Posts Tagged ‘futuristic’

Naked In Death

February 24, 2010

Author: J.D. Robb

Title: Naked in Death

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: 1995

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period: Mid Twenty-first century

Series: Eve Dallas 1

Plot Summary: Eve Dallas is a New York Police Lieutenant in the twenty-first century with a haunting past. Guns have been banned, although they have become collctor items, and prostituion has been made legal.  Eve is surprised when she is called to a murder scene of a prostitute to discover the killer used a gun. It is a brutal murder and the killer sends a video of the scene to Eve’s home, which is a concern as to how the killer knows where she lives. The killer leaves a piece of paper hidden under the corpose which says “One of Six.” Before Eve has a chance to find the killer two more prostitutes are found murdered in the same way. One of the suspects is a billionaire named Roarke, who also has a past he is trying to redefine. Both Eve and Roarke are dealing with parental trauma and an immediate attraction sparks between them. With Roarke as a suspect Eve is walking a fine line with her superiors.  However, Roarke has connections with people in power and is able to assist Eve in finding information on a high powered senator who Eve believes is the killer. There are plot twists, intrique and steamy romance in this fast paced novel.

Subject Headings: Women detectives – New York City, Dallas, Eve, Women murder victims, Twenty-first century, Romantic suspense stories – American, Futuristic romances.

Appeal: Action-oriented, fast paced, character centered, investigative, compelling, edgy, urban, engrossing, sexually explicity, futuristic, dramatic, intriquing.

3 Terms Best Describe this book:  Edgy, suspenseful, character centered.

Similar Works/Authors:

Fiction:

Guilty Pleasures: by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake raises the dead for a living and lives in a world where vampires and werewolves are legal in the United States. There is a connection between Anita Blake and Eve Dallas, they both have powerful men in their lives for support and both are dealing with painfull family memories.

The Admiral’s Bride: by Suzanne Brockmann. (Number 6 in the Tall Dard and Dangerous series).

Admiral Jake Robinson and Dr. Zoe Lange pose as husband and wife to help retrieve a deadly nerve agent that  has been stolen by a group of religious fanatics from a military testing base.  The plan is working well until Jake really falls in love with Zoe. Like Naked in Death this book is a fast paced romantic suspense novel.

Hunting Fear: by Kay Hooper (First in the Fear Trilogy).

Samantha Burke is a fortune teller with a travelling circus and Lucas Jordan is with the FBI’s special crimes unit. Together they search for a serial kidnapper using their psychic talents. Publishers Weekly Review rated this as a “solid entry in the annals of paranormal crime-solving.”

Nonfiction:

Murder in Spokane: catching a serial killer: by Mark Fuhrman.

The opening lines of this books grips the reader’s attention just as Naked in Death does. Fuhrman recounts the story of a serial killer who is preying on prostitutes in Spokane. Fuhrman, a true crime writer and ex cop, is well known for his role as the Los Angeles detective in the Nicole Simpson murder.

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast of the 21st Century: by George Friedman.

Friedman is the CEO of STRATFOR, a private intelligence and forecasting company. When he is describing the space war between Japan and Turkey on side and the United States and the allies on the other side, it reads more like a science fiction novel. This war, according to Friedman, is due to begin on Thanksgiving Day 2050.

The Devil in the White City: murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America: by Eric Larson.

This account of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 tells the story of the two men who played a vital, but different role, in this event. Architect Daniel Burnham and serial killer Herman Mudgett, alias H.H. Holmes. The story goes between Burnham’s construction of the fair and Holmes’s  murderous spree of killing women.

Name: Jane

I, Robot

October 29, 2009

Author: Isaac Asimov

Title: I, Robot

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1977, c1950

Number of Pages: 192

Geographical Setting: Various locations on earth and in space

Time Period: 1996-2057

Series: 1st title in the Robot Series

Plot Summary: After 50 years as a “robopsychologist” Dr. Susan Calvin is about to retire and is being interviewed about her life’s work. Her comments frame the nine funny and thought provoking stories about robots and how they think and work. There are three laws of robotics built into every robot that cannot be broken. Robots cannot harm or allow harm to come to humans, robots must obey humans unless that would break the first rule, and robots must protect themselves unless that would break the first or second rule. Most of the stories involve figuring out problem situations that involve these rules including a robot who thinks he is a prophet, one who can read minds, and one who is a practical joker.  The last few stories are more serious and deal with whether or not man can handle these machines he has created.

Subject Headings: Robots –Fiction. Science fiction, American.

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, lifelike robots, multiple points of view, intriguing characters, episodic, flashbacks, issue-oriented, plot twists, thought-provoking, futuristic, humorous, psychological, thoughtful, classic, concise, jargon, journalistic, plot-centered, open-ended

3 Terms that best describe this book: humorous, episodic, thought-provoking

Relevant Fiction Titles

Man vs. Machine edited by Martin Harry Greenberg – A short story collection by various authors that explores the use of artificial intelligence. This is for fans of science fiction short story collections looking to branch out beyond just robots.

Echelon by Josh Conviser – This is a full length novel that explores the use of a global surveillance project to control the world’s information that ends up going terribly wrong. This is for readers interested in futurist efforts to maintain peace, an idea that Asimov touched on in his stories.

The Cold Equation and Other Stories by Tom Godwin – This title includes both short stories and a full length novel for those readers who cannot decide which they would rather read. The collection deals with survival and colonization in relation to aliens.

Relevant Non-Fiction Titles

Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel by Roger Launius and Howard McCurdy – These authors detail what is happening now in terms of space travel and the use of robots, for those readers who need a dose of reality.

How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself against the Coming Rebellion by Daniel Wilson – Obviously these robots don’t live by the three laws of robotics. This title is for those readers looking for another humorous take on robots.

Love and Sex with Robots: the Evolution of Human-Robot Relations by David Levy – Levy feels that relationships between humans and robots are inevitable. This title is for readers who especially enjoyed Asimov’s short story “Evidence” that revolved around the question of whether or not a mayoral candidate was in fact a robot, and for those readers who enjoyed the various life-like personalities of the other robots featured in I, Robot.

Name: Elizabeth

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

October 28, 2009

Author: Philip K. Dick

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1968

Number of Pages: 244

Geographical Setting: Mainly post-apocalyptic San Francisco but also Seattle and rural Oregon.

Time Period: 2021

Series: No.  However, K.W. Jeter wrote a SF series of sequels to Blade Runner, the movie based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Plot Summary: The year is 2021, and World War Terminus has killed millions, driven countless species into extinction, and forced much of mankind to colonize Mars with the help of androids.  Those remaining on Earth are at constant risk from radioactive fallout and try to distract themselves from their grim lives by dialing up emotions on their mood organs, following the new religion of Mercerism, and caring for rare and much-coveted living animals.  One of these remaining Earthlings is Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who works for the San Francisco Police Department.  With androids banned from Earth for fear of the havoc they could wreak, Deckard’s job is to track and “retire” any illegal android immigrants from Mars.  When reports are received of eight new android fugitives on Earth, Deckard is sent to track them down, but there is a problem.  The Rosen Association’s new Nexus-6 android is so human-like that the Voigt-Kampff empathy test is potentially worthless in helping to differentiate them from humans.  As Deckard enters on his mission, many questions are raised:  What if the Voigt-Kampff test fails, and he mistakenly “retires” a human?  Can he outwit such sophisticated androids who are willing to fight for their survival?  What should he make of his complicated feelings for the Rosen Association’s android Rachael?  Most importantly, however, will Deckard make enough bounty to finally trade his electric sheep for a real one?

Subject Headings: Androids — California;  Bounty hunters — California;  Detectives — Los Angeles, California;  Twenty-first century;  Deckard, Rick;  Dystopias;  Los Angles, California;  Science fiction, American.

Appeal: engrossing, fast-paced, intriguing characters, cinematic, complex, plot twists, inventive, thought-provoking, urban, futuristic, post-apocalyptic, dangerous, suspenseful, speculative, satirical, philosophical, psychological, concise, direct and accessible language.

Three terms that best describe the book: Fast-paced, Futuristic, Philosophical

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Hydrogen Steel by K.A. Bedford — Former homicide detective Zette McGee is called out of retirement to help an android friend accused of murdering his family.  Efforts to clear her friend’s name take Zette deep into space to confront the powerful artifical intelligence Hydrogen Steel as well as her recent realization that she too is an android.  (plot twists, thought-provoking, suspenseful, futuristic, philosophical, intriguing characters, artificial intelligence)

Chimera by Will Shetterly — In a grim twenty-first century, androids and humans genetically crossed with animals serve as slaves for the rest of mankind.  When a cheetah woman asks PI Chase Maxwell for protection against a wrongful murder conviction, a thrilling sci-fi mystery begins that explores the definitions of freedom and humanity.  (plot twists, though-provoking, suspenseful, philosophical, futuristic, fast paced, intriguing characters, artificial intelligence)

Man vs. Machine edited by Martin H. Greenberg & John Helfers —  This themed anthology of fifteen short stories explores a future world where humans must interact and compete with computers who achieve genuine Artificial Intelligence.  Includes stories by Jean Rabe, Simon Brown, Ed Gorman, and Rick Hautala.  (futuristic, artificial intelligence, thought-provoking, complex, inventive, speculative, philosophical)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Edison’s Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life by Gaby Wood —  This NY Times Notable Book from 2002 explores the efforts of humans over the past three centuries to build machines that resemble themselves.  Included are examinations of human-like mechanical flute and chess players from the 18th century and a robotic duck that fooled and fascinated Europe.  This book’s exploration of actual efforts at artificial intelligence compliments Dick’s speculative look at a future with androids.

The Seekers: A Bounty Hunter’s Story by Joshua Armstrong with Anthony Bruno —  This fascinating memoir tells the story of a New Jersey-based team of bounty hunters who capture 85% of their fugitives using spiritual, non-violent methods.  Although Rick Deckard often violently “retires” his targeted fugitives, the spiritually informed bounty hunting in this book resembles Deckard’s changing attitude toward his job as he begins feeling empathy for androids.

I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick by Emmanuel Carrere —  Written by critically-acclaimed French author Carrere, this biography of Philip K. Dick traces the sci-fi author’s traumatic early life, drug experimentation, and multiple marriages.  It also, and most importantly, looks at the philosophies and creative inspirations that influenced Dick’s more than fifty novels including Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Name: Russ

The Rolling Stones

June 11, 2009

Author: Robert A. Heinlein

Title: The Rolling Stones

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1952

Number of Pages: 276p

Geographical Setting: Our Solar System

Time Period: Not too distant Future

Series: Juvenile Series

Plot Summary: The Rolling Stones is Heinlein’s “family values” novel, with the highest virtue held to be loyalty to one’s kin. The Stones are a space-minded family of pioneer earth people who came to the moon to live. The family is headed by Hazel, a pistol-toting grandma; however, most of the interest centers around Castor and Pollux, the fifteen year old “unheavenly twins”, a mischievous brace who want to go to Mars to sell second-hand bicycles, at a smart profit.  Accordingly, the twins had the idea of buying the spaceship and flying out to the asteroid belt to make their fortune in space mining ventures. Their father rejected this plan, preferring to send them to Earth for a formal university education. But Grandma Hazel prevailed with more ambitious counsel, and the whole family ended up buying the spaceship and becoming an adventurously nomadic collection of rugged individualists.

Subject Headings: Family, Space Travelers, Twin Brothers, Space Flight to Mars, Asteroids, Space Vehicles, Home (concept), Mars, Science Fiction (American), Domestic Fiction

Appeal: Adventurous, mischievous, futuristic, idealistic, expressive, influential, compelling, family centered, vivid, timeless, colorful, unusual, insightful

Three Terms that Describe it: coming of age, exploration, space

Relevant fiction:

Lois McMaster Bujold- The Curse of Chalion– Shares Heinlein’s strong characterization, pacing and dialogue.

Alexi Panshin-Rite of Passage– Like many of Heinlein’s books, the story revolves around a central character’s struggle to grow up. In 2198, one hundred and fifty years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on a hundred hastily-established colony worlds and in the seven giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars.

Marge Piercy- He, She and It– Similar to Heinlein, this is a diverting tale of the 21st century, Piercy explores a world where information has become a commodity more precious than gold.

Relevant Non-fiction:

Alfred Korzybski- Manhood of Humanity- Heinlein was deeply interested in Alfred Korzybski ‘s General Semantics, and attended a number of seminars on the subject. His views on epistemology seem to have flowed from that interest, and his fictional characters continue to express Korzybskian views to the very end of his writing career published in 1921, introduced the notion of time-binding as the defining distinction between humans and other organisms.

Twenty First Century Books- Exploring the Origins of the Universe/Stars & Galaxies/Space Travel and Exploration/Black Holes-Heinlein’s stories often take place in outer space. This book can provide some insight to the realms of space and exploration.

George Edgar Slusser- Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in his Own Land-This book can provide some biographical insight to Heinlein and his writings.

By: Allison Robins

World War Z

April 1, 2009

World War Z

Author: Brooks, Max
Title: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
Genre: Best-seller,
Horror, Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2006
Number of Pages: 352 p.
Geographical Setting: Multiple global locations
Time Period: near future: mid- to late-21st century
Series: NA

Plot Summary: When taken piece by piece, the speculated future presented in World War Z sounds speculative at best, and like a laughable horror-movie cliché at worst. Zombies take over the world! However, the author’s chosen format and the scope and circumstances of his story create an engrossing and horrifyingly believable scenario that gives the story an overall affect of believability that makes it even more frightening. Brooks presents his story—a global epidemic of a virus that reanimates the recently dead and imbues them with a single purpose: to attack and infect the living—in a series of interviews with survivors of the zombie apocalypse. These detailed, emotional, and terrifying accounts are arranged in roughly chronological order, exploring the origin of the outbreak in rural China, tracing its spread across the planet, delving into the reactions of various governments—which range from brutally harsh plans that some see as tantamount to genocide to so fueled by denial as to have the same ultimate effect—and the different military reactions to the threat. The survival stories are not limited to the political or military, however. Also included are accounts by common citizens—a Midwestern teenager whose family flees north (zombies are slowed by cold temperatures) and discover another threat in a massive, unregulated refugee camp, a soldier who fought in several key battles across the United States, a blind hermit in Japan, a European historian who discusses how various groups used the continent’s medieval fortresses as defense. Brooks’ interview format allows him to focus on the smallest facets of his detailed characters, and the stories they tell are action-packed and rich with fascinating details of any number of topics, well beyond the physiology of zombies and the best way to survive their ceaseless attack. World War Z is much more than a zombie horror story. It is a spellbinding study in speculative history, sociology, and epidemiology, as well as a cautionary tale for today’s shrinking world.

Subject Headings: Undead; Zombies; Supernatural; Epidemics; Diseases; Post-apocalypse, Oral histories; Survival (after epidemics); War

Appeal: alternative history, apocalyptic, atmospheric, bleak, candid, character-centered, cinematic, compelling, complex, conversational, darker, detailed settings, details of military strategy, details of survival techniques, details of zombies, direct, dramatic, edgy, engaging, engrossing, episodic, explicitly violent, frightening, futuristic, jargon, journalistic, menacing atmosphere, multiple plot lines, multiple points of view, nightmare, oral history, plot-centered, political, recognizable characters, resolved ending, retrospective, speculative, speculated near-future, strong language, suspenseful, sympathetic characters, thought-provoking, tragic, unusual narrative voice, vivid, well-drawn characters

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

· Darker Angels, S.P. Somtow. 1998. (horror, zombies, alternate history, Civil War)

· Earth Abides, George R. Stewart. 1949. (post-epidemic apocalypse, speculative “near future,” survival)

· Oryx and Crake, Margaret Attwood. 2003. (post-apocalypse, near future, genetic engineering, survival)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

· The Good War: An Oral History of World War II. Studs Terkel. 1984. (oral history, war stories, inspiration for World War Z)

· The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Deadliest Epidemic–and How It Changed the Way We Think about Disease, Cities, Science, and the Modern World. Steven Johnson. 2006. (epidemics, detailed study of origin and spread of cholera in urban setting, microhistory)

· False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear. Marc Siegel. 2005. (fear, epidemics, manipulation of public fear, propaganda)

Name: Cynthia

Fahrenheit 451

February 25, 2009

Author: Bradbury, Ray

Title: Fahrenheit 451

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: original publication date 1953

Number of Pages: 179 pp. (1996 Del Ray edition)

Geographical Setting: United States

Time Period: the future (post 1990)

Plot Summary: Guy Montag enjoys his job as a fireman. He has a lovely wife and a modest home. He thinks of himself as a happy person. Until Clarisse, a teenage girl from the neighborhood, asks him that much. Through their newfound friendship, Montag realizes that she and her family are more interested in what happens around them rather than what happens on television. They appreciate depth and content; books and nature. And as he begins to question this, a series of events begin to unravel Montag’s life. His lovely wife attempts suicide to end a life of artificiality and sentimental distance. His station chief, Captain Beatty, questions Guy’s national commitment to burning books and homes. Clarisse and her family vanish. These episodes spark Guy’s temptation to read a cache of books he had stolen. He seeks out Faber, a retired English professor, whom he once met some time ago, to help sort out his thoughts. Beatty’s questioning becomes suspicion. Even the mechanical hound at the station dislikes him. Montag finds himself a fugitive after his wife turns him in and Beatty burns his home down. He struggles to flee civilization and find safety with a group of outsiders that have voluntarily fallen off the grid and have happily rediscovered books and literature. Fahrenheit 451 is Bradbury’s tale of anti-censorship and the ominous result if technology is misused. It is a tale of beware and forewarning with a pace that is swift and storyline that is detailed but not overwhelming.

Subject Headings: fire, burning, kerosene, fireman, banned books, censorship, government oppression, conformity, non-conformity, technology, digital media, robot, dystopia, future, science fiction, totalitarianism, fascism, tyranny, outcasts, and alternate realities

Appeal: Orwellian, stark, dark, dim, moody, plot-centered, individual point-of-view, murder, evenly-paced, political, dramatic, thought provoking, violent, vivid, paranoia, comparative, symbolic, persistent, foreboding, and contemporary lessons

Similar Authors & Works: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is the author’s portrait of a possible future world that is sterile and conformed, without individuality and thoughtfulness. 1984 by George Orwell is another take on a dystopian world where freedom has died and Big Brother controls the population through constant surveillance and Thought Police. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore is a graphic novel that depicts a world where Germany has won the Second World War and a totalitarian existence has bloomed and fascism has run amok throughout.

Relevant Non-Fiction Authors & Works: 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature by Nicholas J. Karolides is a frank portrait of 25 different titles that have been banned at one time or another by several countries, especially the United States. Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth by Marjorie Heins is a detailed retelling of historical movements, laws, and efforts to shield the youth from corrupting influences and how that movement has become more perverse and pervasive. It’s Not the Media: the Truth about Pop Culture’s Influence on Children by Karen Sternheimer is a case study into why the media and pop culture always tend to be the main reasons why there is a dissent of values and ethics in children.

Andy