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In case you couldn't come to our Brunch with a Bookseller featuring Stephanie and Julia and their favorite sci-fi and fantasy for this time, we've compiled the list of recommendations for you! More of Stephanie's staff picks can be found here, more of Julia's staff picks can be found here, and you can check out our calendar of events here.
This book is why science fiction exists! Riot Baby follows the relationship between two siblings—a young man indefinitely jailed in Rikers prison and his sister who has a Thing that allows her to communicate telepathically and to cause pain. But the author manages to write the dystopia here from the most dystopian parts of reality in America, giving the story an unflinching call out for our own times. This is a novel about race, and about family, justice, anger, and loss. In his author's note, Tochi Onyebuchi says he set out to "write angry, the type of angry that still leaves room for love." This book sizzles with both anger and love, and maybe even hope for an end to the dystopia. —Julia
When I was little, there was a children's computer game my brother and I often played called The Mahole. The Manhole was developed by Cyan Worlds (it was their first game, they would later develop the popular Myst series). The Manhole was whimsical, a first person point-and-click adventure through a magical world accessible by a common manhole cover. It had beautiful monochromatic pixel drawings nad used spare, odd sound effects. Also, it was deepl (I now think purposefully) creepy. [An aside: you can easily track down and watch an entire playthrough of the game on youtube.]
Reading Annihilation, the first installment of The Sourthern Reach Trilogy, reminds me of how I felt playing The Manhole. In both, you find yourself descending into a new world, not knowing exactly why or what is contained within it, what it all might do to you. And while Vandermeer's book is in the tradition of the sci-fi thriller or the horror testimonial (or, hey, another computer game series Myst and The Mahole are indebted to: Zork), those genres become (like "children's game") a mask for something far more mysterious and compelling. —John
This space opera drew me in so fully that I found myself sneaking extra passages in whenever I had a spare moment. Corey has written a future in which humanity has colonized the solar system, with extensive civilaizations on Mars, Earth, and the Asteroid Belt. Leviathan Wakes follows a detective from the Asteroid Belt obsessed with finding a missing woman, and a newly appointed captain from earth, who's fate has been unluckily tied together with some of the dark secrets of the Universe. If you're looking for an epic adventure to get lost in, suit up! This is the one. —Charlotte