Science Fiction

Batwoman's face

The Many Arms of Death

By Marguerite Bennett
3
Rated by Anne G
Aug 13, 2020

     Steve Epting's art in comics and graphic novels is fantastic.  Eptig is able to give Batwoman: The Many Arms of Death a classic feel with modern sensibilities, as he has with other superhero comics.  


     We are introduced to Kate (Batwoman) and her lost year where she spent time on an island full of degenerates, with her lover keeping the peace.  Now she returns while tracking down some arms dealers who are selling the biological weapon the monster man serum.  My biggest complaint is that we do not really get enough backstory to care about or know who some of these characters are

Jun 3, 2020

I watched the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery when it premiered and...it just didn't feel like Star Trek to me. The Klingons looked like orcs from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies. The overall feel was too flashy while also being too cynical--and my favorite Star Trek series is Deep Space Nine, which is overall the darkest series in the franchise. Then the rest of the series was locked behind the paywall of the CBS All Access channel and I didn't want to pay to watch a series that turned me off with its first episode, so I gave up on it. (Picture me stomping off in a huff and

The Calculating Stars

By Mary Robinette Kowal
4
Rated by Hebah A.H.
May 19, 2020

One of my personal reading goals I set when Covid-19 first started turning things upside down was to read more of the books on my own personal shelves, things I'd bought but not read yet. I wasn't counting on my reading mojo plummeting, and truthfully, as far as timing went, I might have chosen a bit more wisely than to read a book that begins with a cataclysmic event that will likely be a human extinction event in time. So while I was fairly certain I would ultimately enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars, first book in her Lady Astronaut series, it took a bit for me to fully

Apr 17, 2020

Shortly before the library closed due to the novel coronavirus, my co-worker, Adam, loaned me a set with all five of the original Planet of the Apes films - three of which are currently in the Johnson County Library collection, and two of which are available to stream from home on IndieFlix. This pentalogy (five!) of films includes Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). I really only had plans to watch the first film, and maybe try out

The Way of Kings

By Brandon Sanderson
5
Rated by admin
Mar 4, 2020

 


Ah, the one and only Brandon Sanderson. If you are a fan of high fantasy you are probably familiar with his works and can reminisce on the first Sanderson book you experienced. I say experienced- not read- because working the way through a Sanderson novel alongside his characters is an adventure. I started digging into Sanderson’s works with the Mistborn trilogy, which I highly recommend. The trilogy is a great introduction to Brandon Sanderson’s works as it is shorter, but still provides that intricate worldbuilding and thought provoking storytelling for which he is so well known. Since

Dec 16, 2019

You’ve heard of Dungeons and Dragons.  Right?
It’s been around for 45 year and been in everything from Simpsons to Stranger things. 
What is it? 
It’s a pen and paper Roleplaying game.  A set of rules to tell a shared story with friends and family with a backdrop of classic sword and sorcery in the vein of The Lord of the Rings.


 


Pretty simple right?  Well that’s what Tales from the Loop is.  A very rules-simple pen and paper Roleplaying Game!  Only it ditches the old tropes of Dwarves, Elves, Dragons, and Goblins for a more contemporary setting.


 


You and your friends play

Nov 18, 2019

This is top-notch science fiction--it takes today's scientific advancements and speculates how they might play out in the future, considering legal, ethical, and practical ramifications along the way. The book does this over the course of six lightly connected stories, each progressively further in the future. The topic is gene editing and body modification.


The first story starts simply enough with improved organ transplants from one dying twin to another and ends with a distant reality in which the handful or pure, unmodified humans are kept safe on a reservation as a sort of archival

Recursion

By Blake Crouch
4
Rated by Heather C
Sep 30, 2019

Recursion occurs when a thing is defined in terms of itself or of its type.  --Wikipedia


I first heard about this book on NPR and was intrigued enough to immediately put it on my holds list.  You can find out more about how to make your own holds list here. Let me just say that this book did not disappoint!


Memory makes reality.  That's the tag line of the latest thriller by Blake Crouch.  Memory also makes you who you are.  Remembering what you learned in school, a moment from childhood, your favorite Christmas, your first kiss; but what if what you remember isn't real? 


Who hasn't

Tell The Machine Goodnight

By Katie Williams
4
Rated by Jed D.
Sep 16, 2019

What if a machine could tell you how to be happy?  What if your results could be manipulated?  What if you had to do something illegal, immoral, or unethical to achieve happiness?  These are a few of the questions posed in the speculative fiction novel Tell the Machine Goodnight, by Katie Williams.  Set in 2035, our protagonist Pearl works for a Facebook or Google-like tech organization, Apricity, whose name means "the warmth of the sun during winter".  Businesses include Apricty readings as a benefit. along with insurance and retirement packages.  Apricity is brought in to help victims of

Jul 31, 2019

If you don't know the basics of the British television series Doctor Who, here we go: a mysterious, eccentric, very long-lived, alien scientist known only as "the Doctor" travels through time and space in a ship that looks like a 1960s British police call box on the outside and is much, much bigger and more futuristic on the inside. The Doctor is accompanied by human traveling companions, fighting against tyranny, bigotry, and destruction in the past, present, and future, all across the universe. The show originally ran from 1963-1989 and was revived in 2005, continuing on today. It's my all

Munmun

By Jesse Andrews
4
Rated by Chris K.
Jul 23, 2019

Whoa! Now here's an exercise in extended metaphor. Andrews has taken an idea that could have been a simple allegory and turned it into a fully developed novel. Imagine, if you will, an alternate reality in which physical size is literally determined by wealth. A standard person is middlescale. The middlerich are those larger than that up two doublescale and the middlepoor extend to halfscale. Smaller than that are the littlepoors: quarterscale, eighthscale, and tenthscale--about the size of a rat. The bigrich just get bigger and bigger to hundreds of feet tall. Buildings, roads, vehicles, and

Jul 17, 2019

There is a lot of music in the world. But have you ever thought about the music that is set in space? Here are a few space concept albums that fit perfectly into our summer reading theme, A Universe of Stories.


Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino


This space-inspired concept album features the Arctic Monkeys as the lounge band on the moon. It blew my mind to realize they are playing the Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino as the lounge band. Give this one a few listens to appreciate the nuance and lyrics. I especially enjoy the thought of putting a taqueria on the roof and

Flight Vol. 6

By Edited by Kazu Kibuishi
4
Rated by Megan K.
Jul 17, 2019

The sixth anthology of short graphic novels, Flight Vol. 6 was a beautiful read. I found out about the series from a coworker who is well-versed in the graphic novel genre. Since all the books are anthologies, I did not feel the need to read the series in order. Furthermore, the sixth book was the only one available at my location, so it made my choice easy! For someone that has trouble reading graphic novels, this collection of short stories was perfect. The art styles varied greatly between selections, which made for an engaging read. Some of the stories were wordless, focusing on detailed

The Illuminae Files

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
5
Rated by Tiffany R
Jul 15, 2019

The Illuminae Files Trilogy is like no trilogy you've experienced before. Stylistically it stands apart as the story unfolds via a dossier of compiled e-mails, video recordings, military documents, interviews, maps and medical reports that all combine to make for a heady mix of intrigue, political drama, romance, and space opera. In Illuminae, the first in the trilogy, Kady Grant's colony, Kerenza, is attacked by an unknown enemy. Kady manages to escape aboard one of the three remaining spaceships, but her problems have only just begun. The enemy is hot on their tail, a mysterious illness

Good Morning, Midnight

By Lily Brooks-Dalton
4
Rated by Maryana K.
Jun 24, 2019

Good Morning, Midnight is an atmospheric story told from the perspective of two flawed characters who have struggled with or avoided human connection most of their lives. From a remote arctic research station to the vast openness of space, the settings evoke a feeling of stillness and quiet that, as I sat reading, had the effect of blocking out the world around me.


Augustine and Sully are seemingly some of the last people left alive after an apocalyptic event. Sully is a mother and astronaut racing through space on her way back to earth after a two year mission aboard the Aether. The earth

Jun 21, 2019

Humanity is curious by nature. Ever since we first looked up at the sky, we have been fascinated with the possibility of reaching those distant lights. Lacking the ability, we wrote stories about what it would be like on that wild frontier. The what-ifs, the hows. But it wasn't until 1817 that these stories stopped being about gods and magic and delved into the concept of science. Man, not gods, were the source of power. Since then, science fiction stories have led the way to scientific advancement.


In 1914, H.G Wells described a future in which scientists had discovered the power of the

May 28, 2019

"Some people always burn." - Ally Condie, The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe


            Poe Blythe is the seventeen-year-old captain of the last mining ship from the Outpost. In this dystopian fiction, she wants far more than the gold they tear from the Serpentine River. She is looking for revenge, and she is going to use her steampunk-ship to do.  Poe has vowed vengeance on the river raiders who robbed her of everything two years ago. This woman of steel navigates the treacherous waters of the Serpentine. As she does so, she realizes there might be a traitor among her crew.


            The

Apr 15, 2019

Mena, a girl at the Innovations Academy, has her eyes opened and wants more out of life than to be stuck being a possession. She and her friends meet a boy named Jackson while out, and come up with a plan to escape from the perfection and obedience of the Academy. I love the cover because it goes to show that under a mask of perfection there is always another side hidden underneath.


The idea of having to be perfect all the time and emotionless was a strong point in this book. I feel that girls today feel that obedience and perfection is the key to being wanted in society as this book puts

The Similars

4
Rated by Julia B.
Feb 1, 2019

The Similars is a fantastic literary tale of understanding actions and feelings of others while simultaneously exploring the concept of clones that may be a future reality. Emma is dealing with the aftermath of a friend's suicide when six clones, dubbed 'The Similars', begin attending her high school. One of them wears the face of her recently deceased friend, but she is quick to understand that he is not Oliver and will never be Oliver. 


I really like the idea of clones and how society would interpret the meaning and worth of their existence. The realness of this book was startling and

Hidden Empire

By Kevin J. Anderson
5
Rated by Andrew E
Nov 30, 2018

The saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”


If I’m honest, I seldom follow that old adage when selecting things to read.  What can I say? I’m a Rebel Librarian. Odd thing about it is that I rarely find myself disappointed with my selections. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found some stinkers that I didn't finish, but I’m batting well over .500 in my success.  


Perhaps the best example of this success was with the following series. 


I was in college and working at Hastings Entertainment in the book department at the time, and there were always fantastic books all around me.  Plenty

Lords of the Sith

By Paul S. Kemp
4
Rated by Dylan R
Sep 20, 2018

Paul S. Kemp's Lords of the Sith tells the tale of a Darth Vader who is new to his alliance with the Dark Side of the Force. Vader's allegiances to his Sith master, Darth Sidious, are put to the test in myriad ways as the two villains encounter a skillful resistance movement on the planet Ryloth. Led by the cunning strategist Cham Syndulla (Star Wars: Rebels fans will likely recall Cham as Hera Syndulla's father), this band of resistance fighters may just stop at nothing to rid their beloved home of the Empire's influence. Rather than simply strike at the military forces occupying Ryloth, only

Sep 10, 2018

Hi. My name is Hebah. I’m a giant nerd. I don’t just read genre fiction shamelessly; I also attend conventions dedicated to them. And yeah, going to a ComicCon isn’t really a big deal anymore, but I go to sci fi cons, which is probably a couple steps further along the grand scale of nerddom. This year, I attended WorldCon, or the World Science Fiction Convention, a science fiction and fantasy convention established in 1939. It is home to the Hugo Awards, the longest-running science fiction award around. Attendees vote on both the Hugos and future locations, so it moves around from year to year

An Unkindness of Ghosts

By Rivers Solomon
5
Rated by Chris K.
Aug 22, 2018

I give An Unkindness of Ghosts a clear 5 stars for characters, worldbuilding, and social commentary. I would go with 4 stars for plotting and pacing. Though it certainly doesn't lack for excitement and intrigue, it reads a bit episodically, with an underlying emphasis on each episode illustrating an experience more than carefully crafting a narrative. But what they illustrate is powerful and significant.


"This isn't about how I feel, officer, and this isn't a personal matter. It's a Matildan matter. Our social order depends on our ethical order, and our ethical order depends on

Space Opera

By Catherynne Valente
4
Rated by Diane H.
Jun 16, 2018

I was expecting something zany and I got it. Space Opera is pretty over the top. It reminded me of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series in its absurdity, which I mean in a good way.


What better way to avoid inter-galactic war and determine the sentience of newly discovered species than through a galaxy-wide singing contest?


Are humans sentient? That is what Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes (a once-upon-a-time, glam rock and glitter, despair and joy band) have to prove or all of humanity will be exterminated. No pressure.


While I

Jun 13, 2018

Twelve year old Jonas lives in what seems like an ideal world. Everything is chosen for you, where you live, who your spouse is, what your job is, because, according to the community leader, when people have the opportunity to choose, they choose wrong. But Jonas never expected his life assignment to be the Receiver. He is assigned to learn from the Giver, but not what he thinks he is going to learn. With the help of the Giver, he begins to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community.


I don't remember reading a book as fast as I read this one. It was a great read. I couldn't

Jun 12, 2018

Picking up right where Star Wars, the Force Awakens' story left off, The Last Jedi continues the adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe following their triumph over the First Order forces on Starkiller Base. Though the Resistance scored a huge victory, we are still faced with many questions: How can the Resistance possibly hope to stand against such an obviously superior foe? Will the now-located Luke Skywalker come out of hiding to save the galaxy?


Oh, and just who is this last Jedi, anyway?


Spoilers ahead!


Although audiences are understandably split in their reaction to The Last Jedi as a

Ready Player One

By Ernest Cline
4
Rated by Dylan R
Apr 11, 2018

Functioning as both a seminal look into pop culture's past as well as a fun, technological romp, Ready Player One is a fantastic tale centered around Wade Watts, a teenager and dedicated gamer in the year 2044. Having almost no family, few friends, and seemingly even fewer avenues open to him to escape his downtrodden existence, Wade has had a difficult life, to say the least. However, what Wade does have is access to the OASIS; a cyber-reality which will change his life forever.


An astonishing facet of Ready Player One is its prescience: Cline's great, sprawling work was published in 2011

Apr 10, 2018

When Ishmael wakes up from stasis aboard the Pequod, he is amazed at how different this faraway planet is from the dying Earth he left behind. He is here to work, risking his life to hunt down enormous ocean-dwelling creatures to harvest and send back to the resource depleted Earth so he can save enough money to get his foster parents off Earth before it is too late. But time and again the chase boats are ordered to leave easy prey behind so they can pursue a dangerous and elusive monster, few people who have seen it have lived to tell the tale. One who has is Captain Ahab, who lost his leg to

Stalker

By Andrei Tarkovsky
5
Rated by Michelle H.
Apr 9, 2018

Two men are taken to The Zone – a quarantined area rumored to have an abandoned building with a room inside it in which wishes are granted. But the road there isn’t clear, and even if it were, the path there can never be repeated. If the room is found, it grants only the wish behind the conscious wish, making the journey toward the room an increasingly frightening endeavor as the men inevitably wander hither and yon looking for the correct path and the correct wish. The two men are led by a third, a guide called a stalker who can never make a wish himself and is doomed to live as an outcast

Apr 4, 2018

So .. it's about this 15 year old boy named Michael Vey and he has electric powers,he has had it his whole life. his mom knows it too so they try to keep it hidden and that is a bit hard for him since he was born with Tourette's Syndrome, and is always picked on. one day a bunch of bullies were hitting him and he got so mad he "pulsed' them and they were terrified of him after that day, the bad thing was someone saw electricity come out of his hands when he did it. it was his crush Taylor the head cheerleader and the prettiest girl in the high school, she saw what had happened. you late find