Jessica Chiarella’s adult science-fiction novel And Again tells the story of four terminally ill patients who are given the chance to start a new life in genetically perfected versions of their bodies.
However, each of the protagonists struggle with their identities when they receive the transplant: Hannah, an artist, has to re-learn how to hold a brush; David, who was a Congressman, struggles to not return to his vices; Connie, who worked as an actress, has to navigate an industry that is obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda has to learn how to re-connect with her family.
Chiarella forces you to muse on when it is appropriate to draw the line with scientific advances. Is it morally okay to clone humans if you are going to use the technology to save the lives of terminally ill patients?
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, February 15th, 2016||No Comments »|
In a breathtaking debut graphic novel from Nobrow Press, artist and storyteller Jeremy Sorese casts his readers into a neon sea of human wants and foibles with Curveball, a science-fiction not-quite-love-story that highlights the thin line between optimism and delusion, and the often agonizing process of moving on.
Set in a futuristic society that relies entirely on technology powered by kinetic energy, Curveball follows Avery, a young waiter bogged down by a miserable day job and haunted by a prolonged and painful relationship with the noncommittal object of their affections, a sailor named Christophe (Avery is also gender ambiguous and uses ungendered pronouns, which is an exciting instance of non-binary representation).
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Monday, December 14th, 2015||No Comments »|
I love the idea of anthologies–getting them for one author and discovering others–but what inevitably happens is I wait for the starring author to publish their contribution separately as a Kindle Single or go to a Barnes and Noble and read through the stories I’m actually interested in, skipping everything else. But every once in a while an anthology comes out that’s pure magic cover to cover, and all it took was George R.R. Martin on the editing team.
Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love includes Jim Butcher’s “Love Hurts,” a short story from the Dresden Universe that promises to solve at least some of Harry and Karen’s UST, and Neil Gaiman’s creepily mind-blowing imaginary girlfriend story, “The Thing About Cassandra,” both totally worth the anthology’s negligible Kindle price. However, also worth reading are M.N.L. Hanover’s haunted house story, which brings some genuine chills, and a sci-fi classic about a middle-aged man and his alien love, reinvented with use of the internet, by Peter S. Gould. And of course, the pièce de résistance, a snippet from the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon rounds off this anthology’s offerings of bittersweet romance.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
If you’re sick of seeing the same old classic literature authors on the shelves of your local bookstore and are in the mood for something exciting, the science-fiction anthology Sound and Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk should certainly be right up your alley. While the authors of the short stories do borrow from the Bard, the end result is Shakespeare as you’ve never seen him before.
For example, Macbeth is adapted into a dystopian cyberpunk tale that cautions you about being careful what you wish for. Yet despite the futuristic setting, each of the five authors manage to preserve the heart of Shakespeare’s tales, and literature geeks will enjoy scouring each piece for little nods to the original tale, too.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, April 24th, 2015||No Comments »|
Do you remember first being introduced to Shakespeare in language arts classes? How impossible it was to understand the world the characters were set in or understand the era in which the story’s morals were entrenched in without a teacher droning on and on about it for at least an hour before ever reading a line of dialogue?
Well, Hannu Rajaniemi probably did, and he decided that The Quantum Thief was not going to do any of that hand-holding crap for its readers. You are simply subsumed by the world of Jean le Flambeur. The book is hardcore science fiction mixed with a detective mystery plot with just the tiniest dash of Douglas Adams’ brand of space adventure, a la flirtatious spacecrafts and the use of overwhelming understatements when coming across the fantastic and utterly strange.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Thursday, April 23rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Let’s face it. We live in a time where vampires have oversaturated the market. It’s just gotten more and more ridiculous. Vamped by David Sosnowski, in comparison, is a breath of fresh air. And by fresh air, I mean gory, fetid air that’s more in line with the reality of a world populated by vampires rather than the sexy, glittery ones that keep getting portrayed.
Vamped tells the story of Marty Kowalski, who was actually one of the principle movers for the vampiric conversion of Earth’s population. Humans are a tiny, tiny minority mostly kept for sport. Everyone else uses a Mr. Plasma. Now this sounds an awful lot like True Blood, but it isn’t. It’s way too creepily realistic.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Friday, April 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
I went through a massive Kazuo Ishiguro phase in college, possibly because I suspected adulthood meant living in a perpetual state of peripheral melancholy. Seriously, when I finished Never Let Me Go, I cried…in a McDonalds. There is no place more inappropriate to cry over literary masterpieces than McDonalds, but it felt right at the time.
I wept because Ishiguro has mastered writing tragedy completely devoid of melodrama. Michael Bay may have been able to turned the existential dilemma of clones into a fun popcorn flick, but Ishiguro’s original is devastating in its treatment of the problem by never addressing it. No one questions the ethics of cloning in the story. There is no gruesome confrontation about the truth of what’s happening to these characters being slowly harvested for organs.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Thursday, April 9th, 2015||No Comments »|