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Take a Break With Far Out Science Fiction Recommendations

by Brandon Priddy, Public Services Librarian

May 4th was Star Wars day, so it put me in the mood to share some of my favorite science fiction books and movies.  Sometimes it’s nice to escape the present and submerge yourself in a fictional universe far away from here.  If you’re in the mood for Star WarsHoopla and OverDrive have a wide variety of Star Wars ebooks and audiobooks.  If Star Wars isn’t your thing, here are some other Sci-Fi genre suggestions:

Hoopla has The Man in the High Castle written by my favorite science fiction author Philip K. Dick.  His alternate history imagines the Axis powers winning WW2 and the consequences for the United States and the rest of the world.  A meditative multiverse masterpiece, it was also recently adapted into an Amazon Prime series that I highly recommend as well.  Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke is another favorite of mine that asks whether you can really trust those friendly aliens that arrive and promise to solve all of mankind’s problems.  It was also adapted into a Syfy channel miniseries.  Dan Simmons’ Ilium duology is another personal pick.  Ilium re-imagines the Trojan War set in the far future and on the planet Mars.  Simmons imaginatively combines Shakespeare, the world of ancient Greek gods and goddesses, and futuristic technology into one very unique and thrilling story.  

Kanopy has a number of classic and modern Sci-Fi films.  I recommend Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), one of the most famous early science fiction films depicting a society where, “the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor…realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century… it stands today as the crowning achievement of the German silent cinema.”  Prospect (2018), stars Pedro Pascal and tells the story of a teenage girl and her father traveling to a remote alien moon with the aim of striking it rich. Another recent favorite, Ex Machina (2015), stars Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac.  It’s a disturbing tale on the ethics of developing sentient A.I. and the potential consequences when one is able to pass as a human.  

If you enjoy science fiction films and would like to talk about them with like minded people, please join us for our second Sci-Fi film discussion group on Thursday, May 28th at 7PM.  We’ll be discussing Brazil by Director Terry Gilliam.  Considered a cult classic, this 1985 film can best be described as Monty Python meets Orwell’s 1984.  Brazil stars Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, and Michael Palin.  Set in a satirical dystopian consumerist nightmare where every day is Christmas, obtrusive technology is ever present, and disturbing terrorists attacks are a common occurrence; Brazil is bound to create an interesting discussion.  You can register here.  

If you’d like a break from fiction and would enjoy a great science documentary, WQED recently premiered Jim Allison: Breakthrough, which is “one warmhearted, stubborn man’s visionary quest to find a cure for cancer…a pioneering, harmonica-playing scientist who triumphed over a doubtful medical establishment to save innumerable lives around the world. In 2018, Jim Allison won the Nobel Prize for discovering the immune system’s role in defeating cancer, but his lengthy journey to get there was filled with barriers and criticism.” You can stream the film for free here.  I hope you enjoy your vacation in a galaxy far far away. 


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