So yesterday was National Science Fiction Day for 2016. It’s not exactly a major holiday… yet… but it’s fun to celebrate nonetheless. An hey – if enough blog posts start mentioning it and the right publishers get behind it we could have us a real holiday one day. Though January 2nd would be a tough sell I have to admit. It’s just a little too close to the Christmas & New Year’s Eve to be of any fun.
But it’s the day that the grand poobah of the galaxy Isaac Asimov was born back in 1920. So it’s probably as good of a day as any to celebrate science fiction writing.
So in honor of Asimov’s awesome encyclopedic legacy, I’d like to share my three favorite science fiction books I read last year. I have to admit that it’s getting harder to figure out what is “science fiction” these days. So many books have elements of the future, time travel, dragons, etc. that science fiction is teetering on becoming mainstream. But that’s a post for another day.
If you’re looking for a good sci-fi read to kick off 2016, then check these out:
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu – I thought this book was great fun. It does fall in the time travel category. It has a couple of common sense and unique solutions for dealing with many of the common issues with time travel, which I thought clever. Also, it’s the first in a series so it’s a great time to jump on board.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – I finally got around to reading this and so glad I did. While I’m not one for “psychic powers” stuff, the writing is incredible and the way Mitchell loops everything together is almost a superpower. It’s a big book. So if you want to dip your toes then I’d recommend reading Slade House. It’s set in the Bone Clocks universe, but no necessarily a sequel. I think you’ll enjoy Slade House more if you read it second, but no harm in using it as an appetizer to see if it’s for you.
Seveneves by Neal Stephensen – this book might very well be the most epic science fiction book I’ve ever read. It is Asimov-like in scope and skill. So very good. There definitely falls in the hard sci-fi column. So expect pages of scientists and engineers debating orbits, trajectories, etc. but you can skim that stuff if your eyes start to gloss over. The story is huge. It tracks humanity thousands of years into the future after the Earth is made uninhabitable.
That’s it! I am a huge fan of science fiction and speculative fiction. So please let me know of any fantastic reads that you’ve found. I’ll add them to my list.
Happy belated National Science Fiction Day!
I hope you find yourself this weekend with a book in hand a tall ice cold drink. And some air conditioning or maybe at least shady tree and a hammock.
If you do decide to get out and brave the heat, here are three Birmingham book events and author appearances that you may want to attend over the next 10 days:
Saturday, July 18th starting at 4:00pm – award-winning children’s book author Lou Anders will be signing Nightborn the newly released second book in the Thrones & Bones kids fantasy adventure series, at the Summit location of Barnes & Noble.
Sunday, July 26th at 2:00pm to 4:00pm – the Bessemer Hall of History will be hosting author Ken Boyd as part of a new exhibition. Boyd will be signing his book The Art of the Locomotive.
Monday, July 27th starting at 4:00pm – Carla Jean Whitley will be at the Alabama Booksmith signing her newest book Birmingham Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Magic City.
The first ever Mississippi Book Festival will be held August 22, 2015, on the state capitol grounds in Jackson, MS. It’s been in the works since 2013 and the first-year line up of authors and events shows they’ve been hard at work.
John Grisham will headline the book festival featuring around 75 authors plus panels sessions. I think there will be a children’s area as well as musical performances.
Check out the Mississippi Book Festival schedule, some of the panels and session titles make it sound like it’s going to be a great time. They’re also updating their facebook page more regularly than their site.
According to Google Maps the book festival is about 330 miles from Birmingham which means almost 4 hours in the car. Not sure I can swing this one. But it’s great that the Mississippi Book Festival is beginning its story this August.
Tomorrow, Sunday June 21, 2015, the streets around Birmingham’s Alabama Theater will be hopping with Harper Lee fans. Books-A-Million is hosting a showing of the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the Alabama Theater. Outside the showing, a street party will be going on with treats from Yogurt Mountain, southside mexican restaurant Cantina (fish burger, FTW!) and Mr. Harry’s De-Lux chicken.
Tickets are $8 and are available through Ticket Master or at the door. The movies starts at 2 p.m., but the organ will get cranked up at 1:30 p.m., if you’ve never heard it.
The local band Steel City Jug Slammers will also be there performing.
And, of course, I am sure there will be copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, other books about Harper Lee and TKAM plus a table taking pre-orders for Go Set a Watchman. What bookstore would pass up an opportunity like this to sell books?
Are you going to the street party this Sunday in Birmingham, AL?