Science Fiction

Staff Picks: The Firefly Code

Reviewed by Ginny H. 

In this adventurous, science fiction story, Mori lives a perfect life in Old Harmonie. Their town is a utopian community where kids are genetically altered to super-enhance a powerful trait, like puzzle solving, physical agility, or photographic memory. But when a strangely perfect new girl named Ilana moves in, Mori and her friends begin to question the only world they have ever known. 

Check out The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore! 

Celebrate Star Wars Reads!

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Can you believe it’s been 40 years since Star Wars first made the jump into theaters? Since then it's been taking the world by force, igniting the imaginations of fans of all ages.

Every October, we celebrate this bounty of books with a special holiday—Star Wars Reads. Over the years, books have become a great way to expand on the stories set in the Star Wars galaxy.

Looking for a book to pique the interest of your young Star Wars fan? Try these fun Star Wars Reads!

Wires and Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer

Wires and Nerve picks up after the events of Winter (and Cinder, Scarlett, and Cress) so STOP RIGHT NOW if you haven't read those books. Actually, what's wrong with you? Go read those! They're so good! Start with Cinder, you're welcome.

Iko, the android who loves pretty clothes and shoes is also a butt kicking secret agent. She's been sent to Earth to round up the remaining rogue mutant soldiers from Luna and send them home to face justice, but every once in awhile one of them will slip away from her. Cinder tells her not to worry, but Iko can't help but feel like she's failing by not getting every single soldier safely away from Earth. Now it seems like she might be right, these soldiers are coming together in a way that threatens everyone Iko loves.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Death has been defeated and world peace achieved. With the guidance of Artificial Intelligence, humanity has ushered in a utopia…. mostly. In Scythe, Neal Shusterman posits that AI has evolved into an omniscient (and omnibenevolent) force called the Thunderhead, through which the world has achieved a true and lasting peace. The Thunderhead controls everything, but unlike many dystopian works, this is a miraculous and profoundly beneficial event. The only power that the Thunderhead does not possess is the ability to take life. That responsibility is assigned to Scythes, who roam the world utilizing quotas to randomly glean (aka kill) in order to keep earth’s population in check.

Paper Girls by Brian Vaughan

If you liked Stranger Things, read Paper Girls by Brian Vaughan. Vaughan, author of Saga, utilizes many of the same elements as Stranger Things: independent children, other worlds, absent parents (seriously, where are the parents?), and otherworldly monsters. The story begins as several twelve year-old paper girls bike their evening route on Halloween, 1988. What starts as a normal shift grows stranger and more supernatural by the hour. The main character, Erin, is delivering papers, when she is accosted by strange boys in Halloween costumes. Another group of paper girls rescues her and they agree to travel together for safety, but along the way they realize that people in town have started to disappear.

Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen

Star Wars Darth Vader: Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen fills in a necessary gap in the Star Wars canon, and could help fill the time before Star Wars: Rogue One arrives in theaters. Gillen’s Vader is trying to learn the identity of the young pilot who destroyed the Death Star, as well as regain the favor of Emperor Palpatine after failing to stop the Rebel Alliance. As Vader goes on these dual missions, he is forced to hire agents who can act as his public face. Navigating all of these situations and relationships, as well as his personal quest for vengeance against the Rebellion and suspicions about secrets in the Empire, create a world of intrigue and violence for this story to play out. Gillen balances all of these elements superbly and also unleashes Vader, using battle sequences and displays of the Force to remind readers why Vader is one of the most feared individuals in the galaxy.

The Invisible Man (1933)

Claude Rains was perhaps one of the most recognizable character actors from the classic era of film.  He was able to play almost any part. Among his best known roles were Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca and Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood.  The Invisible Man was his first major film role.  Prior to this film he had only appeared on screen in one silent film short.  The rest of his early acting life had been spent on the hardwood stages.  In The Invisible Man, Mr. Rains stars as Dr. Jack Griffin, who disappears one day while working in the lab of his friend and mentor Dr. Cranley   His mysterious disappearance from the lab has Flora, Dr. Cranley’s daughter and Jack’s girlfriend, worried regarding his whereabouts.  Unbeknownst to the two of them Jack Griffin has done more than simply walked away from the lab and them.  He has literally disappeared, becoming completely invisible.  Wrapped in bandages to hide his invisibility he sets up a lab in a local Inn to work on a way to bring himself back to normalcy.  Sadly the formula which made him invisible is also affecting his mind and he is becoming more unbalanced and violent as time passes.

The Blob (1958)

If the stories I’ve heard are true there is a five-gallon bucket somewhere in the United States that contains a batch of red silicone still moist from the 1958 production of The Blob.   Supposedly it is brought out and displayed at the annual Blobfest in Phoenixville PA where many of the scenes for the movie were shot.   The Blob is one of many science fiction movies of the 1950’s that told of some unknown horror coming from outer space that endangers the world.  A lot of these were extremely low budget and featured extremely bad special effects even taking into account the time they were produced. 

Somewhere In Time

Love knows no reason, no boundaries, no distance. It has a sole intention of bringing people together to a time called forever.
-- Unknown

 

Perhaps the quote above was in the mind of Richard Matheson, the author of the book “Somewhere in Time” or in the thoughts of the writers of the screenplay for the film; perhaps not.  It could easily be applied to this story of Playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) and Actress Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour) and the love that lasted both their lives.   The difficult question posed by the story is understanding just when their love began?  Did it begin at the moment Richard first saw her, after the 1972 opening performance of his play when she presses a watch into his hands; or when Elise first meets him at the elegant hotel where he eventually returns the watch to her sixty years earlier? Theirs is truly a love that transcends time itself.

Brazil

I remember the first time I became aware of the movie Brazil.  I was reading through “Variety” magazine in an effort to keep up with the films of the day when I suddenly came across a strange full-page advertisement.  It didn’t say much.  It was a full page sheet bordered in black with the question, “Dear Sid Sheinberg, when are you going to release my film Brazil?  Terry Gilliam.”  At the time, I had not heard of the film Brazil and did not know the controversy surrounding its release in the United States.

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