While I was too sick to blog I read light, escapist adult novels—lots of chick-lit and action-adventure. Here are my favorite grown up sci-fi/fantasy reads over the past two years.
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction for Grown Ups
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (August 2011) – is a computer-aged version of Charlie searching for the golden ticket to the chocolate factory. Like Charlie, Wade Watts lives in a grim world where most people are poor. The only good thing about his life is The Oasis —a free virtual world with decent online schools, games, ways to earn a living, and more. Wade attends school and spends all of his free time searching the Oasis for the three keys its creator, James Halliday, hid before he died. Whoever finds the keys first becomes the new owner of the Oasis. A competing corporation has sent out hundreds of its own employees to find the keys so they can turn the Oasis into a money maker. Hundreds of independent “gunters”, like Wade, are trying to find the keys first, to preserve the one good thing about their world. Halliday came of age in the 1980’s and so the hunt is full of 80’s games, movies, and TV references— an era Wade has become an expert in. It’s a tightly structured, engaging adventure, chock-full of fun 80’s details. The enjoyable audiobook version is read by Wil Wheaton, which is amusing since Wheaton is one of the cultural references mentioned in the story.
Fledging, by Octavia Butler (January 2007) – I’ve read a number of Octavia Butler’s short stories but Fledging is the first novel of hers I’ve read. She puts a neat twist on the whole vampire concept in this Jane Doe-type courtroom drama.
Agent of Hel: Dark Currents (October 2012) and Agent of Hel: Autumn Bones (October 2013) by Jacqueline Carey- I ended up reading the first two novels in this paranormal detective series because they were the picks for Felicia Day’s Goodreads book club (see more information below). The series reminded me a lot of urban fantasy version of Janet Evanovich’s chick-lit-esque Stephanie Plum series, except instead of having a young woman investigating crimes in Trenton, New Jersey, Daisy Johanssen investigates crimes in Pemkowet, Michigan—a town with a open-secret connection to the supernatural and underworld. They’re fun, light novels—with a touch of emotional darkness—and a good dash of sex and romance.
Wicked As They Come, by Delilah Dawson (March 2012) is another fun read from the Vangial Fantasy Book Club list. Tish Everett— a home healthcare nurse getting over a difficult breakup—is strangely attracted to a necklace she finds at an estate sale. When she wears the necklace to bed she’s transported into the world of Sang. In Sang vampire-type people called Bluds are a marginalized minority and most of the worlds animals are bloodsuckers. Tish meets handsome blud carnival owner,Criminy Stain, who insists the necklace she’s wearing was like an otherworld classified ad for his truelove, and the fact that she’s attracted to the necklace means she’s meant to be with him. This is a enjoyable escapist fantasy romance set in a fun over-the-top world.
You Tube Book Clubs
Vaginal Fantasy Book Club (on Goodreads and YouTube) – For a long while I’d been looking for a source for romance novels that were more feminist, preferably with sci-fi/ fantasy or historical elements. I finally found the perfect source in Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. The book club is run by actor/producer Felicia Day ( Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, The Guild, Supernatural). Every month she and her three friends pick two novels to read—one main pick and one alternative read.
On the last Tuesday of the month the group gets together on Goggle Hang Outs/ You Tube to discuss the main book. The video discussions are available on You Tube, go on for about an hour, and are like eavesdropping on an especially fun, cool book club. One member of the group also makes a short video to discuss the alternative book. There is also a forum on Goodreads and a Twitter feed that the group uses for discussing the book.