Science Fiction

Otherland Book Recommendations Science Fiction 9/23

Otherland Book Recommendations Science Fiction 9/23, Zeigt die Erde vor dem schwarzen Weltraum, der Globus ist in verschiedene unterschiedlich farbige Scheiben aufgeteilt. Schwer zu beschreiben
© Orbit

Otherland, 27.09.2023

Here we have new book recommendations from the Otherland Bookshop Berlin.  With an English book market so much bigger than the German, not every book can be translated. This article is for those of you who also read in English.

M. R. Carey |Pandominion #1 Infinity Gate

Orbit: €19,50

Pandominion is at first - a political and trading alliance spanning a million worlds. But then really it is just one world: Earth, over a million different realities. When a new AI threat appears with the means to destroy this elaborate weave, the Pandominion strikes back.

They are prepared to use any means necessary to protect their system, no matter the cost to human life. Step forward environmental scientist Hadiz Tambuwal, who has stumbled upon a secret to interdimensional travel. It could save everyone on her planet and win the war. Now she just needs to pick a side before someone kills her…

In an age where everyone and their cat seem to be falling over themselves to write a decent multiverse narrative (I’m looking at you, Marvel) it is refreshing to come across one where a little thought has actually gone into it. The heart of the book reads like a thriller (unsurprisingly for Carey) but it is nestled in a fascinating thought experiment on the many ways that planet Earth could have turned out. And all that without squashing any butterflies (I'm looking at you, Ray Bradbury). I have been a big fan of Carey’s work since reading The Girl With All the Gifts, a fast, intelligent horror which plays with perspectives and morals while using some super-interesting concepts from modern biology. Here he continues in a similar style, using solid characters you can get behind, well-researched ideas with both scientific and philosophical depth to them, and fast-paced narrative with a cinematic scope and strong imagery. This is part one of three, and I will be interested to see where the tale goes next. [Tom]

Miranda July | No One Belongs Here more than you

Canongate Books: €13

Wow. What a book of short stories. The last time I was so repulsed and intrigued at the same time during a read was with Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and other Parties (and anyone who has encountered me here in the store will probably know that this is by far my favorite contemporary short-story collection). Do you know the feeling when you try to pace yourself throughout a book chapter by chapter to slow down the reading process, so you have more of it? With this book, I read just one story every night and looked forward to it all day before. And honestly, I was never disappointed.

If I had to use descriptive adjectives for this, I would go with "weird" and "oddly precise" and above all, in a very twisted way, "humorous". My absolute favorites were "The Swim Team" and "Making Love in 2003." July's main strength are not the obviously strange stories with supernatural components, but her keen power of observation and ability to sniff out the strange in the mundane. And honestly, after reading it, I felt closer to humanity in a weird way without knowing exactly why.

Just awesome. I was blown away. (Esther)

Ray Bradbury | The Illustrated Man

HarperCollins: €12 (€5)

Since this one is on offer at the moment, I want to give a quick shout-out for Ray Bradbury‘s The Illustrated Man, a collection of 16 of some of his best short stories (and he had a lot of good ones). I am torn picking a favourite but I love both "The Veldt" and "Marionettes, Inc." The first has a creepy pair of children with parents who just put them in front of a screen to distract them.

All well and good, but this screen is the latest in immersive VR technology and includes hyper-realistic environmental effects. Such as real lions. (Mr. Zuckerberg, please take note.) The second tale features a company providing brand-new android replacements to help out useless husbands in need of the night off. Hopefully the new automatron replacements won‘t… well… replace anyone. Pretty much everything Bradbury wrote was gold, and if you have yet to read any, this is a good place to jump in. Once you have read this go for The October Country (creepy), The Martian Chronicles (retro sci-fi), or Dinosaur Tales (I really like dinosaurs). [Tom]