By Ciara Lightner | Contributing writer
Lately, science fiction has been a bit more of a science fact. Technological advancements are growing exponentially and turning possibility into reality. Tomorrow is coming a lot faster than expected and these novels, while today’s science fiction may well be tomorrow’s reality.
In a world that has become hostile to its few remaining inhabitants, survival is an uphill battle. This is the setting for Caroline Hardaker’s latest work, “Composite Creatures”. The main characters, Norah and Arthur, live in an increasingly treacherous world where animals are virtually extinct. The soil itself is poisonous, and graying, a mysterious disease, causes lives to be quickly cut short. This is where Easton Grove comes in. Easton Grove promises incredible supply, health and longevity, as long as you can pay the price. But what is the price? And what really is the creature that Norah and Arthur need to take care of? Capable of destabilizing from first word to last, “Composite Creatures” asks what the cost of living is and how much are we willing to pay for it.
Businesses thrive in space and in David Ebenbach’s new novel they spearhead the colonization of Mars. In “How to Mars” we meet six people who came to Mars to relocate and begin the process of establishing a colony. Everyone comes for their own reasons and must work together to ensure the survival of the community. But when the rules are broken in a world without laws and no homecoming, how will the new Martians react? Especially when the NO. 1 rule is broken and new life is created on Mars. The group is overwhelmed by the possible ramifications of this new inhabitant and the dangers it could entail. Part novel and practical guide, “How to Mars” is a gripping glimpse into what might be a more likely future.
What do you get when you mix the Terminator with a Furby? Probably something scary and not something you would want to run into in a dark alley. But you will also get Pounce. Pounce is a cutting edge nanny in C. Robert Cargill’s novel “Day Zero”. Pounce spends her day looking after 8-year-old Ezra. Sadly, the day arrives when Pounce begins to question his own existence and what will become of him when Ezra no longer needs a Guardian. As Pounce’s existentialism grows, a code is sent to free all AIs from the confines of their programming. AIs around the world are revolting and starting to kill their families. When Pounce receives his code, he must make a choice, save Ezra or break free. Or are these choices entirely separate? Cargill’s Day Zero is at times a heartbreaking look, but also a hopeful look at our reliance on technology.
Genetic testing on animals and the early 2000s combine with a locked door mystery in Daryl Gregory’s “Dr Moreau’s Album”. The Wyldboyz (yes, that’s how it is written) are a boy band whose members have been spliced with the DNA of animals. On the last tour, after a night of usual debauchery, the boys wake up to find their producer, Dr. M, murdered. As the story unfolds, the origin of the group is revealed and their very existence is on the line. Filled with DNA splicing, a mystery to unravel and an unwavering love of boyband tropes, “Dr Moreau’s Album” explores our love of novelty and nostalgia.
As the line between science fiction and reality continues to blur, enjoy these books and ask yourself where the future takes us.
Ciara Lightner is a librarian at the AK Smiley Public Library, 125 W. Vine St., Redlands.