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Speculative Fiction that blew my mind in 2023


book with lights

Wow! What a year 2023 was for surprising speculative fiction! I was flabbergasted numerous times by how astounding many of the fictive works I consumed were. Here are a few of the highlights.


 

Speculative Fiction that blew my mind in 2023



Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny movie poster

I was less than enthusiastic when my wife suggested we watch the latest Indiana Jones movie. Did I want to watch an octogenarian archaeologist run around the screen? Not really, but…


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a damn fun movie. The opening chase scenes harken back to the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom and are simply exciting.


Also, the banter between Harrison Ford and Fleabag actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge was lively and entertaining more often than not. My biggest criticism is the movie is too long, but movies overstaying their welcome by 30 minutes or so are the trend nowadays.


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a fun romp if you're looking for a good dose of nostalgia and comic book action.



Thunderhead Cover

I can't say enough about this young adult dystopian trilogy by Neal Shusterman. If you are interested in thought-provoking science fiction chock-full of fascinating characters, do yourself a favor and read these books now!


Trigger warning: themes of suicide and mortality are part and parcel of this series.












House of the Dragon Poster

Okay. I'll be entirely upfront. I am a huge George R.R. Martin fan, and more than just about anything, I want him to finish Song of Ice and Fire. Is that going to happen? Who knows.


I fully expected House of the Dragon to be excellent, but I didn't expect to be as good or even better than Game of Thrones. That's quite the feat, considering the source material, Fire & Blood, is plain dull.


This is a must-watch series for aficionados of the books and fans of HBO's Game of Thrones. I'd even go so far as to say that if the gratuitous sex and violence in Game of Thrones turned you off from the show, House of the Dragon is worth giving a try. In its first season, there is considerably less sex and graphic violence than in its predecessor.





Swan Song Cover

The easiest way to pitch Swan Song is to say it's like Stephen King's The Stand, only better. I forget how I got introduced to this book, but boy, I am glad I did.


Fans of Stephen King and horror in general will love Swan Song. This is easily one of the best books I've read in a long time, a must-read.


















Star Trek poster

Does the world need yet another Star Trek TV series? More importantly, do I need to watch it?


Apparently so! Strange New Worlds combines just enough nostalgia to be reminiscent of the original series and an updated worldview to make it feel fresh. But that's not what got me watching the series and eventually hooked me. It was the fact my younger son absolutely loves the show and happily belts out the classic opening lines—to boldly go where no one has gone before, etc.


We tried watching some of the other newer Star Trek offerings, but none hit the high notes like this one, which brings the right amount of action, humor, and heart to every episode.









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