While surfing blogs a while back, I ran across a recommendation for John Scalzi's stories. Paraphrased, the blogger wrote that his stories were original and fresh, unlike most recent efforts in the genre.
"Genre? What genre?" you may ask.
Science fiction. But don't let that scare you off. While there may be space ships, aliens, and other oddities such as robots, the stories are at least 90% people. People like you and/or your friends or family.
I've read two so far, "Old Man's War" and "The Android's Dream." That other blogger was right. Fresh plots. Interesting characters. Writing style so smooth as to be invisible. (That may be a mixed metaphor, but writing styles that get in the way of the story make it more likely that I don't finish a book or seek out more by that author.)
"Old Man's War" begins with an interestingly unique take on how a culture manages to recruit soldiers for interstellar war and continues with one man's experiences and personal growth. I recommend it.
Now for us knitter types, "The Android's Dream." The cover shows a sleeping R2D2-type robot dreaming about puffy white sheep. Admittedly, the sheep as objects of a politically hot search are not major characters in the story. Though one mixed-breed sheep plays a larger role, especially towards the conclusion. As a story about the possible fallout of genetic engineering, it's pretty good. Think blue sheep.
Now I'm off to put holds on a couple more of Scalzi's books at my library's online catalog.