Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Student Picks: The City of Ember

Title: The City of Ember

Author: Jeanne DuPrau

What is it about?

It’s about a somewhat primitive future set underground where there is no light. The population of the city is trying to escape from their destiny. It is also a mystery, which has to be solved.

What did you think of it, and why did you pick it up?

I enjoyed this book because it got me thinking about the future and what it might be like.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (for the book), but only 3 out of 5 (for the film)

Who would enjoy reading this?

Years 9 and 10

Jonathan

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Definition of enclave: A distinctly bounded area enclosed within a larger unit

If you enjoyed The Hunger Games series you may find this book is one for you. It starts with a group of young people living a hard life in an enclave underground. The enclave has its own rules for survival where everyone has a job to perform. Deuce and Fade are both trained hunters who provide food for everyone to eat and defend the enclave against the freaks; zombie-like monsters who roam underground. One day they find themselves expelled from their home and doomed to go Topside –  what will they find, what will they do, and will it be safe?

Ann Aguirre is an American author who, amongst many other things, loves action movies and Dr Who. She wrote this futuristic book following some research which included reading an article about science and zombie attacks if there was to be a battle between zombies and the living, who would win? and thinking back to what happened after Hurricane Katrina.

I found it very easy to read and now I can’t wait to read the next in the Razorland trilogy called Outpost. The third and final book Horde, will be published later this year.

Want to read more about Ann Aguirre and her writing? See her blog

Mrs H.

Wool, with no sheep!

Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey at Takapuna Library on Monday, 22 April 2013

The Wool series by Hugh Howey is a book with no sheep! The wool in the title refers to the saying “to pull the wool over somebody’s eyes” in other words, to deceive someone in order to prevent them from discovering something. It has a wide appeal for all sorts of readers and is an exciting mystery. It is also a thriller set in a dystopian, science fiction world about a group of people living underground.

“What would you do if the world outside was deadly, and the air you breathed could kill? And you lived in a place where every birth required a death, and the choices you made could save lives – or destroy them. This is Jules’ story. This is the world of Wool.”

The Wool Series consist of three books:

Wool

Shift (this is the prequel, but Hugh Howey recommends that you read Wool first, in the same way that you wouldn’t want to watch the Star Wars films in sequential order)

Dust (due in October 2013)

In publishing terms Wool is unusual because it evolved as a short story in eBook format published online in instalments on Amazon. It became popular with readers who sent emails asking for more, and so the story “took off” and eventually ended up as a single volume in print. In this way it is a mixture of the old and the new. Many years ago Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) published his stories in weekly, or monthly instalments in journals, and then modified what he wrote according to the feedback he received. Would he have enjoyed the direct relationship with his readers that online publishing, twitter and blogs provide  authors like Hugh Howey today?

This weekend Hugh Howey blogged ” Bumpy landing in a massive rainstorm last night. Woke up looking over the harbour here in Auckland. A bevy of interviews today before the event tonight. So excited to be here. It’s been on my wish-list for so long; hard to believe I’m really on the other side of the globe from my home.”

On Monday evening I was lucky enough to hear him speak and he told us that amongst other things he has been a sailing captain and worked in construction. He described life on board a boat as Captain as not all glamorous quite often it involves living below deck fixing the engines and unblocking the head (toilet) in order to facilitate the good life for others enjoying life above deck. He has seen both sides – the life of billionaires and ordinary workers.

Even though Wool has been his greatest success so far, he has written many books, and says, “Finishing your first book is an incredible feeling; like climbing a mountain.” Wool took three months to write and was an enjoyable experience. The reaction you have to your writing he says is a good indication of how others may also enjoy the story. His writing day is usually 6 to 11 a.m. every day. He uses a computer to write, and with tongue in cheek he says that using your right hand to write with a pen makes you use the logical side of your brain, whereas two hands on the computer uses both sides of the brain and is more creative.

Some writers “follow” their stories as they write them not knowing where they will end, and others like to frame their writing within a plot. Hugh Howey says that he falls into the “plotter” camp and likes to start at the end, so that he knows where the story is going.

Authors that Hugh Howey admires and enjoys include Mark Twain (for his satire and humour), Peter F. Hamilton, Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson who wrote Cryptonomicon (about people in different time periods). Film rights to the Wool series have been sold to 20th Century Fox with English film director and producer Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus, Blade Runner, Gladiator), and a screenplay is currently being written, although Hugh Howey is not allowing himself to get too excited in case it never happens. Perhaps this trailer will have to do until then.

Mrs H.

Amazon Page

Twitter

Blog

Publisher Random House 

Ready Player One by Cline Ernest

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

When I heard someone saying that Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was probably the best book he had ever read, I was intrigued. A while later I couldn’t find it on my desk, so I went out into the library and was astonished to find a copy still sitting on the shelves (good news we have two).  I opened the book and the first thing I found was three pages of recommendations by fellow authors.

Just listen to these :

“This non-gamer loved every page of Ready Player One” Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series.

” Completely fricking awesome …This book pleased every geeky bone in my geeky body” Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Wise Man’s Fear.

” I was blown away by this book…because Ernie Cline has pulled the raddest of all magic tricks…A book of ideas, a potboiler, a game-within-a-novel, a serious science-fiction epic, a comic pop culture mash-up – call this novel what you will, but Ready Player One will defy every label you try to put on it. Here, finally, is this generation’s Neuromancer“. Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of Obedience.

Ready Player One is a fantastic adventure set in a futuristic world with a retro heart. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down and I couldn’t wait to pick it back up”. S.G. Browne, author of Breathers and Fated.

So next time you are passing the library, head straight for the shelves around C for Cline, and if you can’t find Ready Player One be sure to add your name to the reservations list.

Visit Ernie’s Blog here

Follow Ernie on Twitter here

Mrs H.