Check It Out Category: Fantasy & Sci-Fi

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.

Fiction: Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 17 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!

Arabella of Mars book cover

What if we took the action of a swashbuckling sea adventure, the interpersonal drama of a Jane Austen-like Regency, and the setting of a fantasy space opera? Mix those elements in perfect proportion, and we’ll find ourselves with the unbelievably fun Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine.

When Arabella’s family is threatened, she eagerly takes on the hero role. This means disguising herself as a boy and finding work on a Mars Trading Company ship, but that’s no problem for someone who prefers her early life on a Martian plantation and who has a knack for navigation. The voyage won’t be easy, but it will certainly be preferable to the correct Earth society life her mother keeps pushing. Set sail for grand adventures galore, and look for even more of our new favorite heroine in the July release of Arabella and the Battle of Venus.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may count as a favorite or new-to-you genre: fantasy, alternate history, or steampunk!

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a humorous book or as one highlighted on the MPPL website.

Fiction: Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 24 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!

Lovecraft Country book cover

If you count yourself a fan of the movie Get Out, we have just the book for you! Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff offers a similar mash-up of horror, suspense, and social commentary that results in fantastic entertainment. It begins when the car of Korean War vet Atticus Turner breaks down, and finding help via the the Safe Negro Travel Guide stirs up additional trouble. From there the characters encounter secret societies, sorcerers, tentacled creatures, cursed dolls, and other worlds. As scary as these things are, they aren’t nearly as chilling as the racism of 1950s Jim Crow America, so prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Equally appealing to those who enjoy the thought-provoking, the weird, the page-turning, or the subversive, this is one homage that you’ll have to experience for yourself.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may count as a favorite or new-to-you genre (fantasy/horror/satire), a book with a person of color as main character, or as a book of interconnected short stories.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a humorous, sad, or scary book, one with a person of color as main character, a book of interconnected short stories, or as one highlighted on the MPPL website.

Graphic Novel: The Professor’s Daughter by Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert

50 Days of Summer Reading BannerThere are 31 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!

Professors Daughter book cover

Few couples are as star-crossed as a 19th-century gentlewoman and a mummified Pharoah, but their story is one of the most charming romps you’ll find. From their opening stroll in a London park to an unwitting murder and a daring prison break, the tale of Lillian and Imhotep IV is one filled with drama and adventure. The Professor’s Daughter, created by French masters Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert, also tantalizes with beautifully rendered art panels made up of delicate illustrations, period sepia tones, and fine watercolor washes. Readers new to graphic novels as well as those with more studied appreciation will be tickled by this delightful, fast-paced confection.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may count as a graphic novel or as a book under 150 pages.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book translated from another language or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Audiobook: Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt

50 Days of Summer Reading BannerThere are 40 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!

Morgue Drawer Four audiobook cover

As a finalist for one of Germany’s most prestigious crime novel awards, Morgue Drawer Four could have been…stiff. Dear listeners, it isn’t. Instead we have mild-mannered Martin who likes the solitude of his work as a coroner. One day he performs his customarily precise autopsy on car thief Pascha — and then begins hearing the man’s ghost. First smart-alecky and then downright obnoxious, Pascha wants Martin to get to the bottom of the ‘accident’ that claimed his life.

Reader MacLeod Andrews effectively plays up Pascha’s wry, self-absorbed narration as well as the tension of Martin’s out-of-character escapades. Written by Jutta Profijt and translated from German by Eric J. Macki, this odd-couple pairing of reluctant detective and annoyed ghost is a promising pick for those who like action-driven mysteries with a decidedly sarcastic bent.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book is a blend of thriller, mystery, and paranormal (fantasy) and might count as a favorite genre or a genre you haven’t tried before. It also qualifies as a book with a big city setting.

For the Master Class Designers…
This could count as a book translated from another language, a humorous book, a book with a big city setting, or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Fiction: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

50 Days of Summer Reading Banner

There are 49 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!

Daughter of the Forest book coverLush descriptions, epic emotions, and challenging quest entwine to create true enchantment in Juliet Marillier’s series start Daughter of the Forest. Heroine Sorcha has lived her life dependent on the love and protection of her six brothers, but after an enchantress transforms them into swans, it is Sorcha’s role to save them — perhaps at great personal cost. This re-imagined Celtic legend is perfect for those who appreciate the medieval romance tales of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxson.

Read this for summer reading!

For the DIY Designers…
Choose this as a book from a favorite genre or a genre you haven’t tried before: fantasy or re-told fairy tale.

For the Master Class Designers…
Choose this as a challenged (controversial) book, a beautifully sometime-sad book, or as a book highlighted on our MPPL website.

Staff Pick: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Book of Lost Things book coverIn The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, twelve-year-old David’s life is in disarray with having to leave his home in London to flee World War II, a dead mother, and a new step-mother and brother. His only escape is his bedroom full of books. When his fantasies intrude and the menacing Crooked Man steals his brother, David must take a journey where his stories take on an all-too-dangerous – and adult – reality. Perfect for anyone looking to get lost in a fantasy world with surprisingly sharp teeth.

Staff Picks: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Jennifer from Community Services suggests The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley is basically the story of two Myfanwy, rhymes with Tiffany, Thomases. The first one we never officially meet: she exists in the letters (a suitcase full) that she writes to the second Myfanwy, the one who wakes up with two black eyes and her memory scrubbed. Myfanwy has the information she needs at hand, If only she can read the letters fast enough.

The story is an urban fantasy, of sorts, in that it is set in modern day London. However, the supernatural agency that Myfanwy works for exists in its own little world with posh offices and an elaborate boarding school that churns out a devoted army of supernatural agents ready to defend the world against all otherworldly threats.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way the story was told from the alternating perspectives of Myfanwy’s letters and the real-time Myfanwy trying to sort out her bizarre circumstances. This is a book with dragons and vampires and people with tentacles and tear-gas emitting sweat. It’s complex, original, sometimes violent and altogether satisfying. The minute I was done with it I wanted to sit back down and read it again.

For more intrigue with elements of fantasy or paranormal, try…

Angelmaker
by Nick Harkaway
London Falling
by Paul Cornell

 

The Troupe book coverThe Troupe
by Robert Jackson Bennett
Alif the Unseen book coverAlif the Unseen
by G. Willow Wilson
Borderline book coverBorderline
by Mishell Baker

Staff Pick: Embassytown by China Miéville

Picture of CathleenThe world-building in Embassytown is meticulous yet subtle, and it is a fascinating backdrop for a narrative in which an indecipherable language plays a central role in the dynamic between human colonists and the complicated beings on a distant planet. Complex, graceful, and perhaps perfect for any Arrival fans eager for next-level storytelling.