Take Me to Your Reader: National Science Fiction Day

January 7th, 2022 – Kayla Thompson, Adult Services 

Hello! And Happy New Year to all of our library patrons and fellow readers out there! For those of you who might not know, January 2nd is National Science Fiction Day! This day also happens to coincide with famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s birthday! What better way to celebrate than getting together with your friends and reading your favorite Science Fiction titles. 

A Little Bit of History:

Whether you believe this area of literature started thousands of years ago with the sumerian version of Epic of Gilgamesh or sometime between the 17th and early 19th centuries with the scientific revolution and major discoveries of math, astronomy, and physics – we can all agree that science fiction has given birth to some of the most prolific minds and some of the greatest works of literature in fiction. Among the stars we find Mary Shelley, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Robert Jordan, the guy who wrote Dune (totally joking guys, it’s Frank Herbert). And we can’t forget the TV classics such as George Lucas’s Star Wars and Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. 

According to britannica.com, “science fiction, abbreviation SF or sci-fi, [is] a form of fiction that deals principally with the impact of actual or imagined science upon society or individuals”. The term was coined somewhere around the 1920s by American publisher Hugo Gernsback (for which the Hugo Awards are named).

Here at the Cape Girardeau Public Library, our Science Fiction section is combined with our Fantasy. These two genres have a tendency to overlap. I tend to lean more towards the fantasy side of this area, but one of my favorite series, the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger, mixes fantasy (werewolves, vampires, magic, etc) with science fiction (steampunk, advanced technology, scientific experimentation, etc).  Dystopian fiction is another one of those subgenres that tends to toe the line of science fiction and often gets combined within our Sci-Fi/Fantasy area here at the library. Titles that fall under this category tend to be The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. In many of these post-apocalyptic/dystopian societies, science tends to take on a new and usually more important role in society (this is not always the case with dystopian, which is why it is kind of a grey area).  

Below are some of my favorite Science Fiction titles as well as some honorable mentions from the other library staff members: 

Kayla: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Planet of the Apes (we don’t have the books, but we do have the movies), Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Soulless by Gail Carriger, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Currently I am working my way through the space opera Persephone Station by Stina Leicht and so far I really really like it. 

Chris: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, 14 by Peter Clines, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Quote: “One of my favorite things about science fiction is how many different concepts it can explore, from a realistic survival story set on Mars (The Martian by Andy Weir) to a time-traveling adventure across the centuries (Paradox Bound by Peter Clines).  Through countless subgenres (time travel, space opera, hard sci-fi, etc.) science fiction allows us to view humanity at its best and worst in scenarios you wouldn’t find in a normal fiction book.”

Augusta: “I tend to read more of the YA (Young Adult) side of things, but I really enjoyed Scott Westerfield’s writing: Uglies, Pretties…those kinds of books”.  

Alli: “I’m sure there’s more I could list, but it’s late in the week and my brain isn’t coming up with much. Some of my favorites are as follows: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, Heart of Oak by Eddie Robson, The Martian by Andy Weir, Mort(e) by Robert Repino, Cat’s Cradle by Kirt Vonnegut, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, Cosmo Knights by Hannah Templar (and I would really have to agree with her!), The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn.” 

Ethan: BOOKSThe Martian by Andy Weir (three out of five recommendations isn’t bad), Dust by Hugh Howey, and Dune by Frank Herbert. MOVIESThe Martian, Jurassic Park, Ready Player One, Edge of Tomorrow, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Transcendence. TV SHOWSStranger Things, Voltron, Shera, and Arcane. 

And that wraps us up! I know there are a few repeats, but that just shows how much we really love our science fiction here at the library. So give some of these a try or tell us about some of your favorite science fiction picks! 

Have a wonderful week and make sure to stay safe!

Cape Girardeau Public Library

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