Friday, January 17, 2014

Best of 2013: Speculative fiction, a list

Some of the many items enjoyed by Burbank Public Library staff during 2013, recommended for your consideration:

Okay, so some of us can't pick just one! Here's Daryl's list:

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination,
edited by John Joseph Adams
The mad scientist has been a science fiction standard since the genesis of the genre with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818. In The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, editor John Joseph Adams has gathered a wonderful collection of mostly new stories (only two have been previously published) by some of the genre’s best and brightest authors, who explore this sci-fi staple from the inside out with insightful and often hilarious results. A must-read for anyone contemplating his or her own plans to rule the planet!

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells,
edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
With this collection, editors extraordinaire Datlow and Windling collect a marvelous batch of all-new Victorian-age fantasy stories by some of the genre’s best writers. In addition to the stories, Windling provides a wonderful introduction that gives the reader insight into the Victorian age and its fascination with the supernatural, as well as how that fascination seems to be manifesting itself in contemporary culture. A marvelous collection!

Vicious, by V. E. (Victoria) Schwab
The story of Eli and Victor, college roommates, friends and colleagues who, in the end, become mortal enemies. Lives are lost and altered; brilliant futures are derailed; and one of them will be slain by the other’s hand. In this mesmerizing novel, Schwab explores the gray areas that exist between extremes, and the labels we give when we only know part of the story.

London Falling, by Paul Cornell
In his debut, Paul Cornell combines urban fantasy with a gritty police procedural, and challenges some of London’s finest (along with the reader) to collect, interpret and investigate the evidence from a series of crimes that are more involved--and more dangerous--than they seem. The compelling beginning to a new series!

The Human Division, by John Scalzi
John Scalzi returns to his "Old Man’s War" universe to follow some minor characters from the series, as well as some new ones, as they make their way through the mine-laden arena of galactic politics. Incorporating elements of space opera, political thriller, and buddy adventure/comedy, The Human Division is an eclectic and enjoyable read.

Codex Born, by Jim C. Hines
This is the second volume of the "Magic Ex Libris" series, in which Jim C. Hines takes readers on another wish-fulfilling adventure with Isaac Vanio, a librarian who works as a cataloger/researcher for Die Zweif PortenĒ½re (the Porters), a group who can reach into almost any book and pull out any item small enough to fit through its open pages for use in the “real” world. A series of murders seems to indicate that someone wants to use dryad Lena Greenwood (and her powers) against her will to destroy the Porters and unleash a heretofore unknown evil upon the world.

Reviewed by Daryl M., reference librarian

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