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Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2015 Picks

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The Reading List - Fantasy - 2015

ALA's RUSA Reading List



The Goblin Emperor” by Katherine Addison

Following the sudden, suspicious deaths of his entire family, exiled half-goblin Maia becomes emperor, a role requiring diplomacy and adherence to strict protocols. Focusing on the intricacies of court life, this elegant novel unfolds at a pace that allows readers to savor the rich tapestry of character, setting and plot

The Spirit Ring” (1992) by Lois McMaster Bujold - When her father, a goldsmith and master mage, dies during the siege of their Italian village, fifteen-year-old Fiametta finds her own fledgling magic tested in the ensuing battle against the evil Lord Ferrante.
Cold Magic” (2010) by Kate Elliott - On the eve of the Industrial Revolution, Cat is taken from her home and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage, and she must enter the spirit world to protect her cousin, Bee, where she discovers her own unique powers.
The Ruins of Ambrai” (1994) by Melanie Rawn - Torn apart in childhood by the intrigues and machinations of their elders, three Mageborn sisters take their stands against one another on opposing sides of a conflict between two powerful schools of magic.
Short List
Half a King” by Joe Abercrombie - Heir to the throne Yarvi, prompted by the murder of his father, embarks on a kingdom-transforming journey to regain the throne, even though having only one good hand means he cannot wield a weapon.
Hot Lead, Cold Iron” by Ari Marmell - Working as a private detective, Fae Mick Oberon is hired to find a gangster's daughter sixteen years after she had been replaced by a changeling, and Mick encounters Fae politics and mob power struggles as he investigates.
The Paper Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg - Bound to a magic she never wanted, a young apprentice falls deeper into its mysteries when she must use everything she's learned from her master in order to save him, and his heart.
Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen - Princess Kelsea has been hiding in the forests of theTearling since her mother's death, training for the role she will have to play when she turns 19 and becomes the queen. But once Kelsea arrives in the capital and proves her right to the throne, her troubles begin. Her uncle had been acting as regent, and the alliance he made with the sorcerous Red Queen of neighboring Mortmesne is the first thing Kelsea decides to change. She will have to find allies fast as her actions threaten to plunge her kingdom into war.


The Reading List - Science Fiction - 2015

ALA's RUSA Reading List



The Martian : a novel

The Martian” by Andy Weir

Stranded on Mars, wisecracking botanist Mark Watney proves that an astronaut has to be smart, resourceful and, perhaps, a little crazy to survive. Strong characterization, well-researched but accessible technical detail, and a deft blend of suspense and humor will please science enthusiasts and fans of survival stories on any planet.


"Gravity" dir. By Alfonso Cuarón

Dr. Ryan Stone is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky. On a seemingly routine spacewalk, the shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left, and the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

Packing for Mars” by Mary Roach

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take?  To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As the author discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), she takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Farmer in the Sky” by Robert Heinlein

A youth and his father emigrate from the mechanical and organized world on overpopulated Earth to become colonists on Ganymede, the third moon of Jupiter

Short List

Annihilation” by Jeff Vandermeer

Area X has claimed the lives of members of eleven expeditions. The twelfth expedition consisting of four women hopes 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.

Fortune’s Pawn” by Rachel Bach

When professional mercenary Deviana Morris took the security guard job aboard the Glorious Fool, all she wanted was a fast route into the Devastators --- the elite league of armored fighters entrusted with the most important duty on her home planet of Paradox.

Lock In” by John Scalzi

The story is set some 25 years after the first appearance of Haden’s Syndrome, a virus that killed 400 million people and leaves a small percentage of its victims in “LockIn,” a state in which they are fully aware but trapped inside unresponsive bodies. Neural net technology allows Hadens to use android-like “threeps” or make arrangements with Integrators, survivors whose virus-altered brains allow them to share their bodies. When a corpse is found at the Watergate hotel and the only suspect is a blood-covered Integrator who says he doesn’t remember what transpired, investigators  uncovering an intricate tangle of political and business interests.

Shovel Ready” by Adam Sternbergh

Working as a hit man on the ravaged streets of New York City after a dirty bomb is unleashed on Times Square, Spademan takes an assignment to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist only to discover that his mark holds a shocking secret and that his client hides a more sinister agenda.