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Ready to Read? Roesch Has Top Titles in Sci-fi, Fantasy

By Scott N. West

On Aug. 18, NPR released the results of its summer reader poll, “Tell Us Your Favorite New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books” in a list of 50 titles from the last decade. If you love this genre, you really should take a look at the list. Did you know that Roesch Library’s collection includes eight of these books? Some are in the leisure reading collection, but a few others are in the general collection. Browse the list and check them out:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

  • Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost — one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the university—but first she has to make it there alive.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

  • The first novel in a decade from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day, The Buried Giant is the sometimes savage, often intensely moving story of memories, love, revenge and war, featuring a couple that sets off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years: “You've long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it’s time now to think on it anew. There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay.”

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

  • On a cold spring night in 1952, a meteorite obliterates much of the East Coast of the United States, including Washington, D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm renders Earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. As the meteorite looms, Earth radically accelerates its efforts to colonize space, calling for a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York's experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place as a calculator in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, Elma quickly begins to wonder why they can't go into space, too. Elma's drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

  • Children have always disappeared from Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children under the right conditions — slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere ... else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced ... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well, and they’re all seeking a way back to their own fantasy worlds. But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the home. A darkness lurks just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter, no matter the cost.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

  • Nine original, provocative and poignant stories — two being published for the first time — appear in this collection. Tackling some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only Ted Chiang could imagine, these profound, sympathetic and revelatory stories stand to change the way a reader thinks about and sees the world.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

  • The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

  • From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (available on OhioLINK), this intoxicating, hypnotic novel is set in a dreamlike alternative reality. Piranesi's house has infinite rooms, endless corridors, and walls lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls, an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases; rooms flood in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself, and he lives to explore the house. The other person in the house — a man called The Other, visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into “A Great and Secret Knowledge.” As Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

The Martian by Andy Weir

  • While Roesch Library does not have the book, the film adaptation is available via Films on Demand on the Libraries’ database list.

The only one of these I have read thus far is Binti. Okorafor is a wonderful writer, and this novella is a quick, worthwhile read.  I have now put the rest on my “to read” list.

— Scott N. West is a collections specialist in the University Libraries.

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