Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Packing up a beach bag of Sci Fi Summer reads

For most people, the real start to summer will be the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend but for me, a new tradition is issuing in that time of year.

The third annual Sci-Fi Summer readathon, hosted by Seasons of Reading, gives us two weeks to dive into a more fanciful state of mind with a genre that's given much attention at the movies and elsewhere this season.

From June 1 to June 14, seeing how many science fiction and/or fantasy novels you can finish is a good way to jump start your overall summer reading plans. I have three books set aside for this challenge, with two of them more in the fantasy lane and the other much closer to sci-fi land than the author claims(more on that in a moment). Three may sound small yet there's a lot of creative ground to cover with my selections and I want to do this at a reasonable pace:

CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE: This debut YA novel by Tomi Adeyemi is already gathering heaps of praise and a growing fan base from the first entry in her Legacy of Orisha trilogy(book two is due in 2019).

Our leading lady is Zelie, a young woman born with white hair that signals her inherent magical powers. Those abilities have not been activated due to a massive wipe-out of magic and it's users by Orisha's King Saran, a deadly crusade that killed Zelie's mother.

With the help of a runaway princess, Zelie goes on a quest to reclaim magic for her people, using a trio of ancient artifacts that need to be brought together in time for an upcoming solstice in order to work. This story does sound amazingly engaging and it would be nice to have a brand new fandom to join as well:

 NEVERWORLD WAKE: Marisha Pessl is best known for her off the beaten track and then some novels for adults such as Night Film but this new turn into YA country sounds like it would fit in well with her regular fare.

Our story begins with Beatrice, who joins in with her former boarding school buddies for a road trip to a concert. The group get into an accident and find themselves stranded in a remote locale that doesn't allow them to go back to their lives.

A mysterious Keeper informs them that they are meant to remain in this otherworldly realm until a decision is made about who should be permitted to return home. This might be seen as a bit of horror mixed in with fantasy,I suppose, yet this Happy Death Day/Groundhog's Day combo does give the characters plenty of time for self reflection and change which tips the scales more over to fantasy, I think.

THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD: This is the second book in Margaret Atwood's Maddam trilogy that she swears up and down is not science fiction. While I respect the author's intentions, I do think that the lady doth protest a bit much on this one.

She sets this tale in a not too distant future, where corporations and runaway technology have brought the world to a near complete halt. Three people, two of which belonged to a cult called The Gardeners, managed to find each other and seek refuge from what threats remain in this strange new environment.

Atwood insists that she's not writing science fiction here(not wanting to disappoint anyone expecting the typical genre fare) yet she does touch upon plenty of themes that echo strongly throughout sci-fi, such as over reliance upon technology, the misuse of religion and playing havoc with genetic discoveries.

I was amazed by how relevant Oryx and Crake was to our present day concerns and pretty sure that this second outing will be just as surprisingly thought provoking as well:

There is still plenty of time to sign up and you can follow along at Facebook and Twitter(#SciFiJune). If I get some of this reading done sooner than expected, I might add an extra title or two on. Picking up a good book is the best way to beat the heat and science fiction is a good reminder to us all that truth really can get stranger than fiction, especially these days:

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