Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Have you ever wanted to be a librarian? What about a rebel librarian? Sarah Gailey’s Upright Women Wanted is a twisted dystopic pulp western where librarians are the only way to get approved information, but things are never as they seem.

Before we get to the librarians, we need to start with Esther. Esther is a stowaway. After seeing her best friend executed at the hands of her father for being in possession of resistance propaganda, Esther has run away and hidden herself in the book wagon the librarians are taking across country. In this future American Southwest full of bandits and fascists, librarians trek to small towns to deliver materials approved by the government. Desperate to escape the marriage that her dad has arranged(to a man who was previously engaged to her now dead best friend), the librarians are Esther’s quickest way to escape and to be her truest self. Maybe she will start to heal her broken heart. Her best friend wasn’t just her best friend. Esther was in love with her.

Discovered by the librarians, Esther is introduced to a life she never thought possible. The more she learns about the librarians, the more she realizes that they are not as straight-laced as they appear. Instead they are queer librarian spies working with a secret network to spread resistance materials and supplies to those in need. The librarians are trying to do the right thing, but putting up a front of normalcy is the only way that they can survive.

Spooky Season Graphic Novels

There are so many ways to celebrate the fall season. Apple picking, hayrack rides, corn mazes, and so much more! One of my favorite past times during the fall season is to curl up and read a good horror book.  Whether it’s zombies, ghosts, monsters, or witches I want to read it all! Graphic novels are a great way to get your spooky fix this fall. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Harrow County by Cullen Bunn is full of monsters, ghosts, and drama. Here is the description provided by the publisher:

Plagued by a witch of unfathomable powers, the folk of Harrow County capture and burn her, but not before she furiously screams her revenge. Eighteen years later, we find farm girl Emmy coming of age, gifted with unnatural talents. When a spirit warns her of her impending doom at the hands of the town, she hurries off into the haunted forest, running for her life while trying to uncover her own twisted history.

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Mary Shelley, Monster Hunter by Adam Glass takes everything you think you know about Frankenstein and flips it upside down. Here is the description provided by the publisher:

For nearly two centuries, scholars have wondered how on earth Mary Shelley, a nineteen-year-old girl, was able to conjure one of the most frightening and enduring horror stories of all time: Frankenstein.

But with the recent discovery of Mary Shelley’s secret memoir, the truth is finally revealed: Mary Shelley didn’t just write Frankenstein, she lived it. Traveling back to that historic Geneva winter of 1816, Mary, her fiancé Percy, sisters Claire and Fanny, and the celebrated poet Lord Byron find themselves guests of the eerie Frankenstein Estate. The macabre and frightening events that follow lead Mary to both a gruesome and shocking discovery. Their mysterious host is not at all what they expected, and their intentions will change the course of Mary’s life forever.

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Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge takes us to a sleepy New England town where supernatural forces lurk in the woods. Here is the description provided by the publisher:

Following a night of sex, drugs and witchcraft in the woods, Eve Coffin wakes up naked, covered in blood and unable to remember how she got there. One friend is missing, one is in a mental ward–and one knows that Eve is responsible. Years later, Eve returns to Coffin Hill, only to discover the darkness that she unleashed ten years ago in the woods was never contained. It continues to seep through the town, cursing the soul of this sleepy Massachusetts hollow, spilling secrets and enacting its revenge. Set against the haunted backdrop of New England, Coffin Hill explores what people will do for power and retribution.

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Outcast by Robert Kirkman provides us with our paranormal fix in this coming of age horror. Here is the description provided by the publisher:

Kyle Barnes has not had an easy life. What appears as insanity in his family is something much darker and infinitely deeper. It originates in the bowels of hell and manifests as demonic possession. Unfortunately, it seems to be somewhat contagious, and Kyle, at least so far, is immune. A dedicated man of God, Reverend Anderson, who wrestles with his own black dreads and shadowy history, has recognized this uniqueness in Kyle and courageously endeavors to nurture this gift and stand by him. Is Kyle some sort of anomaly with the ability to salvage human souls, or just an orphaned and crazy outcast?

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Wytches by Scott Snyder dives into the realm of witchcraft and folklore in this anxiety ridden thrill ride. Here is the description provided by the publisher:

After witnessing a grisly supernatural murder, Sailor Rook, along with her father and mother, move to a small town, hoping for a fresh start. But the twisted horrors hidden in the woods have traveled with the family, and they must now uncover one another’s dark secrets to stay alive.

 

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Full disclosure: The Martian is my favorite book, maybe ever, so I’m coming into this review with a fair bit of bias. That said, in my opinion Project Hail Mary is a worthy follow-up to The Martian, with the same kind of humor, heart, high stakes, and rock-solid science.

Here’s the gist (without spoilers): Dr. Ryland Grace wakes up alone and confused in a spaceship (the eponymous Hail Mary) VERY far from Earth. He’s lost his memory, and his two crewmates died in suspended animation. It’s up to him to figure out exactly who he is, how he got there, what the ship’s mission is, and how he can complete it on his own. And he’d better hurry, because all of life on Earth is at stake.

If that sounds intense, it is – but Grace also makes jokes and laughs as much as he can, while not shying away from the huge responsibility, sacrifice, and loss he’s facing. I really thought this book was effective for several reasons: first, the science. As in The Martian, this book’s science reads to me like plausible and real explanations and solutions. It felt like a book that Weir had a lot of fun writing, with a ton of research to back him up. Second, the character of Ryland Grace was very well done; his emotions, backstory, and feelings of being overwhelmed, repeatedly, make him a relatable narrator that you root for to succeed, while his humor and determination keep the action moving forward at an addictive pace. Third, the narrative structure worked really well. If you’ve ever seen the DC TV show Arrow, you might recognize the strategic use of flashbacks to reveal key information at just the right time. Weir moves carefully and explicitly between Grace’s struggle in the present and all the events in the past that culminated in his being on the ship. It all works together brilliantly to create a story you’ll laugh your way through and won’t want to put down, right up to the very unexpected final pages.

Highly recommended for those who loved The Martian, Cast Away, and other lone-survivor stories of sci-fi or adventure, this is a book which will tug at your heartstrings and stretch your imagination to dazzling new heights.

New Science Fiction at Fairmount

Looking for a new science fiction title to read? This blog post is full of new science fiction titles pulled right from the shelves at our Fairmount branch! If you want to read any of them, click the link or contact the library. All the descriptions are provided by the publisher.

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The Unfinished Land by Greg Bear

Reynard, a young apprentice, seeks release from the drudgery of working for his fisherman uncle in the English village of Southwold. His rare days off lead him to strange encounters—not just with press gangs hoping to fill English ships to fight the coming Spanish Armada, but strangers who seem to know him—one of whom casts a white shadow.

The village’s ships are commandeered, and after a fierce battle at sea, Reynard finds himself the sole survivor of his uncle’s devastated hoy. For days he drifts, starving and dying of thirst, until he is rescued by a galleon, also lost—and both are propelled by a strange current to the unknown, northern island of Thule. Here, Reynard  must meet his destiny in a violent clash between humans and gods.

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The Moonsteel Crown by Stephen Deas (Dominion #1)

The Emperor of Aria has been murdered, the Empire is in crisis, and Dead Men walk the streets…

But Myla, Fings, and Seth couldn’t care less. They’re too busy just trying to survive in the Sulk-struck city of Varr, committing petty violence and pettier crimes to earn their keep in the Unrulys, a motley gang led by Blackhand.

When the Unrulys are commissioned to steal a mysterious item to order, by an equally mysterious patron, the trio are thrust right into the bitter heart of a struggle for the Crown, where every faction is after what they have.

Forced to lie low in a city on lockdown, they will have to work together if they want to save their skins… and maybe just save the Empire as well.

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The Children of D’Hara by Terry Goodkind

The Children of D’Hara picks up immediately after the conclusion of the Sword of Truth series. This is the story of Richard and Kahlan and their children.

The world has been forged anew. Tyranny vanquished, the breach between the living and the dead healed, the stars themselves realigned. It is the triumph Richard Rahl and his wife Kahlan Amnell fought so hard, over so many years, for. They have vowed to bring a golden age of peace to a world shattered by terror and war. What they do not expect is a demand for their immediate, unconditional surrender. Not just their surrender, but the surrender of their entire world.

The Children of D’Hara picks up immediately after the conclusion of the Sword of Truth series. This is the first collected volume of the series, featuring episodes 1-5:

1. The Scribbly Man.
2. Hateful Things.
3. Wasteland.
4. Witch’s Oath.
5. Into Darkness.

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Amid the Crowd of Stars by Stephen Leigh

This innovative sci-fi novel explores the potential impact of alien infection on humankind as they traverse the stars and find themselves stranded on new and strange planets.

Amid the Crowd of Stars is a grand scale science fiction novel examining the ethical implications of interstellar travel, a topic rarely addressed in science fiction novels. What responsibilities do we have to isolate ourselves from the bacteria, viruses, and other life of another world, and to prevent any of that alien biome from being brought back to Earth?

What happens when a group of humans are stranded for centuries on another world with no choice but to expose themselves to that world? After such long exposure, are they still Homo sapiens or have they become another species entirely?

These questions are at the heart of this intriguing novel, explored through the complicated lives and the viewpoints of the people who have come to rescue the stranded colony, the members of that colony, and the sentient alien life that dwells on the planet. Difficult life and death choices will be made by all involved.

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We Lie With Death by Devin Madson (The Reborn Empire #2)

The empire has fallen and another rises in its place in the action-packed sequel to Devin Madson’s epic fantasy, We Ride the Storm.

Into Kisia’s conquered north, a Levanti empire is born.

Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e’Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returned from the dead it will challenge all she thinks she knows and everything she wants to believe.

Now empress of nothing, Miko is more determined than ever to fight for her people, yet with her hunt for allies increasingly desperate, she may learn too late that power lies not in names but in people.

Rah refused to bow to the Levanti emperor, but now abandoned by the Second Swords he must choose whether to fight for his people, or his soul. Will honor be his salvation, or lead to his destruction?

Sold to the Witchdoctor, Cassandra’s only chance of freedom is in his hands, but when her fate becomes inextricably linked to Empress Hana, her true nature could condemn them both.

There is no calm after the storm.

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Soulstar by C.L. Polk (The Kingston Sycle #3)

With Soulstar, C. L. Polk concludes her riveting Kingston Cycle, a whirlwind of magic, politics, romance, and intrigue that began with the World Fantasy Award-winning Witchmark. Assassinations, deadly storms, and long-lost love haunt the pages of this thrilling final volume.

For years, Robin Thorpe has kept her head down, staying among her people in the Riverside neighborhood and hiding the magic that would have her imprisoned by the state. But when Grace Hensley comes knocking on Clan Thorpe’s door, Robin’s days of hiding are at an end. As freed witches flood the streets of Kingston, scrambling to reintegrate with a kingdom that destroyed their lives, Robin begins to plot a course that will ensure a freer, juster Aeland. At the same time, she has to face her long-bottled feelings for the childhood love that vanished into an asylum twenty years ago.

Can Robin find happiness among the rising tides of revolution? Can Kingston survive the blizzards that threaten, the desperate monarchy, and the birth throes of democracy? Find out as the Kingston Cycle comes to an end.

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The Conjurer by Luanne G. Smith (The Vine Witch #3)

Sidra didn’t murder her husband. Yet even a jinni can’t wish away a wrongful imprisonment. Determined to prove her innocence, she returns to her adopted home—a French village renowned for its perfume witches—with her friends Elena and Yvette by her side. Here is where Sidra’s true destiny awaits, but danger also lurks in the village’s narrow lanes.

On her trail is Jamra, another jinni, who’s after more than revenge for the murder of his brother. He also seeks vengeance for the indignities inflicted on jinn by mortals over the centuries. When he learns of an ancient relic capable of unleashing chaos on the world, and that the weapon is in the hands of his murderous sister-in-law, he vows to destroy Sidra to get it.

Relying on a sisterhood of magic, a mysteriously faithful dog, and a second-rate sorcerer, Sidra defends herself using the village’s greatest asset: its perfume. It’s as beguiling a lure as it is a formidable shield. But is it enough for Sidra to protect herself and those she loves from powers yet to be released?

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On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu

Firuzeh and her brother Nour are children of fire, born in an Afghanistan fractured by war. When their parents, their Atay and Abay, decide to leave, they spin fairy tales of their destination, the mythical land and opportunities of Australia.

As the family journeys from Pakistan to Indonesia to Nauru, heading toward a hope of home, they must rely on fragile and temporary shelters, strangers both mercenary and kind, and friends who vanish as quickly as they’re found.

When they arrive in Australia, what seemed like a stable shore gives way to treacherous currents. Neighbors, classmates, and the government seek their own ends, indifferent to the family’s fate. For Firuzeh, her fantasy worlds provide some relief, but as her family and home splinter, she must surface from these imaginings and find a new way.

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The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with a powerful romantic fantasy that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world.

Fire burns bright and has a long memory….

Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.

Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.

Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?

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The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

I’m embarrassed, still, by how long it took me to notice. Everything was right there in the open, right there in front of me, but it still took me so long to see the person I had married.

It took me so long to hate him.

Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be.

And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.

Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly (The Frozen Crown #1)

A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.

Askia became heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh because of her devotion to her people. But her realm is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands. For months, her warriors have waged a valiant, stealth battle, yet they cannot stop the enemy’s advancement. Running out of time, she sets sail for sun-drenched Vishir, the neighboring land to the south, to seek help from its ruler, Emperor Armaan.

A young woman raised in army camps, Askia is ill-equipped to navigate Vishir’s labyrinthine political games. Her every move sinks her deeper into court intrigues which bewilder and repel her, leaving her vulnerable not only to enemies gathering at Vishir’s gates, but to those behind the palace walls. 

And in this glittering court, where secrets are worth more than gold, Askia fears that one false step will expose her true nature. For Askia is a witch gifted with magical abilities—knowledge that could destroy not only her life but her people. As her adversaries draw closer, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice—and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall.

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Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

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Fairhaven Rising by L.E. Modesitt Jr. (The Saga of Recluce #22)

Modesitt continues his bestselling Saga of Recluce with his twenty-second book in the long-running series. Fairhaven Rising is the first book in a new character arc, and follows The Mage-Fire War.

Sixteen years have passed since the mage Beltur helped to found the town of Fairhaven, and Taelya, Beltur’s adopted niece, is now a white mage undercaptain in the Road Guards of Fairhaven.

Fairhaven’s success under the Council has become an impediment to the ambition of several rulers, and the mages protecting the town are seen as a threat.

Taelya, a young and untried mage, will find herself at the heart of a conspiracy to destroy her home and the people she loves, and she may not be powerful enough to stop it in time.

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The Mask Falling  by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #4)

Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.

The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.

As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them.

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Voidbreaker by David Dalglish (The Keepers #3)

Perfect for monster slayers and dungeon crawlers everywhere, Voidbreaker is the final book in the unmissable new fantasy series from USA Today bestselling author David Dalglish.

Monsters have begun retaking the capital city of Londheim and claiming it for themselves. Humanity, fearful of being pushed out for good, has reacted with violence and destruction. Peace between the two races seems all but impossible.

Devin will need to bring all his skills to bear in order to protect his friends and family amid the chaos. But the greatest threat to humanity’s safety may well be closer than he expects. His sister is the most powerful priestess the world has ever seen . . . and she’s fighting for the monsters.

Prey Video Game

guest post by Anthony

2017’s Prey is a game I’ve been meaning to get around to playing for quite a while now. Thankfully, I finally got it this winter and I’m glad to report that it exceeded all my expectations.

Prey primarily takes place aboard Talos 1, a research space station run by the TranStar Corporation that orbits Earth. The station is an expansive environment that includes the various labs, offices, and community spaces that the hundreds of scientists and other workers stationed aboard the station need. It turns out that TranStar has been secretly studying alien life aboard the station until they break containment and infiltrate the station leading to the deaths of the majority of the population aboard the station (shocking how these types of things anyways happen to mega-corporations who secretly find alien life in sci-fi stories). You play as Morgan Yu, Vice-President and head of Research for Transtar. You explore the now near deserted station trying to find a way to stop the aliens from reaching Earth while also trying to save the few remaining humans left on board.

Prey does an excellent job building a very interesting setting aboard Talos 1. The different areas of the station are full of interesting details about the world of the game, the work that was done in each of the locations, and the people who worked there. Prey also gives the player a variety of interesting tools to explore and interact with these spaces. There is an upgrade system that depending on which options you choose will change how the aliens, the surviving humans, and the security systems aboard the station react to you. The system also gives you different options on how to approach each problem in the game and gives plenty of opportunities to fight through encounters, sneaking through them, or talk your way through them. While the initial set up for the plot is a little cliché the game does a really good job with a few key plot twists and some interesting details to make the world feel very unique. I really enjoyed playing through Prey and would highly recommend it to any action or adventure game fans out there.

This game is available in XBOX ONE and PS4 formats.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

As someone who doesn’t read a plethora of science fiction books, it has been a while since I have read anything like Christopher Paolini’s latest release, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. While I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book while browsing at the library, this title has been on my to-read list since it was announced due to my love of the Inheritance Cycle series, a fantasy tetralogy Paolini began writing at the age of fifteen. For anyone who has read Paolini or enjoys a good space opera, I assure you that this title will not disappoint!

Taking place in a future in which humans have established colonies on planets beyond Earth, this story revolves around Kira Navárez, a xenobiologist who studies new planets to gauge their habitability for human life and future societies. While Kira is truly passionate about studying and discovering new worlds, she and her fiancé, Alan, decide they want to begin a life of their own together in one of the established colonies. They plan to marry and settle down after their last mission on Adrasteia, an Earth-sized moon they had been surveying for a few months. Just before this mission ends, however, Kira stumbles upon an alien relic that quite literally transforms her life and world. Soon afterward, she finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic war in which she becomes humanity’s greatest hope for surviving in the face of a violent extraterrestrial species.

While this book is full of aliens and space travel and warfare, as well as a string of catastrophic events that never seems to end, this book was also full of introspection and camaraderie, capturing the true resiliency and depth of what it means to be human. I will admit that this book was intense – definitely more so than Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance Cycle series, but it truly was out of this world (pun fully intended!). It was both exhilarating and humbling to find myself lost among the stars alongside the unforgettable characters in this story. Another neat aspect of this novel was the obvious research Paolini did to familiarize himself with the scientific background of space travel and space itself. While some of the explanations went right over my head (physics class was a long time ago), it was still interesting and didn’t detract from the story at all.

Additionally, according to Paolini’s website, this book is the first of many in the Fractalverse series and it is slated to become a movie, scripted by Paolini himself. While I find that movies rarely do their respective books justice I am, nevertheless, excited at the prospect of losing myself in this story on the big screen.

Overall, I cannot wait for the rest of the series to be released and would highly recommend this book! Despite its nearly 900 pages in length, I flew through the story and didn’t want it to end upon reaching the last page.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book on CD

Overdrive eAudiobook

Overdrive eBook

Playaway

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New Science Fiction at Eastern

Looking for a science fiction book to read? Try these science fiction titles that hit the shelves at our Eastern library in October, November, and December. Click the links or give us a call to put them on hold. All the descriptions below were provided by the publisher.

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The Last Druid  by Terry Brooks

The riveting conclusion not only to the Fall of Shannara but to the entire Shannara series–a truly landmark event, twenty-nine books and forty-three years in the making.

Bringing a conclusion to an epic that has spanned centuries is a vast undertaking, but Terry Brooks is entirely equal to the challenge.

As the Four Lands reels under a brutal invasion from across the sea, spearheaded by a nation determined to make this land their own, our heroes must decide what they will risk to save the integrity of their home. For as one group remains to defend their homeland, another undertakes a perilous journey across the sea to the homeland of the invaders, carrying with them a new piece of technology that could change the face of the world forever.

For both groups, the stakes could not be higher. For those who remain, one of their key allies has been banished to the Forbidding: a demon-filled prison from which there is no escape. And the one who sent him there now stalks the land with a fearsome demon at her side, determined to seize what power she can. While across the sea, a small band of heroes has been shipwrecked far from the land they seek. Can a young girl free her mentor in time to stop an invasion? And can a strange new science reach a foreign shore in time to alter the fate of two nations…providing the device even works?

Filled with twists and turns and epic feats of derring-do–not untouched by tragedy–this is vintage Terry Brooks, and a fitting end to a saga that has gathered generations of readers into its fold.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Machine by Elizabeth Bear

In this compelling and addictive novel set in the same universe as the critically acclaimed White Space series and perfect for fans of Karen Traviss and Ada Hoffman, a space station begins to unravel when a routine search and rescue mission returns after going dangerously awry.

Meet Doctor Jens.

She hasn’t had a decent cup of coffee in fifteen years. Her workday begins when she jumps out of perfectly good space ships and continues with developing treatments for sick alien species she’s never seen before. She loves her life. Even without the coffee.

But Dr. Jens is about to discover an astonishing mystery: two ships, one ancient and one new, locked in a deadly embrace. The crew is suffering from an unknown ailment and the shipmind is trapped in an inadequate body, much of her memory pared away.

Unfortunately, Dr. Jens can’t resist a mystery and she begins doing some digging. She has no idea that she’s about to discover horrifying and life-changing truths.

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Dead Lies Dreaming by Charles Stross

In a world where magic has gone mainstream, a policewoman and a group of petty criminals are pulled into a heist to find a forbidden book of spells that should never be opened.

The secret agents of the Laundry Files novels were unable to stop magic becoming public knowledge – in book one of this new series by Charles Stross, the repercussions of that failure are felt by ordinary people everywhere, as the world slides unknowingly towards occult cataclysm…

In a tale of corruption, assassination, thievery, and magic, Wendy Deere must navigate rotting mansions that lead to distant pasts, evil tycoons, corrupt government officials, lethal curses, and her own moral qualms in order to make it out of this chase alive

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The Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons

The Memory of Souls is the third epic fantasy in Jenn Lyons’ Chorus of Dragons series.

THE LONGER HE LIVES
THE MORE DANGEROUS HE BECOMES

Now that Relos Var’s plans have been revealed and demons are free to rampage across the empire, the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies—and the end of the world—is closer than ever.

To buy time for humanity, Kihrin needs to convince the king of the Manol vané to perform an ancient ritual which will strip the entire race of their immortality, but it’s a ritual which certain vané will do anything to prevent. Including assassinating the messengers.

Worse, Kihrin must come to terms with the horrifying possibility that his connection to the king of demons, Vol Karoth, is growing steadily in strength.

How can he hope to save anyone when he might turn out to be the greatest threat of them all?

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Night Call by Brenden Carlson

The year is 1933. Even in a world with free energy, robot labour, and megacorporations, nothing could stop the collapse of the American Dream. As the world-spanning Great Depression rages on, the remaining New York–based mafias clash with police for control of the broken city. Elias Roche, former police officer turned Mafia enforcer, works to maintain a tenuous peace between the two parties.

Accustomed to settling disputes with the business end of a gun, Roche must expand his repertoire after a violent murder is covered up by the FBI. With the Mafia insisting they’re innocent of the crime and the police powerless to help, Roche and his new Automatic partner, Allen, must root out those responsible before the situation sparks a war in the city streets.

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The Poison Prince by SC Emmett

The lady-in-waiting to the princess of a conquered kingdom must navigate a treacherous imperial court, in this second book in a medieval East Asia-inspired epic fantasy trilogy.

The princess is dead, and the drums of war beat again. The imperial schemes that took her life have reignited tensions with her native Khir, and left her lady-in-waiting, Komor Yala, alone among the treachery of a foreign court. As the Emperor lies upon his deathbed, the palace is more dangerous than ever before-for there are six princes, and only one throne.

To survive, and get to the bottom of who ordered her princess dead, Yala will have to rely on some unlikely allies, like the sardonic third prince out of the line of succession, the war-hardened general who sacked her homeland but now asks for her hand, or the surprise visitor from her past who may hold all the answers.

But there’s a danger greater than any of them have imagined on the horizon. In the distance, the hordes of Tabrak are rising. New perils appear on every border as the palace is beset by threats both within and without. The entire empire is at stake and only one man may be able to save it-if Yala can reach him in time.

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Daughter of the Serpentine by E.E. Knight

As a young dragoneer moves through the ranks of the prestigious Serpentine Academy, her challenges grow greater and her time grows short to draw out a series of deadly threats, in this thrilling coming-of-age fantasy novel.

Sixteen-year-old Ileth is now an Apprentice Dragoneer, with all of the benefits and pitfalls that her elevation in rank entails. But her advancement becomes less certain after she’s attacked by an unknown enemy, and Ileth begins to suspect that someone deadly may be hiding within the walls of the academy.

Outside of the walls there is a different challenge. The Rari Pirates are strangling the Vale Republic. What they lack in dragon firepower, they make up for in the brutality of their ever-expanding raids, making hostages or slaves of the Republic’s citizens. Surrounded by enemies, Ileth will need to learn what kind of dragoneer she wants to be. And as she makes decisions about her future, Ileth will have the chance to uncover the secrets of her past. Both will irrevocably change the course of her life.

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The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

The exciting end to The Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.

After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.

Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.

Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?

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The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem

The Arrest isn’t post-apocalypse. It isn’t a dystopia. It isn’t a utopia. It’s just what happens when much of what we take for granted—cars, guns, computers, and airplanes, for starters—quits working. . . .

Before the Arrest, Sandy Duplessis had a reasonably good life as a screenwriter in L.A. An old college friend and writing partner, the charismatic and malicious Peter Todbaum, had become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. That didn’t hurt.

Now, post-Arrest, nothing is what it was. Sandy, who calls himself Journeyman, has landed in rural Maine. There he assists the butcher and delivers the food grown by his sister, Maddy, at her organic farm. But then Todbaum shows up in an extraordinary vehicle: a retrofitted tunnel-digger powered by a nuclear reactor. Todbaum has spent the Arrest smashing his way across a fragmented and phantasmagorical United States, trailing enmities all the way. Plopping back into the siblings’ life with his usual odious panache, his motives are entirely unclear. Can it be that Todbaum wants to produce one more extravaganza? Whatever he’s up to, it may fall to Journeyman to stop him.

Written with unrepentant joy and shot through with just the right amount of contemporary dread, The Arrest is speculative fiction at its absolute finest.

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The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter

In order to reclaim her throne and save her people, an ousted queen must join forces with a young warrior in the second book of this must-read epic fantasy series by breakout author Evan Winter. Tau and his Queen, desperate to delay the impending attack on the capital by the indigenous people of Xidda, craft a dangerous plan.

If Tau succeeds, the Queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.

If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne, and if she can reunite her people then the Omehi have a chance to survive the onslaught.

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Memoria by Kristyn Merbeth

Two planets are on the brink of war in Memoria , the thrilling second book in an action-packed space opera trilogy, The Nova Vita Protocol.

The Kaiser Family helped the Nova Vita system avoid a catastrophic multi-planet war, one that the Kaisers might have accidentally caused in the first place. In their wake, two planets have been left devastated by ancient alien technology.

Now, the Kaisers try to settle into their new lives as tenuous citizens of the serene water planet, Nibiru, but Scorpia Kaiser can never stay still. So, she takes another shady job. One that gives her a ship where spaceborn like her belong.

But while Scorpia is always moving forward, Corvus can’t seem to leave his life as a soldier behind. Every planet in the system is vying to strip his razed home planet Titan of its remaining resources, and tensions are high. The Kaisers will need to discover the truth behind what happened on Gaia and Titan, or Corvus will be forced again to fight in an unwinnable war — and this time, all of Nova Vita is at stake.

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How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge by K. Eason

Rory Thorne must use the fairy blessings gifted to her to change the multiverse in the second book in this space opera duology.

After avoiding an arranged marriage, thwarting a coup, and inadvertently kick-starting a revolution, Rory Thorne is no longer a princess, but a space pirate.

Her new life is interrupted when Rory and her crew–former royal bodyguards, Thorsdottir and Zhang, and co-conspirator Jaed–encounter an abandoned ship registered under a false name, seemingly fallen victim to attack. As they investigate, they find evidence of vicious technology and arithmancy, alien and far beyond known capabilities.

The only answer to all the destruction is the mysterious, and unexpected, cargo: a rose plant. One that reveals themself to be sentient–and designed as a massive biological weapon. Rose seeks to escape their intended fate, and Rory and her friends must act fast when the attackers return with their superior weaponry.

As the situation gains the attention of an increasing number of alien races, Rory finds herself acting as negotiator and diplomat, in order to save Rose and her friends–and avert an unprecedented war.

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Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard

Vân is a scholar from a poor background, eking out a living in the orbitals of the Scattered Pearls Belt as a tutor to a rich family, while hiding the illegal artificial mem-implant she manufactured as a student.

Sunless Woods is a mindship—and not just any mindship, but a notorious thief and a master of disguise. She’s come to the Belt to retire, but is drawn to Vân’s resolute integrity.

When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship–and to the devastating secrets they’ve kept from each other.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The concepts of multiple lives and alternate universes make up the bulk of Matt Haig’s newest book, The Midnight Library. Given the current state of the world, I found the concept of an alternate universe to be refreshing even though I’m still not certain if that is something that I would want. Haig does an excellent job of discussing the morality of switching universes versus keeping your root life, a philosophical conundrum that most people do not think about on a daily basis.

Nora Seed wants to die. That is how this novel begins. Nothing in her life is going her way. She has lost her job, her pet, her best friend, and her brother. Her existing relationships are on the verge of disaster and Nora is struggling to find the will to live. She doesn’t see the point in living anymore and decides to kill herself.

Then she wakes up. Instead of ending up in an afterlife, Nora finds herself in a middle ground: a library. In fact, she is in the Midnight Library. Walking inside, Nora discovers that the library is full to the brim with books and the dutiful librarian in charge is the librarian from her early school days, Mrs. Elm. Confused and unsure what to do next. Nora turns to Mrs. Elm for help. Mrs. Elm explains to Nora that in fact this library is where people go when they are stuck between life and death. The library appears to people in many different ways, but the contents stay the same: every book that Nora sees is a different version of her own life, including her original life aka her root life. The millions of decisions that Nora choose during her life, and the subsequent decisions she said no to, all live within this library. Most importantly, Nora has the ability to choose to live any life that she wants to now, with restrictions and strings attached of course.

Overwhelmed with this knowledge, Nora has no idea where to begin. She is wracked with regret about what happened, and didn’t happen, in her root life. Mrs. Elm suggests she learn more about her regrets, sending Nora down a journey of self-discovery through a multitude of parallel universes that all have the power to change Nora’s perspective of her root life. As Nora tries on life and life, she slowly realizes that she’s never truly happy in any of these alternate lives either. This causes her to panic and wonder if she will be stuck in the Midnight Library forever. Nora must decide what she truly wants out of life and try to overcome the crushing regret that threatens to destroy her. As Nora goes on this journey, Mrs. Elm is right by her side, guiding her to what she truly desires even if Nora has no idea what that is.

If you’re looking for an escape, I recommend this book. If you’re looking to read about life struggles, alternate histories, parallel universes, or if you just want to pick up book about someone who is struggling to find their way like most of us are, this book is for you. It turned out in a way that I wasn’t expecting and I can’t wait to talk about it with you.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Online Reading Challenge – November Wrap-Up

Greetings Challengers!

I hope you have safely returned from your time travel adventure by now. Time travel can be exciting, but also a little dangerous – one misstep and you put the whole future in jeopardy! Fortunately, at this time (as far as I know), time travel only exists in books and movies. Did you read something great this month? Please let us know in the comments!

My time travel adventure never took off – I failed to find anything that kept my interest. Of course, I threw this month open to any science fiction title, but I still came up short. This month (and year!) has been somewhat distracting!

If you too are still looking for something time-travel-y, check out some Doctor Who episodes (we have both classic and reboot series) which are loads of fun. C, one of our librarians, recommends Stephen King’s 11/22/63 about a man that goes back in time to try and prevent the assissination of John F Kennedy. They also suggest H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, an early classic in the genre.

So, now it’s up to you – what can you recommend for time-traveling/science fiction fun?

Live Long and Evolve by Mohamed A.F. Noor

I am a big science fiction fan. I love books and shows that imagine alternatives and futures for humanity rife with intriguing possibilities and ingenious improvements. My journey into this subset of geekdom has included shows and books like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and of course, Star Trek. In troubled times like these, Star Trek is a particularly appealing franchise for me because of its positive vision of the future: humanity grows out of violence and bigotry, embraces science and diplomacy, and goes forth to understand and befriend the galaxy. Together with a whole host of interesting galactic neighbors, Star Trek’s humanity builds a diverse and cooperative society committed to exploration and discovery. It’s an amazingly attractive vision, but sometimes it begs the question: just how likely is this utopia?

One way of tackling this question is through Mohamed Noor’s Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us About Evolution, Genetics, and Life On Other Worlds. This deceptively slim volume is packed with accessible explanations of how genetics, biology, and evolutionary processes work, and it carefully examines examples from across the Star Trek film and television canon. Specifically, Noor examines definitions and origins of life, DNA, reproduction, and various evolutionary processes including natural selection and genetic drift.

What I liked about this book was that it represents good scientific process, a fan’s devotion to the Star Trek franchise, AND an accessible translation of complicated concepts. Each of the six chapters is laid out like a scientific paper: it has an introduction, separate labeled sections on subtopics, and closing thoughts. Not only is this structure good scientific practice, it also makes the topics clearer for non-scientists to understand. In the same way, each topic and concept is explained in clear terms and helpful analogies to be understandable to the layman. Moreover, the author doesn’t lose sight of Star Trek as he explains complicated biology concepts; each chapter and subsection is peppered with references from Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Discovery, and Enterprise.

Predictably, while the author’s love for the franchise is evident, it’s also necessary to explain that the shows often get biological concepts wrong and use terms incorrectly or in misleading ways. I appreciated how gently these errors were pointed out, and that the author also took time to applaud what the various shows got right about scientific concepts. I also thought it was helpful that the reader isn’t obligated to have the entire Star Trek canon memorized; examples are given enough context to understand what is happening in the relevant scenes.

I would definitely recommend this book for lifelong learners interested in biology (or Star Trek), for Star Trek fans who want to know how close the shows get to reality, and for anyone who likes to wonder about humanity’s past and future existence. My only caveat: while this book is a good way to learn about basic scientific ideas, the concepts are still fairly complicated and can require a bit of focus to really grasp.