Sci-Fi / Fantasy (page 1)

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SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY PICKS

 
"I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room."
Ray Bradbury
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Seveneves: A Novel Cover Image
$37.50
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ISBN: 9780062190376
Published: William Morrow - May 19th, 2015

This is my favorite Stephenson novel since Snow Crash. Which is saying a lot, because I think this will be for hard sci-fi what Snow Crash was for cyberpunk: an impressive and timeless example of that particular sci-fi subgenre. So, Seveneves in a nutshell: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, and a large group of diverse badass women do incredibly difficult nerdy stuff in space. Honestly, this book is so intelligent that it hurts. If you're the kind of geek that really wants to read hundreds of pages about what cool stuff people can do with orbital mechanics, swarm physics, hijacked comets, and micro-robotics, look no further. Think of it as Andy Weir's The Martian on steroids, plus some H. G. Wells-style utopia, and a healthy dose of World War Z end-of-the-world horror. Yes, it's really that awesome, I promise. —JENNIE


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The Windup Girl Cover Image
$15.99
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ISBN: 9781597801584
Published: Night Shade - May 1st, 2010

I think the best sci-fi is capable of waking up the world to the all-too-real problems that affect us all. And Paolo Bacigalupi, through the vivid, terrifying, dystopian world he brings to life, does just that. In 23rd century Thailand, companies control the world's food supply, producing genetically grown food and wreaking havoc on what's left of the world through bioterrorism tactics. With each character Bacigalupi introduced, I found myself more and more drawn to the personal stories of people who are desperately attempting to retain what once made them who they were--or, in Emiko the windup girl's case, to find it. There are many reasons this novel won a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, and there are many reasons we should see it as not only an outstanding novel, but a warning to be more aware of the environmental travesties that await us if we don't pay attention and care.

— Becky


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Blades of the Old Empire (Code of the Majat #1) Cover Image
By Anna Kashina, Alejandro Colucci (Illustrator)
$14.99
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ISBN: 9780857664129
Published: Angry Robot - February 25th, 2014

Elite, deadly mercenaries, an evil ancient brotherhood, a centuries-old (yet still hot) forest mother, and – of course – magic, are just the beginning of the many wonderful things within this book. Kashina’s characters are both real and complex – my favorite kind – and I’m already stamping my feet with impatience for the sequel. If you don’t finish this book secretly wishing you were a Diamond-ranked Majat warrior capable of performing the Viper’s Kiss in blazing combat, I feel sorry for you. Happy sword-fighting, er, reading. I meant reading. --Em


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Golden Son (Red Rising Series #2) Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780345539816
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey - January 6th, 2015

There are books you read to enrich yourself, to revel in the artistry of the English language. And then there's books that you read because they keep you up all night with giant freaking space battles. Golden Son the latter, and a paragon in the "neat, something else blew up" genre. Pretty much everything you could possibly want in a dystopian sci-fi novel is turned up to eleven, and then Brown adds even more explosions, betrayals, and gory duels. This book was exciting enough that I cried, couldn't eat, and then experienced a little chest pain. Highly recommended to people who enjoy juggling things on fire or wrestling alligators. --Jennie


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Acceptance: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy #3) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780374104115
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: FSG Originals - September 2nd, 2014

I had reservations the final volume of Vandermeer's dazzling Southern Reach trilogy would not be able to live up to the hype established in the first two books, but this truly is an excellent conclusion. Everything about this series has been pitch-perfect--brilliant writing, excellent pacing, and all published in a beautiful package. Annihilation and Authority both included themes of their namesake in the story, and Acceptance is no different. The motivations of the characters and the origins of Area X become more clear but does that mean anything can be done about it? A genre defying and mind-bending trip, this is a series I will recommend for years to come. --JEREMY


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The Martian: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553418026
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - October 28th, 2014

I'd been eyeing Andy Weir's debut novel for a while so the anticipation had been building when I started reading it. The cover while eye catching is also a good summation of the story: a man stranded on the red planet Mars. Weir keeps you fully engaged as the main character, Mark Watney, becomes the sole member of the Ares 3 mission left behind when the crew are forced to evacuate Mars due to a rabid storm (oh yea, Mars has storms). From beginning to end Weir does an amazing job creating a story that is full of scientific accuracy and suspense as you watch the main character face obstacles and celebrate successes all while keeping his spirits up through sarcasm and wit. --ANDY


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Horrorstor: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781594745263
Availability: Backordered
Published: Quirk Books - September 23rd, 2014

Styled after an Ikea catalog, this horror novel delighted my inner typesetting/design nerd. Then it played to my sympathies by starring a cast of characters that work for the great and powerful Orsk--an Ikea knock-off store. The eclectic group of "team partners" is drafted by the store's fearless leader to solve the reoccurring problems that keep cropping up in the off hours of the store. A couple of them suspect the property's shady past as a panopticon-style prison in the 19th century might play a role in the late-night shenanigans. The creep-factor in this frequently grotesque story had me continuing to keep my back to the wall to prevent being ambushed by an army of blank faced penitents wanting to "reform" me. --CHRIS


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California Bones (Daniel Blackland #1) Cover Image
$23.99
ISBN: 9780765376916
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - January 6th, 2015

Where California Bones really shines is the fantastic world-building. Urban fantasy is almost a dime-a-dozen today, but Eekhout's newest stands above a lot of the pack with an inventive (and gruesome) magic system and coherent dystopian setting inspired by the landmarks and history of Los Angeles. The familiar twists and turns of a heist plot seem more exciting and unique, cast in the light of Eekhout's dog-eat-dog (literally) Southern California. Yes, this book involves cannibalism. There's an awful lot of tension and horror to mine when your characters regularly face the existential crisis of being eaten alive by their foes. And this first installment of a trilogy very liberally exploits that feeding frenzy for a break-neck, never boring, thrill ride. --JENNIE


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Red Rising (Red Rising Series #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345539809
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - July 15th, 2014

Pierce's dystopian sci-fi jaunt will inevitably draw comparisons to The Hunger Games or Ender's Game with its themes of stratified class structures and twisted youth worship, but in tone it echoes the brutality of A Game of Thrones or Battle Royale. Darrow is sixteen and already a man, employed as a Helldiver, the deadliest job in his caste of short-lived "Reds," who toil in virtual slavery to terraform Mars for Earth's colonists. But that thin veneer of soothing propaganda is ripped wide open when the higher colors hang his wife. Recruited to a terrorist group and surgically transformed into the highest caste to take them down from inside, Darrow must discover how far he's willing to go for revenge—and if hate alone can sustain a man. Dark and fast-paced, I didn't put this one down until it was already light outside. This deserves the hype! --Jennie


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Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374104092
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: FSG Originals - February 4th, 2014

Living up to its namesake, Annihilation, this novel is permeated by a sense of dread. An expedition of 4 scientists travel to Area X—long isolated from the rest of the continent after some type of environmental Event, or something peculiar, happened there. After every expedition before has ended in a shroud of mystery, from mass suicides to others returning vastly changed, this story follows the biologist of the 12th expedition. Shortly after crossing the border into Area X, her team finds a mysterious structure buried in the landscape that was not in any of their maps or other briefing materials. A mysterious and existential plot within, this novel contains great nods to the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Stanley Kubrick along with the intense pacing of television dramas like LOST. Just enough is revealed about Area X in this first installment of the trilogy that I am very excited to learn more in forthcoming installments all to be released this year. --Jeremy


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Brilliance (Brilliance Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781611099690
Availability: Backordered
Published: Thomas & Mercer - July 16th, 2013

Please judge this book by its cover, you will not be disappointed. This book just kept the hits coming. In the near future, as humans with growing abilities start to disrupt the status quo, mankind starts to do anything to keep itself safe. One of these extraordinary men works to hunt the enemies mankind fears, but soon the line of friends and enemies doesn't just blur, it shatters. That's right, it's an action-adventure, mystery, science-fiction thriller all rolled into one. It's okay to say thank you. --Drew


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Hide Me Among the Graves: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062210807
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 19th, 2013

I've been wanting to read a Tim Powers novel since I was fourteen, but somehow the timing just never seemed right. When I saw he'd taken on Christina Rosetti, whose poetry I love, I knew the time had come to give him a try. Powers reinvents the lives of Christina and her brothers in a well-researched and riveting read that both entertains and makes a fictional, yet believable, case for explaining the idiosyncrasies of both her life and the often haunting yet beautiful lines of her poetry. While sure to please those who love Rossetti, I promise that even if you've never heard of her it will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next, and just maybe the snippets of poetry scattered throughout will inspire you to read her own work. --Em


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The Melancholy of Mechagirl Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781421556130
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Haikasoru - July 16th, 2013

Catherynne Valente is a master at her craft. From the first word to the last The Melancholy of Mechagirl is a rich and textured experience. Valente never makes you wait for the hook, not a single story or poem in this book drags you along. I promise you will volunteer for the ride. Her Locus Award winning, Hugo nominated, short story Silently and Very Fast is included in this collection and that alone is reason enough to take it home. It is a near perfect example of science fiction at its very best. Every reason I've fallen in love with her writing is brilliantly on display in this collection of science fiction stories dedicated to Japan. --Heather


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North American Lake Monsters Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781618730602
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Small Beer Press - July 16th, 2013

I could say so many wonderful things about North American Lake Monsters without telling you how much it's going to hurt just to get you to open the cover, but you deserve better than that. Nathan Ballingrud's first collection of short stories is brutal. I read most of the stories in this book stomach clenched in horror and breath catching in my throat. There are no happy endings and there are certainly no heroes, though the last few stories do have a touch of sweetness. These are stories about the down-trodden and damned that bare no sentimental ideas of redemption–just folks being folks hardly phased by the sometimes horrific supernatural because real life has already treated them so terribly. The thread that ties this book together is monsters and I can tell you there are plenty here, and as uncomfortable as I was reading it, I loved every second of it. --Heather


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Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780451467997
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - June 3rd, 2014

In Gameboard of the Gods, sci-fi meets fantasy in a futuristic world where dazzling new technology permeates everyday life, and the ancient gods are out to reclaim their places in a world where the government has legally declared them fictitious entities. This book has everything I love: great characters, well-written action scenes, devious gods, and a substantial plot that keeps me entertained and guessing. The titular character, Mae Koskinen, has officially been added to my list of Favorite Bad-Ass Fantasy Heroines Ever, and I'm betting she'll make it on to yours too. - Em