Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Science Fiction... For People Who Don't Like Science Fiction

Have you been searching the galaxy for a good book? Think you don’t like science fiction? Or maybe you've just never tried it? Here's a list of sci-fi titles that are sure to please -- light on the techno jargon and warp speed robotics and heavy on great characters caught up in intriguing situations and complex plots. Check out one of these titles and expand your universe of reading!

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

In 2048, time travel has been perfected by historians at Oxford University. A young graduate student embarks on her first "drop" back to pre-plague England when an unforeseen glitch in the present day lands her in a small English village in the throes of the Black Death. As she struggles to survive the past, her colleagues race to bring her back to the future. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this time travel tale.

More about the book.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

In a future where politics play out on the Internet and wars are won via computer games, child prodigy Andrew "Ender" Wiggin has been chosen to lead Earth's forces against an alien attack. Read beyond the military maneuvers and computer technology and you'll find the story of Ender's transformation from a boy to a leader as he navigates a suddenly unfamiliar world where rules and alliances are constantly changing.

More about the book.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

In the near future, the United States is ruled by a patriarchal, theocratic government that came to power after biological warfare left most of the population sterile. Fertile women are kept as concubines for powerful leaders and every aspect of their lives is controlled by others--from what they eat and drink to what they wear. The heroine of this story recounts her life before the revolution as she reveals her struggles against the people and institutions that control her.

More about the book.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons

A sci-fi nod to The Canterbury Tales, this complex and highly stylized novel follows a group of pilgrims who journey forth on the eve of Armageddon to the far planet Hyperion. There they will confront a mysterious world inhabited by a monstrous creature who is worshipped by some and feared by many. As each traveler's story unfolds en route, great hopes and terrible secrets are revealed and we learn that one traveler is not who he seems. The first in a four-part series.

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Kindred by Octavia Butler

Dana is a thoroughly modern black woman living in Los Angeles when she is suddenly transported back to the antebellum South. While there, she saves a drowning white boy who will grow up to be the father of her own ancestor. As the story unfolds and Dana bounces between the present and the past, she must reconcile the overwhelming urge to escape slavery with the desperate need to guarantee her own future existence. Butler was one of a very few black, women to ever write science fiction and she often used the genre to explore issues of race, gender, and religion.

More about the book.

Replay by Ken Grimwood

43 year-old Jeff Winston dies of a heart attack and wakes up in his own healthy 18 year old body, but with all of his memories of the 25 years to come intact. As he lives his life (and death) over and over and over again, he has the opportunity to start from scratch each time, examining different choices, righting wrongs, and meeting other "replayers". This book was a major influence on the popular film "Groundhog Day".

More about the book.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

In 2019, a remote listening post picks up radio broadcasts of beautiful singing from the farthest reaches of the universe. A group of Jesuit monks organize a delegation to travel and meet the creatures who produce such beauty. When only one member of the mission returns, he recounts both the exquisite beauty and abject horror that he encountered on his travels. A compelling take on both the physical and philosophical ramifications of contact with extraterrestrial life.

More about the book.