Posts tagged with "Science Fiction"

Posted by BARB W on 06/22/18
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Have you ever wondered what kind of films do best at the box office, which tower above the rest in terms of ticket sales?

Science fiction films are by far the fan favorites. Star Wars, Avatar, The Avengers, the Jurassic Park films. If these are what we choose to watch, why are we so hesitant to read science fiction?

Maybe we are afraid to hold a mirror up to who we are. Reflection is the essence of good science fiction. It may seem to transport you to the unknown, but it really explores the possibilities of who we are and the expectations of who we can be.

Check out Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer; book one of the Neanderthal Parallax. In an alternate universe, the Neanderthals have evolved at a faster rate than the Homo sapiens have, a situation that perplexes the human scientists. They discover that there is much to learn and share for the two civilizations, and a collaboration begins. But what is the cost for this rapid development?

In The Left Hand of Darkness, by the late, revered Ursula K. LeGuin, gender is fluid, making opportunities in childbirth and leadership available to all. We may not have that option, but once you take gender out of the equation, the prospects become endless. On the planet Gethen, recognition occurs based on ability, not predetermination by gender.

In The Secret City by Carol Emshwiller, we see the conditions of hospitality and hostility imposed on Others, people different from ourselves, and we grapple with the difficulties of assimilation and inclusion.

Real world problems, reimagined by brilliant minds; writers asking the big questions and taking a stab at explanations or alternate pathways. Check out some science fiction today and be part of the discussion.
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 01/14/11
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A young genetics researcher makes a clone of her own grandmother when she discovers a scrap of bloody cloth in the attic of her Victorian home. This is a strange and interesting book, as much about human interactions as it is about cloning.

Posted by Uncle Will on 09/16/15
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What would you do if you were suddenly taken back in time 200 years?
 
Such is the dilemma for Claire Randall, the main character in Diana Gabaldon's epic novel, Outlander, published in 1991 and recently adapted into a TV mini-series. Claire is a WWII nurse in England who reunites with her husband, post-war, for a second honeymoon in Scotland. While visiting a historic hilltop, Claire is mysteriously transported back to 1743, where she must worry for her life, find the secret to her journey into the past, and somehow overcome immense odds to return to her husband, who is determinedly searching for her in 1945.
 
This series is well-written, keeping true to Gabaldon's suspenseful plot.  The scenery is breathtaking and the soundtrack perfectly underscores the drama of the period. This series should be the first choice you make for date night with that someone who is special.  It has a little bit of everything:  action, romance, humor, history, and grown men in kilts! 
 
If you enjoy watching, make sure to place a hold on Outlander Season 1 / Volume 2.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/21/11
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Futuristic story of the biggest treasure hunt of all time. Wade Watts and his online friends (and enemies) work through a set of fiendish puzzles in a massive online world suffused with 80s pop culture, in search of the ultimate prize - the vast fortune of the greatest video game designer who ever lived.

Posted by BARB W on 11/21/13
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Envision an ancient world as you travel through the Ice Age in this epic story of survival under extraordinarily challenging conditions. In Shaman, author Kim Stanley Robinson takes us on a right of passage with Loon, a young man trying to fulfill his destiny as a shaman of his tribe.
 
Enter the vivid landscape of a world covered in ice and snow and watch Loon try to survive the ritualistic passage into adulthood. The environment is his adversary and his salvation as he begins this trial with nothing but instinct and determination.
 
Hugo and Nebula award winner Kim Stanley Robinson writes intense, expressive science fiction with a solid ability to create new worlds. He is also a scientist, and his careful attention to the ecological details of this story makes it as informative as it is thrilling. Check out this book and breathe in the icy air in this pathway through the Ice Age.

Posted by amypelman.res on 06/27/13
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The AHML Teen Department is pleased to present a book review from our Summer Intern, Mary Ellen Podmokly: 
 
First, I have to say that I was not a fan of Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist. I wanted to like it; the novel did receive a Michael L. Printz Honor and I tend to trust award panels. After reading The Monstrumologist I lost my faith. I liken my reading experience of it to a performance of Peter Pan in which the audience has failed to revive Tinker Bell. You can therefore understand how my initial attitude towards the hype surrounding Yancey’s The 5th Wave was scornful.
 
I also have to mention that I am a scaredy-cat. While I can read about the horrors of war the only kind of aliens I want to encounter are of the E.T. variety. Even E.T. freaked me out until his big eyes won me over. The aliens of The 5th Wave aren’t cute. Their plan is to eradicate humankind and stay. Yancey warns in the first pages of the book: “ALIENS ARE STUPID. I’m not talking about real aliens. The Others aren’t stupid. The Others are so far ahead of us, it’s like comparing the dumbest human to the smartest dog. No contest. No, I’m talking about the aliens inside our own heads. The ones we made up…You know, the aliens we imagine, the kind of aliens we’d like to attack us, human aliens…There’s no way to know for sure, but I bet the Others knew about the human aliens we’d imagined. And I bet they thought it was funny as hell. They must have laughed their asses off. If they have a sense of humor…or asses. They must have laughed the way we laugh when a dog does something totally cute and dorky. Oh, those cute, dorky humans! They think we think like they do! Isn’t that adorable? Forget about flying saucers and little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays. Forget about epic battles with tanks and fighter jets and the final victory of us scrappy, unbroken, intrepid humans over the bug-eyed swarm…The truth is, once they found us, we were toast.”  Neil Diamond’s “Heartlight” is the furthest thing from your mind when you come to grips with Yancey’s premise that people are finally prey and not predators.
 
I enjoyed The 5th Wave despite my initial misgivings and trepidation. Maybe “enjoy” isn’t quite the right word though. The book is about bare survival after the first four waves of an alien engendered apocalypse. This is a world in which truly horrible things have happened. Life for protagonists Cassie and Ben is grim. Their sense of security, control, and innocence has been lost along with their families. They know more about the reality of being killed and being killers than any teenager should have to understand. And the terrible anticipation of the inevitable fifth wave is enough to drive the most mentally sound individual crazy. 
 
The only thing keeping Cassie sane is the search for her little brother Sam, who was taken away in a busload of children. When she meets Evan after an alien “Silencer” tries to kill her she knows she should question his story. But she’s tired of being alone on her bleak quest.
 
The only thing keeping Ben alive, tortured as he is by memories of leaving his little sister to die, is his desire for vengeance. And a promise to a little boy named Nugget.
 
Riveting twists and turns in the plot allow Cassie’s and Ben’s storylines to converge in a thrilling, if not satisfying (after all there has to be room for a sequel), end. Both teenagers and adults will find themselves sucked into this David versus Goliath story.
 
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 10/05/12
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You have to love a book that comes with 3D glasses.
 
Felix J. Palma delivers a delightful and, at times, disturbing vision of an alternate history in which H.G. Wells and Edgar Allen Poe battle a Martian invasion...and lose. But don't lose heart. Palma always has some literary tricks up his sleeves, and this is only the second book in The Victorian Trilogy from this brilliant Spanish author. The characters are richly drawn and compelling and the story-telling alternates from wry and witty to terrifying and gory with a healthy dash of ridiculousness.
 
The first book in the series, The Map of Time is a rollicking good time as well, establishing Wells as a reluctant hero along with a cameo by Jack the Ripper. While it is not essential to read them in order, I would recommend it for maximum enjoyment.
 
I can't wait for the next one!

Posted by BARB W on 09/30/15
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The Water Knife, a thriller detailing a severe drought in the American Southwest, tersely cautions us of a possible bleak future without adequate hydration. Hugo and Nebula award winner Paolo Bacigalupi creates an authentic picture of the consequences to the people and the land, while painting an ugly portrait of the greed and corruption that develop in the wake of this drought.

This world is a brilliantly imagined, violent place, and we follow the lives of three people caught in the crossfire this drought produces. Angel Velasquez is a “water knife”, a sort of enforcer for the rich and powerful who define ownership of this precious commodity. Lucy is a cynical journalist and Maria is a dreamer who believes in better things, and together they become entangled in this drama. The people who have water have the power, and therefore the control, which they often use with reckless abandon.
 
The novel progresses like a well-paced action movie.The plot twists are unsettling and the characters are hovering on the cusp of good and evil. Science fiction writers have written about environmental concerns for many years, but as our world moves through time, we actually see the effects, and severe drought is a well-timed topic. Check out this thoughtful, engaging and meaningful read.

Posted by BARB W on 03/22/15
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Travel to the distant future in Time To Expire, a world where technology and scientific discovery have eliminated disease and lengthened the duration of human life. The decrease in mortality has also minimized other damaging aspects of society, weakening their destructive effects in this new world.
 
Who becomes the savior of civilization?  The answer is LifeSpan, a technology company responsible for the dramatic turn of events. In addition to the eradication of disease, the company is able to pinpoint the exact time of death for all people and facilitate their exit from the world. Families are able to anticipate the death of their loved ones and be present as they spend their last moments on Earth.
 
We follow Cole, who has taken a job with a bright future at LifeSpan. His security is threatened by an underground movement that challenges the ethics of  LifeSpan’s authority.  Should they exercise such power over human existence? Does knowing make it easier to let someone go?
 
In his debut novel, Chris Ramos treats these questions with the respect and attentiveness they deserve. His characters are authentic; his action is crisp and complete. I am eager to see where this outstanding new author will take us next.
 

 
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy