset - Geoffrey LandisMoments of Inertia - William BartonThe Books - Kage BakerPallbearer - Robert ReedAnd the Deep Blue Sea - Elizabeth BearThe Meek - Damien BroderickThe Man who Walked Home - James Tiptree JRA Pail of Air - Fritz LeiberGuardians of the Phoenix - Eric BrownLife in the Anthropocene - Paul di FilippoTerraforming Terra - Jack WilliamsonWorld Without End - F Gwynplaine MacIntyreThe Children of Time - Stephen BaxterThe Star called Wormwood - Elizabeth Counihan

Terminal World


Alastair Reynolds - 2009
    Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different—and rigidly enforced—level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains . . .Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels—and with the dying body comes bad news.If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality—and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability . . .Terminal World is a snarling, drooling, crazy-eyed mongrel of a book: equal parts steampunk, western, planetary romance, and far-future SF.

Devil on My Back


Monica Hughes - 1984
    When the slaves rebel against the rigid social order imposed on the colony by the all-controlling computer, Tomi, the son of the colony Overlord manages to escape beyond the computer's reach and discovers what it is like to be free.

Faller


Will McIntosh - 2016
    Reality has fragmented and Earth consists of an islands of rock floating in an endless sky. Food, water, electricity--gone, except for what people can find, and they can't find much.Faller's pockets contain tantalizing clues: a photo of himself and a woman he can't remember, a toy solider with a parachute, and a mysterious map drawn in blood. With only these materials as a guide, he makes a leap of faith from the edge of the world to find the woman and set things right.He encounters other floating islands, impossible replicas of himself and others, and learns that one man hates him enough to take revenge for actions Faller can't even remember.

The Windup Girl


Paolo Bacigalupi - 2009
    Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko... Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.

Shadrach in the Furnace


Robert Silverberg - 1976
    The world lies ravaged by biological warfare, its population decimated by a ferocious genetically-transmitted disease known as the organ rot. And presiding over the ruins is a ninety-three-year-old tyrant, preserved in a state of youth by a series of organ transplants: the self-styled Genghis Mao. Shadrach Mordecai, Genghis Mao's trusted personal physician, was a vital cog in the great machine devoted to keeping the ruler alive: linked to him by a network of electronic implants, Shadrach was able to detect and diagnose the first signs of malfunction in his lord and master. But close as he was to the aging dictator, Shadrach could not have known that events would soon plunge him into a desperate struggle - a struggle in which a paragon of idealism faced the very incarnation of evil.

Sos the Rope


Piers Anthony - 1968
    They call him Sos - a man mightier in strength and spirit than the greatest warriors of post-Blast legend. His past is shrouded in enigma, but now he wanders the earth, writing a heritage in blood and bravery.To some, he is savior; to others, agent of cataclysm. One man alone bears the terrible curse of his friendship. Two mortal women share his doom-driven love.Yet only Sos knows thee ultimate purpose of his strange, violent mission on earth: save mankind - or destroy it forever.Vivid, dramatic, and compelling in its blending of adventurous narrative and specualtion, SOS THE ROPE was the unanimous choice of the judges to receive the $5000 Pyramid Publications/Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Novel Award. Piers Anthony is one of the brightest new names in the field of science fiction, and has won considerable notice with his recent novel CHTHON.

The Inverted World


Christopher Priest - 1974
    Rails must be freshly laid ahead of the city & carefully removed in its wake. Rivers & mountains present nearly insurmountable challenges to the ingenuity of the city's engineers. But if the city does not move, it will fall farther & farther behind the optimum & into the crushing gravitational field that has transformed life on Earth. The only alternative to progress is death. The secret directorate that governs the city makes sure that its inhabitants know nothing of this. Raised in common in creches, nurtured on synthetic food, prevented above all from venturing outside the closed circuit of the city, they're carefully sheltered from the dire necessities that have come to define human existence. Yet the city is in crisis. People are growing restive. The population is dwindling. The rulers know that, for all their efforts, slowly but surely the city is slipping ever farther behind the optimum. Helward Mann is a member of the city's elite. Better than anyone, he knows how tenuous is the city's continued existence. But the world he's about to discover is infinitely stranger than the strange world he believes he knows so well.

The Visitor


Sheri S. Tepper - 2002
    Hundreds of years have passed, and all that remains of the time before are fragmented memories distorted by superstition -- as a tragically reduced populace suffers greatly under the tyranny of a repressive ruling order. But destiny has chosen Dismé Latimer to lead a wasted world out of the darkness ... with a book. Written by a courageous scientist ancestor, it is a sacred, unsettling tome rife with disturbing ideas and revelations ... and an impossible hope that compels a gentle, troubled young woman to abandon her abusive home in search of truth and her true self. But common "wisdom" and lore warn of grave dangers out in the world. Evil is there, a malevolence beyond imagining. And in the depths of the Earth, a gargantuan beast asleep for centuries has begun to stir ...