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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 6:00PM at Books Inc. in Mountain View.

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The City We Became: A Novel (The Great Cities Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316509886
Availability: Coming Soon - AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Published: Orbit - July 27th, 2021

September 2021 Selection: Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts her most incredible novel yet, a "glorious" story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City. In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn't remember who he is, where he's from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power. In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it's as if the paint is literally calling to her. In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels. And they're not the only ones. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She's got six.


Wool Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780358447849
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Published: John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books - October 20th, 2020

August 2021 Selection: * INCLUDES ORIGINAL NEW ESSAY "A HISTORY OF THE DARKEST YARNS" FROM HUGH HOWEY*

"One of dystopian fiction's masterpieces alongside the likes of 1984 and Brave New World."
-- Daily Express

The first book in the acclaimed, New York Times best-selling trilogy, Wool is the story of mankind clawing for survival. The world outside has grown toxic, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. The remnants of humanity live underground in a single silo. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they want: They are allowed to go outside.

After the previous sheriff leaves the silo in a terrifying ritual, Juliette, a mechanic from the down deep, is suddenly and inexplicably promoted to the head of law enforcement. With newfound power and with little regard for the customs she is supposed to abide, Juliette uncovers hints of a sinister conspiracy. Tugging this thread may uncover the truth ... or it could kill every last human alive.

"Claustrophobic and, at times, genuinely terrifying."
-- Washington Post


Catfishing on CatNet: A Novel (A CatNet Novel #1) Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781250165091
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Published: Tor Teen - April 27th, 2021

July 2021 Selection: A thought-provoking near future YA thriller that could not be more timely as it explores issues of online privacy, artificial intelligence, and the power and perils of social networks


Here and Now and Then Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780778308980
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Published: Mira Books - August 27th, 2019

May 2021 Selection: He'll go anywhere and any when to save his daughter

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.

But his current life is a far cry from his previous career...as a time-traveling secret agent from over a century in the future.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, until one afternoon, his "rescue" team arrives--eighteen years too late.

Their mission: return Kin to 2142, where he's been gone only weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can't remember.

Torn between two lives, Kin's desperate efforts to stay connected to both will threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself. With his daughter's very existence at risk, he will have to take one final trip to save her--even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.


The House in the Cerulean Sea Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250217318
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Published: Tor Books - December 29th, 2020

April 2021 Selection: Lambda Literary Award-winning author TJ Klune's bestselling, breakout contemporary fantasy that's 1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in. (Gail Carriger)

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they're likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren't the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place--and realizing that family is yours.


Semiosis: A Novel (Semiosis Duology #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780765391360
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Published: Tor Books - March 12th, 2019

March 2020 Selection: Human survival hinges on an bizarre alliance in Semiosis, a character driven science fiction novel of first contact by debut author Sue Burke.

2019 Campbell Memorial Award Finalist
2019 Locus Finalist for Best Science Fiction Novel
Locus 2018 Recommended Reading List

New York Public Library--Best of 2018
Forbes--Best Science Fiction Books of 2019-2019
The Verge--Best of 2018
Thrillist--Best Books of 2018
Vulture--10 Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2018
Chicago Review of Books--The 10 Best Science Fiction Books of 2018
Texas Library Association--Lariat List Top Books for 2019

Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they'll have to survive on the one they found. They don't realize another life form watches...and waits...

Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools.


The Talented Ribkins Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781612197289
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Melville House - August 7th, 2018

February 2020 Selection: "For sheer reading pleasure Ladee Hubbard's original and wildly inventive novel is in a class by itself." --Toni Morrison

"The Talented Ribkins is a charming and delightful debut novel with a profound heart, and Ladee Hubbard's voice is a welcome original." --Mary Gaitskill

- Winner of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award
- Winner of the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Prize
- An INDIE NEXT pick
- Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Nominee

At seventy-two, Johnny Ribkins shouldn't have such problems: He's got one week to come up with the money he stole from his mobster boss or it's curtains.

What may or may not be useful to Johnny as he flees is that he comes from an African-American family that has been gifted with super powers that are a bit, well, odd. Okay, very odd. For example, Johnny's father could see colors no one else could see. His brother could scale perfectly flat walls. His cousin belches fire. And Johnny himself can make precise maps of any space you name, whether he's been there or not.

In the old days, the Ribkins family tried to apply their gifts to the civil rights effort, calling themselves The Justice Committee. But when their, eh, superpowers proved insufficient, the group fell apart. Out of frustration Johnny and his brother used their talents to stage a series of burglaries, each more daring than the last.

Fast forward a couple decades and Johnny's on a race against the clock to dig up loot he's stashed all over Florida. His brother is gone, but he has an unexpected sidekick: his brother's daughter, Eloise, who has a special superpower of her own.

Inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois's famous essay "The Talented Tenth" and fuelled by Ladee Hubbard's marvelously original imagination, The Talented Ribkins is a big-hearted debut novel about race, class, politics, and the unique gifts that, while they may cause some problems from time to time, bind a family together.


Velocity Weapon (The Protectorate #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316419598
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Published: Orbit - June 11th, 2019

January 2020 Selection: Dazzling space battles, intergalactic politics, and rogue AI collide in Velocity Weapon, the first book in this epic space opera trilogy by award-winning author Megan O'Keefe.
Sanda and Biran Greeve were siblings destined for greatness. A high-flying sergeant, Sanda has the skills to take down any enemy combatant. Biran is a savvy politician who aims to use his new political position to prevent conflict from escalating to total destruction.
However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda loses consciousness when her gunship is blown out of the sky. Instead of finding herself in friendly hands, she awakens 230 years later on a deserted enemy warship controlled by an AI who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system is dead. Ada Prime and its rival Icarion have wiped each other from the universe.
Now, separated by time and space, Sanda and Biran must fight to put things right.


The Book of M: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062669612
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 25th, 2019

October 2019 Selection: Brad Thor's Summer 2018 Fiction Pick for THE TODAY SHOW!

"Eerie, dark, and compelling, [The Book of M] will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014)." --Booklist

WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE UP TO REMEMBER?

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man's shadow disappears--an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max's shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

Like The Passage and Station Eleven, this haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.


Mem Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781944700867
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Unnamed Press - March 19th, 2019

September 2019 SelectionMEM is a rare novel, a small book carrying very big ideas, the kind of story that stays with you long after you've finished reading it. 
Set in the glittering art deco world of a century ago, MEM makes one slight alteration to history: a scientist in Montreal discovers a method allowing people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete. The Mems exist as mirror-images of their source -- zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over, until they expire in the cavernous Vault where they are kept. 
And then there is Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem capable of creating her own memories. An ageless beauty shrouded in mystery, she is allowed to live on her own, and create her own existence, until one day she is summoned back to the Vault. What happens next is a gorgeously rendered, heart-breaking novel in the vein of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. Debut novelist Bethany Morrow has created an allegory for our own time, exploring profound questions of ownership, and how they relate to identity, memory and history, all in the shadows of Montreal's now forgotten slave trade.


The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780765378385
Availability: In Stock Now - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Please allow up to 48-hours for Curbside Pickup orders to be processed.
Published: Tor Books - July 3rd, 2018

July 2019 Selection: On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York's experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition's attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn't take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can't go into space, too.

Elma's drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.


The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062678119
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Published: Harper Voyager - July 3rd, 2018

June 2019 Selection: 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Library Journal Vulture - The Verge - SYFYWire

*Finalist for the World Fantasy Award: Best Novel

*Nominated for the Locus Award: Best First Novel

*Finalist for the British Fantasy Award: Best Newcomer

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty perfect for fans of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.

Featuring a stepback and extra content including a bonus scene and an excerpt from The Kingdom of Copper.

On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass.

It's a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound--and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.


The Power Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316547604
Availability: In Stock Now - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Please allow up to 48-hours for Curbside Pickup orders to be processed.
Published: Back Bay Books - January 8th, 2019

May 2019 Selection: All over the world women and girls are discovering they have the power. With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain, and even death. And with this small twist of nature, everything changes drastically.

Ambitious and provocative, visceral and page-turning, award-winning author Naomi Alderman's THE POWER at once takes us on a journey to an alternate reality and exposes our own world in bold and surprising ways.


Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781101988879
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Published: Ace - February 27th, 2018

April 2019 Selection: At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don't truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass's care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family--and new enemies. 

Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona's secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.

Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way.


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All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780765397539
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Published: Tor.com - May 2nd, 2017

March 2019 Selection: A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

"As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure."

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid -- a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534413504
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Published: Gallery / Saga Press - June 26th, 2018

February 2019 Selection: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.


Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316129084
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Published: Orbit - June 15th, 2011

January 2019 Selection: The first book in the landmark Expanse series, now a major television series. 
Leviathan Wakes is James S. A. Corey's first novel in the epic, New York Times bestselling series the Expanse, a modern masterwork of science fiction where humanity has colonized the solar system.

Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship's captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history.


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A Green and Ancient Light Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781481442237
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - June 13th, 2017

November 2018 Selection: Set in a world similar to our own, during a war that parallels World War II, A Green and Ancient Light is the stunning story of a boy who is sent to stay with his grandmother for the summer in a serene fishing village. Their tranquility is shattered by the crash of a bullet-riddled enemy plane, the arrival of grandmother's friend Mr. Girandole--a man who knows the true story of Cinderella'-s slipper--and the discovery of a riddle in the sacred grove of ruins behind grandmother's house. In a sumptuous idyllic setting and overshadowed by the threat of war, four unlikely allies learn the values of courage and sacrifice.


Autonomous: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780765392084
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Published: Tor Books - September 4th, 2018

October 2018 Selection: Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can't otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.

Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack's drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.

And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?