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Patrick Edwards’ top 5 science fiction books with a topical theme

Ruin’s Wake author Patrick Edwards explores the sci-fi tales that hit a little too close to home in modern-day Britain

Gnomon

Nick Harkaway

A disturbingly credible extrapolation of modern Britain’s obsession with surveillance and the shifting balance between privacy and convenience, this multi-layered, time-bending tale is so much more than it seems.

Rosewater

Tade Thompson

Visions of the future have been dominated by Anglo-Saxon ideas, but this novel is surfing the crest of new Afrofuturism with style. Set in Nigeria, it’s a game-changing tale of aliens and mycology that drags you in with its rich texture. A fresh take on the world of tomorrow.

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Neverwhere

Neil Gaiman

This ostensible romp through a phantasmagorical mirror of London’s tube system, peopled with angels and demons, also drips with dark hints that the protagonist is in the grips of a delusion. A subtle but powerful allusion to the fragility of mental health and its relation to homelessness.

The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula K Le Guin

Winter is a world that knows no war, populated by gender-fluid humanoids and their rich, nuanced culture. A poignant study of the link between sex and violence as well as a pacey adventure through strange lands. Published in 1969, decades ahead of its time.

A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess

As inventive with language as it is unflinching, this is a story about the effects of violence-saturated media on youth. With stabs at the failure of reform systems and trenchant insights into gang mentality, this is as relevant to today’s world as ever.

Ruin’s Wake by Patrick Edwards is out now (Titan Books, £8.99)

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