Tag: sci-fi

5 Fascinating Fantasy Novels Inspired by the Natural World

Nature has long inspired artists of all kinds, from Wordsworth, to Van Gogh, from O’Keeffe, to Miyazaki. Mother Nature has touched the lives of creatives in every field, so we’ve assembled a list of amazing fantasy novels that are inspired by the natural world.

The Prophet of the termite god by Clark Thomas Carlton

 

Clark T. Carlton explores the intricate world of insects in his amazing fantasy series. The Prophet of the Termite God is the sequel to The Prophets of the Ghost Ants, celebrated as “exciting, visionary” and “a tour de force” by Lawrence Bender, producer of Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, Good Willing Hunting and Al Gore’s climate change awareness documentary An Inconvenient Truth.  Carlton’s series is a thrilling look at the possibility of worlds within our world, and what nature is truly capable of, as well as a smashing feat of world building.

According to his FantasticFiction profile, Carlton was “inspired to begin writing the series during a trip to the Yucatan when he witnessed a battle for a Spanish peanut between two different kinds of ants. That night he dreamed of armies of tiny men on the backs of red and black ants. After doing years of research on insects and human social systems, Carlton says that “the plot was revealed to me like a streaming, technicolor prophecy on the sixth night of Burning Man when the effigy goes up in flames.”

Carlton’s latest novel tells the story of Pleckoo, once an outcast, who has risen to Prophet-Commander of the Hulkrish army.  But a million warriors and their ghost ants were not enough to defeat his cousin, Anand the Roach Boy, the tamer of night wasps and founder of Bee-Jor. Now Pleckoo is hunted by the army that once revered him. Yet in all his despair, Pleckoo receives prophecies from his termite god, assuring him he will kill Anand to rule the Sand, and establish the One True Religion. Can Anand, the roach boy who worked in the dung heap, rise above the turmoil, survive his assassins, and prevent the massacre of millions?

Follow Clarke T. Carlton on Twitter, and on his website!

The Prophet of the Termite God is published by Harper Voyager Impulse; Paperback; June 2019; $7.99 & e-book; $2.99).)

Check out more about him here!

Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

 

Images Via Goodreads

 

Julia Whicker’s debut novel imagines a post-apocalyptic America, in which a plague wiped out most of the population and laid waste to the land. The book is a timely warning of what could happen if society fails to acknowledge climate change.

Set five hundred years in the future, Wonderblood is Julia Whicker’s fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA’s space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favour of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.

When travelling marauders led by the blood-thirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor’s queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl’s ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel that will delight fans of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance.

 

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer

 

Image Via Deskgram and Medium

 

Recently made into a blockbuster film starring Natalie Portman, Jeff VanderMeer’s epic trilogy explores a world reclaimed by nature. Dubbed ‘creepy and fascinating’ by none other than Stephen King, VanderMeer’s books are ‘shot through with echoes of Lovecraft, Orwell, and Kafka’ and are ‘compulsively readable’, according to Tina Jordan for Entertainment Weekly and are a brilliant examination of a world over which humans have no control.

 

Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Authority is the second, and Acceptance is the third.

Area X-a remote and lush terrain-has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers-they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding-but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the Southern Reach-the secret agency that monitors these expeditions-is in disarray. In Authority, John Rodriguez, aka “Control,” is the team’s newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves-and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he’s promised to serve. And the consequences will spread much further than that.
It is winter in Area X in Acceptance. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown-navigating new terrain and new challenges-the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. The mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound-or terrifying.

 

MIDWORLD BY ALAN DEAN FOSTER

 

Image Via Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

 

Brian M. Stableford listed Midworld as a “notable example” of the “elaborate and ingenious” Earth-like worlds of late-20th-century sci-fi, and we agree! This novel explores a world inspired by our Earth’s (rapidly diminishing) jungles and follows its inhabitants as they face a threat greater than any they have ever known… Timely.

 

Born was a child of the rain forest that covered Midworld, part of the primitive society that the peaceful jungle planet had sustained for hundreds of years. He was wise in the ways of his world, and he knew well the precarious natural balance that governed all things.

Then one day the aliens came. Giants.  They knew nothing of the Upper or Lower Hell — and they cared less. Born had risked his life to save them, to guide them through the myriad tangled boughs, past unseen, unsuspected dangers lurking in the underbrush. But worse than their ignorance of how to survive, the aliens had plans for Midworld, plans that could utterly destroy the globe-spanning forest that his people called home.

As the days passed, Born realized his mistake. And as he had once hunted only to live, he knew now that he would be forced to live only to kill…

The Color of Distance by Amy Thomson

 

Images Via Goodreads and Amy Thompson WordPress

 

Another amazing book inspired by the idea of a post-apocalyptic Earth, Thomson’s novel is a classic of its genre, and a definite must-read for any sci-fi fans who love the world of nature too!

Juna is the sole survivor of a team of surveyors marooned in the dense and isolated Tendu rain forest, an uninhabitable world for humans. Her only hope for survival is total transformation–and terrifying assimilation–into the amphibian Tendu species. Juna will learn more about her own human nature than ever before.

TV Adaptation of Chinese Science Fiction Novel ‘The Three-Body Problem’ Coming!

 

Exciting news for fans of science fiction literature! China’s biggest science fiction novel, The Three-Body Problemis being adapted for television according to The Verge! The science fiction epic novel has become a phenomenon in China and received international acclaim. Written by Liu Cixin, who has won the Galaxy Award nine times, the 2017 Locus Award, and the 2015 Huge Award. He has written numerous acclaimed science fiction books, including The Wandering Earth, Ball Lightningand also two sequels to The Three-Body Problem. A film adaptation of The Wandering Earth, released in February 2019, became the second highest grossing film in China in only two weeks!

 

Image via Wikipedia 

The Three-Body Problem was published in 2006 and begins in the backdrop of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. A dissident exile is sent to a remote research facility and makes first contact there with a hostile alien species known as Trisolarans. She learns the aliens are planning to take over Earth. The novel skips ahead to the modern day afterward, following a team of scientists preparing for the aliens arrival. The novels themes not only deal with the alien invasion but the nature of the universe itself.

The novel has been attempted to be adapted before, first as a short film by director Fanfan Zhang but was shelved due to quality issues. However, interest in Cixin’s work picked up again with the release of The Wandering Earth, especially after it was picked up and began streaming on Netflix. Chinese production company YooZoo Entertainment holds the rights to the series and is reportedly developing it for television. The series is planned to run as a 24 part series and is slated (unofficially) to begin shooting this September. While no further information is available at this time, it’s not hard to imagine that Netflix might stream the series as it did for The Wandering Earth. 

We’ll keep you updated as further information comes out. But are you excited to see this Chinese science fiction epic adapted for the television screen? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image Via The Verge 

'Choose Your Own Adventure'

‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Interactive Experience Now Available With Alexa

As children, most of us loved ‘choose your own adventure’ stories—until our lives became one! These books were always as simple as they were complicated, encouraging readers to make choices that result in either positive or negative outcomes. Naturally, this is a lot more fun when these choices don’t result in real consequences (say, unemployment or just a bad haircut) and instead, force readers to start over from the beginning. The fun only ends when you work your way to the correct ending… and if your choices are as bad as mine, that could take any number of hours.

 

Choose Your Own Adventure originals

Image Via Medium

 

Since the original series ran between 1979 and 1998, these interactive sci-fi and murder mystery stories may not be as familiar to Gen-Z and the youngest Millennials. Still, the ‘choose your own adventure’ format resurfaces every few years with trending topics: Max Brallier released a zombie edition, Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?, back when everyone thought zombies were about to be the next vampires. (In all fairness, they’re both dead. And neither would actually be that sexy.) Humor writer Dana Schwartz, the brains behind the Guy In Your MFA parody Twitter account, also used this format for her recent memoir, Choose Your Own Disaster. And, of course, Black Mirror‘s ‘Bandersnatch‘ episode is a recent example.

Good news: ‘choose your own adventure’ is about to be everywhere—and not just in the existential sense.

 

'Choose Your Own Misery'

choose your own misery is a choose your own adventure series for adults, featuring the limitless horrors of dating and the office
Image Via thrift books

 

Amazon Alexa recently introduced a new feature through Audible: Choose Your Own Adventure. The Amazon and Audible partnership uses Audible’s voice actors and Amazon’s accessibility to walk readers through two classic adventures (The Abominable Snowman and Journey Under the Sea) from the comfort of their own homes. Together, the books come with sixty-five possible endings to distract you for hours from all the choices your real life is waiting for you to make.

To start your adventure, just tell your Alexa-enabled device, “Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure from Audible!”

 

Featured Image Via The Mary SUe

 

 

Plan Your 2019 In Books: The Monthly Release Calendar

2019 promises to be a year of diverse, compelling, and topical books across all genres. Since 2018 promised to be a disaster and then pretty much followed through, this seems a bit more optimistic. While this isn’t a definitive list of every quality book to be released in 2019—which would probably take until 2019 to finish reading—it’s a sampling of both YA and adult titles to excite you month by month. So if your life plan for 2019 is less than certain, the least you can do is plan out your year in reading.

January

Maid by Stephanie Land

 

Maid - Stephanie Land

 

Stephanie Land writes: “my daughter learned how to walk in a homeless shelter.” As the gap widens between America’s wealthy and its underclass, Land’s work as a maid isn’t a door between these two worlds – instead, it’s only a window. The more Land struggles as an underpaid single mother, the more she witnesses the dark truth of what it takes to survive in a rigidly stratified society.

 

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

 

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

 

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali is leaving soon: Caltech and her dream of becoming an engineer wait at the end of a few a few short months… which seem to get longer and longer. Although she tries to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, it’s hard not to react when they favor her brother and criticize her choice in clothing. It’s harder to hide her girlfriend. Swept off to Bandgladesh in a whirlwind of cultural panic, Rukshana realizes that she will have to fight for her love. But will she also have to lose everything?

 

February

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

 

Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James

 

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On The Come Up - Angie Thomas

 

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

 

March

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

 

'Gingerbread' - Helen Oyeyemi

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories–equal parts wholesome and uncanny, from the tantalizing witch’s house in “Hansel and Gretel” to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can–beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

 

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

 

The Fever King - Victoria Lee

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Internment by Samira Ahmed

 

Internment - Samira Ahmed

 

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

 

April

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

 

Women Talking - Miriam Toews

 

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

 

In the Neighborhood of True - Susan Kaplan Carlton

 

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both.

 

May

Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang

 

Home Remedies - Xuan Wang

 

This dazzling collection interrogates the fractures, collisions and glorious new alloys of what it means to be a Chinese millennial. Xuan Juliana Wang has the dark soul of an old poet’s inkwell, the deep knowing of an ancient remedy, and linguistic incandescence of a megacity skyline.

From a crowded apartment on Mott Street, where an immigrant family raises its first real Americans, to a pair of divers at the Beijing Olympics poised at the edge of success and self-discovery, Wang’s unforgettable characters – with their unusual careers, unconventional sex lives and fantastical technologies – share the bold hope that, no matter where they’ve come from, their lives too can be extraordinary.

 

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Stirling

 

'These Witches Don't Burn' - Isabel Stirling

 

Hannah’s a witch. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire.

Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

June

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

 

'Mostly Dead Things' Kristen Arnett

 

One morning, Jessa-Lynn Morton walks into the family taxidermy shop to find that her father has committed suicide, right there on one of the metal tables. Shocked and grieving, Jessa steps up to manage the business, while the rest of the Morton family crumbles.

Jessa struggles to salvage the failing taxidermy shop, seeking out less-than-legal ways of generating income, all the while clashing with her mother and brother. As their mother’s art escalates to include a figure of her dead husband and a stuffed buffalo in an uncomfortably sexual pose, Jessa must find a way to restore the Morton clan’s delicate balance, and that means first learning who these people truly are, and ultimately how she fits alongside them all.

 

The Grief Keeper by Alex Villasante

 

The Grief Keepers - Alexandra Villasante

 

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.

But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything.

 

July

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

 

The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, a grotesque chamber of horrors. Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.”

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.

 

The Arrival of Someday by Jen Malone

 

'The Arrival of Someday' Jen Malone

 

Hard-charging and irrepressible eighteen-year-old Amelia Linehan could see a roller derby opponent a mile away. They don’t call her Rolldemort for nothing! What she couldn’t see coming, however, was the unexpected flare-up of a rare liver disorder she was born with. But now it’s the only thing she—and everyone around her—can think about.

With no guarantee of a viable organ transplant, everything Amelia’s been sure of—like her college plans, the mural she’d been commissioned to paint, or the possibility of one day falling in love—has become a huge question mark, threatening to drag her down into a sea of what-ifs she’s desperate to avoid.

 

August

Doxology by Nell Zink

 

Doxology - Nell Zink

 

Pam, Daniel, and Joe might be the worst punk band on the Lower East Side. Struggling to scrape together enough cash and musical talent to make it, they are waylaid by surprising arrivals—a daughter for Pam and Daniel, a solo hit single for Joe. As the ‘90s wane, the three friends share in one another’s successes, working together to elevate Joe’s superstardom and raise baby Flora.

On September 11, 2001, the city’s unfathomable devastation coincides with a shattering personal loss for the trio. In the aftermath, Flora comes of age, navigating a charged political landscape and discovering a love of the natural world.

 

 

September

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

 

The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

 

The wait is over.

And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her – freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

 

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

 

Full Disclosure - Camryn Garrett

Author Camryn Garrett | Image Via Vocally.com

 

Simone Garcia-Hampton is a black teen born HIV-Positive. Raised by loving queer parents who assure her that her diagnosis doesn’t define her, Simone must navigate a whole new world of fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love—and lust—for the first time.

October

No Mercy by Martina Cole

 

'No Mercy' - Martina Cole

 

The brand new novel from Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller and ‘undisputed queen of crime writing’ (Guardian) Martina Cole. The biggest selling female crime writer in the UK, Martina’s unique and powerful novels have gripped their readers for twenty-five years, and include Dangerous LadyThe Take and Damaged.

 

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

 

'Ninth House' - Leigh Bardugo

 

The new series centers on Alex Stern, a 20-year-old California high school dropout with a criminal past who is mysteriously offered a second chance as a Yale University freshman. Ninth House, the first book, follows Stern’s freshman year, where she is charged with monitoring Yale’s secret societies, who engage in sinister occult activities.

November

The Devil in Paradise by James L Haley

 

'The Devil in Paradise' - James L Haley

The gripping naval saga by award-winning historian James L. Haley moves to a tropical setting as Captain Bliven Putnam takes on pirates in the Phillipines and diplomatic relations in Hawaii.

It’s 1818 and Bliven Putnam is now a captain in the American Navy. Doing battle with the deadly pirate Jean Lafitte, off the coast of Texas, Putnam has come into his own as a leader. But he’s plagued by thoughts of home, where his wife, Clarity, is managing the family farm, the fortune, and an extenstive building project. When their long-planned reunion is cut short by a new assignment, Clarity at last puts her foot down. If she can’t keep Putnam with her, then she’ll just have to go with him.

 

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

 

'The Starless Sea - Erin Morgenstern'

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

December

Shooting Cole Stone by SC Megale

 

SC Megale

Author S.C. Megale
Image Via Wikipedia.org

 

Wednesday Books has bought Shooting Cole Stone, S.C. Megale’s #ownvoices debut YA novel. The book features irreverent Maeve, who has Muscular Dystrophy and plans to become an Oscar-winning film director, if only she can graduate high school and get some action with her leading man first. Publication is projected for winter 2019.

 

 

Featured Image Via Poisonedpen.com | Images and book blurbs via Goodreads.com