Here’s a post from Book Riot: 10 Cozy Sci-Fi Books To Give You Hope for the Future
I’m suspicious. This is Book Riot, and we all know how, uh, idiosyncratic their definitions of subgenres can be.
Plus the people who write Book Riot posts don’t tend to pick Cozy anything for their lists, no matter what they say. They pick something grim and practically hopeless, something with “overcoming almost unbearable tragedy” in the description, point to a thin thread of hope that runs through the narrative, and call it Cozy.
As you all know, I think that Cozy is all about tone, plus plot. That is, it feels warm and kind right from the opening pages, and the plot may very well be slice-of-life rather than save-the-world. It’s not gritty, it’s relatively low-stress, and people are nice to each other. That’s what makes any novel Cozy.
Maybe this Book Riot post going out of its way to include “hope for the future” is a good sign. How bleak can you get and still be pointing the way toward a brighter future? –> Maybe Book Riot is going to answer that question. Let’s take a look:
Here’s their first suggestion:
Okay, that’s reassuring! I think we all agree that A Psalm for the Wildbuilt is indeed Cozy SF. I haven’t read it, actually, but I’ve sure heard about it and it’s on my list. Reviews are always using words like “warm” and “kind” and “optimistic” for this book, which is exactly the tone that Cozy Anything has to have in order to count as Cozy.
Oh, this one is amusing:
It’s practically impossible to have “tea” in the title and not have the story be Cozy. I know I’m exaggerating, but still, The Cybernetic Tea Shop immediately sounds like a reasonable candidate for Cozy SF. What’s this story about? It’s a shortish story, by the way, not a novel.
Clara Gutierrez is an AI repair technician and a wanderer. Her childhood with her migrant worker family has left her uncomfortable with lingering for too long, so she moves from place to place across retro-futuristic America.
Sal is a fully autonomous robot. Older than the law declaring her kind illegal due to ethical concerns, she is at best out of place in society and at worst vilified. She continues to run the tea shop previously owned by her long-dead master, lost in memories of the past, struggling to fulfill her master’s dream for the shop while slowly breaking down.
They meet by chance, but as they begin to spend time together, they both start to wrestle with the concept of moving on…
“Sweet without being saccharine,” says one review. “Like curling up in a warm blanket,” says another. “Lovely, wistful, and uplifting.” I think I’ll pick it up, even though it’s also described as an “asexual romance,” and I’m feeling like maaaybe we already have a word for that kind of relationship? Have we decided as a society that friendship doesn’t exist, that we should redefine friendship as “asexual romance?” Not a fan of that whole notion, seriously.
Well, that’s a different post. Meanwhile, by all means click through and see what else in in the Book Riot post. I haven’t read any of these, but if you have what did you think?
Here’s one that isn’t in the Book Riot post:
You remember this series, probably. This is Mindtouch, first of the five-book series about students — who are friends, not romantically involved — going through med school and becoming partners and doctors. It’s not that nothing sad ever happens; they’re in med school, so sometimes they have to deal with sick or dying people. Nevertheless: Cozy SF.
Here’s one I haven’t read, but I’m betting fits the bill:
The Road to Roswell is Connie Willis’ alien abduction romp. As I say, I haven’t read it, but I did just read her collection of Christmas stories, so I’m betting this is Cozy. “Silly but adorable,” suggest reviews. Not sure that’s the same as “warm and comforting,” but I bet if you do a Venn diagram, there’s a biggish area of overlap.
If you’ve got a Cozy SF novel or story in mind, drop it in the comments!