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Tag: science fiction

What Would a Jedi Read? Reader’s Advisory for Star Wars Characters

Our favorite Star Wars characters need good book recommendations too! Yet, could you figure out a book picks for popular Star Wars characters off the top of your head? The latest and (apparently) final entry into the Skywalker saga within the Star Wars universe is just around the corner. It is always important to reflect on popular culture in the library. Such a large percentage of our collections embrace the idea of pop culture. Also, aspects of the fandoms can be great touchstones for reader’s advisory. If the teen you are trying to help doesn’t know how to explain their needs or desires in a book, asking for the name of their favorite Star Wars character could be the “in” that you need.

#QP2018 Nominees: Science Fiction

Science fiction is the perfect place to find imaginative and inventive hooks. In this post, we feature four science fiction stories with fabulous hooks.

Exo by Fonda Lee is a story of life on an alien occupied earth, and ponders the question of whether it is better to cooperate or rebel.

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs features a terrifying premise where two protagonists are killed every two years, only to be resurrected the next day with no memory of their demise.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman imagines a future where technology has advanced to the point that nobody dies anymore. The creation of Scythes, humans whose role is to kill other humans, is the only way to ensure the world isn’t overpopulated.

What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy balances a science fiction premise, protecting the Earth from a possible alien invasion, with a healthy injection of humor.

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson delivers a science fiction tale chock-full of fascinating ideas in a short, digestible package that will appeal to reluctant readers.

These five books feature captivating hooks, engaging writing, and well drawn characters that will tempt many reluctant readers.

Exo by Fonda Lee
Scholastic Press
January 31, 2017
9780545933438

What if the earth were a colony, a useful military outpost? What if humans were the “indigenous” species–their intelligence the only quality that kept them from being completely overrun by a superior alien race that benevolently talked down to them?

Welcome to the new earth. Under the new political order, the alien race of zhree have created a feudal-like system in which they incorporate humans into their protective clans. Donovan Reyes,  son of the new Prime Liaison between the humans and the zhree, is a valuable political pawn. His father selected him to undergo the “hardening” process, a process that provides him with an exoskeleton similar to that of the zhree race.  The exoskeleton is critical in his role as a peace keeper between humans and zhree, but it can’t protect him when he is kidnapped by the terrorist organization, Sapience. The hits just keep on coming when he realizes that the terrorist are being led by someone who causes him to question everything his father and the zhree have created.

Teens in Outer Space

In February, NASA scientist discover seven Earth like planets out in space.  Although these planets are 40 light years or hundreds of thousands of years away, that doesn’t stop us from wondering if there’s other life out there.  Luckily, there are authors who have wondered the same thing and you can check out their space stories below.

Nemesis is a diabolic-a killing machine.  When her master and friend is summoned to become a hostage for political gains, Nemesis protects her the only way she knows how-she must become her.

Akos, son of an oracle, lives on the farthest planet from the son-Thuvhe. His life along with many others is fated yet, he doesn’t know his fate until all the fates are announced space-wide. Now that all the fates have been revealed, all the fated including Akos and his family are in danger.  Cyra is the youngest daughter of the Shotet’s elite family. The Shotets live on Thuvhe but are at war with Akos’ people. Cyra’s family will stop at nothing to rule their planet including kidnapping and killing to change their fates.

Booklist: Steampunk Reads for Teens

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that is usually set in the late 19th or early 20th century. It’s notable for a unique aesthetic featuring clockwork and steam-powered technology. As it has gained popularity, steampunk has begun to include themes ranging from alternate history to time travel and can be set in the near past, the distant future and anywhere in between.

If you want to learn more about steampunk as a genre you can check out the Hub’s steampunk genre guide written up by Colleen Seisser. Carli Spina has you covered if you’re looking for some steampunk comics by female authors. If you’re still not sure where to start, read on for more recommendations.

steampunkgears

If You Want Adventure:

steampunkadventure

  1. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): When fourteen-year-old Sophronia is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality she soon discovers that deceit and espionage part of the curriculum along with etiquette and dancing.
  2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff: Sent to capture an arashitora for the Shogun, Yukiko soon finds herself stranded in the wilderness with the creature. This unlikely pair will have to set aside their differences and work together when Yukiko hears of the Shoguns injustices from a secretive man named Kin and the rebel Kage cabal.
  3. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (2005 Printz Award Honor): Cabin boy Matt and heiress Kate travel the skies via airship searching for elusive winged creatures rumored to live in the clouds.
  4. Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler: Wren McAvoy works as a coal miner in a domed city. After two hundred years, everyone takes life in the dome for granted. The only problem is that the coal is running out. When a friend escapes the dome he is used as a gruesome warning for those who try to challenge the established society. But his last words to Wren–“The sky is blue.”–will set Wren on a path that could change everything.
  5. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (2010 Best Books for Young Adults, 2011 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): Alek–heir to the clanker Austro-Hungarian Empire–and Deryn–a girl disguising herself as a boy to serve as a Darwinist airman–have to form an uneasy alliance if they hope to stave off the coming World War which begs the question: Do you oil your war machines? Or do you feed them?

Booklist: Time Travel Reads for Teens

Time travel has been a popular subject of fiction since The Time Machine by H.G. Wells was published in 1895. Over a century later, it still captures the imagination of many readers. The mix of philosophy and theoretical physics allows for endless combinations to explore parallel universes, to go back and forward in time, and is an especially great backdrop for both adventure and star-crossed love.

There is no shortage of time travel stories in young adult fiction. With so many great time travel novels coming out this year, it’s a great time to some time bending novels to your “to read” list. You won’t even need to build a time machine to read most of these right now!

If you like your time travel with a time-crossed romance

time travel - until we meet again - ruby red - the love that split the world

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Cassandra’s summer takes a strange turn when she meets a stranger who claims her family’s beach house belongs to him and that the year is 1925. As Cassandra tries to solve the mystery of Lawrence’s appearance she will also have to try to find a way to change history if the two hope to have any kind of future together.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Gwyneth Shepherd’s cousin has been preparing to time travel for her entire life. Until both girls find out that it’s Gwyneth, not Charlotte, who carries the rare time travel gene.

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Something strange is happening in Natalie’s hometown. Little things at first like her front door being green instead of red. Then a strange apparition Natalie calls “Grandmother” appears and tells he she has three months to save a boy she hasn’t met yet.

time travel - return once more - into the dim - timeless

Return Once More by Trisha Leigh

Kaia is an apprentice with The Historians–a group of time travelers who observe and record history. Kaia doesn’t see the harm in catching a glimpse of her long-dead soulmate in Ancient Egypt but that one search sets off a series of events that will leave Kaia scrambling to save her future.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

After her parents’ death Michele is sent across the country to live with her grandparents in New York and finds a diary that transports her to 1910 where she meets a blue-eyed stranger who has haunted her dreams for as long as she can remember.

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Hope will have to learn how to conquer her fears before she can try to work with a group of time travelers to save her mother who is trapped in 12th Century England.

If you you want high stakes adventures across time

passenger - a thousand pieces of you - the glass sentence

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Traveling across centuries and around the world, Etta and Nicholas will have to trust each other as they hunt down a long-lost artifact and uncover a truth that could threaten their natural times and everything in between.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Determined to get revenge for her father’s murder and the theft of his universe-crossing device, Marguerite embarks on a multi-universal hunt for Paul. The closer Marguerite gets to Paul, the more she begins to wonder if he really is the villain she thought.

The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove

Nearly a century ago the Great Disruption remade the world and threw all of the continents into different Ages. When her renowned mapmaker uncle is kidnapped, Sophia Tims will have to travel across Ages to rescue him.

Booklist: Recent YA Fiction about Technology for Teen Tech Week

Teen Tech Week begins March 6th and runs through the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers as well as to highlight programs that emphasize science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. For programming ideas, see this post at the YALSAblogTechnology and Science in YA Fiction for Teen Tech Week

It’s also a great time to highlight YA fiction that deals with technology issues. From steampunk to science fiction to thrillers, the theme of technology in the lives of humans cuts a across genres and can spark interesting conversations about the use and limits of technology. These 2015 and 2016 titles are great to highlight in a display in the library. Consider adding flyers that also remind patrons of the availability of digital books and audiobooks or sharing a “virtual” display on social media. Later this week, we’ll feature nonfiction resources on technology and science. 

Booklist: Space Adventures in Science Fiction

It’s a broad category, but outer space adventure is a defining part of science fiction – both on screen and in YA literature. From Gravity (2013) and Interstellar (2014) to next month’s hotly anticipated The Martian (out October 2!), space travel seems to be just about everywhere.
science fiction adventures

Between explanations of technology and complex new worlds, science fiction centered around space travel can sometimes be a little heavy for the casual reader. Have no fear, though – YA books are the perfect entry point if you’re new to the genre. Usually combining a fast pace with a compelling story, there’s a science fiction book for everyone.

If you’re looking to broaden the scope of your galaxy hopping beyond Star Wars (out December 18, as I’m sure everyone on the planet knows by now), check out these stellar reads.

Here’s Your Fandom Fix

Game of Thrones just aired its season finale, Doctor Who doesn’t come on until September, and you’ve waited over a year for Sherlock; how are you supposed to cope?

Readalikes are your answer. Novels comparable to popular TV shows have found their way in YA fiction so now you can get for fandom fix during the hiatus of your favorite series.

Game of Thrones Readalikes:

  • false prince jennifer a nielsen coverThe False Prince (The Ascendence Trilogy) by Jennifer Neilsen-  The royal family has been murdered and in order to keep the throne out of the wrong hands, Conner, a nobleman of the court sets off to find the long lost prince who disappeared several years prior. Connor’s plan to is find, train, and groom orphans who resemble the long lost prince to keep the throne in safe hands. Sage is one of those orphans and he must fight three others to win.
  • Falling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes-The three kingdoms of Mytica fight for power and four teens from different nations are caught in the middle. Magnus, the son of the Blood King, must gain his father’s acceptance while quelling his feeling for his sister Lucia. Lucia discovers she can wield magic but is the daughter of the Blood King who condemns all magic. Cleo is a beautiful and beloved princess and has suffered a terrible tragedy and must find a way back to her rightful throne. Jonas, a rebel, vows to avenge the wrongful death of his brother. They all seek the throne and through this six book series, readers follow their favorite character on their journey to claim Mytica.

What Star Wars Taught Me About Social Justice

Image by Flickr user Steve Wilson; Posters by Olly Moss

It’s no secret that my two great passions are science fiction and social justice. My love of both can be traced to my childhood, stemming from an early exposure to Star Wars (although I also owe a large debt to L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time but I’ll save that for another post). So when the Internet exploded recently over the newly released trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I took the opportunity to reflect on the lessons I learned from the original trilogy about social justice and revolution (and if you haven’t seen the new trailer, what are you waiting for??!!?) And since librarianship so often intersects with social justice, I figured I’d share them below:

1. You Can Change the World

I’ll start with the most obvious lesson: revolutions can and do succeed against a larger, more powerful institution when fought with conviction and faith. Margaret Mead’s famous quote says this better than I could: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Thanks Leia, Luke, and the entire ragtag team of revolutionaries for proving this to be true and inspiring legions of 7-year-olds to do the same!

2. Act Don’t React

Luke famously walks away from his Jedi training in order to save his friends, blatantly disregarding Yoda’s wise advice to keep to the task at hand. The end result is a poorly planned rescue mission that ends in Luke losing his hand and Leia rescuing him instead. Nice job, Luke! All sarcasm aside, this may be one of the most valuable lessons for any activists and revolutionaries out there.  How often do we react rather than pausing to consider the best way to act? It’s always tempting to act in the heat of the moment but for any social movement to succeed, planning, patience, and perseverance are key to sustaining the fight and creating long-term solutions–even when this means drawing back or pausing in the midst of the struggle in order to gain more knowledge, power or perspective.