Here are some of the most popular titles borrowed by you in 2022, our book-loving Dublin City library members. It’s great to see the One Dublin One Book choice, the Dublin Literary Award winner and some short-listed titles making the list. And always great to see Irish writers featuring so strongly as well.
Fantasy and Science-Fiction eBooks and eAudiobooks
For many of us, it may not be easy to wind-down if currently at home or self-isolating and the current global situation can be a little grim and worrying; so why not take the opportunity to indulge in some escapism and get away from it all with the wonderful selection of Fantasy & Science-Fiction eBooks and eAudiobooks available through our online resources with BorrowBox.Relax and let Dublin City Libraries help you escape (if only for a few hours) to myriad, diverse worlds of mystery, magic, miracles, monsters and mayhem!To help you get going, here is a selection of 10 otherworldly titles to try.Please note that you will need your Dublin City library card number and PIN and also to download the BorrowBox app. Watch our how-to video on Borrowbox.The Painted Man Peter V. BrettThe initial installment of the five volume Demon Cycle from New York author Peter V. Brett showcases a world devastated by the Corelings, mysterious, violent elemental entities that nightly arise to ravage and destroy once the sun sets. Humankind has been reduced to shrinking, isolated enclaves of people sheltering desperately behind the failing protection of runic wards but these fragile magical barriers are beginning to fade and the future looks hopeless unless a way can be found to fight back. The Demon Cycle has enjoyed phenomenal international success and Peter V. Brett's work has sold millions of copies and been translated into twenty-three languages.The Beauty of the Wolf Wray DelaneyWray Delaney is the nom de plume of internationally renowned, multi-award winning children's writer Sally Gardner whose title Maggot Moon was the recipient of the Carnegie Medal in 2013. Beauty and the Wolf is a role-reversing, lavish, gothic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, for adults, which challenges our received perceptions of gender roles and beauty and is set in an Elizabethan England where magical curses are real and where appearances can be very deceiving. This is Gardner's second adult novel following her debut title An Almond for a Parrot.The Sky People Terry Goodkind Before they disappeared the Sky People mandated on the Sun People one unbreakable commandment, one tenet that must never be broken; not to take life. Although it has left them at the mercy of rival tribes, who loot and pillage with impunity, unhindered by such a constraint, the Sun People have kept their word and exercised pacifism, until now. Raging River, Priestess of her Tribe, fought back and the son of the chieftain of the Wolf People tribe lies dead at her hands. Facing the extirpation of her kin because of her actions, Raging River must do the unthinkable and find the long-missing Sky People. This is the Sci-Fi debut from internationally best selling American fantasy novelist Terry Goodkind whose sixteen Sword of Truth novels have earned him countless legions of fantasy-fiction fans across the globe.The Little Snake A.L. KennedyThis novella is a sparkling, modern day fable of greed, death, war and friendship whose chief protagonists are Mary, a child growing up in a city of 'sad, tiny houses of the squashed-in people' and 'tall, sparkling buildings full of crocodiles and meadows' and her friendship with her 'immensely handsome' friend Lanmo, a talking golden snake. Touching and frequently deeply humorous and wry The Little Snake is one of the most unusual, moving and fabulous (in every sense of the term) pleasures you will encounter. It springs from the mind of A.L. Kennedy a Scottish comedian, author and academic whose work has received huge critical acclaim and garnered numerous prestigious awards. The Three-Body Problem Cixin LiuA Chinese radio-scientist transmits an interstellar message and eight years later receives a reply. A mysterious group of 'gamers' has embedded themselves in virtual reality to play a game that spans aeons and always ends in destruction. A fabulously wealthy environmentalist creates a ruthless, faction-riven, secret society that spans the globe. A nano-tech expert seeks to find out why renowned scientists are dying in incomprehensible circumstances. Across the globe the nations secretly rally to avert an event 450 years in their future that will spell disaster for all of humanity but which cannot be prevented. An imaginative tour-de-force on an epic scale which defies the imagination The Three-Body Problem (the first installment in a trilogy) by Cixin Liu was the first ever recipient of the Hugo Award by a Chinese author.Spinning Silver Naomi NovikWhen a young woman tries to salvage over her father's failing moneylending business she finds that she can 'turn silver into gold' but her success comes at a price as she comes to the attention of an other-worldly monarch who holds her fast to her boast. If she can increase his riches she will have his hand in marriage, if she cannot then she will die. Very loosely a re-imagining of Rumpelstiltskin, Spinning Silver is a enchanting tale, expanded from a prior short story penned by Naomi Novik. Spinning Silver was the winner of the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, as was the author's previous smash hit, Uprooted.The Book of M Peng ShepherdAcross the globe people's shadows are disappearing and in their absence the populace begin to succumb to amnesia. Although, in isolation, they have managed to avoid this fate for two years Max discovers one day that her shadow too has now been lost. Fearing her impending erosion of identity and frightened that the erasure will imperil her husband, Orlando, Max secretly flees. Desperate to find her, Orlando embarks on a dangerous journey to track her down aided by an array of recorded messages she left behind; but will he find answers in New Orleans, or is the woman he loves gone forever even if he can locate her? This debut novel is magnificent near-future dystopia concerning the power of memory, identity and love.The Tiger and the Wolf Adrian Tchaikovsky In this first installment of the Echoes of the Fall series we are introduced to Maniye a girl torn between two worlds; that of her father's Wind Runner Wolf Tribe but she also holds within her the heritage of her mother's people, the Tigers, as a result of the rape of her mother while held as a prisoner of war. In this bronze age fantasy milieu people can 'step' or channel the totem animal spirits of their tribal deities and Maniye must flee the clutches of her cruel fathers plans to gain power over both tribes and make her way in a world where clan is set against clan. Whilst she tries to reconcile the warring animal spirits within, she faces danger and betrayal at every turn. Meanwhile, there are storm clouds gathering to the south. Bestselling fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky has been a conferee of both the British Fantasy Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Somewhat interestingly, given the animalistic elements of this trilogy, he has a background in zoology.Shadowless Hasan Al ToptasHasan Al Toptas is one of Turkeys most acclaimed postmodern authors and a winner of the Orhan Kemal Novel Prize, the Cankaya Literature Prize among many others. Shadowless is a surreal, dreamlike, kaleidoscopic enigma which recounts the mysterious disappearances of a local girl, Guvercin, and a barber, Nuri, from a rural Anatolian village. The latter, it appears has been translocated, by means unknown, to a distant city where he has little recollection of how he got there. Is magic at play? Has some kind of evil eye been placed on the village? Are people being abducted and will they return? Shadowless is the second of the author's novels to have been translated into English, in this instance, by Maureen Freely and John Angliss.Golden State Ben H. WintersIn the near future territory of Golden State (roughly analogous to contemporary California) Laszlo Ratesic is an investigator working for the Speculative Service with an innate talent for discerning lies who is called upon to examine the death of a worker in a rooftop fall ,while aided by a promising, enthusiastic junior, Aysa Paige. Abilities such as his are highly valued in the state as wilful falsehood and untruth there is a crime, punished with great severity. In a society where almost every detail of everyday life is ubiquitously monitored, recorded and surveilled their suspicions are aroused when they discover the deceased's Day Book (the continuous chronicle of their daily lives) may have been tampered with. Winters has created a hugely detailed and persuasive dystopia which neither shies away from exploring what happens when a recognised good, honesty, is taken way beyond logical extremes nor detracts from a compelling story that functions as a classic detective mystery.
Science fiction provides the perfect outlet to escape from everyday life, nothing beats picking up a novel and being transported into a new world. Some of these are classics that you will know but others are excellent works that may have been flying under the radar. Add the unfamiliar ones to your TBR list.Though science fiction is truly out of this world, the stories in these books always connect to the present day. The story lines are often metaphors used to critique society. The book cover opening this blog is from Philip K. Dick, he was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. He produced 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century. Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. A dystopian novel where our culture has become the victim of government surveillance and public manipulation.Altered Carbon is set in a future where interstellar travel is done by “sleeving” one’s consciousness into new bodies, the story follows a private investigator whose past collides with his present as he attempts to solve a rich man’s murder. A dark and gritty cyberpunk experience.So when ex-envoy, now-convict Takeshi Kovacs has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a nicotine-addicted ex-thug and presented with a catch-22 offer, he really shouldn't be surprised. Kovacs is drawn into a terrifying conspiracy that stretches across known space and to the very top of society. It is also Netflix series.Brave New World imagines a future where people are divided into castes chosen before birth and kept docile through the use of drugs. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress. Heavily relying on references to Shakespeare, it offers scathing criticisms of capitalism, utopian ideals and conformity.War and pollution have taken their toll on Earth, leaving it very nearly uninhabitable. Those who can afford to do so have fled off-world, leaving what’s left to the not so fortunate, like Rick Deckard. Rick, who makes his living eliminating renegade androids, is prompted to question his work, and even his own identity, during a particularly challenging assignment. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is an amazing novel, and perhaps one of the most approachable of Dick’s many works.In Ender's Game, an alien threat is on the horizon, ready to strike. And if humanity is to be defended, the government must create the greatest military commander in history.The brilliant young Ender Wiggin is their last hope. But first he must survive the rigours of a brutal military training program - to prove that he can be the leader of all leaders.On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. For sheer absurdist audacity, imagination, bombast, and pure fun, The Hitchhiker’s Guide is tough to beat. It’s an utterly irreverent and wildly imaginative adventure that simultaneously skewers and builds on the tropes and confines of traditional sci-fi. It’s biting satire and pure absurdist humor, all shot through with a vein of cynicism and a surprisingly firm internal logic. Basically, there’s nothing quite like The Hitchhiker’s Guide and you really should read it.Andy Weir’s The Martian is the sort of novel that grips a reader from its very sentence. With his debut novel, Weir deftly balanced a truly thrilling story of survival with laugh-out-loud doses of black humor and real, cutting edge science. Weir tells the story of Mark Watney, a fictional NASA astronaut stranded on Mars, and his difficult mission to save himself from potential doom in the harsh Red Planet environment. It was made into a movie starring Matt Damon and released in 2015.William Gibson revolutionised science fiction in his 1984 debut Neuromancer. The writer who gave us the matrix and coined the term 'cyberspace' produced a first novel that won the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards, and lit the fuse on the Cyberpunk movement. One of the seminal works of cyberpunk, Neuromancer taps into the counterculture movements and excitement about computers found in the 1980s to tell a story of a world where hackers and cyborgs work together to perform daring heists against massive corporations.The Time Machine is a must-read for any science-fiction fan. In this classic, the time-traveling protagonist is propelled by his machine to the distant year of 802,701 AD. To his horror, he finds only a decaying Earth that is being gradually swallowed by the Sun, where two strange species— the delicate Eloi and the fierce, subterranean Morlocks—inhabit an eerie dystopia.Jules Gabriel Verne (1828-1905) was a French author and a pioneer of the science-fiction genre. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this thrilling adventure tale by the 'Father of Science Fiction', three men embark on an epic journey under the sea with the mysterious Captain Nemo aboard his submarine the Nautilus. Over the course of their fantastical voyage, they encounter the lost city of Atlantis, the South Pole and the corals of the Red Sea, and must battle countless adversaries both human and monstrous. Verne's triumphant work of the imagination shows the limitless possibilities of science and the dark depths of the human mind.A description like “Inception meets True Detective” should be enough to pique any science fiction fan's curiosity. The Gone World, follows a woman who is a member of the elite Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Set in the 1990s, Shannon Moss is trying to solve the mystery of a grisly murder of a Navy SEAL's family and is flung into possible versions of the future to try and find answers. This 2018 novel by Tom Sweterlitsch is truly unlike anything else out there in the genre right now.This is Sue Burke’s first novel and a first-contact story about humanity meeting an alien race and trying to coexist with it on a planet that they’re attempting to colonize. It’s the first part of a two-book series. It's a duology worth following as Semiosis was a finalist for several prizes for science fiction novels. Escaping conflict on Earth, an idealistic group of settlers arrive on a distant planet – Pax – with plans for a perfect society. The world they discover is rich with life, but this is not the Eden they were hoping for. The plants on Pax are smart – smart enough to domesticate, and even slaughter, its many extraordinary animals.
Dublin hosted its first Worldcon convention from August 15th – 19th 2019, organized by The World Science Fiction Society. Dublin City Libraries was there for all five days and Marc, our prolific Library Assistant, has put together a diary of the experience!The outpouring of good feeling towards the libraries at WorldCon was overwhelming. We met people from all over the world; many of them librarians themselves. There were over 500 speakers at Worldcon over the five days and the scale of the event could be intimidating, but luckily we had our lovely pop-up library stand to retreat to when it all got a bit much!On the first day of Worldcon we had just finished setting up our library stand in the Dealers Room, when we spotted Game Of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin, getting a tour of the place! Understandably, his entourage are very protective of him, so we weren’t able to get near him at first, but eventually tracked him down and he signed some books for the library!Emboldened by our experience with Mr Martin, on Friday I got to meet one of my favourite writers and SF/F personalities, Patrick Rothfuss. I hurried to the comics stand to get a new copy of Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons And Dragons for him to sign. Sana Takeda was at the signing table before him but she’s so popular that the queue was longer than the allotted hour. The last three graphic novels she illustrated have all won the popular vote for the Best Graphic Story Hugo Award, so she’s understandably in high demand. Rothfuss waited patiently and walked up the line chatting to people and signing. Some of his most devoted fans had been there for over an hour by that point.Our Dublin City Libraries stand was visited by prominent authors such as Joe Hill, John Connolly, Ian McDonald, and Conor Kostick. Michael Carroll and Peadar O’Guilin signed up for library cards!Our staff boldly went where no librarian had gone before on the USS CuChulain, and we even had a bedtime story read to us!A kaffeeklatsch was a new thing for me. It’s an intimate chat with an author/artist and a great way to get to know some like-minded people. Still buzzing from a brief chat with Pat Rothfuss, I sat at a coffee table for an hour with six other people talking about comic books. The special guest at this table was Kieron Gillen, probably best known in the comics world for his series, The Wicked And The Divine. If you’re a regular WikDiv reader, you’ll know that the grand finale is imminent. Gillen had received a pdf of the final issue shortly before we met him but sadly he couldn’t share it with us.On Sunday, the last full day of the convention, I attended the Hugo Awards. It’s something I never thought I’d get to do. Seeing the words “Hugo-nominated” or “Hugo-winner” on the cover of a book has always made me pick it up so to be there felt unreal. The winners of the Hugo awards are bold and outspoken with a tangible frustration about continuing inequity in the world.A sense of community and inclusiveness pervades the science fiction and fantasy world. More than just the all-gender toilet facilities, Worldcon is clearly a safe place for non-binary and transgender people and that is reflected in representation at the Hugos and by their clear visibility at the con.It took time to put my finger on where I’d experienced this sense of community and inclusiveness before; the punk rock scene. There’s no elitism here and new people are always welcomed. You can feel the punk spirit throughout, with no division between artists and fans because it is recognised that the fate of the genre depends on everyone working together. It was an inspiring experience. SF/F community, we love you.
The Hugo Awards took place in Dublin on Sunday 18 August 2019. The Hugos are science fiction's most prestigous award, voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention, which is also responsible for the handing out of the awards themselves. It’s the first time in the history of the Hugo Awards that they’ve been hosted in Ireland. Dublin City Libraries were at the Convention Centre on North Wall Quay. The Best Novel Award is widely reported on, but it’s the Best Graphic Story category that interests me the most.If you'd like to borrow any of the graphic novels discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book. You can find more detailed information about the books in the footnotes.Saladin Ahmed’s Abbott[ii] is a clever combination of social commentary and the supernatural. Set in Detroit in the ‘70s, the story pulls no punches with the blatant racism, sexism, and every other –ism of the time. In her life as a black, female reporter, and her brushes with otherworldly beings, our main character Elena Abbott straddles two worlds in which she doesn’t feel she belongs. This is a bold and imaginative story but I feel that it relies too heavily on expositional dialogue to suceed as a comic book.Black Panther surged in to the mainstream consciousness with the spectacular 2018 movie. In the meantime, the comics have been aiming for the highbrow market with Nnedi Okorafor and Ta-Nehisi Coates on writing duties. Okorafor gets the nod from the Hugos for Long Live the King.[iii]Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam[iv] is the only one of the nominees that I don’t know anything about. If you’ve read it, post up your own comments below, or on social media. I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Looking back over the first year of our book club recently[v], I noted how many of our selected titles came from Image Comics. Apparently we’re not alone in rating the Portland based publisher. Three of the six nominees are Image publications. On top of that, two of those were written by Canadian writer Brian K. Vaughan. With his work on Runaways for Marvel, Pride Of Baghdad for Vertigo, and Ex Machina for Wildstorm, Vaughan hardly needs an introduction for comic fans. I could do an entire blog about him alone (note to self: Do blog about Brian K. Vaughan) and the Worldcon membership has justly acknowledged him for Paper Girls[vi] as well as the latest volume of his seminal Saga[vii].Image’s non -Vaughan nominee won the Hugo Award. It’s the third year in a row that Monstress[viii] has taken home the big prize. To be honest, I haven’t read Volume 3. Marjorie M. Liu’s writing in Volume 1 didn’t appeal to me so I haven’t kept up with it. For me, the main selling point of this series is the sumptuous art of Sana Takeda. Her artwork alone makes this worthy of attention. At Worldcon, the queue at her autograph table was over an hour. That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more Worldcon related chatter.Marc, Library Assistant, Dublin City Libraries[ii] Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)Author Ahmed, Saladin, Kivela, Sami, Wordie, JasonTitle Abbott Ahmed, Saladin, Kivela, Sami, Wordie, JasonPublication Info. Boom! Studios 15 Nov 2018Standard No. 9781684152452 [iii] Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)Author Okorafor, Nnedi, author.Title Long live the King / Nnedi Okorafor ; illustrated by Andre Araujo.Publication Info. New York, NY : Marvel Worldwide, Inc., 2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781302905385 (pbk.)Standard No. 1302905384 (pbk.) [iv] On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)Author Walden, TillieTitle On a sunbeam.Publication Info. London : Avery Hill Publishing, 2018.Edition Graphic novelsStandard No. 9781910395370 (hbk.) : £24.99Standard No. 1910395374 (hbk.) : £24.99 [v] http://www.dublincity.ie/story/central-library%E2%80%99s-comics-and-graphic-novels-book-club [vi] Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)Author Vaughan, Brian K.Title Paper girls. Volume 4 / Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Cliff Chiang, artist ; Matt Wilson, colors ; Jared K. Fletcher, letters.Publication Info. Portland, OR : Image Comics, c2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781534305106 (paperback)Standard No. 1534305106 (paperback) [vii] Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)Author Vaughan, Brian K., author.Title Saga. Volume nine / Fiona Staples, artist ; Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Fonografiks, lettering + design.Publication Info. Portland, Oregon : Image Comics, Incs., 2018.Edition Graphic novelsStandard No. 9781534308374 pbk.Standard No. 1534308377 pbk. [viii] Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)Author Liu, Marjorie M., author.Title Monstress. Volume 3 / Marjorie Liu ; illustrated by Sana Takeda.Publication Info. Berkeley : Image Comics, 2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781534306912 (pbk.) : £14.99Standard No. 1534306919 (pbk.) : £14.99