Science Fiction Picks

This month I went for two new science fiction titles.

Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold

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Artemis Awakening is the start of a new series by New York Times bestseller Jane Lindskold. The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay…but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had “bested” the environment.

The Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of the advanced technology and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet’s secrets…and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind.

The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson

22238149In our rapidly changing world of social media, everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson’s The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies: genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one’s life. It’s like family, and more than family. Your fellow members aren’t just like you, and they aren’t just people who are likely to like you. They’re also the people with whom you can best cooperate in all areas of life, creative, interpersonal, even financial.

At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see whether he qualifies for any of the Affinities and finds that he’s a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It’s utopian–at first. His problems resolve themselves as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another, to helping him, but as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, and of all the institutions of the old world; then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war with one another.

This Book Has Pictures! | Aama: The Smell of Warm Dust

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Robbed of his memories, Verloc Nim is handed a journal. Inside the journal, in his own words, is the story of how Verloc ended up on a strange planet and what happened to his memories. Thus begins Frederik Peeters’ Aama: The Smell of Warm Dust. Looking through the pages, Verloc discovers the misery of his former life and that impossible things have been happening on this planet far from Earth.

“Effortlessly, Peeters’ creates a fully formed world. The art is beautiful, the background are packed with details of this strange world, and the panels are full of real, fully-formed, characters. Peeters balances themes of exploration, loss, regret and the belief that we can somehow wipe away our past sins.” -Drew

Frederik Peeters is a Swiss graphic novelist. He received his bachelor of arts degree in visual communication from the École Supérieure d’Arts Appliqués in 1995. In 2013, Aama was awarded for Best Series from the Angoulême International Comics Festival.

A Bevvy of Book Reviews

More reviews from the readers in our Adult Summer REading Game: The Library, and Back Again!  There is still time to spin and read.  The game ends August 18.

longrunThe Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback From Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long with Charles Butler

“Firefighters can ba a sarcastic, full-of-themselves bunch. I should know since I’m one of them. Most of this book is written this way. Matt Long calls himself a regular guy, a “dirty firefighter”. His words, however, describe something else. His vanity and ego are wide open for everyone to see as he describbes himself: ladies’-man, amazing firefighter, best friend, world-class runner and athlete.  I felt it took him going through his ordeal to learn humilty and class. The time jumps and flashbacks are occasionally confusing. A fairly easy read overall. His triumph in the end, plus learning about teh support he had from everybody, is heartwarming and salvages the rest of the book.”  ~Patron review, July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McClure

“The only word to describe this novel about the first woman to row alone across an ocean is “RAW”–this novel is full of raw courage–in not only confronting adverse weather conditions (hurricanes) but also her own personal hurricanes: her senses of helplessness, self-worth and failure.” ~Patron review by Kari M., July 2015  Category: Travel & Adventure

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

“Funny, funny, funny! Poehler writes as she speaks, with a mix of wry humour and quick wit. I laughed and I cried throughout.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Humour

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

“A beautiful and haunting love story about the sacrifices we make for those we love and the inevitability of the passage of time. A powerful lesson to live in and appreciate the moments we share with others. This book was captivating form start to finish.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Award Winners

Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

“This book started well and then became very strange. I was disappointed with it. The author’s concept was interesting if you like aliens but it wasn’t my cup of tea.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Science Fiction

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

“I really enjoyed this book–I was hooked a few pages in. This thriller goes deeply into character development, making you think of people in a different way.  Very good read!”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Thriller

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

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“A collection of excellent short stories, by an author who I just discovered (she won the Booker Prize–twice!). The story “Long QT” is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read: precise, surprising, perfectly written.”  ~Patron review, August 2015  Category: Short Stories

Anna’s Science Fiction Picks

Welcome to a monthly review of Science Fiction and Fantasy book, and the occasional horror thrown in. Every month, will feature a couple of titles, new or old from the Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy collection.

The Just City by Jo Walton

index.aspxCreated as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future – all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past. The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer’s daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome – and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her. Meanwhile, Apollo – stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does – has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human. Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives – the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself – to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect.

The Border by Robert McCammon

index.aspxThe Border is the saga of an Earth devastated by a war between two marauding alien civilizations. But it is not just the living ships of the monstrous Gorgons or the motion-blurred shock troops of the armored Cyphers that endanger the holdouts in the human bastion of Panther Ridge. The world itself has turned against the handful of survivors, as one by one they succumb to despair and suicide or, even worse, are transformed by otherworldly pollution into hideous Gray Men, cannibalistic mutants driven by insatiable hunger. Into these desperate circumstances comes an amnesiac teenaged boy who names himself Ethan–a boy who must overcome mistrust and suspicion to master unknowable powers that may prove to be the last hope for humanity’s salvation. Those same powers make Ethan a threat to the warring aliens, long used to fearing only each other, and thrust him and his comrades into ever more perilous circumstances.