Name: Karen Perkins
Genre: Futuristic Science Fiction
Title: Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Author: Judd Trichter
Appeal Factors: Place – Futuristic 21st century Los Angeles; wealthy and slums; Underground and corporations Tone – Sad, moralistic, to a small degree romantic Pace – Quick paced Frame – Dark, sets much of the tone of the book Characterization – Few characters that are not over developed except for the main character Eliot Lazur Storyline – Though place and people have major roles in the story, morality also plays a major role.
Read Alikes: Tears in the Rain by Rosa Montero, androids are the oppressed society; Big Sheep by Robert Kroese, Los Angeles location; Fans of Westworld.
Summary/Thoughts: Though against the law, human (or heartbeats as they are called in the story) Eliot Lazur a wealthy bot making drug addict, falls in love with the bot (robot) Iris. When Iris is kidnapped and sold for her parts, Eliot seeks out all her parts to put her back together. Some people who purchased her parts are not readily amiable to selling the parts to Eliot and he must resort to some shading dealings to acquire the parts.
Book gives vivid picture of an oppressed underworld of androids versus the elite of Los Angeles.
Name: Stefanie Claydon
Genre: Futuristic SciFi
Title: Only Superhuman
Author: Christopher L. Bennett
Appeal Factors: superheroes, philosophy, plot based, fast paced, sex,
Summary/Thoughts: This is a speculative future where humans have expanded beyond Earth onto asteroids, Mars and even artificial habitats floating in space. Due to advances in science and robotics, some humans have been genetically modifying themselves and their offspring to be stronger, faster, more athletically inclined. Some have even created their children to become trained assassins or enhanced diplomats. Mods are used for good, others are used for evil. The Spiderman adage “with great power comes great responsibility” is a very prevalent theme in this book (its even one of the dedication quotes at the very beginning).
The author, Christopher Bennett, is obviously very steeped in the world of traditional superhero comic books. This novel reads like a Stan Lee creation. The super-humans in this book, especially the main character, Emerald Blair, look up to comic heroes as mentors and role models of how to best use their powers to help people.
Unfortunately, Only Superhuman, falls short for me as a female reader. The history of comic books has always been one that has over sexualized females. I’m not arguing that writers don’t create strong characters or not, but visually females usually have big boobs, skimpy costumes, and frequently rely on the male superheroes to save them when it gets really tough. This attitude carries over in this novel. It’s really hard to read a female character written in such a chauvinistic way. Emerald, and many other women in this story, trade on their bodies to distract, entice, or openly seduce men; their intellect comes second to their physical attributes.
However, chauvinism aside, Bennett raises a lot of good social questions with this novel. Do people have the right to preemptively stop another person from possibly doing something bad in the future? Sound confusing? Say in the next election it was clear that the favorite candidate was backed by the mob, but there was no hard proof. What if someone planted evidence that said this candidate was participating in an illegal activity in order to prevent the mob from getting into the White House? Because something could possibly be bad, does it make it right to stop it from happening? Where does access to information stop and personal privacy begin? What happens when you violate those rights?
Like comic books have always tried to do, this novel is raising a mirror to our society and making you take a good, hard look at the things that we don’t necessarily want to think about. I think that Bennett left the ending of this book slightly open, possibly in order to continue this story. I think that this is a good book for either a mature teen or adult reader, simply because of the amount of sex in this book. It’s not graphic or explicit but there is ALOT. The characters are alittle stereotypical but the plot is engaging, interesting, and keeps you guessing who to trust. Definitely something unique to pick up.
Name: Liz Reed
Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Appeal Factors: Futuristic, apocalyptic (non-zombie), dystopian, survivalist, thought-provoking, nonlinear plot, lyrical, witty
Read Alikes: The Stand by Stephen King, Find Me by Lauren Van den Berg, The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood
Summary/Thoughts: Futuristic and speculative, this book is more SF-lite than definitive SF, so it might appeal to readers who normally shy away from SF novels. A pandemic flu wipes out most of the global population, and the plot jumps around from the 1970s/80s to modern day when the flu is just beginning, to fifteen years in the future when society is starting to reform itself. The plot also occasionally jumps into the story line of a futuristic graphic novel written prior to the flu, called “Station Eleven,” about a group of explorers stranded on a strange world, unable to return home, and forced to reform themselves into an uneasy society. In post-flu society, the plot follows a traveling group of entertainers who perform Shakespeare plays to classical music accompaniment.
Name: Christine Muir
Genre: Futuristic Sci Fi
Title: The Fireman
Author: Joe Hill
Appeal Factors: good character development, well-written
Summary/Thoughts: The Fireman is based on a fascinating premise – much of the world’s population has been infected with a “virus” that causes them to burn. The virus first appears as smoky swirls, similar to tattoos, but as time passes, the swirls begin to smolder and sometimes erupt completely into flames, burning the human to death. The story is intriguing and told well, but somewhere around 500 pages, it gets long.