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{ Category Archives } SciFi

The Osiris Ritual

The Osiris Ritual (A Newbury and Hobbes Investigation) by George Mann Sir Maurice Newbury and Valerie Hobbes are back in another rollicking steampunk adventure in George Mann’s The Osiris Ritual.  Like the previous book, The Affinity Bridge, there’s plenty of great action and adventure and nobility and constrained behavior and running around London.  The characters […]

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir We read this book for my SF group this month in anticipation of the film being released soon.  Amazing! Through a cascading set of mishaps, Mark Whatney is left for dead on Mars by his fellow astronauts. This novel tells the exciting and harrowing tale of attempt to survive.  A […]

The Manhattan Projects

The Manhattan Projects, Vol 1-5 written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Pitarra In the 1940s, the United States wrangled many of its best scientific minds together into the Manhattan Project, a military research group with the aim of creating the Atom bomb.  Hickman and Pitarra’s comic asks the simple question: what if the members […]

Broken Time

Broken Time by Maggy Thomas When Siggy gets a job at an interplanetary supermax prison, she doesn’t know she’s going to become a conversational pal with a pair of serial killers.  Or that this relationship will hinge on the fact that she’s one of the few people who has encountered time pockets more than once.  […]

Directive 51

Directive 51 by John Barnes; narrated by Susan Eriksen What would happen if all the people who hate the “big system,” for the many, many different reasons that people do, decided that their differences of opinion about why they hate it were irrelevant, and all bonded together to do something about it?  Technological apocalypse, that’s […]

Koko Takes a Holiday

Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea Shea’s novel is a light romp through a dark future where most of the Earth has been ravaged by economic and environmental collapse.  Many people live in floating cities high above the Earth, and a few others vie for the limited slots among the global elite.  Just making […]

The Wanderer

The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber I’ve read my fair share of old science fiction.  (By old here, I generally mean things written before 1980.)  I acknowledge this line is relatively arbitrary, but so am I.  Some old sf gets dated pretty quickly, and feels foreign and a little weird.  The Cosmic Computer comes to mind.  […]

Maze Runner

Maze Runner by James Dashner Thomas wakes in a wide clearing, surrounded by boys who tell him that he’s now trapped in the center of a massive maze that changes every night and is patrolled by robotic-organic death beasts with blades and needles.  The boys know they’re being watched by the “Creators” and they get […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Empire State’s Worldbuilder

When my students and I talk about the digital age, one of the changes we trace is the relationship between author and audience.  In oral cultures, the relationship is direct — the one telling you the story is standing within earshot, so you can ask questions and work out details together.  Literacy changes that, separating […]

Empire State

Empire State by Adam Christopher; narrated by Phil Gigante The dark and shadowy world of Empire State is kind of like New York in the late 20s, but not quite.  This tale of adventure, mystery, weird technology, and haunting atmosphere will have you running in circles, marveling at the buildings, and peering into the fog.  […]

Comics Roundup: The Spirit, Deadpool, Luthor

The Spirit: Femmes Fatales by Will Eisner I have, of course, heard about Will Eisner’s The Spirit plenty, so when I saw this collection at my library, I thought I’d give it a try.  Not a best first collection for the new reader of the Spirit.  While some of the adventures are entertaining, the book […]

The Thing (2011)

Having just seen John Carpenter’s original The Thing in January, I sought out the recent prequel, also confusingly titled The Thing.  It’s a weird prequel/remake, with an almost identical story structure to that of the original film.  In the 1982 film, we find out that a Norwegian research station had already been gutted by the […]

Comics Roundup: Judge Dredd 3 & 4, Two-Step, Grindhouse

Judge Dredd, Volumes 3 and Volume 4 by Duane Swierczynski and Nelson Daniel Volume 3 finds Dredd in the wastelands, trying to track down criminals to save Mega-City one from “The Big Fail.”  Think of it as “Dredd visits The Hills Have Eyes.”  It’s a delightful, if goofy, adventure for everyone’s favorite Clint Eastwood doppelganger.  […]


Farside written by Ben Bova; narrated by Stephan Rudnicki On the far side of the moon, a new observatory is building the biggest telescopes ever crafted by Man.  These massive instruments, combined with the Moon’s airless surface, and the far-side’s shelter from the brightness of the Earth, give its scientists the ability to see things […]

The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters Detective Hank Palace just wants to solve this murder.  But there are lots of things getting in the way: his colleagues and the coroner think it’s suicide, the mobile phone service is getting sketchy in his little Massachusetts town, the crime lab is backed up beyond belief, and […]