Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Five More for the Beach Bag: Mr. Boston Bibliophile Recommends Some Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading

Mr. Boston Bibliophile takes over today to recommend some of his favorite lighter science fiction and fantasy. These are books that might work well for neophytes and those looking for something to bring to the beach or out to the hammock. Enjoy!

Night Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko

In post-Soviet Russia, one cold war might be over, but a colder one is being waged in the twilight.  Human beings, the Others, have tapped into the Gloom, the magical reality behind our own, turning themselves into paragons of Light or fiends of Darkness.  The Night Watch protects the world against the forces of Darkness; the Day Watch ensures that the Light does not dominate the fate of humanity.  Into this stagnant but delicate balance is thrust Anton Gorodetsky, reluctant magician and Light Other; he is a pawn in the schemes of others, but he might just find a way to control his own destiny.

Marie says: I've read this one and I think it's a great choice for the lit fic reader looking to dabble in genre. It's fairly light, has little violence and appealing characters. It's also the first in a series of four books.

Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville
Scarab-headed women spit works of art, criminals are remade as cyborgs, and a renegade scientist seeks to help his crippled client to fly again.  When a silent killer begins stealing the minds of unresisting victims, the denizens of the fantastic city of New Crobuzon will realize that it is impossible to find the guilty in a place where no one is innocent.

Marie says, I haven't read this but I'm a huge fan of Miéville and recommend him heartily to lit fic readers.

Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins
What do a Brazilian dance craze, a Greek god who is well past his prime, and the rarest bottle of perfume on earth have in common?  In this riotous epic that sprawls from eighth century Bohemia to later this evening, a motley cast of kings and waitresses, perfumers and mystics may learn the answer –
but only if they can reach the bottle before the last drops run out...

Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, by Gordon Dahlquist
Miss Celeste Temple wanted nothing more than to marry her fiancé, Roger Bascombe.  When he breaks off their engagement with a dry letter on a silver tray, she is determined to learn why.  Her investigation will lead her into the shadows of Victorian England, where weird science offers the chance to relive any sensuous fantasy and a mysterious cabal plots to bring the world under its thrall.

Otherland, by Tad Williams
At the end of the 21st Century, children around the world begin falling into comas from which they cannot wake.  Some suspect that the cause of the sickness lies in the Net, the world-spanning virtual reality network. Searching for an answer, a small group hacks into Otherland, a secure region of the Net in which the fabulously wealthy have constructed private fantasy worlds.  Fantasy, however, proves to be more dangerous than reality when the explorers realize that they cannot log off – and if they die in Otherland, they die for real.

Storm Front, by Jim Butcher
Meet Harry Dresden, private investigator and Chicago’s only wizard-for-hire. When the things that go bump in the night start bumping, he’s the man to call. But when a serial killer starts using magic, suspicion falls on Harry, and forces more powerful than the police are ready to fall on him if he strays from the light. If Harry cannot find the powerful warlock capable from killing miles away, he is certain of becoming the next victim – even if it his own people who do the deed.