The Force Awakens: A Reading List Inspired by Star Wars
The Force Awakens @ Bloomsbury Books
Dune is a novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of Paul Atreides, who becomes the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib and, while avenging the traitorous plot against his noble family, brings to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award and formed the basis of one of the greatest epics of science fiction.
PERDIDO STREET STATION
In the sprawling gothic city of New Crobuzon, a stranger has come to request the services of Isaac, an overweight and slightly eccentric scientist. But it is an impossible request–that of flight–and in the end Isaac’s attempts will only succeed in unleashing a dark force upon the city. This novel is a magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader’s imagination.”
THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS
Ursula K. LeGuin
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards and groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
THE WINDUP GIRL
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel. Anderson Lake is AgriGen’s Calorie Man, sent to work undercover as a factory manager in Thailand while combing Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. She was engineered and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but she is now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as souless beings by some, devils by others, the so-called “New People” are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in this chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE
Philip K. Dick
Winner of the Hugo Award and now an Amazon Original series, The New York Times claims this is the single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick s career. It is America in 1962, and some twenty years earlier, the United States lost the war and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan. Slavery is legal once again, and the few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. This harrowing novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it, Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.
Octavia E. Butler
The acclaimed trilogy that comprises Lilith’s Brood is multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winner Octavia E. Butler at her best. Presented for the first time in one volume, with an introduction by Joan Slonczewski, Ph.D., Lilith’s Brood is a profoundly evocative, sensual and disturbing epic of human transformation. Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali rescue our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures–their own children.
A,B,C: THREE SHORT NOVELS
Samuel R. Delaney
This volume contains the first three novels of Samuel R. Delany s long and illustrious career. The Jewels of Aptor is a science-fantasy story about a seafaring quest that sets out to find powerful magic jewels on a mystical, forbidden island where unimaginable danger lies. The Ballad of Beta-2 is about a future academic searching for the true story behind an interstellar voyage, a journey over multiple generations that ended in tragedy. They Fly at Ciron is a fantasy about the clash between a marauding army and a peaceful village at the foot of a mountain from which a race of winged people oversees both sides.Presenting these three novels in this omnibus volume for the first time, along with a new foreword and afterword by the author, A,B,C, showcases Delany’s masterful storytelling ability and deep devotion to his craft.
Ancillary Justice is the only novel ever to win the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards, and the first book in Ann Leckie’s New York Times bestselling trilogy. On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions and a burning desire for vengeance.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
First published in 1985, this is a novel of such power that the reader is unable to forget its images and its forecast. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets, whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke, when she played with and protected her daughter, when she had a job, money of her own and access to knowledge. Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
The bestselling author of the dystopian thrillers Neuromancer and Zero History presents his first novel since 2010. Flynne Fisher lives in London in a rural near-future America, where she earns what she can by assembling product at the local 3D printshop. She made more as a combat scout in an online game, but she had to it give up. Her brother Burton lives on money from the Veterans Administration, but he is secretly working security in a a virtual world that looks vaguely like London, but a lot weirder. Wilf Netherton, who lives in London, seventy-some years later, is a high-powered publicist and celebrity-minder, fancies himself a romantic misfit in a society where reaching into the past is just another hobby. Flynne and Wilf are about to meet one another. Her world will be altered irrevocably, and Wilf’s, for all its decadence and power, will learn that some of these third-world types from the past can be badass.
Kim Stanley Robinson
A major new novel from one of science fiction’s most powerful voices, Aurora tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system. Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers. Our voyage from Earth began generations ago. Now, we approach our new home. AURORA.
GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS
M. R. and Mike Carey
Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl. Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, The Girl with All The Gifts is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.
READY PLAYER ONE
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, 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 ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For 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 whomever can unlock them.
THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
By now the story is legendary. Arthur Dent, mild-mannered, out-to-lunch earthling, is plucked from his planet by his friend Ford Prefect just seconds before it was demolished to make way for a hyper-space bypass. Ford, posing as an out-of-work actor, is a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Together the gruesome twosome begin their now-famous inter-galactic journey through time, space and best-sellerdom. As the Washington Post says, “It’s science fiction and it’s extremely funny…inspired lunacy that leaves hardly a science fiction cliche alive.”
Catherynne M. Valente
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction, in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.