Category: Science Fiction

Literary Icons We Lost in the Last Decade

The 2010’s have been a notable decade for literature lovers. Starting with big corporate bookstores going out of business and making room for the indie bookstores, we also saw the rise of audio-books, as well as platform being given to strong female protagonists with books like, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl , The Girl on the Train and so on. But in the past ten years we’ve also lost a number of prolific icons from the literary world and here are some of those authors and poets who have touched our lives with their iconic works, which will continue to influence us and the generations to come.

J D Salinger

Image Via Independent

We’ve all read his famous book in high school, The Catcher in the Rye, which is a fantastic piece of work tackling many pressing issues such as identity, loss, and sex. Salinger also exhibits relentless talent in his short stories, such as in A Perfect Day for Banana Fish. The writer lived until the long age of 91, and breathed his last on January 27, 2010.

 

 

Maurice Sendak

Image Via PBS

Even if you can’t immediately recognize this talented author by his name, I’m certain we are all familiar with his famous book, Where The Wild Things Are, which is a celebrated children’s picture book, teaching kids about imagination, independence and overcoming fear. The author/illustrator left us on the 8th of May in 2012.

 

V.s naipaul

Image Via BBC

Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize winner, V. S Naipaul left the world on 11th August, 2018. His book In a Free State won him the Booker Prize and he was also awarded the Trinity Cross in 1990, and was also made a Knight Bachelor in 1990.

 

 

maya angelou

Image Via Read it Forward

It was a tragic day when the world lost literary legend Maya Angelou. Not only was she a prolific, talented poet, singer and memoirist, she was also a famous civil rights activist, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Her book of poems, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie won the Pulitzer Prize and her autobiographical book, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, garnered much critical acclaims and went on to be made into a TV movie with the same name in April 1979. Her departure was a great loss for the entire world, but her legacy will continue to live on within her works.

 

stan lee

Image Via Esquire

On November 12, 2018, we bid farewell to the creator of The Amazing Spider-man, X-Men and all the other Marvel heroes who continue to dominate our lives since we were children. This man’s legacy cannot be put in words, as movies after movies continue to wow us with the foundations Stan Lee had built during his long standing career. When he passed at the ripe age of 95, it was when we thanked our stars for being born during his era, to enjoy the fruits of his creativity.

 

 

william goldman

Image Via Consequence

This remarkable American novelist, playwright and screenwriter left us on November 16, 2018. By the end of his career, William Goldman had received his first Academy Award for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and another for All the President’s Men. He also won two Edgar Awards, and was eventually given the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement in 1985. But perhaps his most notable work is The Princess Bride, the popular fantasy-romance novel which came out in 1973, and was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1987.

 

 

fred bass

Image Via New York Post

While not everyone recognizes Fred Bass without a quick Google search, but be sure to know that this man has changed the lives of millions with his contribution to the book industry. Bass left us on January 3, 2018, but he made sure to leave the world a little more educated and tons more curious, with his creation of The Strand Bookstore in New York City. As one of the most popular bookstores in the world, with its eighteen miles of books, Strand has not just become a common household name for New Yorkers, but has won hearts of people all from over the world, all thanks to this kind and intelligent soul.

 

anthony bourdain

Image Via Robb Report

Although we mostly know Anthony Bourdain from his popular TV shows and his celebrity chef status, but we can’t forget that he first emerged as a writer in the late 90’s when his column came out in The New Yorker, Don’t Eat Before Reading This. This later resulted in Bourdain’s first book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, followed by his second, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, which was published in 2010. His demise was certainly a tragic one, leaving his fans in utter pain and disbelief, but his perception regarding the exploration of international cuisine, culture and human conditions has taught us all a few great things about not being scared of the unknown.

 

 

harper lee

Image Via ABC

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American Classic, and Harper Lee was a legend for the creation of such an impactful book during a time of turmoil and distress in the Americas. Her revolutionary vision, through the eyes of the young protagonist of her book, is evident and speaks volumes about her life as a child growing up during the Great Depression in the South, exploring topics such as regionalism as well as racism. The book has garnered her several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, as well as awarding her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, which was very well deserved. The world lost a power-house figure on February 19, 2016.

 

 

ursala k le guin

Image Via Syfy Wire

Ursala K Le Guin had written over twenty novels and one hundred short stories, spanning a literary career for almost sixty years before her passing on January 22, 2018. She had won eight Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards, making her one of the most influential Science Fiction writers of our time, and that too as a woman, considering that science has always been a supposed male dominated field. Legends like her give us hopes to break barriers and march on.

 

toni morrison

Image Via Newsday

The beloved Toni Morrison, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Beloved, left a gaping hole in the literary world as she left us on August 5, 2019. She gained further recognition as she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She was also the first African American female editor at Random House in New York in the 1960’s. During her lifetime, she has inspired many people of all color to break free of stereotypes and to live their truth, whatever that may be. Her writing is so influential that her fan base continues to grow since her departure. Her writing has been critiqued by notable editors and writers alike and to this day, it is praised for its daring narrative. If there should be a legendary writer, Toni Morrison is deserving of that title.

 

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My Favorite YA Series of the Decade

I’ve decided to make a short list of some of my favorite YA series of the decade with no definite number because I didn’t really put much thought into how many I’ve read. But I feel like if you have the time, pick up these series. They may be aimed at younger audiences but there are still themes and topics that we can find relevant to people at any age. So let’s get to it.

Heroes of Olympus – Rick Riordan

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IMAGE VIA BARNES & NOBLE

Percy Jackson and the Olympians‘ is my favorite fantasy series of all time even over Harry Potter. The ‘Heroes of Olympus‘ series came out in 2010, but I hadn’t heard of it until 2012, when ‘Mark of Athena‘ came out. I couldn’t help but rush to the nearest bookstore to continue Percy’s story. Initially, I was shocked because Percy the main character of his original series, wasn’t the main character but one of seven. 

The series introduces us to five new main characters that readers grow to love over the course of this series. The series also introduces Roman mythology alongside the established Greek and Egyptian Mythologies from Rick’s previous series (‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians‘ and the ‘Kane Chronicles‘.) The series starts nearly a year after the end of the original Percy Jackson series, with its first book, ‘The Lost Hero’. It follows the adventures of three new characters, Jason, Leo and Piper who find themselves tangled in the center of a mystery that involves themselves and Percy who has gone missing, the Greek Gods and their Roman counterparts.

This series was a great continuation because it allowed the readers of Percy Jackson to continue on with the universe in a slightly more mature series that didn’t stray much from its origins.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard – Rick Riordan

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IMAGE VIA BARNES & NOBLE

You can tell by now that my love for Rick Riordan and all of his books is serious. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard was created after the success of the Heroes of Olympus series. Rick introduces his newest protagonist, Magnus Chase, who is Annabeth’s cousin, whom we were initially introduced to and followed in both the original Percy Jackson series and Heroes of Olympus series. But this series takes place in Boston, where the Norse Gods have taken up residency. We are taken on a wild ride that forces our main hero to interact with the creatures and gods of Norse mythology.

The series is very similar to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, however Rick does attempt different themes. Such as diving in and discussing LGBTQ topics with the character Alex Fierro, the shapeshifter, whose gender can change depending on their mood.

And explores the differences between Percy and Magnus. Magnus is first introduced as a homeless kid that lives on the streets of Boston, he’s naturally chooses not to fight while Percy jumps in and tries to protect everyone himself. So, if you loved Percy Jackson, I recommend Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.

 

 

Arc of a Scythe Trilogy – Neal Shusterman

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IMAGE VIA BARNES & NOBLE

The ‘Arc of a Scythe‘ trilogy has become my single most favorite series of the decade. The trilogy takes place in a future where humans have conquered death. All forms of government have been eradicated and everything is dictated by an evolved version of the cloud, called, the “Thunderhead.” Race and ethnicity are irrelevant except for those that still show some slight leaning in to a particular ancestry. People can no longer die because of the development of a way to be reverted to a younger age. However, the population has increased. “Scythes”, have to perform a nobel gleaning so that humans don’t run out of space.

The series is incredibly intelligent and discusses topics such as morality, human nature, worship, and fanaticism. The two main characters of the series are Citra and Rowan, two teenagers that find themselves thrust into the world of a scythe. Its tense, mysterious, fun and thought-provoking.

 

Throne of Glass Series – Sarah J Maas

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IMAGE VIA BARNES & NOBLE

Assassins, kings, princes,knights and a plot for a throne. ‘Throne of Glass‘ has all the makings of a traditional fantasy series, however, led by a fierce female assassin, Celaena Sardothien, who found herself in the middle of a plot to help overthrow a tyrannical leader. The first book, titled, ‘Throne of Glass’ follows Celaena after her imprisonment because of a series of assassinations that terrorized the entire country. She is given an ultimatum by the prince, Dorian that she can either waste away in prison or potentially free herself by becoming one of the king’s private soldiers. To do so, she’d have to win a tournament and face off against other strong opponents, all the while, looking for an assassin that is making their way around the contestants.

There are around seven books in the series and involves everything from action, adventure, romance and everything else you could incorporate in a series. I love it for its simplicity and great characters.

 

Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins 

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset (Paperback Classic Collection)

IMAGE VIA BARNES & NOBLE

Now finally, the biggest name on this list. The ‘Hunger Games” trilogy. Now technically two of the three books in the trilogy came out in the previous decade. However, with the height of the series and the final book’s release in 2010, I can’t help but include the series in this decade’s list. The series was such a massive hit that it eventually got turned into a movie series that propelled rising actress Jennifer Lawrence into stardom. The films also featured stars such as, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks.  

The books follow the main character, Katniss Everdeen, a girl in a dystopian future after a great war destroyed most of America. And in its wake exists twelve districts and one capital. She lives in district twelve, with her mother who is suffering from the trauma of her husband’s death and her younger sister Primrose Everdeen. Every year the twelve districts are forced to offer one boy and one girl as tribute who will then be sent to the capital. From there they are to fight to the death in front of the entire nation in a game called, “The Hunger Games”.

After Primrose’s name is drawn from the potential tributes, Katniss offers herself instead and thus begins the events of the book that will eventually lead to a great revolution in their world. The book is told in the perspective of Katniss, so the reader is allowed to see the world through her eyes and where she struggles with her family, being offered as a tribute to entertain the pompous and flamboyant people of the capital and most importantly, trying to survive.

These books are a tense and wild ride that I would suggest everyone read because it tackles topics like trauma, stress, capitalism, imperialism and colonialism.  

Some Honorary Mentions: 

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor

Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth

YA series are a fun sub-genre, they have an ability to reach readers across a wider audience, while also discussing deep topics. It will continue to be popular, and for that we should continue to enjoy them as they come.

 

 

Featured Image via Read Riordan

 


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5 Fantasy Books Coming Out This Month

With the winter holidays upon us and with snow storms brewing, what better way is there to spend a snow day than curled up somewhere warm with a fantasy book? See Tor’s New Release page for more details on some of the following releases!

Here are five fantasy books that will be released this month:

1. “Walk the wild with me”

 

image via Penguin Random house

Written by Rachel Atwood, Walk the Wild With Me is a historical fantasy that follows a young man named Nicholas Withybeck, who must use the power he was granted by a Celtic goddess to infiltrate the realm of the Faery on a rescue mission. But time is running out!

During his travels, he meets mythical figures like Little John and the Green Man, to name but a few. Other fantastical creatures also appear in this narrative: trolls and dryads, for example.

2. “The Light of all that falls”

image via amazon

This is the third book in James Islington‘s Licanius Trilogy. The Light of All The Falls will be released on December 10th. This narrative follows the first two entries in the series The Shadow of What Was Lost and An Echo of Things to Come. Follow Wirr, Davian, and Caeden as they work to overcome their personal demons while trying to restore peace to a war-torn land.

3. “This will kill that”

Image via goodreads

Written by Danielle K. Roux, this book is a distinctive blend of the science fiction and fantasy genres. This Will Kill That is a story that deals with demons and spirits in a city where people regularly murder one another without provocation. Rin Morana is set to take over as the leader of the Green faction, one of the forces behind the Color Clash. Amaya Verity, part of the rival Blue faction, must call on Rin for help. As stated by the Amazon summary of this book, Rin and Amaya must “decide whether to fight monsters or become them.”

4. “The case of the Spellbound child”

image via amazon

This book is the fourteenth installment in Mercedes Lackey‘s Elemental Masters series. But fear not! These books can be read out of order, and readers can still enjoy each for its individual merit. The Case of The Spellbound Child takes place after the death of Sherlock Holmes (but is he? Is he really?). John and Mary Watson and friends embark on two cases in Dartmoor: one involves the disappearance of a group of children on the moors, and the other investigates rumors of dark magic brewing in the region.

5. “Crownbreaker”

image via goodreads

Sebastien de Castell‘s Spellslinger series continues with its sixth installment, Crownbreaker. This book follows protagonists Kellen and Reichis as they adapt to their lives as guardians of the queen. However, everything goes wrong when Kellen is trapped by a mage who intends on killing him.

Featured Image via In the Groove

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Top 5 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Picks To Escape Reality To

Each week, Bookstr gives you a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.

Flying nuns, magical child athletes, and a nordic god. The perfect combination to escape the drab of real life.

 

 

5-Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather

 

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Image via linarather.com

Lina Rather has written a variety of short stories in the speculative fiction genre, which basically means she dabbles in a variety of genres all encompassing elements that don’t exist in our plane of reality. As a writer, she would “rather” stick to writing for science-fiction, fantasy, and horror than with real-life. Honestly, I can’t blame her. Reality sucks. So with her debut novella, let’s escape from reality in this sci-fi adventure of literal nuns in space. Yes, I said Nuns. In. Space!

 

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Image via Goodreads

Take a ride on the living ship of the Order of Saint Rita, a group of Nuns on an interstellar mission to bring spiritual support and healing throughout the galaxy. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters learn that the bodies and souls in their care are in danger, and not from the void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself. With danger around every constellation, each decision made can result in their demise. Coming to your galaxy November 12th.

 

 

4-Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof by Ivy Claire and Kobe Bryant

 

Images via Amazon and The New York Times

Five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has made the leap into book publishing, and to everyone’s surprise, his books are pretty amazing! Not only are his books doing well with readers, but the critics are also loving it. Kobe is already Academy Award–winning storyteller and content creator. He Kobe’d that one.

While the creator of this book is, in fact, Kobe Bryant, the writer is Ivy Claire, who started out in life as a former world-ranked athlete and national and collegiate squash champion. After spending a decade competing internationally, Ivy turned to full-time to writing.

The perfect duo to create this epic fantasy, with a sports twist.

 

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Image via Goodreads

In a magical world dominated by sports, two children uncover and battle terrible evil and discover their inner strength along the way. At the most elite sports academy in the land, the best child-athletes are sent to hone their skills. When Rovi and Pretia arrive, each harboring a secret about themselves, they begin to suspect that something evil is at play at the school, and in the course of their first year, they must learn to master the mystical power force, known as Grana, in order to save the world from dark forces that are rising. This magical release came out November 12th.

 

 

3-Crier’s War by Nina Varela

 

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Image via ninavarela.com

A national award-winning writer of screenplays and short fiction, this will be Nina’s debut novel.

 

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Image via Goodreads

A war leaves the Kingdom of Rabu in devastation, giving rise to one woman’s desire to avenge her family. Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Ayla puts her plan together to exact her revenge, but she miscalculated on one thing, falling in love with the beautiful Lady Crier. The two of them find a love and a call to action after meeting, desiring not only a future where they can be together, but a bright one for the entire kingdom, even if that means starting another war.  

A daring and passionate tale about truth and love, this book shows that sometimes to make a difference, you need to make some sacrificeseven if that means starting a war. This epic release came out October 1st.

 

 

2-The Winter King by Christine Cohen

 

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Image via BookPeopleofMoscow

Another author making their grand debut, Christine is a mother of three and has a love of adventure and baking sweets. Now, the adventure-loving side to this author shows in her first published book, but the sweet side is lacking in this dark Nordic tale.

 

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Image via Goodreads

After the sudden disappearance of her father, whispers about her Cora’s “curse” have grown increasingly louder. Desperate to help her mother and siblings survive another bleak season in the Winter King’s frozen grasp, Cora begins to bend, and even break, the rules she has kept since she was a little girl. But when she discovers a secret that’s much bigger than herself, she realizes too late that she has put herself—and those she loves—in even greater peril. This November 19th release will leave you on the edge of your seat with mystery and intrigue. And for all you mythology nerds out there, the author has said that this is shaped by the myth of Hade and Persephone, but with twists.

 

 

1-Contaminated: Cosmic Fairy Tales by Amanda Milo

 

Amanda Milo

Amanda would prefer to not show her face, so instead we have this dragon-logo-thing | Image via Amazon

As a huge lover of romance, many of her books include elements of the genre, and often are inspired by old Fairy Tales.

Her October 22nd release is one of many books retelling beloved tales with a science fiction romance twist.

 

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Image via Goodreads

When a genetic curse devastates an entire planet of people, their only hope is the study of a rare flower. That is the job of our unnamed hero, to raising and studying the flower, to keep hope alive. But when the flower is stolen by a mystery woman, our hero sets out to bring back the flower. A twist on the beloved tale of Beauty and the Beast, this October 22nd release will thrill you and maybe even romance you a little.

 

 

Featured Image via Amazon


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‘Treasure Planet’: Disney’s Unique Adaptation of the Classic Novel

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is one of the most well-known adventure novels in all of literature. The story of a young Jim Hawkins on a quest to find the mysterious Treasure Island has been adapted numerous times over the years. One of the most unique adaptations of this famous work came from Disney on this day in 2002.

 

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Image Via Amazon

 

Treasure Planet was an animated film from the directors of Aladdin, Hercules and The Little Mermaid. It features the same plot as the novel, but uses a sci-fi setting instead of a traditional tropical island setting like the novel.

 

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Image Via IMDb

 

Hawkins remains the same, but many characters were changed for the adaptation. John Silver, the main antagonist, is made into a cyborg. Dr. Livesey and Dr. Trelawney are combined into a new character: Dr. Delbert Doppler, an anthropomorphic dog. Captain Alexander Smollett is changed to Captain Amelia, a female talking cat alien. Ben Gunn is turned into a robot called B.E.N. (Bio-Electronic Navigator). These characters are voiced by an all-star cast featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, Martin Short and Laurie Metcalf.

 

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Image Via D23

 

Sailing on pirate ships outfitted with rockets, the crew blasts off across the galaxy to search for the long lost Treasure Planet. The film employs a unique animation style that blends 2D-animated characters with 3D-animated settings.

 

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Image Via Film School Rejects

 

Despite a unique look, a classic tale, and a great cast, Treasure Planet was a box office failure, grossing only $100 million against a $140 million dollar budget. The film’s low returns derailed any plans for a sequel. The film’s failure can be attributed to lukewarm reviews and opening a week after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

 

 

But despite being forgotten very quickly during release, Treasure Planet has garnered a cult following and strong DVD sales over the years. It is currently available to stream on Disney+.

Any fan of the classic Treasure Island should check out this sci-fi adaptation.

 

Featured Image Via Nerdbot

 


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