The Xanth books by Piers Anthony. Inventive fauna and flora. Beware of puns.
A question for all on this thread - I read a Sci Fi book about a group of colonists/terraformers who set out on a lengthily journey to a ‘habitable’ planet. Things don’t go well (not wildly) and I think they all eventually die or some try the journey back to earth. It was about how a habitable planet may not be conducive to human life. I cannot remember it’s name. If anyone can help me with this, I would be extremely grateful.
I’m also reminded of a short story I can’t find called “Courtesy”. People are on a planet with an alien life form, and they start dying. Except one man, who realises he is being saved because he stepped off a path to let an older alien pass.
Apologies if these authors have already been mentioned but Octavia Butler, especially Parable of the Sower, has much to do with environment and climate change. T Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) is also very nature-oriented. I recently finished reading her Gothic/fantasy novel The Twisted Ones, which is set in North Carolina and relies, in part, on knowledge of geographical regions and ecology. I was delighted when the narrator referenced crane-fly orchids. There’s Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife, which I read years ago, which is focused on place, myth, and environment (one of the few novels I’ve ever discovered with an older female protagonist–she’s in her forties). I also like the stories of Charles DeLint, which have a strong connection to place/myth. These texts, with the exception of Butler, fall more into the fantasy genre than sci-fi, but I love speculative fiction in general.
For botanical aspects, Red (Green/Blue) Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson with its nature descriptions, especially reflected by one of the protagonists who finds intense interest and joy in exploring the first green terraforming patches. Though this may make not more than 100 pages out from around 3000 in total I liked these moments in the book a lot.
Maybe Flood and Ark, by Stephen Baxter ?
That’s a pretty common theme. Do you have any more details, like when you read the book, if it was a new book at the time or an older one? Was it a long or short book, do you recall anything about the cover?
Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora follows more-or-less the arc you describe. Most of it takes place on the spaceship though.
If you’re on reddit you can ask the r/printSF group. They’re pretty helpful in tracking down science fiction and fantasy books.
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson?
Thanks all. I will take a look at KSR’s book. I’m not a big fan of his, but it’s the best lead I’ve had (it was a fairly recent book).
Some old Piers Anthony stuff is thought-provoking. I am thinking of Shade of the Tree in particular – it explores another species’ reaction to biodiversity loss, and how it might try to communicate with us.
A Natural History of Dragons series by Marie Brennan. So science-y, I desperately wanted it to be real. :)
Thanks for this awesome list! I loved Sue Burke’s Semiosis duology, and the second did not disappoint in the way second ones sometimes can. Very interesting ideas and great writing as well. Can’t wait to get started on titles new to me here. Yippee for. Sci Fi.
Midworld by Alan Dean Foster, worldwide jungle half a kilometer deep
Class Six Climb by William E. Cochrane, imagine climbing a 4200 meter tall tree and all the ecosystems there might be
Not sci-fi, but for the botanically interested, Overstory by Richard Powers is definitely for the tree-lover and it’s also a great piece of fact-inspired literary fiction.
“Where the wild books are” is a reference book for eco-fiction with something of interest for different tastes.
Thank you to everyone for sharing your finds! This is such a great reading list.
In Other Waters is basically iNat Simulator With Weird Sea Invertebrates. The plot is pretty generic (but still better than most generic plots) but the organisms and ecosystems are very well-designed and plausible-looking. I particularly approve of the giant testate amoeboid that uses its shell as a supercomputer, it’s one of the very few hyperintelligent taxa I’ve seen that isn’t some stupid awful queenbug or brainshroom or vertebratoid.