On Friday, November 19, 2021, Nathan H. and Tracy T., both staff members at the Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries, were the joint presenters for a booktalk to the Friday morning Bethany BooksTalk group. This was Nathan’s handout of the titles he discussed, focused on science fiction novels.
by Isaac Asimov (Asimov)
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future, to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and war-fare that will last thirty thousand years.
To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations.
A Canticle for Leibowitz
by Walter M. Miller (Miller)
In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz.
From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes.
Children of Dune
by Frank Herbert (Herbert)
The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, disappeared in the desert wastelands of Arrakis nine years ago. Like their father, the twins possess supernormal abilities — making them valuable to their manipulative aunt Alia, who rules the Empire in the name of House Atreides.
God Emperor of Dune
by Frank Herbert (Herbert)
Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world’s savior, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity’s future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him near immortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past thirty-five hundred years.
Leto’s rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has made not only his appearance but his morality inhuman.
Every Heart a Doorway
by Seanan McGuire (McGuire)
Children have always disappeared 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.
This is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (El-Mohtar)
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
All Systems Red
by Martha Wells (Wells)
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by security androids, for their own safety.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
by Annalee Newitz (Newitz)
Autonomous features a rakish female pharmaceutical pirate named Jack who traverses the world in her own submarine. A notorious anti-patent scientist who has styled herself as a Robin Hood heroine fighting to bring cheap drugs to the poor, Jack’s latest drug is leaving a trail of lethal overdoses across what used to be North America — a drug that compels people to become addicted to their work.
by Malka Ann Older (Older)
It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.
Project Hail Mary
by Andy Weir (Weir)
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission — and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
by Jeff VanderMeer (VanderMeer)
Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.