The Other Worlds Book Club
The Other Worlds Book Club reads and discusses fresh sci-fi titles.
Meets the Third Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM.
New members are always welcome!
Books Inc. Campbell
The Pruneyard Schopping Center
1875 S. Bascom Ave. #600
January 2020 Selection: "Deft, tense and atmospheric, compellingly immersive and wildly original." --The New York Times
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.
Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.
November 2019 Selection: "Brilliant...it is all that Dune was, and maybe a little more."-- Galaxy Magazine
"The perfect companion piece to Dune...fascinating."--Challenging Destiny
Praise for Dune
"I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings."--Arthur C. Clarke
"A portrayal of an alien society more complete and deeply detailed than any other author in the field has managed...a story absorbing equally for its action and philosophical vistas."-- The Washington Post Book World
"One of the monuments of modern science fiction."-- Chicago Tribune
"Powerful, convincing, and most ingenious."--Robert A. Heinlein
"Herbert's creation of this universe, with its intricate development and analysis of ecology, religion, politics and philosophy, remains one of the supreme and seminal achievements in science fiction."-- Louisville Times
October 2019 Selection: A Darker Shade of Magic, from #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last Antari--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes--Red London--and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.
September 2019 Selection: "A phantasmagorical picaresque through a lushly realised underworld, populated by a grotesque bestiary of fantastical creatures. . . . This twisty example of the new weird genre examines love, loss and loyalty, packing skilful world-building and a powerful emotional punch into a little over 200 pages."--The Guardian
She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.
Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.
The Border Keeper spins wonders both epic--the Byzantine bureaucracy of hundreds of demon realms, impossible oceans, hidden fortresses--and devastatingly personal--a spear flung straight, the profound terror and power of motherhood. What Vasethe discovers in Mkalis threatens to bring his own secrets into light and throw both worlds into chaos.
August 2019 Selection: The place, New York City; the time, the very near future. The streets of Gotham are swarming with self-driving cars, which are now a reality, and the competition between two entrepreneurs for this cutthroat futuristic business grows increasingly fierce. But when the escalating technological warfare produces superintelligent AI computers that use data to decide who should live and die, the results are explosive . . . and deadly.
It is left to young Naomi Sumner, inventor of the virtual world in which the AIs train, to recognize that the supercomputers are developing goals of their own--goals for which they are willing to kill. But can she stop these inhuman machines before it is too late? More importantly, will she stop them?
Three Laws Lethal takes the reader on a wild ride in a world that is still imaginary . . . for now . . .
June 2019 Selection: That's what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome--a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
That's what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It's why she's dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.
As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease--a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?
At once a relentless pageturner and an intricate science-fiction puzzlebox about time, identity, and memory, Recursion is a thriller as only Blake Crouch could imagine it--and his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.
May 2019 Selection: On a planet with six suns, night is about to fall for the first time in two thousand years . . .
The planet Kalgash is on the brink of chaos--but only a handful of people realize it. Kalgash knows only the perpetual light of day; for more than two millennia, some combination of its six suns has lit up the sky. But twilight is now gathering. Soon the suns will set all at one--and the terrifying splendor of Nightfall will call forth a madness that signals the end of civilization
Isaac Asimov's short story "Nightfall" first appeared in 1941. It has since become recognized as a classic, its author a legend. But the short story isn't the whole story. Now, Dr. Asimov has teamed with multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner Robert Silverberg to explore and expand one of the most awe-inspiring concepts in the history of science fiction.
In this novel, you will witness Nightfall--and much more.
You will learn what happens at Daybreak.
April 2019 Selection: In this stunning space opera, a warship's AI becomes trapped in a human body, her goals reduced to one: revenge. Winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke awards
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.
March 2019 Selection: For more than two decades, the sight of the Doctor Fid's powered armor has struck fear into the hearts of hero and civilian alike. But when a personal tragedy motivates Doctor Fid to investigate a crime, a plot is uncovered so horrific that even he is taken aback.
Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must race against time if he is to have any hope of confronting the approaching threat. Every battle takes its toll...but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.
Fid's Crusade is a supervillainous tale of rage, grief, guilt and violence. Also, of humanity rediscovered.
February 2019 Selection: To save his daughter, he'll go anywhere--and any-when... Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career...as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler's brain. Until one afternoon, his "rescue" team arrives--eighteen years too late.Their mission: return Kin to 2142, where he's only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can't remember.Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter's very existence is at risk. It'll take one final trip across time to save Miranda--even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father's heart and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.
November 2018 Selection: For suspense-filled, post-apocalyptic thrillers, Wool is more than a self-published ebook phenomenon―it's the new standard in classic science fiction.
In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo's rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.
His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.
October 2018 Selection: A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved--its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.
But some can never stop searching for answers.
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand's code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history's most perplexing discovery--and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
September 2018 Selection: Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin's son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki?son of a giant?blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.
Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman's deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
August 2018 Selection: Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza--known to his friends as Hubert, Etc--was too old to be at that Communist party.
But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be--except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society--and walk away.
After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life--food, clothing, shelter--from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.
It's still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it's war - a war that will turn the world upside down.
Fascinating, moving, and darkly humorous, Walkaway is a multi-generation science fiction thriller about the wrenching changes of the next hundred years...and the very human people who will live their consequences.
July 2018 Selection: The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.
Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.
Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.
Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene--though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives--and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.
June 2018 Selection: The thrilling sequel to the Hugo and Nebula-winning Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and a finalist for the 2018 Hugo and Nommo Awards
It's been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places.
And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.
But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.
After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?
April 2018 Selection: With wry humor and penetrating satire, Flatland takes us on a mind-expanding journey into a different world to give us a new vision of our own. A. Square, the slightly befuddled narrator, is born into a place limited to two dimensions--irrevocably flat--and peopled by a hierarchy of geometrical forms. In a Gulliver-like tour of his bizarre homeland, A. Square spins a fascinating tale of domestic drama and political turmoil, from sex among consenting triangles to the intentional subjugation of Flatland's females. He tells of visits to Lineland, the world of one dimension, and Pointland, the world of no dimension. But when A. Square dares to speak openly of a third, or even a fourth, dimension, his tragic fate climaxes a brilliant parody of Victorian society. An underground favorite since its publication in England in1884, Flatland is as prophetic a science fiction classic as the works of H. G. Wells, introducing aspects of relativity and hyperspace years before Einstein's famous theories. And it does so with wonderful, enduring enchantment.
March 2018 Selection: The critically acclaimed cult novelist makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy.
Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George--publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide--and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite--heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus's ancestors--they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.
At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn--led by Samuel Braithwhite and his son Caleb--which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his--and the whole Turner clan's--destruction.
A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism--the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.
February 2018 Selection: Winner of the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novella!
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself -- but first she has to make it there, alive.
January 2018 Selection: Louise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event.
The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.
Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby's origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.
There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.
A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.
November 2017 Selection: Galaxity, capital of the Terran Empire, in the 28th century. Valerian and Laureline are agents who protect mankind from rogue time travellers. Now they are sent back in time to New York in 1986 to intercept Galaxity's worst megalomaniac, Xombul.
October 2017 Selection: Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking work of science fiction--winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
A lone human ambassador is sent to Winter, an alien world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants can change their gender whenever they choose. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters...
Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
September 2017 Selection: Ray Bradbury's internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family." But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn't live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
August 2017 Selection: An amazing, award-winning speculative fiction debut novel by a major new talent, in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin.
Global warming has changed the world's geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria's father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.
But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father's death the army starts watching their town--and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.
Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.
July 2017 Selection: From the former editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning Hugo and Nebula Award short-listed novel about the end of the world--and the beginning of our future
An ancient society of witches and a hipster technological startup go war as the world from tearing itself. To further complicate things, each of the groups' most promising followers (Patricia, a brilliant witch and Laurence, an engineering "wunderkind") may just be in love with each other.
As the battle between magic and science wages in San Francisco against the backdrop of international chaos, Laurence and Patricia are forced to choose sides. But their choices will determine the fate of the planet and all mankind.
In a fashion unique to Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky offers a humorous and, at times, heart-breaking exploration of growing up extraordinary in world filled with cruelty, scientific ingenuity, and magic.
June 2017 Selection: When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister's young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny... and the birth of a new faith.
May 2017 Selection: A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.
Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.
Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.
Now, we approach our new home.
April 2017 Selection:
Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements.
An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move.
Mysterious, smooth-talking power players who lurk behind the scenes.
A young woman from the trailer park.
And her very smelly cat.
Together, they will decide the future of mankind.
Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop's dumpster on a hot summer day.
This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you'd want to follow.
Will Zoey figure it all out in time? Or maybe the better question is, will you? After all, the future is coming sooner than you think.
March 2017 Selection: To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.
Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.
Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.
The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao--because she might be his next victim.
February 2017 Selection:In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak. Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language. When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties: to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak but which speaks through her, whether she likes it or not.
January 2017 Selection: Shining, haunting, mind-blowing tales . . . Ted Chiang is so exhilarating, so original, so stylish he just leaves you speechless. Junot Diaz
Stories of Your Life and Others delivers dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar, often presenting characters who must confront sudden change the inevitable rise of automatons or the appearance of aliens with some sense of normalcy. With sharp intelligence and humor, Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by beauty and wonder. An award-winning collection from one of today's most lauded writers, Stories of Your Life and Others is a contemporary classic.