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Science Fiction Picks

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Science Fiction Picks

This month librarians at the Bridgewater Library expanded our horizons and read some Science Fiction. Here are the reviews!

Adams, Douglas – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Blurbed by Morris

Arthur Dent is a regular fellow having a very bad day. Nursing a hangover he discovers that his house is about to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass. While lying in front of the bulldozers in a desperate attempt to stop them from demolishing his home Arthur’s friend Ford Prefect shows up with even more bad news. Ford reveals that he is from another planet and that the Vogons—a very nasty alien race—are about to destroy the Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass. It turns out that Ford has spent most of his life hitchhiking his way across the universe as a writer for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and has been stranded on Earth for fifteen years when he was only supposed to stay for a week to do research. Ford saves Arthur’s life by hitching a ride on a Vogon ship moments before the Earth is destroyed…

The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a very funny, but very British book. By this I mean that the humor is very dry, witty, and absurd. I love British humor, but it’s not going to be for everyone. Anyone that enjoys British humor and science fiction, however, absolutely must read this book. It is a classic and one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.
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Asimov, Isaac – I, Robot – Blurbed by Chris

I, Robot is a themed collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov. The stories may be read individually, but all fit into a cohesive storyline. The focus of the stories is on robot-human relations, and the application of the Three Laws of Robotics. Asimov writes very clearly, and does not slip into the ‘scifi’ habit of using obscure or imaginary terms for his creations, and never talks above his audience. It is full of human interest, sometimes by direct comparison with inhumanity. The style is a bit dated, with everyone still smoking and casual patronizing sexism, and 1998 has long since come and gone, but otherwise this is an interesting, if quick, read.

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Baker, Kage – Mendoza in Hollywood (Third Book in The Company series) – Blurbed by Carolyn

This book is for people who like their Science Fiction lite. Mendoza, a cyborg, is assigned with other operatives of Dr. Zeus Inc. to study life in Los Angeles circa 1862. Yes, the main characters are cyborgs and there is time travel but these 2 aspects aren’t over emphasized.

The pacing is leisurely as the reader learns the history of each character and also the history of the area that is present day Los Angeles. Witty dialog, pop culture references, and even a touch of romance make this sci-fi book a palatable read.

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Fahy, William – Fragment – Blurbed by Yvonne

What if, when Pangaea was formed billions of years ago there was a continent that didn’t take part in the pile on? A fragment that hung out in what today is the South Pacific and over time was ground down to an island with a diameter of only two miles? What if evolution there took a totally different route than the rest of the world? One in which lobsters and spiders with copper based blood evolved? This is a really interesting notion that gives birth to some really nasty creatures. This is the most violent ecosystem I have ever heard proposed, and it could work, it’s just plain scary. NOTHING animate from our ecosystem can last more than a minute in the jungles here. Our most invasive plant species die in mere hours. We are no way near the top of this food chain; in fact, the ants can kill us in mere seconds. If anything ever left the island, our world would end within a decade.

It’s really too bad about that reality television crew that scaled the cliffs around the island to see what there was to see. But their ratings went off the chart right before the video feed went dark!

This read is based on really neat ideas that will be a great treat to zoology and biology enthusiasts. For those with no life science background it may not appeal since the characters discuss radical evolutionary theories and genetics in a more than cursory depth.

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Kress, Nancy – Steal Across the Sky – Blurbed by Yvonne

One day a strange ad appears on the Internet. Aliens want humans to go to seven planets to witness for them. It turns out that the aliens, who call themselves the Atoners, wronged the human race 10,000 years ago and want to make up for what they did. Then a few days later the aliens come and build a base on the moon. Twenty one volunteers go into space to witness on seven twin planets. And what they find out will rock our world.

This is a really neat concept book. How we would handle knowing that a “sense” that was taken away from us? Something that will shake all of our belief systems, and change the way we perceive the world around us.

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Mosley, Walter – The Wave – Blurbed by Brendan

Mosley, a crime novel specialist, has dabbled in science fiction before and here offers a dramatic tale of an underground life force, or “wave,” that spreads in many ways, one of them by reawakening the dead. Errol Porter, unemployed in Los Angeles, receives what he considers to be a prank phone call from someone who claims to be his long dead father and he is soon engaged in a struggle to save these creatures from annihilation by the U.S. Army.

The Wave is fast-paced, with an exciting plot and is an easy read for anyone who wonders about other forms of life in the universe. Not the greatest book you’ve ever read but a satisfying, even amusing, adventure. _______________________________________________________

Niffenger, Audrey – The Time Traveler’s Wife – Blurbed by Jane

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is a combination science fiction-love story. Henry De Tamble suffers from Chrono-Displacement Disorder, which means that with no warning he disappears and resurfaces in another time. His wife Clare has known him since she was six years old, and he arrived in the meadow behind her home. However, when they meet again in the library when she is twenty and Henry is twenty-eight, he has no memory of having known her previously. Their long, complicated story unfolds as he moves back and forth in time. The book is quite long (536 pages) and the story moves slowly, but the characters are well-drawn and the concept is unusual.
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Patterson, James & Ledwidge, Michael – The Dangerous Days of Daniel X – Blurbed by Mun-Hwa

Daniel X is a teenage alien hunter whose parents were brutally murdered when he was three. He had no choice but to take over his father’s mission: destroy evil aliens to protect earth people. Daniel has the unique power to create and transform. With his secret abilities and finally, with the help of The List, bequeathed to him in his parents’ dying breath, he was able to carry out his mission.

Fast-paced action sequences, short chapters, surprising and quick ending, and interesting characters, the book is excellent for teenagers and reluctant sci-fi adult readers.

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Pfeffer, Susan Beth – Life As We Knew It – Blurbed by Kay

This book could be entitled “Al Gore meets Mad Max “, since the book chronicles how a family deals with a world calamity. The novel presents the reader with a world disaster, that of the moon being hit by a giant meteor, followed by disastrous consequences. There are typhoons, dramatic climate changes, deadly viruses, and basically the end of life as we know it today. We experience this story through the eyes of a 16 year old girl and her actions over a ten month period. The audience is YA but adults will be engrossed in this end-of-world tale.

It is a survival tale where a teenager finds strength in family love and develops a determination to survive in the hope for a better tomorrow. Book is thought-provoking, and will make readers think of what they would do under such threatening circumstances.
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Westerfeld, Scott – Uglies, Pretties, and Specials – Blurbed by Monica

It is as we have suspected all along – beauty and brains are inversely proportional. And it is the government’s fault.

In the future, on your 16th birthday, sophisticated plastic turns you from an Ugly to a Pretty. Accompanying that is a new life of hedonism, being “bubbly” and avoiding anything “sad-making”. Naturally, there are those who suspect there is something not quite right and not quite so perfect about this new life. And they are correct.

The first book in the series follows Tally Youngblood, a girl who is blackmailed into becoming a traitor to the Smoke, a group of rebels who have run away from the city in order to avoid becoming Pretty. Once she finds out the cost of becoming Pretty she works with the Smoke on a cure, but the only way to test it is to undergo the surgery which will make her forget her past connections entirely.

In the second book, Pretties, Tally must fight to overcome what has been done to her, to remember who she is and what she is trying to do for herself and for her friends. Finally, in the third book, she is transformed yet again into a Special, and elite fighter for the government, making it even that much more difficult to contradict her programming of keeping the Uglies down and the Pretties stupid.

There is fourth book in the series, Extras, that takes place a few years after the others conclude. While there may no longer be the mess of Uglies/Pretties/Specials, there are a host of new problems with Tech-heads, Kickers, and Surge Monkeys. Of course there are, we never learn…

By | 2017-05-05T16:37:37+00:00 September 2nd, 2009|SCLSNJ Recommended Reads|
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