When the South Won

What would North America be like if the South had won the Civil War? Author Harry Turtledove examines the idea in his book How Few Remain. The book is the first in the Timeline-191 series. The story's alternate history begins on September 10, 1862.

History tells us that on September 10, 1862, a Confederate messenger lost General Robert E. Lee's Special Order 191. The order outlined General Lee's plans for the Invasion of the North. Union soldiers found General Lee's orders. The orders were used by George McClellan to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Antietam.

When He Was Young

So far I've been avoiding this topic. Not out of any fear mind you, but rather because it's so big. It's the Star Wars universe. You can't go down an aisle of science fiction books without being buried by their sheer volume. Since I'm old school, I can remember sitting in the theater for Star Wars A New Hope as a kid, I like the old Star Wars books. Here are some great ones, The Han Solo Adventures, consisting of Han Solo At Stars' End, Han Solo's Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. In these stories we get to read about a younger Han Solo and Chewbacca as they do their best to make a living in the Corporate Sector.

When combined with A. C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy and L. Neil Smith's The Adventures of Lando Calrissian you can get a very complete picture of Han's early life as a smuggler and Lando's a rogue too.

The Rise and Fall of a Hero

Everyone know Superman came from Krypton. Few know the story of The Last Days of Krypton. Fortunately Kevin J. Anderson has written us a tale about Kal-El's parents, scientist Jor-El and historian Lara and their struggle against General Zod. Krypton is about to be destroyed and no one believes Jor-El. The android Braniac has captured Kandor, the capital city of Krypton, which gives General Zod his chance to seize control of the world. In the end Jor-El and Lara rescue their son Kal-El, by sending him into space, eventually landing on Earth.

Fast forward a few years.

Kal-El is now Superman, the Earth's greatest superhero. He has saved us multiple times from certain destruction. Can he save himself when he battles Doomsday? Find out in Roger Stern's novelization of The Death of Superman.

Never trust a computer...

"Born" on 12 January 1992, the HAL 9000 plays a critical part in four stories written by Arthur C Clark, beginning with 2001: A Space Odyssey. The book was actual written at the same time that Stanley Kubrick was making the movie. In the story, David Bowman and Frank Poole are astronauts on their way to Saturn, with the HAL 9000 and three hibernating astronauts. The only member of the crew to know the true mission is the HAL 9000, to explore a mysterious black monolith similar to one discovered on the moon. The conflict between supporting the crew and keeping its secret causes the computer to malfunction. The HAL 9000 reappears in the three sequals to the story, 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three, and 3001: The Final Odyssey.

Going on a bug hunt.

It was the 1960 Hugo Awards winner for Best Novel. The novel has been criticized for overt its social and political themes, which some call militaristic, racist, and fascist. The novel is Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. The story follow Juan Rico from his enlistment in the Mobile Infantry through his eventual promotion to lieutenant during the Bug War.

Despite all of the controversy around the book, I must say I really enjoyed it. Accoridng to Wikipedia, the book is on the reading lists for several branches of the military. I was required reading for actors playing marines in the movie Aliens.

We also have the novel on cassette and CD.

The Last Man Alive

I Am Legend starring Will Smith just opened. It's based on a story of the same name by Richard Matheson. In both the movie and story, Robert Neville survives a deadly disease that has wiped out most of mankind. Most, if not all of those remaining have been turned into Darkseekers, vampire-like creatures. Neville spends his time trying to find a cure for the disease as well as trying to survive in the hostile, post-apocalyptic world. This isn't the first time I Am Legend has been made into a movie. You can see Charlton Heston battles violent, light-sensitive albino mutants as he tries to find a cure for humanity in The Omega Man.

Actually, the story reminds me a lot of a book I'm reading by Max Brooks, World War Z. It's the oral history of those who survived a terrible virus that turned people into mindless zombies! The book is well writen and is very thought provoking.

Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy

I love a good classic. If you've read any of my other blogs, you've probably guessed that already. Here's another great series by the Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Andre Norton. As a matter of fact, I just started readingf Lords of Thunder, the second book in the Beast Master Series. If you'd like to read the series, start with Beast Master's Planet, which contains both Beast Master & Lord of Thunder. The third story is Beast Master's Ark followed by Beast Master Circus, and lastely Beast Master's Quest.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Have you ever noticed that most movies based on a book just aren't as good as the book themselves? Here's an exception, Blade Runner. The movie is loosely based on a story called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, originally published in 1968. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter, who "retires" androids, who have escaped to Earth from the Mars colony. In the movie he's played by Harrison Ford. People who have left the radioactive dust of our partially destroyed Earth are given androids as servants. Each android has a life expectancy of about 4 years and are treated as slaves. They are made entirely of organic materials, making them almost indistinguishable from normal humans. It's Rick's job to find the most recently escaped androids that are loose in the city.

Out of This World: Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy (Nancy Pearl's Picks)

Nancy PearlNancy Pearl

"I don't consider myself at all a science fiction/fantasy fanatic, I must say that selecting the books for this topic was harder than any of the others that I've done. There is simply so much excellent stuff out there — both new and old — that I know people would enjoy, that the list could have been at least four times as long.

Did she pick any of your favorites?

The Life of Stile

Stile is a serf on Proton and a player of the Game. His alternate self, the Blue Adept, on Phaze has been killed and now Stile can travel between the worlds. Can Stile find his enemy that kis trying to kill him on both worlds? You can follow Stiles adventures on both worlds in Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, Split Infinity, Blue Adept, and Juxtaposition.

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