Locus Magazine Announces Winners of Poll for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

At the end of November, Locus Magazine polled its readers to determine the best science fiction and fantasy novels of the 20th century as well as the best of the 21st century so far. As of this week, the results are in. Unsurprisingly, old favorites like Tolkien, Asimov, and Ursula K. Le Guin took top slots, sharing the spotlight with George R.R. Martin's wildly popular Game of Thrones novels as well as up-and-coming writers like Paolo Bacigalupi.

Check out the top books in our catalog, and visit Locus for the full results. Science fiction and fantasy are more popular than ever right now, and you can also find the film or television adaptations of many of these books in our collections!

Best Science Fiction of the 20th Century:
1. Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
2. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game (1985)
3. Isaac Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy (1953)
4. Dan Simmons, Hyperion (1989)
5. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)

Best Fantasy of the 20th Century:
1. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (1955)
2. George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (1996)
3. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)
4. Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
5. Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber (1970)

Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century:
1. John Scalzi, Old Man's War (2005)
2. Neal Stephenson, Anathem (2008)
3. Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl (2009)
4. Robert Charles Wilson, Spin (2005)
5. Peter Watts, Blindsight (2006)

Best Fantasy of the 21st Century:
1. Neil Gaiman, American Gods (2001)
2. Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
3. Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind (2007)
4. China Mieville, The Scar (2002)
5. George R. R. Martin, A Feast For Crows (2005)

For lesser-known reads that made the lists (but don't have holds queues yet!), check out Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, or Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic.

On This Day in History--January 2nd: Isaac Asimov was born in 1920

One of the world’s best-known science-fiction writers and a professor of biochemistry at Boston University, Isaac Asimov was born on January 2nd, 1920 near Smolensk, Russia. Through his dedication to writing and to science he helped to elevate science fiction from pulp magazines to a more intellectual and respected genre.

One of the most prolific writers of all time, he wrote or edited more than 500 books, on subjects as varied as chemistry, biology, the Bible, Shakespeare, modern history, as well as books for preschoolers and college students. He received dozens of awards in his lifetime including six Hugo awards, 3 Nebula awards, and a posthumous induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He even had an asteroid and a crater on Mars named in his honor. Asimov was also a member and Vice President of Mensa, though he found little enjoyment in it, feeling his fellow members were too arrogant about their high IQs. Asimov died in New York, New York on April 6th, 1992.

His more popular works include the Foundation trilogy, Pebble in the Sky, The Stars, Like Dust, and I, Robot, which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2004. Follow the links and you'll find them in AADL's collection!

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Locus Magazine Announces Winners of Poll for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

A New Literary Landmark

On Thursday, November 29th, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City will celebrate author and longtime Cathedral librarian Madeleine L'Engle with the dedication of the Diocesan House library as a Literary Landmark. L'Engle's books for readers of all ages were profoundly influenced by her Episcopal faith, belief in science, and strong appreciation for the inner lives of children. This year marks the 50th publishing anniversary of her Newbery Medal-winning book A Wrinkle in Time.

November 29th would have been L’Engle’s 94th birthday. During the dedication, Leonard S. Marcus, children’s literature historian and author of Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices, will speak about L’Engle and her connection to the Cathedral.

The Star Wars Craft Book

This Saturday, October 6 is Star Wars Reads Day! It's a national event and AADL is participating. To gear up for it, why not make some Star Wars crafts? If you're ready to rock your empire, The Star Wars Craft Book as you covered.

The book has projects for the home including magnets, a Jabba the Hutt body pillow, and an Ewok flower vase. There are also science and nature crafts, playtime crafts like a Yoda doll and a General Grievous finger puppet, and of course there are holiday crafts like a Hanukkah Droidel and a Star Wars snow globe. With full color illustrations and instructions, it's time to grab the glue gun and get crafting.

AADL Talks to Local Author Fritz Freiheit

Fritz Freiheit has been writing science fiction for years. For most of those years, he was working toward an end goal of getting his book published in the traditional manner. He was shopping for agents and dreaming of seeing his book in bookstores. Then Borders closed, and he began to think of things differently. Here, Fritz talks about his decision to self-publish, and introduces us to Dispensing Justice, his alternate-world, coming of age, novel.

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Ray Bradbury, master of Science Fiction and Fantasy, has died

Ray Bradbury, brilliant, prescient, prolific writer of science fiction and fantasy, died yesterday in Los Angeles.

Bradbury is credited with bringing science fiction into mainstream fiction by dispensing with a lot of the technical lingo and focusing on speculation and metaphors to dig into science and technology versus civilization.

Mr. Bradbury won dozens of awards for his enormous body of work. He captured his first prize, the 1947 O. Henry Award, for a short story called Homecoming, which was discovered by Truman Capote, who was an editor at Mademoiselle Magazine. One of his most well-known books, The Martian Chronicles further advanced his career in 1950.

Bradbury followed that success with Fahrenheit 451 in 1953. He took his notion about literature and society -- "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." -- and turned it into a classic that has been read by generations of high school students. In 1966, it became a chilling movie, starring Julie Christie and Oskar Werner.

Bradbury's passion for books and reading and libraries was in stark contract to his skepticism for formal education. He elaborated on this contrarian idea in an essay he wrote that can be found in the May 1971 issue of Wilson Library Bulletin (45, 9, 842-851). The title speaks for itself -- How Instead of Being Educated in College, I Was Graduated from Libraries.

Paying tribute to his grandfather, Danny Karapetian said, "...to read him was to know him. He was the biggest kid I know."

Bradbury was 91.

Leo Dillon, one half of the award-winning Dillon & Dillon illustrators' team, has died

Leo Dillon who with Diane, his wife of 55 years, won multiple awards for their collaborative illustrations, has died.

The Dillons met at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in NY and became instant, fierce competitors. Ms. Dillon said their marriage was a 'survival mechanism to keep us from killing each other.' They attributed the success of their artistic sharing to the presence of It who helped wed their two styles.

The couple won multiple awards, including two back-to-back Caldecotts. When they won the 1976 Caldecott for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Folktale, Mr. Dillon, of Trinidadian descent, became the first African American to win that award. The very next year, the Dillons won the Caldecott again, this time for Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions.

Their ouuvre of children's literature illustrations accompanied an equally significant reputation as illustrators of science fiction covers. Five years before their first Caldecott, they captured the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artists.

Geek Pride Day

"Towel Day", "Glorious 25th of May", or "Star Wars Day", whatever you prefer to call it, May 25th is Geek Pride Day and what better way to celebrate it than by visiting your local library? You don't have to be a Sci-Fi geek, or a math geek to celebrate Geek Pride Day, just celebrate whatever you "geek". "Whatever you geek, the public library supports you." Geek The Library reminds us that "No matter who you are, there are things you are passionate about—things you geek. The Geek the Library project is a community public awareness campaign aimed at spreading the word about the vital and growing role of your public library, and to raise awareness about the critical funding issues many U.S. public libraries face." Think of all the resources your library has to offer, be they entertainment like Star Wars or Douglas Adams books or movies, Homework Help or Test Prep, Foreign Language Materials or Foreign Language Learning from our Services and Research pages that you have access to through our website, our super nifty new Orion Starblast 4.5 Astro Reflector Dobsonian Telescope, or one of our neat Science To Go Kits from our Unusual Stuff to Borrow collection.

A Hero for WondLa

Eva Nine has never met another human before. Then out of nowhere a teenage boy descends from the sky in a rusty old airship and whisks her and Rovender, her non-human guardian, away to New Attica, the hidden human city. Has Eva finally found her home in this technology-managed paradise? Why aren’t there any non-humans in the city? And why does her new friend Hailey seem like he is hiding something from her?

A Hero for WondLa brings us back to Orbona, a wild and wonderful world born from the ashes of a dormant planet. Tony DiTerlizzi, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, mixes a quirky cast of characters, beautiful illustrations, and the "girl in a strange land" formula to create a story reminiscent of L. Frank Baum's famous Land of Oz series combined with The City of Ember.

A Hero for WondLa is the second book of a trilogy. The WondLa series has garnered some hot buzz, and rumour has it that a film adaptation is already in the works!

Unsolved Mystery....Solved?

Eerie coincidences, unexplained voices coming through television sets, cryptic, even rambling messages appearing as if out of nowhere embedded in seemingly impossible parts of city streets...somebody knows something about the Toynbee tiles, but nobody's talking....

For decades, people have been happening upon hundreds of these mysterious tiles in cities as far west as Kansas City, as far north as Boston, and as far south as Santiago, Chile. Yes, even Detroit has a few, though it's not really clear if both are still there or if they've been paved over. All have a variation of the same message:

Toynbee Idea
in Kubrick's 2001
Resurrect Dead
on Planet Jupiter

But what do they mean? Who put them there and how? Who is Arnold Toynbee, and what does he have to do with 2001: A Space Odyssey? Are the Toynbee tiles messages from aliens? Time travel blueprints? Paranoid and even anti-Semitic rants? 9/11 predictions? Just another form of street art?

Like a lot of people, I'd never heard of this mystery before. I stumbled upon it just as if it was a Toynbee tile itself when I checked out the fantastic 2011 documentary, "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles." Deliciously creepy, even spine-tingling at times, with otherwordly music and strangely-lit interviews with colorful characters, this film does a great job of explaining the phenomenon...and just might even solve it. Originally a Kickstarter project, the film went on to receive several accolades including Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival. If you plan to watch, I'd recommend staying away from Wikipedia beforehand as it could ruin a bit of the suspense-factor here. Those who remember the show "Unsolved Mysteries" and fans of "The X-Files" will appreciate the style of this documentary!

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