Spring 2021 hasn’t been too bad, but we still aren’t back to normal. So maybe it times for something different. Let’s enter the summer months with stories that take us away…really far far far away. Let’s read to escape the planet.
For the month of May, we are spotlighting our Science Fiction genre.
Altered Starscape / Ian Douglas.
Thirty-eight years after first contact, Lord Commander Grayson St. Clair leads the Tellus Ad Astra on an unprecedented expedition to the Galactic Core, carrying more than a million scientists, diplomats, soldiers, and AIs. Despite his reservations about their alien hosts, St. Clair is deeply committed to his people, especially after they're sucked into a black hole and spat out four billion years in the future.
The fellowship of the ring: being the first part of the lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in THE HOBBIT. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Auroa by Kim Stanley Robinson
Generations after leaving Earth on humanity's first voyage beyond the solar system, a starship draws near to a planet that may serve as a new home world for those on board, but their best laid plans may not be enough to survive.
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a trueheir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.
Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton
Humanity's complex relationship with technology spirals out of control in this first book of an all-new trilogy from "the owner of the most powerful imagination in science fiction" (Ken Follett). In 2204, humanity is expanding into the wider galaxy in leaps and bounds. Cutting-edge technology of linked jump gates has rendered most forms of transportation--including starships--virtually obsolete. Every place on earth, every distant planet humankind has settled, is now merely a step away from any other. And all seems wonderful--until a crashed alien spaceship of unknown origin is found on a newly-located world eighty-nine light years from Earth, carrying a cargo as strange as it is horrifying. To assess the potential of the threat a high-powered team is dispatched to investigate. But one of them may not be all they seem ... Bursting with tension and big ideas, this standalone series highlights the inventiveness of an author at the top of his game, as the interweaving story lines tell us not only how humanity arrived at this moment, but also the far-future consequences that spin off from it-- Provided by publisher.
Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed
The Emperor is dead. His final weapon has been destroyed. The Imperial Army is in disarray. In the aftermath, Yrica Quell is just one of thousands of defectors from her former cause living in a deserters' shantytown. Then she is selected to join Alphabet Squadron, cobbled together from an eclectic assortment of pilots and starfighters. The five members of Alphabet, each a talented pilot, have one mission: to track down and destroy the mysterious Shadow Wing, a lethal force of TIE fighters exacting bloody, reckless vengeance in the twilight of their reign
Powersat by the late Ben Bova
Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And in its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of space.
America needs energy, and Dan Randolph is determined to provide it. He dreams of an array of geosynchronous powersats, satellites that gather solar energy and beam it to generators on Earth, freeing America from its addition to fossil fuels and breaking the power of the oil cartels forever. But the wreck of the spaceplane has left his company, Astro Manufacturing, on the edge of bankruptcy.
Worse, Dan discovers that the plane worked perfectly right up until the moment that saboteurs knocked it out of the sky. And whoever brought it down is willing and able to kill again to keep Astro grounded.
Now Dan has to thread a dangerous maze. The visible threads are bad enough: Rival firms want to buy him out and take control of his dreams. His former lover wants to co-opt his unlimited-energy ideal as a campaign plank for the candidate she's grooming for the presidency. NASA and the FAA want to shut down his maverick firm. And his creditors are breathing down his neck. - (Blackwell North America)
Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear
A starship hurtles through the emptiness of space, its destination-unknown and tts purpose-a mystery. One man wakes up wet, naked, and freezing to death. The dark halls are full of monsters but trusting other survivors he meets might be the greater danger. All he has are questions -- Who is he? Where are they going? What happened to the dream of a new life? What happened to the woman he loved? What happened to Hull 03?
Marsbound by Joe Haldeman (local author)
Young Carmen Dula and her family are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime--they're going to Mars. Once on the Red Planet, however, Carmen realizes things are not so different from Earth. There are chores to do, lessons to learn, and oppressive authority figures to rebel against. And when she ventures out into the bleak Mars landscape alone one night, a simple accident leads her to the edge of death until she is saved by an angel--an angel with too many arms and legs, a head that looks like a potato gone bad, and a message for the newly arrived human inhabitants of Mars: We were here first.--From publisher description.
Rolling thunder by Varley, John
Lieutenant Patricia Kelly Elizabeth Strickland--otherwise known as Podkayne--is a third-generation Martian. Her grandfather, Manny, was one of the first men to set foot on Mars. So Poddy has some planet-sized shoes to fill. That's why she's joined the Music, Arts, and Drama Division of the Martian Navy. Though some may say her voice is a weapon in itself, Poddy passed the audition. And now she's going to Europa, one of Jupiter's many moons, to be an entertainer. But she's about to learn that there's plenty of danger to go around in the Martian Navy, even if you've just signed on to sing.
The Man-Kzin Wars by Larry Nivens
Two aggressive species, each believing in its own supremacy. After initial contact, centuries of war stretched between them. These three tales of those wars mark the progress of one of the mightiest conflicts in the history of known space.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars—and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars—the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury. - (Random House, Inc.)
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
A classic science fiction novel about human’s exploration of the universe as we follow the spacecraft Discovery and it’s astronauts on their mission to Saturn. Discovery is controlled by HAL 9000 an artificially intelligent supercomputer…now nothing could surely go wrong with that. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a novel that all science fiction fans should read.
Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford & Larry Nivens
Two of my favorite writers have paired up for this tale of alien encounters and strange technologies on an epic scale.
SF masters Gregory Benford and Larry Niven spin a tale of alien encounters and strange technologies on an epic scale
In Bowl of Heaven, the first collaboration by science fiction authors Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and it's on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for....
When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce - and aliens willing to fight for them are common. The universe, it turns out, is a hostile place. So: we fight. To defend Earth (a target for our new enemies, should we let them get close enough) and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has gone on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.
Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force, which shields the home planet from too much knowledge of the situation. What's known to everybody is that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve your time at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.
John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine - and what he will become is far stranger
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
On a beautiful world called Pern, an ancient way of life is about to come under attack from a myth that is all too real. Lessa is an outcast survivor; her parents murdered, her birthright stolen; a strong young woman who has never stopped dreaming of revenge. But when an ancient threat to Pern reemerges, Lessa will rise; upon the back of a great dragon with whom she shares a telepathic bond more intimate than any human connection. Together, dragon and rider will fly . . . and Pern will be changed forever.