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.

$15.95
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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."


$7.99
ISBN: 9780345333926
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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! 


$15.99
ISBN: 9780062110848
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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.


$15.00
ISBN: 9780553418026
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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?


$16.00
ISBN: 9780142180822
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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.
 


$7.99
ISBN: 9780553293357
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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.

       


$16.00
ISBN: 9780441007462
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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.


$8.95
ISBN: 9780156030083
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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.


$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.


$14.99
ISBN: 9780062255662
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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.

 


$15.00
ISBN: 9780345549341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey Books - February 4th, 2014

July 2014 Selection: NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "BUZZFEED"
Karen Lord's debut novel, the multiple-award-winning "Redemption in Indigo, " announced the appearance of a major new talent--a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Mieville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company--yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.
Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. "The Best of All Possible Worlds "is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.
A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.
Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race--and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team--one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive--just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.


$15.95
ISBN: 9781607013877
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Prime Books - April 3rd, 2013

June 2014 Selection: There is no such thing as conservation of shadows. When light destroys shadows, darkness does not gain in density elsewhere. When shadows steal over earth and across the sky, darkness is not diluted. Featuring an Introduction by Aliette De Bodard, Conservation of Shadows features a selection of short stories from Yoon Ha Lee.


$16.00
ISBN: 9780452296299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume Books - May 25th, 2010

May 2014 Selection: The "New York Times" bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world
Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, "The Magicians," the prequel to the "New York Times "bestselling book "The Magician King "and the forthcoming "The Magician's Land," is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.


$16.00
ISBN: 9780316246620
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - October 1st, 2013

April 2014 Selection: On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the "Justice of Toren"--a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose--to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.
From debut author Ann Leckie, "Ancillary Justice" is a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence.


$18.00
ISBN: 9780316176491
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - January 7th, 2014

March 2014 Selection: On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Ursula's world is in turmoil, facing the unspeakable evil of the two greatest wars in history. What power and force can one woman exert over the fate of civilization -- if only she has the chance?
Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.


$14.99
ISBN: 9781597803403
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Night Shade Books - June 26th, 2012

February 2014 Selection: HOME IS WHERE THE HERD IS . . .
Fifteen years after winning the Spacer War, Cesar Vaquero has returned to Ithaca, a rugged orbital colony that boasts the only herd of cattle in space, and a wife and a son who don't even recognize him when he shows up at their doorstep. Posing as a homeless drifter, he soon discovers that making his way home past space pirates, one-eyed giants, and mad scientists was the easy part . . .
Penelope swore off men after her husband disappeared. She's been busy enough running the ranch, raising her son, and fending off pushy suitors eager to get their hands on her and her herd. But something about this war-weary drifter stirs forgotten feelings in her, even as sabotage, rustlers, and a space stampede threaten to tear Ithaca apart!
Spin the Sky is an rollicking, high-spirited riff on a certain classic odyssey--featuring characters as big and full of surprises as Space itself!


$16.00
ISBN: 9780375507250
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - August 17th, 2004

January 2014 Selection: Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles of genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian lore of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction that reveals how disparate people connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.
"[David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel's every page."--"The New York Times Book Review