It's a double rec day! Did you already see our post for the (possibly) new-to-you mystery author? If not, check it out, we'll still be here when you get back!
Note: we're calling "read a book that takes place in the future" speculative fiction.
On the speculative fiction front, we offer classics both deserved and seemingly undiscovered. From the grimly cyber to the colorful embodiments worth touching upon.
William Gibson’s classic Neuromancer hearkened in the a new reality and coined a evergreen term, "cyberspace", “Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding...” There are few books that usher in a completely new genre within a genre, and Gibson’s Neuromancer did that, which gave us "Cyberpunk". Think of this as the natural extension of Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, and the dark artificial intelligence of everyone’s connected minds.
Ray Bradbury wrote his first book on a checked-out typewriter while sitting in a library each day. From there he created unforgettable books such as Fahrenheit 451. The highlight here is on Bradbury's The Illustrated Man - -a wanderer whose entire body is a living canvas of exotic tattoos. What's even more remarkable, and increasingly disturbing, is that the illustrations are themselves magically alive, and each proceeds to unfold its own story, such as "The Veldt," wherein rowdy children take a game of virtual reality way over the edge. Or "Kaleidoscope," a heartbreaking portrait of stranded astronauts about to re-enter our atmosphere--without the benefit of a spaceship. Or "Zero Hour," in which invading aliens have discovered a most logical ally--our own children. Bradbury writes in a way that's accessible, beckoning you into other realities with open arms. Bradbury's a national treasure and certainly transcended the speculative fiction genre.
Octavia E. Butler is a writer that much like Ursula K. LeGuin, if you haven’t read her, you should. In Parable of the Sower, Butler astonishes the reader with an amazing story of grit, courage, and survival. In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future. This is a startling vision of human destiny by a writer that shouldn’t be missed.
What if you could live your life over again? And again? And again? Replay, by Ken Grimwood looks at that question in this time travel classic that was the basis for the Bill Murray film, Groundhog’s Day. How would you handle a replay, every day? This book will remind that life is short, even if you get to endlessly replay it.
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Before we turn our thoughts to leaves, classes, and . . . pumpkin lattes, we’ll suggest several mysteries and speculative fiction (for the b...