What is Cyberpunk?

I recently saw an article with the headline We’re on the Brink of Cyberpunk and while I did not read this article it did get me thinking about what people might consider a Cyberpunk world to be. With images of from the movies eXistenZ and Ex Machina running through my head, I did my best to envision this future we are on the ‘brink’ of.

Some might ask, “What is Cyberpunk?” It’s a combination of advanced technology paired with a gritty society, one that’s falling apart. This term was initially coined by Bruce Bethke in his short story Cyberpunk.    You’ll find plenty of options in our catalog for exploring how different authors envision cyberpunk worlds.

To start us off, if you’d like a little mood music, try the album 100 Greatest Science Fiction Themes which has 100 songs from different movies that would go great as your Cyberpunk background music.

As for books, try Moxyland by Lauren Beukes.  It’s set in a dystopian South Africa where you get in serious trouble for disconnecting from the internet. You get to see this world through four different narrators challenging this way of life. In Infomocracy, a political thriller by Malka Older, we see a world controlled by a search engine with an election on the horizon.

In a city full of pollution and illness, the wealthy buy their way out of the smog and leave everyone else to suffer, until some teenagers decide to make a change in Cindy Pon’s young adult book Want.  Another young adult book is Warcross by Marie Lu, in which we follow a bounty hunter who accidentally hacks her way into an online gaming tournament. Making a sensation of herself, she gets hired to discover a security problem in the tournament but ultimately has to unravel a conspiracy.

Next are two books with the same theme of drugs in the future. In Ramez Naam’s book Nexus, a drug connects you to another person’s mind. This gives us a world where people want to improve, eradicate, or exploit the drug and leaves us with a book about international espionage. False Hearts by Laura Lam is centered around conjoined sisters who get separated and are given artificial hearts. They go about their lives until one of them is accused of murder and associated with a crime syndicate that specializes in a drug that allows people to live out their most violent desires.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you get the feel for Cyberpunk, if that does end up being our fate.

~Posted by Meranda T.

 

#BookBingoNW2020 – History or alternate history

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” – Winston Churchill

One of the squares for adult bingo this year is History or Alternate History.   History is just one great big story told from different perspectives.  Also, since it’s so diverse the chances are high that you will find a story that you will enjoy. Here are a few that are available via ebook!

Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name: The Change of Worlds for the Native People and Settlers on Puget Sound  by David M.Buerge

An in-depth historical account of Chief Seattle, an advocate for peace and Native American rights, from the late 18th to mid-19th centuries.

The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind An American Myth  by Josh Levin

Levin exposes the racist myth of the “welfare queen” through the life of Linda Taylor. “THE QUEEN tells, for the first time, the fascinating story of what was done to Linda Taylor, what she did to others, and what was done in her name.” (Little, Brown & Co)

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in A Young America by Catherine Kerrison

Kerrison examines slavery, race, class, and family ties through the story of Jefferson’s three daughters—one enslaved, two free—asking readers to contemplate why “discredited ideologies of gender and race continue to control and separate Americans so powerfully.”

A World on Fire: A Heretic, An Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen by Joe Jackson

An enthralling account of the almost simultaneous discovery of oxygen by Englishman Joseph Priestley and Frenchman Antoine Lavoisier.

The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism by John U. Bacon

The best-selling account of “the largest man made explosion prior to the atomic bomb,” which took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia during World War I. Loaded with 3000 pounds of munitions, the Mont-Blanc ship exploded once it reached Halifax, causing 11,000 fatalities and leveling the city. Bacon recounts the heroism shown throughout the disaster, and its strengthening impact on U.S.-Canada relations during the war.

If the TV series The Plot Against America has you looking for alternative endings to history, here are some books you might be interested in. Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan, Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar, and The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark.

If you still can’t find a book that interests you check out these blog posts from previous years:

Also, take a look at our book list!

For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2020 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2020 on social media. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures .

~posted by Pamela H.

#BookBingoNW2020: Afrofuturism

#BookBingoNW2020 is upon us!

One of the new categories this summer is Afrofuturism. If you saw Black Panther or watched Janelle Monaé’s emotion picture for their album “Dirty Computer,” then chances are you have already been exposed to Afrofuturism. But have you read any Afrofuturist books?

Dictionary.com defines Afrofuturism as (noun)
“a cultural movement that uses the frame of science fiction and fantasy to reimagine the history of the African diaspora and to invoke a vision of a technically advanced and generally hopeful future in which Black people thrive: this movement is expressed through art, cinema, literature, music, fashion, etc.” Here is a sample from the list to get you started!

Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2020: Afrofuturism”

Science Fiction 4 All Seasons

Four Science Fiction eAudiobooks featuring four different styles of Science Fiction stories. Happy listening!

Anne Manx in Lives of the Cat by Larry Weiner, read by Claudia Christian and Patricia Tallman

[Science Fiction Noir] For fans of Science Fiction Radio Serials
Anne Manx is an honest detective, maybe the last one remaining in the star system. And because of this, when a sudden insurrection within the police force puts the entire system on the edge of anarchy, she finds herself on the wrong end of a gun barrel. But this is not where Anne Manx’s story ends. For this end is merely a beginning, and like the mythical cat with nine lives, Anne Manx is one hard cat to kill. A fast-paced romp through space full of campy fun, this fully-staged radio production is an homage to radio serials of old, like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, mixed with the satirical adult humor of Barbarella.

Armada by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

[Science Fiction] For fans of Ready Player One, Ender’s Game, and all things growing up in the 80’s
From the team that brought you the new sci-fi cult classic novel and audiobook, Ready Player One, author Ernest Cline and narrator Wil Wheaton, have reteamed to create another ode to the 80’s in Armada! This fast-paced science fiction adventure is the perfect blend of two 80’s Sci-Fi classics, Jonathan R. Betuel’s film, The Last Starfighter and Orson Scott Card’s novel, Ender’s Game. High school senior Zack Lightman is doing what he does most days in class, staring out the window and daydreaming, when suddenly he sees something that he certainly couldn’t have seen. If you asked him what he saw, he wouldn’t tell you. Absolutely not. Because if he did, you’d think he was going crazy. Just like his dearly departed dad. Because, what he saw in the sky that day wasn’t a bird, or a plane, or even a super-man, but a spaceship. A very specific spaceship, as a matter of fact. A spaceship from his favorite game, Armada. But that can’t be right. Because that would be crazy. Continue reading “Science Fiction 4 All Seasons”

Change In A Time Of Longing

While browsing Instagram the other day, I came across a post from Sonya Renee Taylor, author of The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love, that called out the collective longing to return to our normal state for what it is: a longing to return to a world that “normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack.” She goes on to say that we “are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” Whether the full extent of how is apparent yet, there’s no denying that we are in the midst of great societal change and upheaval. And with change comes the opportunity to shape not just the outcome, but also the change itself. As one of our greatest writers commands in her novel Parable of the Talents, “Seize change. Use it. Adapt and grow.” Continue reading “Change In A Time Of Longing”