Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2015: It’s The End of the World As We Know It

sfm15_5

This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2015, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

A common trope of science fiction is to show the Earth greatly transformed, or even completely destroyed, in some way. Our poor planet has been used and abused throughout the history of the genre. Here’s a brief guide to the (post-)apocalypse, or dystopian future, covering books, TV, films and video games.

Aliens

Mass Effect The 5th Wave Defiance The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells War of the Worlds Independence Day The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham 826847

In these titles, Earth is either destroyed or invaded by aliens. In the latter, it is altered to a state where it is unrecognisable: either through the collapse of society and government, or destruction of large portions of the planet. Sometimes the extra-terrestrials are aggressive, sometimes they are just inquisitive, and other times we’re not even aware of them until it is too late.

Mass Effect, The 5th Wave, Defiance, The War of the Worlds (plus the 2005 film version), Independence Day, The Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos.

Illness/Disease

The Passage by Justin Cronin Blindness Oryx and Crake Partials by Dan Wells Parasite I Am Legend by Richard Matheson The Stand Children of Men The Strain

These titles show an Earth ravaged by illness, disease or plague, including technological viruses and biological warfare. In many of them, the illness transforms humankind into something else, often zombie or vampire-like creatures.

Humankind

The Hunger Games Divergent The 100 The Years of Rice and Salt Unwind The Man in the High Castle How I Live Now A Canticle for Leibowitz

Science fiction frequently shows how humankind causes its own downfall, often through war or revolt. This is a particularly popular theme in current Young Adult dystopian fiction, although it’s not exactly a new trend in the genre. This is one of the more frightening sides of sci-fi: how we become our very own worst enemies. Occasionally, it shows a glimpse into an alternate future or past.

Natural Disaster

2012 The Day After Tomorrow The Maze Runner by James Dashner Deep Impact Armageddon The Drowned World

This could also technically come under ‘Humankind’, because most of the time the natural disasters are caused by people, namely through global warming and climate change. This category includes these as well as other things such as asteroids/meteors, tsunamis, earthquakes etc.

2012, The Day After Tomorrow, The Maze Runner, Deep Impact, Armageddon, The Drowned World.

Brainwashing/Government

1984 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Fahrenheit 451 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand V for Vendetta

Another terrifying thing about science fiction is how government is often portrayed. Often it is shown as being a totalitarian or ‘Big Brother’ society, a term coined from George Orwell’s 1984. Citizens often have very little freedom, or even free will, having been brainwashed into behaving in certain ways.

Machines/Artificial Intelligence

I Robot Robopocalypse Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick Love In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Prey Neuromancer

Okay, maybe there’s a lot of scary things about science fiction – another one being the very thought of the Earth being overrun or overtaken by machines or artificial intelligence. Many a sci-fi tale tells of the invention of some fantastic new technology, only for it to become sentient and rise up against mankind.

Can you think of any other titles that would fit in these categories, or any categories that I have missed?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: YA to Adult SF Recommendations

sfm_banner_02a

This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Science fiction can be a scary genre. The potential that it holds can be daunting, and it can be difficult to know where to start. I know many readers who are more than happy to delve into Young Adult science fiction, but are wary of going any further. So I thought I’d make some recommendations of ‘heavier’ science fiction, based on YA books. Let me know what you think, and feel free to share your ideas!

If you enjoyed Insignia by S.J. Kincaid…

YA to Adult Recs

… then try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

In both books, real life and online gaming become very entangled. So many of my fellow bloggers have read and loved both of these books! The 80s references only serve to make Ready Player One even more awesome.

If you enjoyed Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld…

YA to Adult Recs

… then try Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding.

Although one is an alternate history, and the other is a space western, they’re both steampunk books that really gave off the same sense of adventure to me. If you loved the steampunk inventions of Westerfeld’s series, as well as the fast pace of the story, you’ll enjoy Retribution Falls!

If you enjoyed All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill…

YA to Adult SF

… then try Hyperion by Dan Simmons.

Why? Because TIMEY WIMEY! Hyperion features a lot of (complicated but amazing) time travel, and is just a fantastic, fantastic book that I can’t recommend enough (seriously I’ve recommended it so many times over the past two and a bit years).

If you enjoyed Divergent by Veronica Roth…

YA to Adult SF

… then try Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

If you want the classic dystopia disguised as a utopia, as seen in Divergent, then give Brave New World a try. It’s a harrowing tale of good intentions gone horribly wrong.

If you enjoyed Cinder by Marissa Meyer…

recs5

… then try Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

If you enjoyed reading about cyborgs in Cinder, then you might enjoy PKD’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? Like the cyborgs in Cinder’s world, the androids of this book are so human-like that it is almost impossible to tell. Philip K. Dick was a master of science fiction, and this is one of my absolute favourite science fiction books.

If you enjoyed Beta by Rachel Cohn…

recs6

… then try House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds.

Now I have to admit that I haven’t actually read Beta, but I really wanted to recommend House of Suns as it is another of my favourites – and as both books are about the lives of clones, I thought it was a good match. Now to read some more Alastair Reynolds and see if he is favourite author material…

What recommendations would you make for someone wanting to move from YA sci-fi to the ‘heavier’ stuff?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: I Have To See These Films!

scifipostheader2
Today I want to share with you some recent science fiction film releases that I really want to see – generally films that have come out in the past year or so, or are coming out within the next year. I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to, or missed in the cinema and want to catch up on! Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
 

“A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.”

Oblivion – Okay so I barely know anything about this film, but I know that it is about an Earth that is almost empty of resources, so empty in fact that it can no longer support human life. There are still some people left on Earth, whose job it is to find the remaining resources – and Mr. Tom Cruise is one of those people. I really enjoy the science fiction stories that cover isolation and how it affects us, and which delve into more cerebral aspects of the genre. Plus the music to this film is brilliant – thank you very much to Sarah J. Maas who recommended it to me when I met her in October!

Oblivion was released 14th April 2013.

 

“A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.”

 Gravity – I read Empire magazine (movie magazine) every month, yet somehow I completely missed out on this one until it actually came out. Perhaps Empire didn’t cover it whilst it was in production, or perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention, but now that it’s out it is big. The cast members come to a grand total of two: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. It’s had brilliant reviews, a great critical reception and sounds just my sort of thing. As much as I would hate to be in that sort of situation – space in general actually simultaneously fascinates and terrifies me – films like this really appeal to me.

Gravity was released 4th October 2013.

“The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth.”

 Ender’s Game – I loooooooved the book by Orson Scott Card so I was really excited when I heard that there was going to be a film of it. Although I can’t really see them making the whole series into books (the weird chronology/time skips may cause issues), it’s exciting that there’s at least one film based on the series. It’s a shame that the author has some rather extremist and disturbing views, but that doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the books.

Ender’s Game was released 1st November 2013.

 
 

 “Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – this second installment in the Hunger Games series of films will see Katniss and Peeta going back into the arena, and it will be deadlier than ever. Although generally considered the weakest book of the three, I still enjoyed this one and CANNOT WAIT for the film. It looks amazing, as well as visually stunning – just from the trailer alone it seems as though they’ve worked so much on developing how the Capitol and technology is presented.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released on 22nd November 2013.

 
 
“As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.”
 
Pacific Rim – I first saw the trailer for this one ages ago, and knew at that moment that I really wanted to watch it. Sadly, when it finally came out, I couldn’t find anyone else who was really interested in it (apart from my dad who doesn’t have much time to go to the cinema). I need more friends who love sci-fi living nearby! Giant mechas? Fighting monster-dinosaur things? Awesome technology? A soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi who did the amazing Game of Thrones music? Count me in!

Pacific Rim was released on 12th July 2013.

 

“The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.”
 
X-Men: Days of Future Past – X-Men: First Class is my favourite of the X-Men films. As awesome as Sirs Patrick and Ian are, I just love the prequel. But no worries, because the cast from BOTH film series will be in this new prequel! Plus Peter Dinklage, perhaps most famous for his role as the brilliant Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, will be playing the villain. I also kind of have a thing for Michael Fassbender. Ahem.

X-Men: Days of Future Past will be released on 23rd May 2014.

 

“Beatrice Prior, a teenager with a special mind, finds her life threatened when an authoritarian leader seeks to exterminate her kind in her effort to seize control of their divided society.”
 
Divergent – the book was a massive hit, and although it wasn’t one of my favourites of last year I still really enjoyed it. From the trailer, the film seems pretty loyal to the book so far. I thought it was coming out this year for some reason but apparently not… If you haven’t heard of this book, you may have heard of Allegiant (the third book in the series), of which there has been a lot of fuss over lately – someone leaked ending spoilers before the book was released in October.

Divergent will be released on 21st March 2014.

 

What science fiction releases are you looking forward to, or what recent films did you miss in the cinema? Feel free to join in with your own post!

 

Challenges, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: Definitive Science Fiction Reads

scifipostheader2

Today I want to share a challenge with you all: my definitive list of science fiction reads! They are books I feel every sci-fi fan should read at least once in their lifetime, and as well as creating a challenge for myself I hope that it can be challenge for some of you too. Although I already have a Top Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Challenge, I wanted to create one that reflected all different types of science fiction, including Young Adult. So it will actually be a mix of books I’ve loved, books I really feel I should read because they’re considered classics, and some titles that might often be overlooked, as well as some books that I’ve heard a lot of good things about.
 
If you’d like to join in, feel free! I’ll be keeping track of my progress too, on a separate postDon’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

‘Classic’ science fiction

Newer science fiction

Young Adult science fiction

What do you think of the challenge? Are you going to join in?

Past Features

Weekly Roundup #3

weeklyru_16

This is where I share the books I have received in the past week, whether bought, gifted, borrowed etc.

  • Doctor Who: The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole – I love Doctor Who, and I spotted this in the library today, so I thought I’d give it a go. This is a Ten/Rose novel.
  • Doctor Who: The Many Hands by Dale Smith – Same as above, but this one is Ten/Martha.
  • Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth – I own Divergent, and really quite enjoyed it – I’m sure you’ve heard the hype! I wanted to buy Insurgent, but since I can’t find it second hand locally and I don’t want to buy it brand new as I’m trying to save money, I ordered it from the library and picked it up today.
  • The Gathering Dark (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo – I just spotted this in the library today, and the cover made me pick it up. They’ve obviously just gotten it in, and it was only published a few months ago.
  • Company of Liars by Karen Maitland – I found this in the local charity shop for 50p, brand new. I have Maitland’s other book, The Owl Killers (which I still haven’t read…), but the covers combined with the setting made me snap them up. I’m really in the mood for some historical fiction at the moment so I think I’ll be reading this one soon!
  • Burning Embers by Hannah Fielding – Hannah held a competition on her website to win her book and an Amazon giftcard, and I was one of the lucky winners! Thank you, Hannah!
  • Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan – I’ve already read all the Percy Jackson books and I really enjoyed them, because I love Greek mythology. I borrowed them all off of a friend, so I’ve been trying to build up my own collection. So far I have half of them, all from charity shops. This one cost 40p for the hardback.

That’s all for this week, no e-books as I’m trying to get through my to review list – although it didn’t stop me from buying/borrowing physical copies! Whoops…