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7 Hopeful SFF books in case you need some optimism originally published in our SFF newsletter Swords & Spaceships. Sign up here to receive SFF news, reviews, offers and more!

Do you know how I feel in 2021? Hopefully. Hopefully. Not because I think everything is magically better and every problem is in the rearview mirror … but because I have the feeling that something can be better. And in honor of that, here are a few books that give me the same feeling of hope to look ahead.

The light at the end of the world by London Shah

“I believe that any father who raises his child to believe that the world is full of magic and that there is always hope, no matter what, really deserves to have her one day save him when he needs it . “

Do you need more than that? In a world of water, a submarine pilot must save her father and overthrow a corrupt government.

The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

After a meteor strike, this means that humanity must immediately disappear from the planet (currently in the 1950s). The next step on the way to the stars is the establishment of a lunar base. Nicole Wargin, the wife of a senator and an astronaut herself, makes her final trip to the moon just in time for conspiracies to reach her head and catastrophe to occur. You and your crewmates must figure out how to keep everyone alive, find traitors – and remind the world that hope is found in space. (In this case, it’s also an epidemic, so be careful if you want to avoid this.)

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

Aliens in distant relationships with humans are turned into refugees when their home is destroyed, and so they reach the humans on earth for a new home. Now the two clashing societies must work together to save themselves and be a new species.

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Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Freedom, Truth, Justice and Inexpensive Love. The May Revolutionaries of Ankh-Morpork don’t ask for anything unreasonable, do they? Sam Vimes can go through this revolution twice; once as an idiotic youth and once as his world-weary adult self, who was transported back in time by a mysterious accident and is still looking for a murderer. He knows how the revolution is going; He knows how many of his friends fall. And he will still try to save her, even if it means sacrificing his own future life.

Recording of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Recording of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

The Exodus Fleet is a living relic of mankind’s flight from Earth. Mankind has largely evolved at this point. As the Exodans grapple with their outdated homes and the fundamental question of whether it is even worth saving their way of life, the Fleet offers a new home and a fresh start to those who feel lost and disconnected from their own lives.

A song for a new day by Sarah Pinsker

This one might be a little bit close to home because the incitement to concerts (and other public gatherings) that become illegal is a pandemic, but …

A musician who has been cut off from her audience gives illegal underground concerts, and a young woman who has spent her entire life in the online world makes it her business to find musicians and make them accessible to a new, virtual audience.

LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford

In a world where aliens are real and live among us, a Nigerian-American doctor named Future, who is pregnant under “mysterious” circumstances, smuggles an illegal alien plant into NYC and settles among African and shape-changing alien immigrants in her apartment building Grandmother down. The community faces discrimination, travel bans, and other very topical issues … and if that’s not enough, Future’s pregnancy seems to be changing it …

You can find more SFF recommendations in our Science Fiction / Fantasy Archives!