Science Fiction and Horror Anime

Is there a void left in your horror-loving heart by the lack of a new season of Attack on Titan? Hopefully this post will get you through until there is an official release date for season two.  All of these recommendations feature graphic bloodshed and gore galore. They have been broken into three categories; steampunk, aliens, and stories from the monster’s’ point of view. The anime titles that headline each category definitely straddle that Teen/Adult territory where violent science fiction and horror media is often caught. Sensitive readers beware, these titles are not for the faint of heart; or stomach, for that matter.

If you like your horror to have a steampunk twist, watch: Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

(This title is so new to the US market that it has not been assigned a rating, but Amazon.com’s Viewing Restriction coding is currently classifying it as a Mature title)

Kabaneri of the Iron FortressThe Kabane have overrun Japan. Once a person is bitten they join the ranks of these difficult to kill and viciously hungry monsters. Set during an alternate industrial revolution where the remaining population of Japan is restricted to fortress stations, the only safe way to travel is by steam powered trains whose transit lines are controlled by elite families.

The twelve episode series has been described as Snowpiercer meets Attack on Titan. An ongoing show, this is a top notch survival-action horror anime with no manga adaptation (…yet).  It has the same alternate reality/history flavor as Attack on Titan.

…then read:

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

This 2011 Michael L. Printz award winner may be set in the future not the past, but the post apocalyptic thriller still deals with class division of the disenfranchised. The action sequences and travel elements are sure to keep the attention of any fan’s of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein by Gris Grimly, adapted from the book by Mary Shelley

Want more creatures with consciences and experiments gone awry? This graphic novel adaptation of the trials of OG mad scientist Victor Frankenstein and his gentleman monster is a fresh and visually stunning take on the classic story.

If you prefer alien invasion horror stories, watch: Parasyte: The Maxim

(rated TV-MA on the Internet Movie Database)

ParasyteAlien pods fall from the sky, and the horror that emerges from each casing is driven by one need:  to consume a human host, take over their identity and then continue feasting on humanity until they take over the planet. The alien that attempted to consume high schooler Shinichi Izumi missed his brain and instead takes over his right hand. Now that Migi is fused to his nervous system and the two are neither wholly alien nor human they must work together in order to survive both the aliens’ appetites and the humans defending their lives.

The manga of Parasyte, written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki, came out in 1988 and the whole series has a classic 80s horror movie vibe. It was clearly heavily influenced by the special effects in John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982, Rated R)(MPAA www.mpaa.org.  A series of extreme violence in all of its iterations, but where the manga suffered from a lack of developed female characters, the anime steps up to the plate and a compelling story emerges that explores personhood while really torturing it’s main character.

…and then read:

The Animorphs Series created by Katherine Applegate

A group of humans and one alien are given the ability to morph into any animal they have contact with. Their goal is to protect humanity from an invading force of extra terrestrials with the power to merge with the brain of their human hosts. Intrigue and fairly gory action abound this 54 book series where the enemy aliens could be anyone and anywhere. No one is safe.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Waves of attacks by aliens technologies have battered all of humanity but Cassie has a mission. She has to rescue her young brother, and she won’t let anything stop her. Even Them. The stakes are high in this series, and, like in Parasyte, the challenges of survival will push the main character to her breaking point.

If you prefer read something from the point of view of the monster, watch: Tokyo Ghoul

(rated TV-MA on the Internet Movie Database)

Tokyo GhoulAn experimental surgery saves the life of college student Ken Kaneki after he barely survives a violent attack. When he discovers that he has inherited the same craving for human flesh as his attacker, he is suddenly immersed in an underground society full of territorial monsters and struggles to find a way to survive without losing his grasp on his humanity.

Both this extremely popular show and the manga it was based on by Sui Ishida show sequences with graphic dismemberment and torture. The newly turned Ken’s isolation and self loathing make the series intense emotionally as well as visually, but the anime’s pace is slightly accelerated and the beautiful animation makes the show a bit easier to engage with than the book.

…and then read:

Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Jessie’s life after death is disrupted when an infection begins to spread through the zombie population. A complex weave of characters, balanced with viscerally grotesque descriptions of mealtimes make this a unique read.  Jessie is a practical sort of zombie and she stirs your sympathies even as she horrifies you with her table manners.

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Delaney survives after eleven minutes beneath the surface of an iced over lake and comes back … different. The only person who seems to understand her inexplicable connection to death is Troy, but can she really trust him? What is she willing to give up to find out more about these new feelings? This book has a slow build, but the subtle sense of dread eventually expands to the same level of intensity as the more introspective sections of Tokyo Ghoul.

— Jennifer Billingsley,  currently reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

 

Booklist: Books to Celebrate Earth Day and the Environmentalist in All of Us

Friday, April 22, 2016 is National Earth Day, a day celebrated around the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Started in 1970 and gaining momentum in the 1990s, Earth Day is great time to reevaluate the impact that we are having on the planet. Environmentalism has often been a cause taken up with passion by teens and new adults, and one recent study shows that during the recession years, conservations efforts among teens rose.

Copy of Copy of New nonfiction science for teens

In honor of Earth Day, here is a list of nonfiction and fiction titles that explore a variety of aspects of environmental issues and conservation actions.

Nonfiction:

It's Getting Hot In Here          Plants vs. Meats         Story of Seeds

It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change by Bridget Heos

Exploring the science behind global warming, Heos examines the past, present, and future of climate change, the effects of political denial, and how we can work together, tackle, and lessen the impacts of a warming world.

Plants Vs. Meats: The Health, History, and Ethics of What We Eat by Meredith Sayles Hughes

Covering the historical, nutritional, and ethical impacts of what and how humans eat, Hughes brings in discussion around popular diets; the health and science of what we ingest; environmental impacts of food production; political, ethical, religious factors that lead to personal decisions; and what the future of food may look like.

The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World by Nancy F. Castaldo

Another look at the impact that food production has on the environment with the importance of plant biodiversity prolonged by seed preservation. It also explores the impact of monocultures and genetic engineering on food production.

Eyes Wide Open          Unstoppable- Harnessing Science to Change the World           Climate Changed- A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni

Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman

A guide to help teens navigate conflicting information around environmental issues that are represented in a variety of newsfeeds. Full of resources and ways that teens can make a difference. Also, see the updated resources and information from Fleischman on the book’s website.

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill Nye

Nye applies his scientific rigorous understanding of the world to climate change, showing opportunities in today’s environmental crisis as a new beginning to create a cleaner and healthier world.

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni

Investigative journalism  in a graphic novel format  Part diary, part documentary, this looks at our relationship with the planet and explains what global warming is all about. Continue reading Booklist: Books to Celebrate Earth Day and the Environmentalist in All of Us

Genre Guide: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction for Teens

By Artiom P from Vilnius, Lithuanian (The Forgotten Veteran 1920 x1200) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Artiom P from Vilnius, Lithuanian (The Forgotten Veteran 1920 x1200) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Definition
Post-apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction. For a novel to be post-apocalyptic, the setting must be one where the end of the world has already taken place and characters are trying to survive and start anew. The end of the world event that occurred can be anything from war, to plague, to natural or man made disasters. Post-apocalyptic fiction differs from apocalyptic fiction, where the end of the world is currently taking place and the characters and fighting to survive it.

Characteristics

Post-apocalyptic fiction can be set in the current day or the far off future. Additionally, the story can take place right after the cataclysmic event or years after the event. In post-apocalyptic novels, technology can be that which we have never seen before, or there can be no technology at all. Also,  characters can remember what the world was like, or they can’t remember at all what the world was like and will fantasize about the way it used to be or even go so far as to create myths about the world before the destruction (often our current day).

The stories of post-apocalyptic novels are often action and adventure, survival stories. When post-apocalyptic fiction is written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are  surviving on their own or in packs, and oftentimes the “hero” of the story has outstanding survival skills and can figure out how to survive in this new world. As with most novels written for teens, adults can be absent in post-apocalyptic novels.  However, it is not uncommon to have an adult in a post-apocalyptic novel positioned as an evil figurehead, or the one person our hero or heroes are trying to find or keep safe. Post-apocalyptic novels can have elements of other genres in their story.  The most common is to have dystopian governments in place. Continue reading Genre Guide: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction for Teens

What Would They Read?: Firefly

firefly-title-card-logoI was nervous a few months ago when I tackled the popular series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the “What Would They Read” series here on The Hub, where we pair up favorite TV characters with YA lit recommendations– but I’m even more apprehensive with this blog entry.  Joss Whedon’s Firefly found its end far too soon and yet has been kept alive by extremely passionate fans.  This is a massive undertaking in the vast world of fandoms.  Feel free to comment on my selections below.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Firefly, here is a brief synopsis: Firefly takes place in a future world with new star systems with moons and planets that have been terraformed to replicate life on Earth.  Although the technology of the future is far more advanced that technology today, the new settlements on the moons most resemble the Old West.  The Alliance is the central government, comprised of the only two superpowers left; America and China.  Because of China’s power, Chinese influences in fashion and language and dispersed throughout everyday life.  The show follows a specific ship that resembles a firefly named Serenity.  Captain Malcom Reynolds and his crew live on the shady side of the law, delivering stolen government goods to planets in need and making deals with some unpleasant people.  In an attempt to appear more respectable and make a little extra money, Mal decides to take on a few passengers.  Instead situations because even more complicated.

It is true that a majority of Serenity’s crew would no sooner read a book than play professional football, I would like to believe my statement that there is a book for every reader.  With no further ado, here are my reading recommendations.

Mal Reynolds – Initially, Mal has a stern, no-nonsense personality.  Although, as the show progresses, legendwe see a bit of a sense of humor emerging for time to time.  There’s no question that Mal would prefer a book with a strong action-packed plot with a slight hint of a romance.  Mal may think he’s kidding everyone with his love/hate relationship with Inara, but we know it’s there.  Also, Mal was on the losing side of the civil war against the Alliance and thus does not respect government authority.  For Mal, I would definitely recommend Legend by Marie Lu (2012 Teens’ Top Ten) as well as the other two books in the series, Prodigy and Champion.  Mal and Day have similar personality traits, the main one being their need to help out the little guy from being trampled by the oppressive government. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Firefly