October Top 5: Time Travel, Robots & Mars

October was a great month for science fiction and fantasy! After a very lazy September, I finally got back into reviewing and made it through nine books. I enjoyed everything I read but these five really stood out from the mix. They feature solid storytelling, complex characters, and settings I couldn’t stop imagining. Check them all out!

NOTES: I received some of these books for free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest feedback. I only publish reviews of books I enjoy, and all of these books fit that criteria. Reviews & Robots has an affiliate relationship with the Amazon Associates program and may be compensated for sales related to the Amazon links enclosed in this article.


By John Varley
Published by Ace

Irontown Blues is a riveting detective story, sprinkling bits of 1930’s neo-noir onto a science-fiction setting. Varley has laid out a smart sleuth tale, complete with a brilliant canine sidekick and a history that slowly unravels a story much deeper than the simple case our detective set out to solve. There’s a lot of brilliance here that begs to be read and imagined. Received from NetGalley.

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By Martha Wells
Published by Tor.com

Exit Strategy is a fitting end to the marvelous Murderbot Diaries, giving a final huzzah to a character I’ve grown to love over the past year. The fourth addition to the series concludes the journey our favorite bot set out on, complete with moments of peril, fear, and feels. Wells continues to focus on Murderbot’s brilliant personality while showing us the human parts that have continued to grow from the beginning. It’s a well-written, fast-paced final jaunt and I’m ecstatic to know this isn’t the end for our sassy, soap-opera-obsessed protagonist.

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By Peter Tieryas
Published by Ace

Mecha Samurai Empire is a beautiful complexity, weaving alternate history, military fiction, cultural appreciation, and a coming-of-age story into a well-rounded novel that demands to be read. It’s more than epic battles between mechanical warriors, though those are exciting and well-done. It’s a story about good versus evil and a young man’s place in the world as he grapples with the realities of war and the inevitable losses that result. It’s a story with heart, and I appreciated every page of it. Received from NetGalley.

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By Richard K. Morgan
Published by Del Rey

Thin Air slams out of the gate, throwing ultra-violence into a space-age noir that thrills on every page. With succinct writing and a brilliant grasp of the genre’s narrative form, Morgan has created a book that demands to be read. This isn’t the pristine Mars from your imagination. It’s a run-down, crime-laden den of iniquity, wrought with scandals and juicy secrets. That’s what makes it so fun to experience. Received from NetGalley.

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#1: Time’s Children

By D.B. Jackson
Published by Angry Robot

Time’s Children is a tour-de-force, setting a fascinating tale of magic and intrigue amidst a world filled with dark corners and creatures who are not to be trusted. I loved every part of this book, and applaud the author on creating a compelling story filled with brilliantly rendered scenes, settings and details that made the world come alive. Prepare to be swept away by the tides of this masterful story. Received from NetGalley.

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Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tammy says:

    I just reviewed Mecha Samurai Empire and I loved it! Glad it made your list😁


    1. Jacob Olson says:

      It’s such a great book!


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