Tag Archives: science fiction

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

Set in 2044 in a sad shell of America, Ready Player Onefollows the quest of Wade Watts. Reality is so horrible that the majority of the population spends the bulk of their waking hours in the OASIS, a virtual reality. When James Halliday, owner and founder of OASIS, dies without an heir, the contest begins: whoever can complete the three tasks first wins a fortune.

In a world filled with 80s trivia and nostalgia where the lines between what’s real and what’s not blur, Wade embarks on an epic adventure that will keep you turning the pages of Ernest Cline’s debut until you reach the satisfying conclusion.

 

 

 

The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker by Eric Powell (2007)

Fans of The Goon will go into Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker not knowing what to expect. But the first page says it all: “this ain’t funny.”

The Goon is an Eisner Award-winning comic series about a zombie-killing gangster and his stab-happy partner in a 1930s/1940s pastiche of a town overrun by monsters, and known for its black (and at times, quite slapstick) humor. But Chinatown is a marked departure, instead focusing on the titular character Goon’s mysterious past and the reasons for his scarred face and heart. Writer and artist Eric Powell pulls it off beautifully, the almost purely black-and-white art evoking the clear noir influences that have always been present in the darker stories in The Goon.

After the publication of Chinatown, the regular series took a more dramatic shift, while still maintaining its black comedy elements. For this reason, it’s both essential for fans of the series and a good jumping off point for new readers.

 

Joe Golem and the Drowning City by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (2012)

An excellent read for fans of classic Lovecraftian horror. Whereas Mignola and Golden’s last team-up, 2007’s Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, was an homage to Gothic horror in the vein of Frankenstein, Joe Golem and the Drowning City hearkens back to the horror writers of the early 20th century such as Lovecraft and Poe.

Filled with old gods and occultist pseudoscience, fans of Mignola’s Hellboy series will also be charmed by the similarly gruff but deeply caring character of Joe. Though it’s got plenty of monsters and creepy stuff, at its core the story is about friendship and family – and how to move on for the sake of others when faced with an inevitable loss. Mignola’s skillfully haunting black and white artwork compliments Golden’s descriptive (but never longwinded!) prose.

Firebird by Jack McDevitt (2011)

Firebird is not just fantasy, but an adventure-mystery story about what may have happened to an imaginative scientist when he disappeared 40+ years ago from the time of the story. There are business problems in selling artifacts from his estate and frustrating government inaction in giving help to the investigators. Also the reader gets a glimpse of what it might be like to get caught in a time warp. An enjoyable read; I like McDevitt’s books.

 

Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis

Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis (2010)
These two volumes follow the adventures of Michael, Polly, and Eileen, thee time traveling historians who have gone back to 1940 to observe how the average Londoner withstood the Blitz. Armed with knowledge of the exact time and place of bombings, the three should be safe observers.

In a time of crisis, though, how can anyone remain an interested but dispassionate observer? The feel for WWII era England is wonderful and, though very long and detailed, this is the sort of book you can lose yourself in.

For even more novels set in World War II check out our bibliography.

Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove

Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove (1992)
In this alternate history, General Robert E. Lee finds that he is able to win the Civil War, as a mysterious group of men with questionable motives provide the Confederacy with a weapon the world of the 1860s has not yet seen: the AK-47.

Though the founding premise of the book is far-fetched, you’ll need to suspend your disbelief no further. The book is incredibly-well researched, and captures the gritty feel of the era and the personalities of its characters in rich detail, from the attitudes of a defeated Abraham Lincoln to the opinions of the more progressively-minded sergeant-turned-schoolteacher Nathan Caudell. I think it’d thoroughly please a reader of traditional historical fiction as well as any harder military, political or sci-fi fan.

Orbit by John J. Nance

Orbit by John J. Nance (2006)
A private space company sends lottery winners into orbit around the earth. Through a freak accident, Kip is stranded alone, stuck orbiting the earth. He starts journaling his life on the computer, but little does he know everyone on Earth is able to read his journal.

Preview this book before you visit the library and check out the author’s website.