science fiction

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

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

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

Jun 27, 2019

When I was a kid I wanted to be a robot psychologist when I grew up. I knew that Isaac Asimov’s robot stories were fiction, but I firmly believed that robots would one day be a part of our daily lives. It didn’t seem impossible that I could be like Dr. Susan Calvin, the robopsychologist featured in I, Robot, Asimov’s book of short stories.


The fact that I’m now grown up with no robots in sight, has not lessened my enthusiasm for the world Asimov created, from the Caves of Steel to Foundation, The Robots of Dawn to Foundation and Earth. I credit Asimov for beginning my lifelong fascination

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

Planetfall

By Emma Newman
3
Rated by Megan C.
Jan 25, 2017

Secrets abound in Planetfall. Since establishing a colony on a distant planet, no one has seen the leader of the mission, Suh-Mi, who has gone to live in a strange network of tunnels called God’s City. The protagonist, Renata, believes in the supernatural, but has her doubts about the religion that has formed around the leader’s disappearance into God’s City. A stranger arrives at the colony, but no one knows how he got there. His arrival sets off a chain of events that unravels life in the colony and forces Renata to confront the doubts she has suppressed for too long.


This turned out to

Cloud Atlas

By Cloud Atlas (dvd)
4
Rated by Diane H.
Oct 15, 2016

Cloud Atlas is a movie that, for me, gets better with every watching. Fortunately, I had been forewarned that it is confusing; otherwise I might have turned it off after the first few minutes. While I got the gist of the plot with the first viewing – several lives interweaving and affecting each other through time – with each subsequent viewing I was able to catch more detail and see layers I had missed before.


A number of themes are explored: human nature, freedom, relationships and how they affect us, past lives, fate, the future. Perhaps the most compelling, and confusing, aspect of the

Illuminae

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
5
Rated by Diane H.
Feb 8, 2016

Illuminae is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve come across recently. I don’t know what it would be like to read the book, but the audio was marvelous to listen to. The different voices encapsulate the personalities and essences of the different characters, making the story richer and adding depth. 


I also appreciated the unique format--the whole story is told in messages, transcripts and recordings. It begins with a memo about the information to follow, then goes right into two interviews with the main characters, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason.


These two teenagers just survived a

Mr. Nobody

By Jaco Van Dormael
4
Rated by Megan C.
Dec 5, 2015

There are so many fantastic things about Mr. Nobody that I would definitely recommend it, but there are also many annoying things that could turn someone off. So here is my endorsement, with caveats.


See it: The story jumps all over time and parallel existences. We (try to) follow the protagonist, Nemo, as he lives different lives as himself. It’s not chronological, so sometimes it takes a moment to orient yourself in the storyline. Despite the potential for confusion, the multiverse is actually one of the strong points of the film, if you let yourself be carried along by the stories. You

Extant, The First Season

By Steven Spielberg
4
Rated by Megan C.
Nov 23, 2015

It’s been a month since I watched the first season of Extant, but it’s still with me. It’s that quiet place I go to when I’m zoning out. The set design offers a vision of a gentler, more organic future, where technology is less obtrusively integrated into our daily lives than perhaps it is now. It’s the silent actor that sets a tone of calm, but there are tensions, to be sure.  The introduction of a life-like android prototype into the functions of everyday life invites antagonism from many fronts, including a militant anti-technology group.


Space exploration has been privatized, but are

Redshirts

By John Scalzi
4
Rated by Brian B.
Oct 30, 2014

Redshirts is a thoroughly engaging read, with interesting characters, snappy dialogue, and a plot that transports from comedic to thought-provoking at will. The story follows the adventures of a group of "Redshirts" as they fight for survival and try to unravel the mystery of a curse that plagues their ship. Will they figure it all out, or will they suffer the same grim fate so many "Redshirts" have before?  If you are a fan of Star Trek, or science-fiction in general, do yourself a favor and check this one out! The three codas at the end of the novel take a little bit to warm up to, but add

Landry Park

By Bethany Hagen
5
Rated by Diane H.
Feb 5, 2014

If you liked the dystopian themes in Kiera Cass' The Selection, Ally Condie's Matched or Gennifer Albin's Crewel, then ​Landry Park is for you.


In a future where nuclear energy has replaced electricity, there is a sharp divide between those who live privileged lives fueled by this energy and those who live oppressed lives working with the energy.  In this world, a young woman has to make the choice between what’s known, safe, and comfortable and the uncertain, dangerous, can’t-be-forgotten truth. Will she be loyal to her family and ancestors, or will she stand up for what she knows is right

Vicious

By V. E. Schwab
5
Rated by Bethany T.
Jan 2, 2014

Victor Vale and Eli Cardale are brilliant calculating risk-takers and the smartest pre-med students at their prestigious university; they also happen to be best friends.  For a class project, Eli decides to research the so-called E.O.'s--extraordinary people who seem to demonstrate abnormal abilities not unlike superpowers.  What's more, during his research, Eli realizes that he might be able to synthesize an E.O., and he wants to try it on himself.  What happens next leave both him and Victor changed forever.  


Fast forward ten years.  Victor has just escaped prison with his intimidating