Sci Fi

  • If you're like me you're still riding on a high from last month's Star Wars release.  The new film brought back all the old feelings I got when I watched Episode 4 for the first time: laughing with beloved characters, believing in the Force, and wanting my own light saber. The only way this feeling can be diminished is realizing it will be 2017 before we get a new Star Wars movie!!  So if you need something to help you pass the time, here's a list of awesome books that will fill the gaping hole in your life left by Star Wars Episode VII.  Each one is an excellent book with an epic tale of good versus evil!

    mistbornMISTBORN
    By Brandon Sanderson

    (2006)

    This book is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES, and even if it's not technically a "teen" book, it has a teen protagonist and is perfectly suitable for Young Adult readers.  It also is a perfect choice for Star Wars fans!  It has interesting, likable characters who discover that they have mythical kick-butt powers, and a truly epic fight between good and evil.   

     

    insigniaINSIGNIA 
    By S. J. Kincaid

    (2012)

    This is a great one for Sci-Fi geeks like me who can't wait to own their own virtual reality unit and start exploring the galaxy.  The main character, Tom, is a sort of VR prodigy who gets noticed by the government for his gaming prowess and is offered a place with the Intrasolar Forces: an elite fighting force controlling the drones out there battling in WWIII. 

     

    gracelingGRACELING
    By Kristin Cashore
    (2008)

    A young protagonist who has special abilities she is just beginning to understand goes on a journey of self discovery.  Sound familiar?  Warning: this one will be hard to put down so make sure to clear some time in your schedule.

      

    readyplayeroneREADY PLAYER ONE 
    By Ernest Cline

    (2011)

    Another technically non-"teen" book that features a teen protagonist and that content-wise I think is suitable for young adults, READY PLAYER ONE is a book I can't recommend enough to fans of sci fi adventures.  Part puzzle solving mystery (think Indiana Jones), part virtual reality reality romp (think The Matrix), and part homage to 1980's nerd culture, this book fits in perfectly with any Star Wars fan. 

     

    icemarkTHE CRY OF THE ICEMARK
    By Stuart Hill

    (2005)

    Thirrin is a beautiful princess but also an intrepid warrior, and she must find a way to protect her land from a terrible invasion.  She'll need to ally with strange creatures and cultures in order to lead her people to victory.  Fans of Leia will follow Thirrin with interest to see if she can rise above all of her challenges.

      

     

    Hopefully a few of these will scratch that Star Wars itch we'll all be plagued with until next year!!  Until then... may the force be with you.

  • sci fi 01

  • time travel

     

    The idea of time travel has fascinated readers since Mark Twain published A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT (though the earliest time travel novel was a Russian work, THE FOREBEARS OF KALIMEROS by Alexander Veltman). A common theme of time travel stories is the notion of free will, and if people and timelines can change. It’s common to wonder what life would be like if not for a single decision, be it large or small. So, in the spirit of existential exigencies, here are my top five time travel stories  

    invisible libraryINVISIBLE LIBRARY
    by Genevieve Cogman
    (2016)

    Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. These librarians travel not only through time, but through alternative versions of Earths to achieve their objectives.  

     

     

    16321632
    by Eric Flint
    (2008)

    Time travel on the scale of a whole community. The small town of Grantville, USA finds itself carried through time and space to 17th century Germany, the epicenter of the Thirty Years War. Caught in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars in history, members of the town must struggle to reinvent and uphold the democratic values they treasure to endure a storm no one could foresee.  

     

     

     

    into the stormINTO THE STORM
    by Taylor Anderson 
    (2008)  

    Time travel on an evolutionary scale. A crew of sailors from the Second World War find themselves in a world where humans never evolved; instead the Earth (whose map is largely identical to our own) is populated by the endearing Lemurians, a race of sapient felinoid monkeys, and the terrifying Grik, a race of sapient velociraptors. The crew of the USS Walker must figure out how to survive in a world at war for survival itself.  

     

     

    timelineTIMELINE
    by Michael Crichton
    (1999)  

    A secretive corporation allows a group of archeologists to use their time machine to rescue a colleague lost in the year 1357. They have 37 hours to find him and come back, or they’ll be lost in the past forever!  

     

     

     

    time machineTIME MACHINE
    by HG Wells
    (1895)

    When a turn-of-the-century scientist builds a time machine, his perilous journey into the far distant future leads to the discovery of a strange and terrifying new world.  

  •  Novella

    Attention Sci-fi/Fantasy readers: it's time to refresh your reading life!

    I’m willing to confess a dirty little secret that I’m sure at least some of you reading-junkies sympathize with: when I sit down on a Saturday, finally free from errands and school-work, the idea of picking up a large novel is rather daunting. Sometimes I want something a bit shorter, a bit less commitment.

    Well if you have this problem, perhaps you should consider picking up a novella.

    Novella may be a new word for you. Yet I promise you have seen one, even if you didn’t know at the time. A novella is simply defined an intermediary between a short story and a full length novel, usually about 20,000 to 40,000 words. Since they are so short, the pacing is usually faster than a novel, the plot is clearer, and the ending often contains an interesting twist.  

    Many classics are considered novellas, such as Animal Farm, but recently there has been a new push to get novellas on the market, especially in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. If you are interested in finding more novellas, search for those winning a Hugo, Nebula, or Locus award, as these are some of the most prestigious awards for a speculative novella to receive.

    9.20 DragonflightDRAGONFLIGHT
    By Anne McCaffrey
    (1991)

    Composed of two novellas, Weyr Search and Dragonrider, this collection allowed McCaffrey was the first woman to win the Hugo and Nebula for best novella. Although I have never read Dragonflight myself, it is currently on the top on my “to read” list because of the love this book, and all of the Dragonriders of Pern books that follow, holds in the realms of my father’s heart. The book revolves around a planet that has become colonized by humans named Pern which is inhabited by dragons. This novella connects many central ideas of science fiction lovers, including space travel and aliens, along with fantasy, with dragons and a complex magic system.

     

    9.20 All Systems RedALL SYSTEMS RED
    By Martha Wells
    (2017)

    This sci-fi novella won the 2018 Nebula and Hugo awards for best novella and was nominated for the 2017 Phillip K. Dick award. On an alien planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Told from this “Murderbot’s” perspective, the narrative follows a robot who’s greatest desire to understand who it is. Celebrated fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss remarks, “I've never felt an emotional connection to the protagonist of a book like this before…Try it. Try it. Try it.”

     

    9.20 LegionLEGION: THE MANY LIVES OF STEPHEN LEEDS
    By Brandon Sanderson
    (2018)

    Ok guys, I admit I am a self-proclaimed Sanderson fan girl, but I hesitated to put this on here because there are other authors out there who I could spotlight. However, here is the method to my madness: although I bet many of you Stormlight fans, it would be a shame if you ignored Sanderson’s shorter works .. In Legion, we follow the adventures of Stephen Leeds and his many hallucinations, all of who give him advice or expertise in their particular fields. When a mystery is presented to him­— a camera that appears to be able to take pictures of the past— Stephen finds himself on an adventure with his hallucinations and perhaps must keep discovering the true nature of his abilities.

     

    9.20 The Ballad of Black TomTHE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM
    By Victor LaValle
    (2016)

    This urban and horror fantasy novella plays on the short story “The Horror at Red Hook” by H.P. Lovecraft and won the Shirley Jackson award for best novella and was a finalist for the 2016 Nebula award, the 2017 Hugo award, and 2017 British Fantasy Award. Along with this, AMC announced a plan for a TV adaptation of the novella with LaValle as an executive-producer.  This piece serves as both a retelling of the short story and also a critique as it is considered one of Lovecraft’s worst pieces. Set in 1924 Harlem, the narrative follows Tommy Tester, a small-time hustler whose regular guise as a street musician brings him in contact with reclusive millionaire Robert Suydam, who wants him to participate in a nefarious scheme involving the Great Old Ones.

     
  •  8.9 Tales of Technology

    There have been many improvements in the technological world within the past decade that have forever changed the way we live. Sometimes I get scared thinking about just how much information is available online! And let’s face it: we all know that one person who claims technology will be the death of the human race. If you haven’t recently pondered about technology’s power here are some books that will help you start thinking about its influence.  

    8.9 Ready Player OneREADY PLAYER ONE
    By Ernest Cline
    (2011)

    Wade Watts, a poor and orphaned teenager, spends most of his day on a virtual reality game called the OASIS, like the millions of other people on earth. The OASIS’s late creator embedded a puzzle behind for only the most cunning players to solve. The prize? Wealth beyond imagination, and Wade has just found the first clue… In a race against both time and millions of other determined players, Wade is on the adventure of his life.  

     

    8.9 Bad BloodBAD BLOOD: LIES AND SECRETS IN A SILICON VALLEY STARTUP 
    By John Carreyrou
    (2018)

    Carreyrou’s journalism skills are on point in covering the slow yet steady implosion of the Theranos company, headed by infamous CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Through performing interviews and meticulous research, Carreyrou presents the catastrophic and unbelievable story of how Holmes misled investors and employees for years about the “miracle” technology that was going to change the face of modern healthcare. You won’t believe this is based on a true story as you read!  

     

    8.9 The CircleTHE CIRCLE 
    By Dave Eggers
    (2013)

    This book explores what reality would be like if society took technology that far. Mae gets a job at the Circle, a powerful internet company. The higher she climbs in the company, the more she realizes how little privacy she retains in her personal life. This book features unique yet troubling technology use: politicians live stream their every move, so their viewers can experience their life with them. When Mae starts streaming her life for millions of followers, she must decide how loyal she will be to the Circle. Eggers challenges our thoughts about intrusive technology and leaves the reader hanging on until the end!