engineering careers  STEM Book Club August – In Search of the Perfect Engineering Summer Read
engineering careers  STEM Book Club August – In Search of the Perfect Engineering Summer Read

This month we are doing something a little different for the summer holidays and diving into fiction. Finding the perfect books for you to sit back with in the sun.

With the summer holidays underway we wanted to showcase three fiction books to ensure the best possible summer read.

All three of our books feature strong women. On the lighter end of the spectrum, thriller Calculated Deception tells the story of engineering professor Dr Ree Ryland who is partners with the FBI to clear her name.

The mind-bending near-future science fiction ‘The Many Selves of Katherine North’ tells the story of Katherine North, a phenomenaut, who asks the big questions about the role of science and consciousness.

Finally, Annihilation mergers horror and science to produce a deeply unsettling read as a team of four women set off to unlock the mysteries of Area X.

While each book is from a different sub-genre and offers a very different read; any would be great summer read. If you have any suggestions for epic Engineering fiction reads let us know on Twitter or Facebook.


Annihilation

This month we are doing something a little different for the summer holidays and diving into fiction. Finding the perfect books for you to sit back with in the sun.

Four women; an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist are tasked with exploring Area X. This mystery zone cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition.

Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation is very different than anything we have read. VanderMeer is a pioneer of ‘new weird’ which crosses genre boundaries. Part Science Fiction, part horror Annihilation seems to be a marmite novel splitting readers between those that love it and those that hate it.

Set in the near future the story might seem to visit familiar alien-invasion territory, but the book is perhaps more about biological research than little green men. Published way back in 2014 the story has inspired a range of new weird fiction and a Netflix movie.

The book is well worth revisiting for science fans because it touches on so many different science sub-genres. From psychology to physiology. It is equal parts horror and thriller. While it is not a book to quickly dip in and out of, it is short enough to be a successful holiday read.

The novel won the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for best novel.


Annihilation is the first book inJeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. If you love it you can explore more of the world he has created.

The Many Selves of Katherine North

This month we are doing something a little different for the summer holidays and diving into fiction. Finding the perfect books for you to sit back with in the sun.

Emma Geen’s debut novel ‘The Many Selves of Katherine North’ is the story of a world where humanity has harnessed the ability to place consciousness into different bodies at will.

The story is set in the near future where climate change is threatening endangered populations of animals. Katherine is the longest serving ‘phenomenaut’ – able to put herself into the body of an animal. She is unique in doing this as consciousness is unable to transfer when as a persons brain ages. One day a glimpse of something ominous when out of her body leads her to question everything.

The book asks questions not just about the role of science in our world but about our own minds. What is consciousness? How deeply is our perception of the world linked to our own bodies?

The story is undeniably complicated. The story jumps between past and present to drive the central mystery forward. The changing nature of Katherine’s consciousness hopping, at times, can also be confusing. However, the book does a solid job at capturing the impossibility of an out-of-body experience and the effect it would have on a person’s perceptions of the world around them.

This is not a book to quickly dip in and out of but one to question the nature of the reality we all take for granted.

Calculated Deception

This month we are doing something a little different for the summer holidays and diving into fiction. Finding the perfect books for you to sit back with in the sun.

K.T Lee’s ‘Calculated Deception’ is a mix of a little bit of romance, a decent amount of adventure, and above all suspense.

Dr Ree Ryland is an engineering professor. She loves her job and she plays by the rules. Her life is turned upside down when FBI agent Parker Landon discovered that her University has been producing military-grade hardware disguised as test equipment and she is the prime suspect. Turning down protection from the FBI she uses her knowledge to help the team track discover which one of Ree’s friends and colleagues are the true culprit before it’s too late.

At its core, the book offers a solid mystery that will keep you reading. However, KT employs a few literary tricks along the way. The story alternates between characters third-person viewpoints. For the most part, this works well in keeping the pace of the book and giving it an almost cinematic feel.

For us, the success of the book is the character of Dr Ree Ryland. An intelligent college professor and engineer.

While there are no shortages of Professors caught up in international event in other books, KT manages to capture the academic side of Ree’s job alongside the actual science. The book gives an insight into the working of a University in the Engineering department and the different people that work there. Of course, while real life might be a little less thrilling, it is refreshing to see to a real working department form the backdrop to Ree’s story.

The book is accessible to anyone. Engineering concepts and terms are explained in a clear an understandable way. The reader is not forced to take a deep dive into technical concepts to drive the story forward.

The structure of the book makes it a perfect read for anyone wanting to quickly dip and out of the story. Chapters are short and well paced. Characters come to life on the page and the mystery ensures you keep reading. An ideal summer holiday read.

The book kicks of K.T’s The Calculated Series. If you love it then you can continue to follow Dr Ree Ryland’s adventures throughout the series.

Don't miss a beat

Get the latest Engineering news delivered to your inbox every Monday morning