2017 Science Fiction Reading Challenge March Link-Up

It’s time for our 3rd update for the 2017 Science Fiction Reading Challenge currently being hosted by Sci-Fi & Scary.

At the bottom of this list will be a linky.  Feel free to linkup to the page you’re monitoring all your book challenges on (or, alternately, I believe you can leave a link to each individual review once they’ve been posted on your site.)

(I promise there will be better shiny badges at some point!)

Rocketship Badge for Decades of Sci-Fi

For Decades of Sci-Fi:

You’ve stated you wish to expand your knowledge of science fiction by reading 1 book a month for each decade of science fiction starting at 1900.

If you’re working your way through the list, as many are doing, from earliest to newest, in March you should have read: The Clockwork Man by E.V. Odle However, you’re free to choose to do the list in any order that you want.

If you need a reminder of the list to follow, click the link at the top of the page.

How I’m doing:  I slacked. Read, just didn’t read the book I was supposed to read yet.

 

 

For Wired Into Sci-Fi:

Whether you be a Dabbler, a Dreamer, or fancy yourself a Sci-Fi Connoisseur the time has come to make your 1st accounting.

Wired Into Sci-Fi Challenge ButtonDabbler– Read 10 out of 30 of the Wired into Sci-Fi Books.

Dreamer – Read 20 out of 30 of the Wired into Sci-Fi Books.

Connoisseur – Read 25+ books of the Wired into Sci-Fi Books.

——-

Daring Dabblers – Though you have a small amount of wiggle room, you should have started your challenge by now. Which book did you choose to start your journey with?

Dashing Dreamers – You’ve probably read at least6 or 8 books by now if you want to stay on track to achieve your dreams. How’s it going? Are you an over-achiever yet?

Courageous Connoisseurs – I hope you’ve read at least 6 books by now, or you may not have time to savor the flavor of your books as you rushed to read later on. Is there one that exceeded your expectations?

If you need a reminder of the pool of books you can choose from, please click the link at the top of the page.

How I’m doing: I started on one, but did not finish it. Jeeesh. I’ve got some catching up to do!

MAKE YOUR ENTRIES HERE


Twilight Zone Tuesday – What You Need

What You Need

What You Need Original Air Date: 12/25/1959

Fred Renard – Steve Cochran
Pedott – Ernest Truex
Lefty – Read Morgan
Girl in Bar – Arlene Martel

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This is Sci-Fi, Issue 6: Atomica, New York 2140, They Call Me Jeeg

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Sci-Fi post on Sci-Fi & Scary
This is Sci-Fi is a sampling of science fiction news across the mediums. From movies to books, to real life, and any bits in between that I can think of to list. This is by no means a comprehensive list of what’s happening, but it should whet your appetite!

This is Sci-Fi’s Quote to Consider

 

“Science Fiction: Any scientific acclaim that omits God.”
― Johnny Hart

Science Fiction Movies

Sci-Fi Movie Suggestion of the Week:

Movie cover for Starship Troopers Starship Troopers was released in 1997 and is a movie that you can either watch at face value, or delve a bit deeper into it. Personally, I watch it for the cheese, and nothing but the cheese, so help me bug. Its based on the Robert Heinlein novel by the same name. Lots of gigantic bugs, lots of bad lines, and if Casper Van Dien floats your boat, you’ll be extreeeeeeeeeemely happy.

Synopsis: Humans in a fascistic, militaristic future do battle with giant alien bugs in a fight for survival.

Watch the Starship Troopers trailer.

 

 

Opening this week (March 17th)

Atomica Synopsis: In the near future, when communications go offline at a remote nuclear power plant isolated in the desert, a young safety inspector, Abby Dixon, is forced to fly out to bring them back online. Once inside the facility, mysterious clues and strange behaviors cause Abby to have doubts about the sanity, and perhaps identities, of the two employees onsite.

Starring:  Tom Sizemore, Sarah Habel, Dominic Monaghan |

Watch the Atomica trailer here.

Side Note: My review for this movie will be coming out on Monday. I watched it a couple weeks ago and it was very well done, absent of cheese, and interesting. I’d definitely recommend it.

 

Movie cover for They Call Me JeegThey Call Me Jeeg Synopsis: Enzo, a lonely and misanthropic small time crook, uses the superpowers gained after falling in the Tiber river to chase down a crazy gangster called “The gypsy”.

StarringClaudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli

Watch the They Call Me Jeeg trailer.

 

 

 


Featured Science Fiction Art


Underwater Robot Doodle + daily sketch update by Emoonya on DeviantArt

Just generally a well-done drawing that caught my eye.


Science Fiction Books

Book cover for New York 2140 by Kim Stanley RobinsonNew York 2140: A new vision of the future of New York City in the 22nd century, a flooded, but vibrant metropolis, from Kim Stanley Robinson, the New York Times bestselling author of science fiction masterworks such as the Mars trilogy, 2312, and Aurora.

The waters rose, submerging New York City. But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever. Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island.

Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building, Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides.

And how we too will change. – Goodreads  — Amazon | B&N

 

Book cover for Pilot X by Tom Merritt

Pilot X:  What would happen if a time traveler lived in a world where time could not easily be changed and if it was changed, it might destroy everything but himself?

Pilot X just wants to fly a time ship. Specifically the Verity. But the Guardians of Alenda, rulers of his people, throw him in the middle of a time war. When he makes peace they don’t seem pleased. In fact, his own people treat him like the enemy. – Goodreads

Amazon | B&N

 

 

 

The Return: During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappearing from the public eye.

Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he’s been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows.

Shawn soon joins Leland on the run. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.- Amazon  — Amazon | B&N

Coming Soon: Flames of the Rebellion, The Beachhead, Nemesis, Infinity Engine, From Ice to Ashes

 


The Sci-Fi Zone: Science Fiction Songs

I was listening to my player in the car the other day and got to thinking just how many songs have a sci-fi theme to them. So, here is my list of the top sci-fi songs. They are in no certain order. I’m starting with Rush’s 2112 simply because it has the longest explanation to it. So let’s rock on with our bad selves!

  • 2112 – Rush – The song is set in the year 2112.  In the year 2062 several planets came under control of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The story of the song is told through an unnamed Protagonist’s point of view. The peace and happiness of their ‘utopia’ is meely an illusion as everything is controlled by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx.

I. Overture: The song is made up of several different movements. Overture is mainly instrumental with a sung “and the meek shall inherit the earth” at the end.

II. The Temples of Syrinx: The Priests of the Temple control every aspect of the population “we’ve taken care of everything, the words you hear, the songs you sing, the pictures that give pleasure to your eyes”. They do this with the help of “our great computers, fill our hallowed halls”. Their ‘equality’ is illusory.

III. Discovery: The Protagonist finds an old guitar in a cave behind a waterfall. He teaches himself how to tune and play it. He can’t wait to show it to the Priests, thinking they will be amazed and pleased with his discovery.

IV. Presentation: The Protagonist performs before the Priests but they are not as pleased as he’d hoped they’d be. They dismiss the guitar as “another toy which helped destroy the elder race of man”.The Protagonist tries to convince them otherwise “listen to my music, hear what it can do, there’s something here that’s strong as life, I know that it will reach you”. They crush the guitar and dismiss the Protagonist.

V. Oracle: The Dream: The Protagonist wanders hme and has a vision that he at first passes off as a dream, yet it seems so vivid and real. An oracle shows him what life was like before the Solar Federation took over. A society where individuality and creativity flourished. He also learns that the “elder race of men” was not destroyed but “left our planets long ago” intending to return home and “tear the Temples down”.

VI. Soliloquy: The Protagonist returns to his cave to brood and think. His spirit and soul are oppressed, thinking of the bland life under the Solar Federation. The movement ends as the Protagonist takes his own life.

VII. Grand Finale: The closing movement is an instrumental with the Solar Federation being attacked and conquered by an unknown entity. It closes with the words – “Attention all planets under the Solar Federation: We Have Assumed Control”. And that, friends, is the end of the song. In the actual song the unknown entity is ambiguous as to whom is taking control and what their intentions are. However, in a later interview, Peart (songwriter) states that he intended it to be a good ending. The attacking entity is the elder race of men returning and successfully deposing the Solar Federation.

 

  • Children of the Sun – Billy Thorpe – Benevolent aliens, The Children of the Sun, take the people of Earth aboard their spaceship and into space with them.
  • In the Year 2525 – Zager and Evans – A song about the future and possible repercussions of the advances of technology. For a song written in 1969 it’s predictions are scarily accurate.
  • Godzilla – Blue Oyster Cult – It’s Godzilla. What more can I say? Godzilla’s awesome. The only thing I’ll add is if they do another movie…Less people, more Godzilla bad-assery!

“Oh no! There goes Tokyo! Go, go Godzilla! History shows again and again, how nature points up the folly of men.”

  • Twilight Zone – Rush – Yup, Rush is back again. This time with a song about (you guessed it) one of my favorite shows of all time – The Twilight Zone.

“A pleasant-faced man steps up to greet you. He smiles and says he’s pleased to meet you. Beneath his hat the strangeness lies. Take it off, he’s got three eyes. Truth is false and logic lost, now the fourth dimension is crossed.”

“You have entered the Twilight Zone. beyond this world strange things are known. Use the key, unlock the door, see what your fate might have in store.”

 

  • Endgame – Megadeth – A very bleak look at one of many possible futures for this world. You can always count on Megadeth for a good dose of Dystopia.

“Attention! Attention! All citizens are ordered to report to their

District detention centers!

Do not return to your homes,

Do not contact anyone!

Do not use any cellular or G-P-S devices!

Surrender all weapons at once!

Attention! This way to the camps!”

 

  • Blood Gulch Blues – Trocadero – I tried not to include theme songs from shows but this (and the one below) are just too excellent to ignore. So, I give you Blood Gulch Blues, theme song of Red vs. Blue.

Roses are red

And violets are blue.

One day we’ll cruise down Blood Gulch avenue

It’s red versus red

and blue versus blue

It’s I against I

and me against you…

  • Iron Man – Black Sabbath – A man who traveled through time to save the future of mankind and was forgotten and discarded by those who sent him. And now he wants revenge.
  • The Great Unknown – Iron Maiden – I hate to do another dystopic song but the title fits so perfectly with the world as it is right now and hey, you can never go wrong with Maiden.

So, those are my choices. If you have any other suggestions I’d love to hear them! I’m always on the look out for new music.  – GracieKat


Science Fiction on the Web

Science Fiction Book Club Meeting!!

Do you Dare to Discuss Science Fiction? It’s not too late to join us, right here on Sci-Fi & Scary, on March 22nd at 7 PM EST when we discuss Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin Kiernan.

Agents of Dreamland is 4 bucks on Amazon, and its less than 125 pages long, so it’s a very quick read. Feel free to register for the forums (it’s free!) and join us for an hour-long discussion on the book.  I can tell you right now that opinions on the book are very mixed amongst the group that’s agreed to participate already, so it’s definitely going to be interesting!!

 

Wormholes Review (Science Fiction)

Book cover for WormholesWormholes: Something is devouring Earth. . .

A suburban house in Oklahoma vanishes into a roaring abyss. A supertanker at sea suffers a fiery destruction. A blast in China drills a gigantic cavern into a mountainside. A severed arm plummets from the sky in Missouri.

Could these catastrophes possibly be related? Intrepid geologist Dacey Livingstone is nearly killed by her first attempt to plumb the mystery—a perilous descent into a house-swallowing sinkhole. Still determined, she joins with eccentric physicist Gerald Meier in a quest that takes them from the ocean’s depths to interstellar space.

What are these exotic “wormholes” that threaten Earth? Can their secrets be discovered, their power even harnessed? Or will they spawn a celestial monster that will annihilate the planet? – Goodreads


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Ninefox Gambit Review (Military Sci-Fi)

Book cover for Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

The first installment of the trilogy, Ninefox Gambit, centers on disgraced captain Kel Cheris, who must recapture the formidable Fortress of Scattered Needles in order to redeem herself in front of the Hexarchate.

To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim. – Goodreads


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Deathworld Review (Classic Science Fiction)

Book cover for Deathworld

Deathworld: The planet was called Pyrrus…a strange place where all the beasts, plants and natural elements were designed for one specific purpose: to destroy man.

The settlers there were supermen…twice as strong as ordinary men and with milli-second reflexes. They had to be. For their business was murder…

It was up to Jason dinAlt, interplanetary gambler, to discover why Pyrrus had become so hostile during man’s brief habitation…Goodreads


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Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Lonely

The Lonely

 

James A. Corry – Jack Warden
Alicia – Jean Marsh
Captain Allenby – John Dehner
Adams – Ted Knight
Carstairs – James Turley
Narrator – Rod Serling

Highlight to see Trigger Warning: A very human looking robot gets shot in the face.  End Spoiler

Serling:
Witness if you will, a dungeon. Made out of mountains, salt flats and sands that stretch to infinity.The dungeon has an inmate.

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For Better or Worse: Science Fiction & Horror Books That Surprised Us

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.This Top Ten Tuesday we’re looking at the books that surprised us (in both good and bad ways). These aren’t random grabs, but instead are ones that we heard lots of good (or bad) things about, and decided to check out for ourselves. Sometimes it worked out unexpectedly well. Sometimes we wanted to put our fist through a wall. Ya win some, ya lose some, eh? See our list of surprising science fiction and horror books below.

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

Links lead to Goodreads.

 


For Better or Worse: Science Fiction & Horror Books That Surprised Us

 

1.) Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. Given my previous experience with the man (Slaughterhouse Five) to say my expectations were low for Sirens of Titan would be a bit of an understatement.  However, Vonnegut managed to make me snicker more than once and sit thoughtfully for a moment after I finished it. For that reason, I rated Sirens of Titan 3/5. And if you’re wondering why only 3/5, it’s because the man’s a douche who put a line in his book where a woman thanked a man for raping her. So, yeah. Moderately entertaining writer at times, but still never willingly reading him again. / BETTERBook cover for A Princess of Mars

2.) Tales from the Midnight Shift by Mark Allan Gunnells. I read The Quarry by the same author and loved it. When I saw the ‘Tales from the Midnight Shift’ anthology I thought I would love it but, no, not quite. The stories were just meh and didn’t seem as well-written as The Quarry. Also, from the title, I kind of expected them to be midnight shift, job-related stories but I think there was only one like that. /WORSE

3.) Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was expecting stuffy, staid attempts at adventure. What I got was loads better. Though there are definitely problems with Princess of Mars, I found it an easy going fluffy read that left me grinning when I was done with it.  / BETTER

4.) Just Plain Weird by Tom Upton. I didn’t go into this story with any real expectations beyond a good story. I just did not enjoy it. The female character was supremely annoying. I think the author was going for cute and quirky but veered off into annoying and a bit psychotic. The story had way too many convenient deus ex machinas to it with no real explanations. /WORSEBook cover for Tales from the Midnight Shift

5.) Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke. Okay, so this one definitely came out of left field for me. Clarke’s writing can be absolutely fantastic, but it is rarely funny. So, I wasn’t expecting much when I picked up Tales from the White Hart. Figured I needed to give it a go, though. And it was in turns absolutely hilarious. /BETTER

6.) Redshirts by John Scalzi. This book managed to exceed my expectations and disappoint me utterly all in one book. But ultimately, perhaps because it ended on a disappointing note, I have to file this one under /WORSE

7.) Carnacki, the Ghost Finder by William Hope HodgsonI bought this as a random free one and at first I didn’t think I’d like the writing style. The stories are told as though they’re being told directly to the narrator so in a way it’s like he’s talking right to the reader. It took a little getting used to but I ended up liking them a lot. I was bummed there weren’t anymore. /BETTER

8.) Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. Apparently, Alastair Reynolds is fantastic with hard science fiction, and Pushing Ice is considered one of his best books to start on. I hate this book. I hate this book so much that I’m putting it on this list and I’m technically not even done with it. Not what I was expecting from a man as lauded as Reynolds is. /WORSE

9.) The Spirit Chaser by Kat Mayor. When I first got it to read (through this site but before I became a part of it) I initially didn’t see the ‘Paranormal Romance’ tag so when I did notice I have to admit I wasn’t that thrilled. I ended up loving the story. I liked the interaction of the characters, some of whom surprised me into liking them. I had to create a new shelf on GR because of this book. /BETTER

10.) New Tales of the Yellow Sign by Robin Laws. As much as I love the stories of  Robert W. Chambers ( at least his horror stories) it can sometimes be that books that expand on an idea or world can be better than the source material. While I wouldn’t say this surpasses it exactly, I went into it not expecting to like it much. I thought it wouldn’t do the source material justice. That it certainly does and the stories aren’t so interconnected that a reader who has never read the originals can still enjoy them. /BETTER

 

 

What about you? What books would make your For Better or Worse listing for Top Ten Tuesday? Feel free to link (or just tell us) in the comments below!

Pilot X Review (Time Travel / Space Sci-Fi)

Book cover for Pilot X by Tom Merritt

Pilot X: What would happen if a time traveler lived in a world where time could not easily be changed and if it was changed, it might destroy everything but himself?

Pilot X just wants to fly a time ship. Specifically the Verity. But the Guardians of Alenda, rulers of his people, throw him in the middle of a time war. When he makes peace they don’t seem pleased. In fact, his own people treat him like the enemy. – Goodreads


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Mutationem Review (Science Fiction)

Book cover for Mutationem by Phoenix Jericho

Mutationem: Decades after World War III, nuclear war is decimating the planet. Amidst the turmoil and destruction lies one last drop of hope: the most ambitious space mission ever planned, to be executed by the largest earthly spacecraft. The goal? For the crew aboard IWSA-24 to be the first to colonize Alpha-64, located 100 Earth years away. The clock is ticking, with the launch only a few weeks out. But when the war takes a calamitous turn only minutes before the shuttle’s first flight simulation, suddenly the crew on board realize they are the planet’s only survivors. With minimal provisions, equipment, and astronauts, a new set of questions arise for Captain Kriss and her all-female crew: will IWSA-24 have enough fuel to make it to Alpha-64? Will they devise a plan to secure male DNA in time to save humanity? What mysteries and unknowns lurk on this faraway planet? What starts as an unlikely community of lovers, enemies, scientists, and spies evolves rapidly as the crew approaches Alpha-64. – Goodreads


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  • I love Audible. Tons of books, fantastic narrators, good prices.