science fiction/fantasy

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Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon by Mark Hodder

In the dizzying third (and probably not the last) installment of a steampunk/alternative-universe/time-travel saga, polymath explorer extraordinaire Sir Richard Burton returns with his trusty sidekick poet Algernon Swinburne to pre-empt a royal assassination, prevent world war, recover a set of psychoactive diamonds deposited by a now-extinct non-human race of super beings, and defeat the powers of evil. Burton hops between alternative realities in an enthralling tale replete with an encyclopedic grasp of period detail. Thoroughly engrossing.

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder.

Continuing and expanding on the adventure, steampunkery and general Victorian madness of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack Hodder’s protagonists Sir Francis Burton and his assistant poet Algernon Swinburne deal with catastrophic threats to "life as we know it". A seemingly routine robbery leads to a dubious claim on an aristocrat’s estate and quickly morphs into wraith-induced rioting in the streets of London.

The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees

Welcome to the Demi-Monde.  In the year 2018, the Demi-Monde is the most sophisticated, complex and unpredictable computer simulation ever created.  Rees’ book is one of the most entertaining alternate reality/sci-fi books created in some time.  Rees populates the Demi-Monde, originally designed as a military training ground, with some of the worst villains from history.  We enter the Demi-Monde in search of a missing person, who is stuck in the simulation and cannot get out.  Once I started reading, I didn’t want to leave. 

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." From "The Unexpected Party" in the Shire to "The Last Stage" home again we journey with the far-wandering Mr. Bilbo Baggins across Middle Earth as he is reluctantly caught up in the quest for unimaginable treasure. With thirteen dwarves the hobbit faces bickering trolls, evil orcs, terrifying Wargs, hideous spiders, deception and, finally, the dragon Smaug. Bilbo is chosen by the wizard Gandalf as the burglar necessary to complete the expedition to the Lonely Mountain.

Earthbound by Joe Haldeman

Hugo and Nebula award winner Haldeman's space opera trilogy (Marsbound, Starbound) arcs to its stunning conclusion. The god-like Others (for reasons only they can fathom) have destroyed the earth's moon and created a barrier to human space travel. Humanity pushes back and the Others turn off the power. All of the power. In the blink of an eye. Aircraft drop out of the sky. Telecommunication disappears. Civilization rapidly begins to unravel.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

In Whitehead’s post-apocalyptic thriller, the world is divided into two types:  the infected and the uninfected.  The world has been hit by a plague, but now it is receding and the uninfected are slowly taking back their cities.  Mark Spitz is a heavily armed civilian volunteer who is helping to eliminate remaining infected individuals.  He and his team are on the island of Manhattan cleaning out Zone One, trying to set up the base for resettlement.  Whitehead’s description of a devastated NYC is as frightening as the scenes remembered by his characters. 

11/22/63 by Stephen King

A high school English teacher is sent back to 1958 via a time travel rabbit hole located in a Maine diner. His objective is to stop Lee Harvey Oswald, but he must first make sure of Oswald’s guilt and that he acted alone. An incredibly entertaining novel, 11/22/63 asks what might have happened had President Kennedy lived. Check Our Catalog



Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

It's the end of days!!! In the not too distant future, robots have made our lives a lot easier. Robots can now drive our cars and fight our wars.  Fast forward just a little bit more and they gain intelligence and begin to turn against us. Wilson's book is an oral history of the rising of Archos, the leader of the computer/robot revolution, and the human reaction as they fight to stay alive.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

From the screenwriter who brought you Fanboys comes a debut novel with more 80s references than one person can handle.  Ready Player One takes place in the not too distant future.  This is a much bleaker future, where most of the world's population is now plugged into the virtual reality world of OASIS.  Cline's book follows Wade Watts and his OASIS avatar as he tries to solve the riddles left behind by the creator of OASIS.  This riddles will unlock a vast fortune and many obstacles stand in Wade's way, not the least of which is the abilit

Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis

Connie Willis adds a seventh Hugo Award to her list of accomplishments with this diptych. Continuing a theme developed in The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, Willis imagines a near future (2060) in which Oxford University historians conduct field work by traveling into the past. The past in these two books (which are actually one story) is London during WWII.

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