Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New books!!

Here are some new SciFi books that were added to our collection:

The Dervish House  by Ian McDonald

 Gardens of the Sun by Paul J. McAuley

Not Less Than Gods by Kage Baker

The Osiris Ritual  by George Mann 


Pinion by Jay Lake 


Out of the Dark  by David Weber



Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Stealing Fire by Jo Graham

Visit our website and put them on hold today. Don't forget to tell us what you think of them after you've read them!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

City Under the Sand

City Under the Sand takes place in the post-apocalyptic fantasy world of Athas. It’s a world were arcane magic has reduced the once lush and vibrant landscape to lifeless sand dunes and windswept rocks. The main character, Aric, is a half-elf blacksmith with an unusual mental ability to “hear” metal. Aric’s heritage makes him a social outcast in his home city, Nibenay. Despite being shunned by both humans and elves, Aric has become a master weaponsmith. Additionally, Aric suspects that some hidden force has been looking after him throughout his life.

Aric’s relative safety and comfort, as a craftsman, is disturbed when he is conscripted by the Sorcerer-King of Nibenay to accompany an expedition to explore ancient ruined city. Rumors hint at the existence of a large stockpile of iron or steel hidden within the ruins; metal that Aric is expected to locate using his special ability. Aric fears he will be disposed of after his job is done.
           The members of the Sorcerer-King’s court begin maneuvering to take credit for recovering the stockpile of metal, hoping to garner his favor. It is quickly revealed that things are not as they seem. Something is buried beneath the ruined city that is better left undisturbed. 
Throughout the novel, Aric and his companions struggle with questions of identity and morality as they try to make sense of the harsh, uncaring world in which they live. In addition, Aric’s unseen guardian reveals itself to be something far from what he ever imagined it to be.

City Under the Sand will definitely appeal to fans and players of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game as this novel’s release coincides with the release of D&D game materials that allow game play in the world of Athas. Regardless of City Under the Sand’s RPG connection, it is an exciting read. This is a great pick if you’re looking for a well-paced fantasy novel that breaks many of the fantasy genre’s norms.

Stop by the library today to check this one out or visit our website and place it on hold.

If you like this book you should check out The Prism Pentad series of books by Troy Denning.  These were the first books to be set in the world of Athas. In order the titleas are: The Verdant Passage, The Crimson Legion, The Amber Enchantress, The Obsidian Oracle, and The Cerulean Storm.

If you have read any of these novels and are interested in writing a short review send us an email or tweet us!

-Adam Delaura

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe

While I appreciate the logical, but theoretically contradictory ending to
 How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe (How to…), I much more enjoyed the beginning of this entertaining and intriguing first novel from the immensely talented Charles Yu.

Yu kicks off How to… with a loose description of a time machine: the TM-31 Recreational Time Travel Device which is maintained by our protagonist Charles Yu (no relation to the author!).   Charles is a certified network technician for T-Class personal-use chronogrammatical vehicles.  At first, Charles comes off as an emotionally immature nerd. His deepest relationship is with the software system behind the TM-31 that he’s assigned to.  TAMMY is the personality skin that runs the TM-31.  

However, over the course of this highly entertaining book we’re educated to the ‘real’ history of time machines and their effect on our hero’s development as an adult.  Martin Heidegger would’ve been proud because author Yu places the TM-31 technician into a personal historical perspective that rings of self authentication. 

Not that How to… is Luddite oriented, to say the least!  Along the way,
Yu introduces ‘scientific’ background of the potentials of time travel.
Or, as our Charles’ father explains time travel is more a matter of temporarily tinkering with human perception, as opposed to altering the physical laws of reality.     

For analysis of another sci-fi tale with Heideggerian leanings check out this interpretation of the movie Twelve Monkeys

-Tom C Smith

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Want to read it? Visit the library!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Short Stories

Tom’s earlier review of “Wireless” prompted me to think short stories in general. Personally, I find them to be a great way to explore other authors and genres. Here are some of the short story collections I've read recently:

"Metatropolis" edited by John Scalzi

The collectively created urban future of these stories offers a fresh take on what tomorrow’s cities could be. Contributors include: Jay Lake, Tobias S Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, and Karl Schroeder. If you could read only one of the volumes in this post this is the one.

"Gateways" edited by Elizabeth Anne Hull

This volume is a tribute SciFi writer Frederik Pohl, winner of the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer.  Pohl has won many Nebula and Hugo awards along with the SFWA Grand Master Award.
While Pohl fans and SciFi diehards will enjoy this collection; if you’re a new or an occasional SciFi reader I would recommend starting with one of the other collections in this post.

The New Space Opera" & “The New Space Opera 2" edited by Gardner Dozios & Jonathan Strahan
Both of these volumes have many contributors and a varying level of quality. Most of the stories in Vol 1 are mediocre at best. A common criticism of this volume is that the writers assume that readers have already read some of their other works.  Diehard SciFi fans will most likely be familiar with the author’s works while newcomers might be left confused. Noteworthy stories include: Verthandi's Ring by Ian McDonald; an interesting depiction of two galactic civilizations engaged in an epic war. Another is Maelstrom by Kage Baker which tells the tale of an amateur theater company on Mars

Volume 2 is by far a better collection of stories.  It also seems to be more accessible to new and occasional SciFi readers. Gems from this volume include Punctuality by Garth Nix which is a short and sweet. John Scalzi’s The Tale of the Wicked is an enjoyable new take on artificial intelligence becoming self-aware.

All of these volumes include something worth reading so come to the library and check them out. 

Want to read something that's not in our catalog? Ask! It's as easy as calling us or dropping by the library.

Questions, comments, and suggestions are encouraged.