March 30th, 2010

A New Face for Science Fiction

Have you heard of this little movie called Avatar? Grossing more than 2 billion dollars (the highest total in film history), and gaining worldwide attention, Avatar seems to have set the bar for Science Fiction. More than just its box office receipts, Avatar was also nominated for 9 Oscars, including the category of best picture, which sci-fi rarely sees. Sharing the best picture nod was the lower key, and quite excellent in my opinion, District 9. It seems as though Science Fiction is something that people are beginning to take more seriously. Lost, a sort of survivor-sci-fi hybrid, is one of the highest rated shows on TV. Books like Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife combine the standards of Sci-Fi with that elusive title of “literary fiction”. I think that part of the draw of science fiction is that the books are more than just day dreams about what technology might come to pass (although they are partly that), but also the ability to think about what’s happening today and extend it into the future. The Cecil County Public Library system has a great selection of science fiction, both in print and on film. A few of my favorite titles are:

Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuaron – One of my favorite movies of the past few years, and definitely in the top five for my favorite sci-fi flicks. This is a smart, dark, vision of the future where a mysterious illness has stopped mankind from being able to have children. The world has collapsed into a hostile and hopeless place as humanity sees its extinction nearing. Journalist Theo Faron is resigned to this life, until he gets drawn into a complicated plot to protect mankind’s future. Based on a novel by P.D. James.

Neuromancer, by William Gibson – A book about a once elite hacker, Case, who is currently circling the drain in Tokyo’s seedy underbelly. In the future people don’t go online through screens and keyboards, but connect through neurological implants in their brain. After a hack goes bad, Case’s ability to go online is chemically burned from his nervous system. A mysterious man named Armitage offers it back to him, if he can complete one more job. A Neuromancer movie is slated for 2011.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michel Gondry – Not all science fiction is set in the future. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind takes the very ordinary (perhaps a bit too ordinary) life of Joel Barish and turns it on its head. A company called Lacuna has developed a technique that lets people get over painful memories by simply erasing them. Joel meets a woman, Clementine, and despite a promising start, their relationship soon disintegrates. Joel turns to Lacuna to forget her, but Joel and Clementine may know a bit more about each other than they realize.

What are your favorite sci-fi novels and movies? If there’s a particular title that you’re looking for, then feel free to use our online catalog, or come into your local branch today.

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November 16th, 2009

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

This week the second book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, New Moon, hits the big screen! What could be more complicated than dating a vampire? How about finding out that your best friend is a werewolf who’s in love with you and that his wolf pack hates your boyfriend? Talk about relationship issues! New Moon proved to be a dividing point among Stephenie Meyer fans, with everyone taking sides as to whom they felt Bella should end up with at the end: Edward or Jacob.  One side favors true love and destiny, the other what some feel is a healthier (and living) relationship.

Whether or not you’re fan of the series, Twilight helped to usher in the new wave of popular vampire fiction.  Teens and adults both have their pick of series, several of which have been adapted into popular TV shows.  Love them or hate them, vampires are everywhere these days.

Each series presents a unique take on the vampire lore itself.  Some vampires are traditionally created or brought over, others are fallen angels searching for redemption, and still others selected to be vampires by a higher power.  There are socialites, recluses, daytime vampires, night dwellers, and some even sparkle in the sun. The histories and methods to deter or kill vampires are as varied as the vampires themselves, with each author providing his or her own legends and background.

If you’re in the mood to try a new vampire book, check out this booklist from one of our staff members for suggestions.

What are your thoughts on the vampire craze sweeping through pop culture and literature? Are you planning to see the movie due out this week? Of course, the more important question is:
“Team Edward or Team Jacob?”

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