.                               Return to home page

........

Karen Ostertag's blog

FUTURE PERFECT: A LOOK AT PREDICTIVE FICTION FROM THE PAST

Paris in the Twentieth Century sounds like an historical travelogue, doesn't it?  But consider when it was written: Jules Verne wrote his "scientific fiction" novel in 1863, setting it a hundred years into his future.  At the time, his publisher considered Verne's descriptions of complex underground railway systems, rampant commercialism, and electronic calculators too implausible.  The manuscript lived in a safe until his great-grandson had it published in 1996.  As a story, it's not one of Verne's better works, but it holds its own as a marvel of prophetic fiction.  The book also serves as a brilliant example of what science fiction is : unlike fantasy, which is the stuff of dreams, science fiction is all about possibilities

WHERE THE DEER AND THE ANTELOPE PLAY: HISTORICAL WESTERN ROMANCE

It's summer!  Are you ready?  (Me neither.)  But the 4th of July is nearly upon us, and luckily, the romance collection stands ready to get us into a patriotic mood.  This month, I thought we'd return to our survey of historical romances with a look at the American Old West.  After all, what says "independence" better than a cowboy? 

The period of westward expansion during latter 19th and early 20th centuries has captured the romantic imagination more than any other period in American history.  It's not surprising; from a Romance perspective, the West has got it all: tall tales, rugged men, and strong women.  Majestic mountains, sweeping vistas, and skies glittering with stars.  The promise of riches, cultures in conflict, and men in black hats.  The pioneer spirit, taming a wild land with nothing but human strength and wits.  Civilization overcoming lawlessness.  The shining promise of the Industrial Age. 

So... are you ready for a taste of independence?  Saddle up, ladies, we're headed for the frontier!  HYAH!

New Speculative Fiction for June 2010

New to our shelves:

Ark by Stephen Baxter (2, Flood) SF, A
Bone and Jewel Creatures by Elizabeth Bear F, H
Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker H
A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories by Ray Bradbury SF
Play Dead by Ryan Brown H
Deceiver by C. J. Cherryh (2, Foreigner 4) SF
Neverland by Douglas Clegg H
One Bloody Thing after Another by Joey Comeau H
The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas (1, The Memory of Flames) F
Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth (1, The President’s Vampire) H, M
Allies by Christie Golden (5, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi) SF

New Romance Fiction for June 2010

In paperback:

Dark Angel / Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh (1-2, Dark Angel) H
Seducing an Angel by Mary Balogh (4, Huxtable quintet) H
A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh (5, Huxtable quintet) H
Meltdown by Gail Barrett (Silhouette Romantic Suspense) C, M
The Notorious Scoundrel by Alexandra Benedict (2, The Hawkins Brothers) H
Running Scared by Shannon K. Butcher (3, Sentinel Wars) C, S
In Pursuit of a Scandalous Lady by Gayle Callen (1, Scandalous Lady) H
Out of Sight by Stella Cameron (3, Court of Angels) C, S, M
A Lady Never Tells by Candace Camp (1, Willowmere) H

SUMMER BUZZ: OR, WHAT I REALLY WANT TO READ THIS SUMMER

I've just gotten back from Book Expo America 2010, the book industry's professional trade show, and I'm really excited about the great speculative fiction coming our way this year!  Rather than the usual themed list this month, I thought I'd bring home some of the BEA buzz by talking about the forthcoming titles I'm most eager to read.  Some definite themes appeared as I surveyed this summer's offerings: unlikely saviors, alternate histories, adventure, steam- or clockworkpunk (with or without magic), creatively rewritten classics, and yes, even more zombies.  There are several standout new voices, some surprise returns of old masters, and a few truly monumental short story anthologies.  I don't have room to cover everything I'd like to here, so I'm going to hit the biggest titles for each month and then give you a shortlist to follow up on, if you're so minded.

New Book Group! In Other Worlds...

New City Library is starting a new book discussion group this summer!  It's called "In Other Worlds," and its focus is on speculative fiction.  Librarians Karen Ostertag and Veronica Reynolds will lead discussions on works from the realms of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and everything in between.  The group will meet every third Wednesday of the month at 7 PM.

We're starting off easy with the first offering-- a short story by Isaac Asimov entitled "All the Troubles of the World."  There are copies available now at the adult reference desk.  In July, we're featuring China Miéville's Perdido Street Station, and the August selection will be American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.

We hope you'll join us for light refreshments and discussion.  (Come to the Dark Side-- we have cookies!)

I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM: Military Romances

If you're looking for a few good men, you've come to the right place!  In honor of the holiday (and Fleet Week!), I'm suspending my survey of historical romances briefly to take a quick look at military romances.  Memorial Day is on the horizon, that time we've aside to remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  With a few poignant exceptions, the heroes in these books get much happier endings.  These men have been trained and tested, and have what it takes to protect the women they love.  If you don't have your own soldier to celebrate with this weekend, why not show your appreciation by checking out a romance that features one?  (We do so love our men in uniform!)  So, without further ado, the list:

CROSS-CRAFTING WITH A VENGEANCE: THE NEW WEIRD

Genre labels.  Librarians love them because they can quietly signal new finds to readers of genre fiction.  They're a kind of library shorthand, much as Dewey Decimal labels are-- a subtle signpost for the knowledgable browser.  Still, genre labels have their limits.  It can be hard to discover a new author when your favorite titles are thinly scattered throughout a much larger general fiction collection, labels or no.  We created the Speculative Fiction area at New City Library with the intention of fixing this problem.  By bringing the three related genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror together into their own space, we hoped to support the kind of happy serendipity that only happens in a small browsing collection.  As it turns out, there's been an unexpected side benefit. 

New Romance Fiction for May 2010

In paperback:

Desires of a Perfect Lady by Victoria Alexander H
Demonkeepers by Jessica Andersen (4, The Final Prophecy) C, S
Cold Hearted by Beverly Barton (5, Griffin Powell) C, M
Dead by Midnight by Beverly Barton (6, Griffin Powell) C, M
A Most Sinful Proposal by Sara Bennett H
The Secret Duke by Jo Beverley (10, The Mallorens) H
The Devil’s Playground by Jenna Black (5, Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist) C, S
Rogue in My Arms by Celeste Bradley (2, The Runaway Brides) H
Enigma by Carla Cassidy (Harlequin Intrigue: Maximum Men) C, M
Out of Eden by Beth Ciotta C

New Speculative Fiction for May 2010

New to our shelves:

Dark Matter by S. W. Ahmed SF
Backlash by Aaron Allston (4, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi) SF
Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld) H, R
Directive 51 by John Barnes SF, A
Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle by Peter S. Beagle, with Jonathan Strahan, ed. F, H
The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett (2, Demon trilogy) F
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (5, Mercy Thompson) F, H, R
Changes by Jim Butcher (12, Dresden Files) F, H
Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror by Ellen Datlow, ed. H
Breakfast at Twilight and Other Stories by Phillip K. Dick, with Gregg Rickman, ed.  (2, The Early

Syndicate content