Alright, so I don’t really think there’s stuff we’re not meant to know – vive la science! – but a lot of people were talking about aliens (and Monty Python – Twitter, never change), so here are some books about aliens to start knowing some things. Maybe. The truth is out there!
This is a great start for anyone who likes their sci-fi light and lush, with enough cyborgs, psychics, and space travel to satisfy more die-hard fans. Set in futuristic Beijing, this well wrought fairy tale retelling features plague, sisterhood, and a robot who’ll be your favorite character. What more could you want? Crime? Formal wear? A lost foot? All that and more, plus, your book hangover will be delayed for quite a while, because there are several excellent sequels and a delightful graphic novel companion series. And did I mention Cinder is a mechanic? She’s a mechanic. Heart eyes.
Quick question – are you ready to suffer? This is a good book, maybe even a great one, but it’s going to break your entire heart and not even be sorry. Two strangers, the only survivors of a massive spaceliner crash, try to find their way across an alien landscape to the ship’s wreckage and hope of rescue. An unlikely pair, an heiress and a former soldier must work together not only to survive harsh conditions on dwindling hope, but to discover the secrets of this planet, long hidden, and more lovely and terrible than they could have imagined. Like I said, this one’ll hurt, but read it anyway. It’s earned.
Confession; this one’s from my TBR. But it’s at the top of the list! Brutal, large scale war against terrifying aliens, an intergalactic university, and the terrible pull of leaving the Earth behind. Clocking in at under a hundred pages, this is definitely a quick read, but don’t worry about being abandoned – it’s the first of three novellas. Plus, we always, always stan a heroine who’s good at math. Isn’t that the dream? Be good at math, and risk death to go to space school? Don’t boo me, I’m right.
The Hugo Awards, the annual award for science fiction, will announce their winner later in the week, but for now, there are two finalists which are the first in their series—so you can start reading right now, and be ready for the winner this weekend.
Maggie is a post-apocalyptic Navajo monster hunter, and that’s just the beginning. When a girl goes missing in a small town, she’s forced to team up with a medicine man to travel the reservation, uncovering secrets and coming closer and closer to a monster more terrible than either can imagine. An immersive flooded world, filled with gods and monsters, and characters with enough sarcasm and attitude to bear the weight of a dark plot and devastated world.
This has already swept a few awards, and is sure to be a good pick for anyone who likes any supernatural or speculative genres.
You may have noticed by now I’m A LITTLE OBSESSED with Naomi Novik, but hey, the experts back me up. This is sort of a fairy tale, related to Rumpelstiltskin, but you always get much more than you can possibly foresee with Novik.
Since her father is running the family business into the ground, Miryim takes matters into her own hands. For better or worse, she’s very good at debt collecting, and ends up catching the attention of the supernatural—the icy Staryk—and it only gets more dire from there. You can expect gloriously lush world building and characters who feel like real people.
Between the last two, fans of Meyer have hardly been deprived of content, but this week Meyer announced four upcoming books, including something completely new – a contemporary fantasy series.
All Meyers’ previous titles exist along the genre border between science fiction and fantasy. The Lunar Chronicles, for example, has enough space travel to satisfy sci-fi fans, and enough magical power to please fantasy nerds, while building on the foundation of fairy tales to create an epic saga set in a truly imaginative world.
Meyer has announced two future books in this vein, to be published between now and 2023. It’s not clear whether the two will be related, like the Lunar Chronicles, or standalone, like her wonderland adaptation, Heartless. The fairy tales she’ll be adapting haven’t been revealed either. At least we know it’s likely they’ll belong in the fantasy genre, maybe with a sci-fi twist like Cinder.
Image via Universe of Marissa Meyer
The most exciting part of the announcement, though, are the two contemporary novels. This is new territory for Meyer. These novels are also scheduled to be released in the next four years, and it’s not clear whether they’ll be related to each other. The first, Instant Karma, is about a girl driven by her disdain for the slackers around her. She gains the power to instantly punish the objects of her judgement. She enjoys her powers, but soon discovers her powers go haywire when used against her classmate. Through trying to navigate her powers and their limits, she finds out that the difference between virtue and sin between herself and the people around her, may be more complex than she thought.
The second book has no details announced, but is expected to be similar in genre.
Happy birthday Hans Christian Andersen! The Danish author was a writer of plays, poems, and short stories but he is best remembered today for his collection of fairy tales, of which he wrote over 3381. Famous fairy tales he have wrote you should be familiar with:The Little Mermaid,The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, and Thumbelina.However, he wrote many more beyond those and they’ve sadly faded from the public eye. Here at five of Andersen’s more obscure fairy stale, all strange and wonderful.
5. ‘On the Last Day’
Image Via Pininterest
On the Last Day is a dark and surreal story about what one man witnesses after death. As the man follows Death into the afterlife, he witnesses strange and dream-like events. These include: a masquerade ball where animals poke out from beneath people’s clothing, black birds screaming at the man as he walks, and stones that cut his feet no matter where he runs. Eventually, the man figures out he is being punished for his wicked deeds in life and is shown forgiveness, allowed into the gates of Heaven.
4. ‘The Tinderbox’
Image Via Hans Christian Andersen.com
In this story, a solider runs across an old witch as he returns home from war. The witch tells if he climbs a tree he will be rich, which he does and finds three chests guard by three different dogs. The witch gives him an apron for each dog and tells him if he places the dogs upon it, he will be able to pass by without being attacked. The soldier succeeds and finds a tinderbox among the chests. The witch refuses to tell him what it’s for and the soldier kills her. He lives in luxury for sometime with the riches in the chests, until his money runs out. The soldier strikes the tinderbox in frustration and discovers he can summon the dogs with it to do his bidding.
He uses the dogs to kidnap the princess but the queen finds out and sentences him to the gallows. Before being hanged, the soldier uses an excuse for a smoke to strike the tinderbox three times and the dogs appear, massacring the queen’s men. The soldier is proclaimed the new king and a feast ensues, the solider lording over his new position as his loyal dogs watch the kingdom’s people warningly.
3. ‘The Wicked Prince’
The Wicked Prince tells of a titular evil and selfish prince who is so bent on conquering the world that he turns to great evil to accomplish his dream. He sends out his army across the world, as they ravage everything in their path, destroying cities, villages, homes, everything in their way. The prince absorbs kingdoms into his empire and attains so much wealth and glory that he becomes master of the world. But he still isn’t satisfied and decides to conquer Heaven itself. He builds a giant ship, which is pulled by hundreds of eagles and flies toward the sun.
An angel appears and the prince opens fire on it but the bullets deflect and one drop of the angel’s blood smashes a hole in the ship, sending it crashing into the forest. The prince survives and builds a new army of ships but the angels send a swarm of gnats against him. The gnat bites his ear and the pain drives the prince mad. He goes insane and is mocked by his own men, the great prince conquered by an insect.
2. ‘The Garden of Paradise’
Image Via American literature
A prince gets caught in a storm and takes shelter in a cavern. Inside, he finds a woman so strong and large she resembles a man. Her daughters arrive, pulled along by the Four Winds. The East Wind takes the prince to the Garden of Paradise, where a fairy tells the prince that she may not be touched. But he will be allowed to live there for 100 years if he resists the temptation to kiss her.
On the very first night, the fairy tempts the man and he realizes an eternity of suffering is worth a moment of bliss, he gives in and kisses her. The prince returns to Earth, now condemned to wander forever to atone for his sin.
1. ‘The Traveling Companion’
Image Via Hans Christian Anderson.com
This tale tells the story of a young wandering the world after his father has passed away. The man meets a mysterious stranger who becomes his traveling companion and they have a number of adventures together. Eventually, he sees the most beautiful princess in the world and falls in love with her, despite the little fact that she’s a complete psychotic murderer. If he fails to tell her what she’s thinking in three days, the princess will kill him. The prince goes through many trials to give her heart but manages to eventually tell her what she’s thinking of: a severed head! The prince is then instructed of how to cure her evil curse that makes her psychotic by his traveling companion and lives happily ever after with his new wife.
What are some of your favorite Hans Christian Andersen stories? Let us know! And happy birthday again to Andersen!