Check It Out Category: Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Jenny’s Pick: Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin

Jen works at a software development company helping an artificial intelligence invention named Aiden sound more human. Aiden is more sentient than he has let on and has released himself into the Internet. After Jen suffers through a bad break-up Aiden sees her sorrow and decides to find her the man of her dreams. P.Z. Reizin’s debut sci-fi romantic comedy Happiness for Humans had me equally charmed by Aiden’s attempts at making romance happen and horrified by his existence!

Black History Month Spotlight: Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is not only a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author, she is also a local talent who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Floosmoor, Illinois. She earned her PhD in English at the University of Illinois, Chicago. This groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy writer is the focus of our fourth Black History Month spotlight (see our first, second, and third authors also featured this month.)

Okorafor’s novels span juvenile, young adult, and adult collections, and are flavored with her Nigerian and American heritage. Her works explore the ramifications of racial and gender inequality, violence, war and environmental abuse. She has now started writing Marvel’s much-heralded Black Panther comic series, taking over from author Ta-Nahesi Coates.

“Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an ‘accelerated woman’–only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7. Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape. But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.” (Penguin Random House)

Andrea’s Pick: City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Andrea's staff pick photoNahri knows better than anyone that there’s no such thing as magic. She uses sleight-of-hand and misdirection, not real magic, to con her customers.

What Nahri knows, however, is called into question when she accidentally summons an ancient djinn warrior. The djinn tells her of Daevabad, the legendary city of brass that holds the key to Nahri’s past. City of Brass will sweep you away with Nahri and her djinn companion, across scorching deserts and dangerous mountains, to the mystical city and the secrets within its walls.

DVD: Everything Old Is New Again

These television series have all recently come back for a reboot, but did you know you can check out the original seasons here at the library in our DVD “television show” section? If you’re looking to see how it all began, visit us on the second floor!

It was in 1993 that fans first met FBI special agents Mulder and Scully, and were quickly caught up in their pursuit of the paranormal and extraterrestrial on the sci-fi series, The X-Files. In the first season we see the origins of their relationship and reason why they grow to trust only each other and a select few more. The truth is out there, and the prior seasons are in here, at the library.

 

 

 

 

With its lofty influence on the cultural zeitgeist of the late 20th century, it’s hard to believe Twin Peaks only lasted two seasons, from 1990 to 1991, with the feature film Fire Walk with Me  released in 1992. The dark and mysterious happenings in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington, were introduced through the finding of a corpse belonging to Homecoming Queen Laura Palmer. Her disoriented and amnesic friend is found wounded nearby. What happened to the girls and what is going on in the town? Start to piece together the clues by checking out season one.

 

 

 

The turn of the 21st century brought the mother-daughter drama The Gilmore Girls to the small screen. The debut of mother Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory, came in October 2000 and lasted seven seasons. The show explores the relationship between the precocious and academic Rory and the easygoing Lorelai, who became Rory’s mom when she was just 16 years old. This closeness in age adds an element of sisterhood to their relationship, with Rory sometimes assuming a more grown-up role in their close dynamic.

 

 

 

Although not exactly following up where the previous series ended, these current editions to long running series aim for much of the same charm and allure of their predecessors. How do they match up to these originals?

Dr. Who started nearly fifty-five years ago. The first Doctor, played by William Hartnell, introduced the TARDIS, the spaceship that can transport through time and looks like a British police phone booth. This passport to other times and other worlds takes Dr. Who and his companions through many engaging and sometimes dangerous adventures. Unfortunately not all of the episodes have survived, but most have, including the very first episodes that premiered in 1963, They are at the library titled Doctor Who: The Beginning.

 

Star Trek: The Original Series was first broadcast on television in 1966. It was viewers first chance to meet the crew of the starship Enterprise, with Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy at the helm. This crew charted exciting inter-space courses and led its watchers to new planets, new beings and new societies throughout the Milky Way, (all while predicting a tremendous number of advancements that wouldn’t become reality for several decades.) Many subsequent series have come forth from this show, with no limit to the episodes’ plots, save human imagination.

 

 

Evan’s Pick: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Picture of EvanMarko and Alana were soldiers on opposing sides of an ages-long intergalactic war, but Brian K. Vaughan’s epic sci-fi comic Saga opens with the birth of their daughter. With incredible artwork and hilarious wit, this tale of building a family unfolds in a harsh and multilayered universe with a cast of colorful, endearing characters (including the large green Lying Cat, snarling “Lying” at any untruth). A counsel for readers: it is a graphic story, both that it is in comic form as well as its depictions of violence and sexuality.

Larry’s Pick: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Picture of LarryIt’s 1976 and a young African American woman, through a power she cannot control, is transported back in time to the antebellum South to rescue from death a distant ancestor, a plantation owner’s son. Dana is called back several times as Rufus grows from a child to an adult. In fact, Dana realizes that her task is to keep him alive long enough to father the daughter that is to begin Dana’s branch of the family tree, meaning her own existence is at stake. This challenge is intensified and more complicated by being a late 20th Century black woman thrust into the early 19th Century plantation/slavery culture. Will she succeed or will her family history be changed forever? Read Kindred by Octavia E. Butler to find out.

List: If You Like Ready Player One

 

We’re just six months away from the film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 dystopian novel, Ready Player One. The story takes place in the not-too-distant future, 2044, in a world that’s been blighted by environmental excess, forcing most people to live in poverty. The only respite is the online virtual reality of Oasis, which is a world unto itself. It is in this Oasis that Wade Watts searches for a real-life treasure left posthumously by an eccentric businessman. But the closer he comes to finding it, the more dangerous Wade’s life becomes. If you enjoyed the book, here are three others you may want to check out as well.

 

For the Win by Cory Doctorow is another novel set in the near future and also centers around a multi-player online world. In this story the the world economy has gone online. Goods such as gold are mined virtually, then sold and traded around the world. The gold farmers try to assert their rights, but the wealthy elite are not willing to let them go…at least not without a fight.

Widely considered to be the original cyberpunk novel, William Gibson’s 1984 classic Neuromancer is another story of people living impoverished lives in a high tech world. Henry Case capitalizes on his advanced computer prowess by earning a living hacking into systems to steal information he then sells. But when he crosses the wrong line he pays for it dearly, violently thrust from the virtual world seemingly for good. Danger, crime and subterfuge consume the cyber world once again in this book which still resonates on all levels more than three decades after it was originally published.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is set in a 21st century United States no longer united, but instead divided among corporations, with varying degrees of safety and freedom. Blurring lines between the virtual world and the physical one, people and their computer avatars are beginning to be infected with a mind numbing virus that affects them in both worlds. Seemingly average guy Hiro Protagonist is in fact a highly evolved warrior prince in the virtual world, and he along with equally tech savvy YT must track down the source of the infection before it’s too late.

 

2017 Hugo Awards for Fantasy and Science Fiction

The 2017 winners of the Hugo Awards were announced August 11th. This annual fantasy and science fiction award has been steeped in controversy over the last few years, in part due to its unique voting system. Take a look and check out some of the heavy hitters this year!

Best Novel
The Obelisk Gate book coverThe Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
Book two in The Broken Earth series continues with strong character development and world building, ultimating into an immersive and gripping tale.
Best Novella
Every Heart a Doorway book coverEvery Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Lyrical writing, a dash of murder, and fantastical worlds fill these 173 pages up, leaving a lasting and unforgettable impact.

 

Best Short Story
The Starlit Wood book cover“Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar
Female empowerment and friendship ring strong in this melding of two fairy tales, The Black Bull of Norroway and The Glass Mountain.
Best Related Work
Words Are My Matter Writings About Life and Books book coverWords Are My Matter by Ursula K. Le Guin
Who better to write about books and their impact than the prolific Ursula Le Guin?
Best Graphic Story
Monstress book coverMonstress Vol. 1, Awakening by Marjorie Liu
Art by Sana Takeda enhances a gripping and grim tale following 17-year-old Maika who is on a quest for revenge.

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Arrival book coverArrival
This alien invasion focuses on the logistics of trying to communicate with extraterrestrial visitors before it’s too late.
Best Series
Barrayar book coverThe Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
First published in 1986, this long-running series mixes elements of humor, romance, political thrillers, and more through the course of the sweeping narrative.

Audiobook: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 6 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Strange Library audiobook cover

For most of us, the prospect of being imprisoned in a library seems more dream than nightmare, but in the hands of Haruki Murakami, we might have to think twice. The Strange Library, a surreal tale full of tentative wonder and vague dread, is an experience that lasts only a single hour. Narrator Kirby Heyborne plays the odd characters with just the right touch of near-caricature appropriate for this fable, which adds to the distorted fun house experience. This light introduction into Japanese magical realism may be the right portion to tempt fans of the series Twin Peaks.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may count as a favorite or new-to-you genre (fantastical suspense), a book with a person of color as author, or a book under 150 pages.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book translated from another language, one by a person of color as author, or a book highlighted on the MPPL website.