Favorite Book Series: Science Fiction, Double Feature

Science fiction and fantasy are the gateway into expressing some of our most creative and imaginative ideas. It’s exciting, intriguing, and a possible look into the what could be and what we want to be. We here at the University Press love to delve into those fascinating and surreal worlds. Here are some of our favorite sci-fi and fantasy books that you should add to your reading list! Leave us a comment, visit us on facebook, or follow us on twitter to share your thoughts about what other sci-fi and fantasy books everyone should be reading!

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, Offred reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain hierarchies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets. Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. Somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win.

 

World War Z – Max Brooks

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the record that preserves these horrifying accounts.

 

A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here, an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne. A child is lost in the twilight between life and death, and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: The Game of Thrones.

 

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blacklyfatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best.

 

 

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. This fantasy novel delves into a post-apocalyptic world with no government, no society, and not a lot of hope. With a very eclectic writing style and captivating storyline, Cormac McCarthy brings us to a new and different world from the one that we all know.

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Book Recommendations

Hi everyone! We hope that you’re enjoying the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. We’re here today to bring you even more great books to read. Have a recommendation you’d like to share? Read any of these and have an opinion on it? Leave a comment, visit us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to share your thoughts and see even more great content.

Playing for the Devil’s Fire — Phillipee Diederich

Life in Boli’s pueblo, Izayoc, goes on how it normally does: uneventfully. Boli and his friends are focused on playing marbles and not much else. They’re trying to win the prized Devil’s Fire marble from an older boy named Mosca, but then the severed head of Enrique Quintanilla is discovered. Everything changes, like how Boli’s once poor neighbors suddenly have new SUVs. Boli’s parents leave for Toluca, but then disappear, and no one will talk about it. He decides to take matters into his own hands and uncover the truth, but he needs the unlikely help of a “has-been” luchador, El Chicano Estrada. Diederich’s writing is powerful, and his young narrator sees things others intentionally miss. It’s an instant classic in young adult fiction.

Dreaming in Cuban — Cristina García

This novel follows the story and struggles of Celia del Pino and her family as they survive the Cuban Revolution. Following three generations of the del Pino family, this dreamlike story goes into the heart and soul of Cuba. The depth and the division of the Cuban Revolution has struck Celia del Pino and her family, the politics and geography leaving their mark. Cristina Garcia focuses on the affect the Cuban Revolution has on the women of the family, creating a tale that is central around womanhood. Dreaming in Cuba uncovers and brings to light the bittersweet challenges that families go through when living in a country that is in a war with itself.

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents — Julia Alvarez

When their father gets in trouble and enlists help from a CIA operative, the four García sisters—Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia—find themselves suddenly uprooted from their Dominican Republic home and are forced to migrate to New York City in 1960. Narrated between the four García sisters, we see the experiences and challenges they face when exposed to a new culture. Overwhelmed, they try to assimilate to their new home, buying new clothes and straightening their hair, but their Dominican Republic culture is emphasized as the story is told in reverse. Considered an essential part of Latino literature, the García girls undoubtedly make their stories heard.

Lost City Radio — Daniel Alarcón

Daniel Alarcón’s Lost City Radio depicts the life of Norma, who lives in a nameless South America country that is in the aftermath of a war. Norma is the host of the country’s most popular radio station, Lost City Radio. Every week, she lists the names of those who have disappeared and gone missing as the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios listen. Norma has helped loved ones reunite, all while suffering from her own husband’s disappearance at the end of the war. When a boy named Victor arrives from the jungle and gives her a clue about the fate of her husband, Norma’s life changes once again. The loss of language and culture hang over this story as Norma tries to find more than her missing husband.

 

The 5 Books You Need for Fall

It might be hard to believe, but Fall is in the air—despite the 90 degree Georgia heat! Students are returning to classes, the days are growing shorter, and more than a few stores have Halloween decorations up. If you’re tired of the sun, if you’re ready to bundle up with a blanket and watch the leaves change, then you should take these 5 books with you on your Autumn journey.

1. The Graveyard Book — Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens is as far from normal as his name implies. Given the Freedom of the Graveyard as a toddler, he was raised by the ghosts and spirits and other supernatural creatures that lived there. Gaiman’s tale weaves a world of supernatural magic, capturing readers and refusing to let them go. This dark but endearing tale is the perfect lead-in to Fall.

2. Persuasion — Jane Austen

Any Austin novel is an excellent choice, no matter the season, but Persuasion is particularly perfect. Autumn is such a tender symbol within it. Anne Elliot’s everlasting love for Captain Wentworth, and his ultimate commitment to her, renews one’s faith and joy in love. It is what twilit Autumn nights dream of.

3. The Diviners — Libba Bray

Do you love H. P. Lovecraft? Die whenever you read “The Fall of the House of Usher?” Shiver if a raven crosses your path? Then read The Diviners. Set in the bright and shiny 1920s, Libba Bray creates a world that any horror-fan will love. The rise of occultism under the peeling facade of glamor in New York City causes an unstoppable supernatural horror to be released, and there’s no guarantee to stopping it.

4. Maid Marian — Elsa Watson

The tale of Robin Hood has long lived in any reader’s heart, but it is Maid Marian who deserves a grand adventure this season. Watson’s retelling brings forth a vivd image: Marian is imaginative and clever and determined to live her own life. Under Queen Eleanor’s threat, Marian will marry her departed husband’s brother, but she knows she’ll likely disappear once she does. Marian seeks Robin Hood’s aid, yes, but she proves to everyone she is so much more than a girl needing help.

5. Dreamcatcher — Stephen King

Everyone knows King in some form. His works are legendary, and he is a true master of horror and suspense. If you haven’t read Dreamcatcher, do so immediately. But fair warning: you probably shouldn’t read it at night. Or at a cabin in the woods. Or during a blizzard. You never know what sinister creature might innocently ask for your help in the middle of the dark and lonely night.