Speculative Fiction Book Club

The Speculative Fiction Book Club
 
The Speculative Fiction Book Group focuses on science fiction, fantasy, and tales of alternate social realities. Picks include classics, contemporary, and young adult. Each meeting starts with a check-in period when attendees get a chance to summarize their fellings and rate the book at hand. Follwed by free-for-all general discussion. We have an established group of regular participants, and always welcome new members. 
 
Meets the 2nd Sunday of each month at Books Inc. in Palo Alto.

The Lost Girl Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062082312
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - August 28th, 2012

June 2016 Selection:Fifteen-year-old Eva is the clone of a girl living far, far away on another continent--and when this 'other' dies, Eva must step in and take over her life


The Red: First Light Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781481440936
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Saga Press - June 30th, 2015

May 2016 Selection:Reality TV and advanced technology make for high drama in this political thriller that combines the military action of "Zero Dark Thirty" with the classic science fiction of "The Forever War." 
Lieutenant James Shelley, who has an uncanny knack for premeditating danger, leads a squad of advanced US Army military tasked with enforcing the peace around a conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. The squad members are linked wirelessly 24/7 to themselves and a central intelligence that guides them via drone relay and unbeknownst to Shelley and his team, they are being recorded for a reality TV show. 
When an airstrike almost destroys their outpost, a plot begins to unravel that s worthy of Crichton and Clancy s best. The conflict soon involves rogue defense contractors, corrupt US politicians, and homegrown terrorists who possess nuclear bombs. Soon Shelley must accept that the helpful warnings in his head could be AI. But what is the cost of serving its agenda?"


Childhood's End Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780345347954
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Del Rey Books - May 12th, 1987

April 2016 Selection: Giant silver ships appear above every major city in the world. The Overlords have arrived. They eliminate ignorance, disease, poverty, and fear. After fifty years they also start eliminating humans.


Roadside Picnic Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781613743416
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Chicago Review Press - May 2012

March 2016 Selection:Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a full empty, something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he ll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.First published in 1972, "Roadside Picnic"is still widely regarded asone of the greatest science fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. This authoritative new translation corrects many errors and omissions and has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin and a new afterword by Boris Strugatsky explaining the strange history of the novel s publication in Russia."


Anathem Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780061474101
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: HarperTorch - August 25th, 2009

January 2016 Selection: For ten years Fraa Erasmas, a young avout, has lived in a cloistered sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside world. But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change and Erasmas will become a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world, as he follows his destiny to the most inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.


Staff Pick Logo
The Circle Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780345807298
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Vintage Books - April 22nd, 2014

November 2015 Selection: When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world s most powerful internet company, she feels she s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781594746031
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Quirk Books - June 4th, 2013

October 2015 Selection:  A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in "Miss Peregrine s Home for Peculiar Children," an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow impossible though it seems they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, "Miss Peregrine s Home for Peculiar Children" will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows


Tales of the Dying Earth: Including 'The Dying Earth, ' 'The Eyes of the Overworld, ' 'Cugel's Saga, ' and 'Rhialto the Marvellous' Cover Image
$23.99
ISBN: 9780312874568
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Orb Books - December 2000

September 2015 Selection: Jack Vance is one of the most remarkable talents to ever grace the world of science fiction. His unique, stylish voice has been beloved by generations of readers. One of his enduring classics is his 1964 novel, "The Dying Earth," and its sequels--a fascinating, baroque tale set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever.
This omnibus volume comprised all four books in the series, "The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga" and "Rialto the Magnificent." It is a must-read for every sf fan.


Staff Pick Logo
The Book of Strange New Things Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553418866
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Hogarth - June 30th, 2015

August 2015 Selection: A monumental, genre-defying novel that David Mitchell calls "Michel Faber s second masterpiece," "The Book of Strange New Things" is a masterwork from a writer in full command of his many talents. 
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter s teachings his Bible is their book of strange new things. But Peter is rattled when Bea s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. 
Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us. 
Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that made "The Crimson Petal and the White" such an international success, "The Book of Strange New Things" is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.

"From the Hardcover edition.""


Station Eleven Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015

July 2015 Selection: A National Book Award Finalist
A PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of"King Lear."That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed."


Ringworld Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780345333926
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Del Rey Books - September 12th, 1985

May 2015 Selection: A new place is being built, a world of huge dimensions, encompassing millions of miles, stronger than any planet before it. There is gravity, and with high walls and its proximity to the sun, a livable new planet that is three million times the area of the Earth can be formed. We can start again! 


The Golem and the Jinni Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062110848
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Harper Perennial - December 31st, 2013

April 2015 Selection: Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in 1899 New York, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their immigrant neighbors while masking their true selves. Meeting by chance, they become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Marvelous and compulsively readable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.


Staff Pick Logo
The Martian Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780553418026
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Broadway Books - October 28th, 2014

March 2015 Selection: 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.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780142180822
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Plume Books - February 25th, 2014

February 2015 Selection: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014
Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award
One of the "New York Times Book Review's "100 Notable Books of 2013 and named by "The Christian Science Monitor "as one of the top 15 works of fiction
The "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Jane Austen Book Club" introduces a middle-class American family, ordinary in every way but one.
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. "I was raised with a chimpanzee," she explains. "I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion ... she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister." As a child, Rosemary never stopped talking. Then, something happened, and Rosemary wrapped herself in silence.
In "We Are All Completely beside Ourselves, " Karen Joy Fowler weaves her most accomplished work to date--a tale of loving but fallible people whose well-intentioned actions lead to heartbreaking consequences.
 


Foundation Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780553293357
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Spectra Books - October 1991

January 2015 Selection: The Speculative Fiction Book Club will discuss the complete Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov.

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future--to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire--both scientists and scholars--and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.
But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind's last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun--or fight them and be destroyed.

       


Neuromancer Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780441007462
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Ace Books - July 2000

November 2014 Selection: Neuromancer is the multiple award-winning novel that launched the astonishing career of William Gibson. The first fully-realized glimpse of humankind's digital future, it is a shocking vision that has challenged our assumptions about our technology and ourselves, reinvented the way we speak and think, and forever altered the landscape of our imaginations.

Now, for the first time, Ace Books is proud to present this groundbreaking literary achievement in a trade paperback edition.


Flowers for Algernon Cover Image
$8.95
ISBN: 9780156030083
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: Harvest Books - June 14th, 2004

October 2014 Selection: Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence-a procedure that has already been highly successful when tested on a lab mouse named Algernon.
As the treatment takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment appears to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon suddenly deteriorates. Will the same happen to Charlie?
WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD AND THE NEBULA AWARD The classic novel that inspired the Academy Award-winning movie Charly
Daniel Keyes, the author of eight books, was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Brooklyn College. Professor emeritus at Ohio University, he lives in Boca Raton, Florida.


Spin State Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780553586244
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spectra Books - November 23rd, 2004

September 2014 Selection: Nominated for the 2003 Philip K. Dick Award, this highly atmospheric debut (Publishers Weekly) from a stunning new voice in science fiction deftly mixes murder, politics, and cyber-romance.


Staff Pick Logo
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062255662
Availability: Available - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Books must show IN STOCK at your desired location for same day pick-up.
Published: William Morrow & Company - June 3rd, 2014

August 2014 Selection: A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out.