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Tag / Science Fiction

Reviewsday: The Shape Of Water by Guillermo Del Toro & Daniel Kraus

Del Toro can do no wrong it seems. His movies invoke the dark places within us all and his books do the same. The Shape of Water is a weird blend of love and horror that has found just the right balance.

It will have you on the edge of your seat as you unravel the tale of Elisa and her strange paramour. Read before you see the movie!

~Steven, QBD Cairns

It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito -mute her whole life, orphaned as a child -is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore's Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn't know how she'd make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center's most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions... and Elisa can't keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa's sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release-one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film-The Shape of Water is unlike anything you've ever read or seen.


Space-tacular Reads!

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of Team Belconnen. Their mission: to explore strange new worlds; to read about new life and new civilisations; to boldly imagine where no man has gone before."

Descender by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen:

Following an attack by Planet sized robots called harvesters, a young boy wakes to find he is that most of the galaxy has been wiped out.
He is Tim-21, a young boy robot companion, believed to be created by Dr Jin Quon, believed to hold the secret to the Harvester technology, become most wanted in a galaxy that has banned robots. After being saved from bounty hunters by a construction bot named Driller, Tim-21, his dog Bandit, and Driller set off with Captain Telsa and her crew on an adventure through the galaxy to try and save humanity, and robot kind.
Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen - which is reason enough to own this.
Perfect for people who loved Saga, Star Wars, and I, Robot. -Laurence (Store Manager)

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly:

"That's one small step for man... one giant leap for mankind"
A single line that echoes through history forever. We know that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins got to the Moon with a lot of help from incredibly intelligent and talented people.

Historians can be extremely selective and continue the narrative of women in the 1900's as housewives and secretaries; never being seen as the contributors to society. This book exposes all the hard work that a group of women, known as human calculators due to their brilliant mathematical skill, did behind the scenes. Without them, there would not have been a mission to the moon.

Although reading about marginalised people, especially of black women, in an era of segregation can be truly enraging, this book showed the determination of four incredibly smart and talented women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. They worked with grace and dignity, despite what the challenges and adversity they faced. Their co-workers eventually came to respect their contributions, and one of the best parts is reading about John Glenn, an astronaut and engineer, wanted Katherine Johnson to personally check the numbers for trajectories of a mission, because he didn't trust the IMB computers.

These were amazing and inspiring women, and this is an amazing read for everyone, however, I'd especially recommend this to women interested in STEM fields. -Karina

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples:

For fans of fantasy space operas! Who am I kidding? Its for everyone. There's the star-crossed love, dashing adventurers, animal sidekicks, and even a bit of royalty.
Saga is a story about a family trying to stay together. Marko and Alana are from two warring races that have been fighting so long nobody knows why they started. They have a child then fall in love (in that order) the child is considered an abomination by both their peoples and they have to flee to avoid being hunted down. While on the run they meet a bounty hunter with a lie detector cat, a ghost who becomes their babysitter, and a prince with amnesia (which may or may not be their fault).

This fantastical story deals with themes of morality, sexuality, race, and wartime conflicts and fallouts. It has great world building and character development where right or wrong really depends on where you're standing. It is honest about life. The gruesome images of childbirth, living on the run, and casualties of war are never romanticised. All of this is wrapped up with some nicely times jokes that reminds us that life is bad but at least its funny sometimes. -Rina

The Expanse Series by James S A Corey:

The Expanse by James S.A. Corey is a series of high-flying, deep space adventure with a grounded and human heart. It follows the crew of the Rocinante as they are thrust into one plot after another and have to save the Solar System.

Although set hundreds of years in the future, the author tackles many social issues throughout the current six novels. There are plenty of explosions and ship-to-ship combat, but racism underlies many of the decisions and conflicts. The main characters of each novel are from different planets and backgrounds, and their interactions are often tense as they come to terms with the difference and put them aside. Because of these themes and the exceptional characterisation, The Expanse ends up being realistic, relatable and, above all else, extremely enjoyable. -Mitchell

Deep Space by Govert Schilling:

Deep Space is a wonderful book for any space geek. A coffee table book with amazing photo's and easy to understand terms. Perfect for the hardcore scientist or someone who just looks at the stars and wonders. Get lost in how expansive and amazing our universe is while learning greats facts to baffle friends with. A great book for igniting your imagination and reliving your dreams of being an astronaut. The universe is beautiful and mystifying , shown wonderfully by this book. -Cai

Gravity by Tess Gerritsen:

If you’ve heard of the television series Rizzoli and Isles, then you’ve heard of Tess Gerritsen, even if you didn’t know it. But before the famous crime fighters got their own show, indeed, before Gerritsen had even wrote the first book to kick off the series, she was working in a different, but equally suspenseful, genre; medical thriller.
Being a medical physician herself, Gerritsen is able to describe the behaviour of the body in a way that is both accurate and disturbing. Her books, Gravity included, are not for the faint of heart.

Gravity is the culmination of a life’s work in medicine and two years of consultation with NASA. While the International Space Station might not seem like the typical location for a medical thriller, the unfamiliar surrounds and isolation make what follows all the more terrifying.
On board the ISS is a culture of harmless single-celled organisms from the deep ocean that have been widely studied here on Earth, but were taken to the ISS to be studied under the effects of microgravity. But the cells are contaminated, and someone on Earth knows why.

When the contaminated cells are exposed to the microgravity of space, something inside starts to grow. A simple error sees this unknown organism escape into the ISS with deadly and grotesque consequences. Room by room of the ISS has to be shut and quarantined, until our heroine, medical doctor and astronaut Emma Watson, is the only one left alive. Abandoned by NASA, who can’t risk such a violently destructive organism to get to Earth, the only escape shuttle destroyed, and the infection starting to course through her body with devastating effects, Watson is running against the clock and her own failing body to prove that this organism can be controlled and defeated. Her only hope is her soon-to-be ex-husband Jack McCallum, a medical doctor and once-astronaut, who is willing to go to any lengths to find the truth and save his wife. -Natalie

The Universe in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard:

The Universe In Your Hand by Christophe Galfard is a brilliantly written description of modern physics directed at individuals who have no prior knowledge of science. Galfard covers a wonderfully wide array of topics and, through his infectious sense of humour and the books easy-to-follow conversational style, makes learning about scientific topics enjoyable, as opposed to dry and dull. It's informative content is mind-bending, fascinating, entertaining and comprehensive. The Universe In Your Hand is a terrific aid for readers to help them visualise the complex ideas of modern physics and allows them to walk away with a deeper knowledge of our universe. -Paris

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown:

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown, tells the tale of Darth Vader trying to put his two children, Luke and Leia to sleep by reading a book of how all the other creatures in the Star Wars realm go to sleep. The story is told with lyrical rhymes, and simple language, highlighting its childlike nature. Bright and intricate drawings are featured on every page, these being a certain humour to the book, making it even more entertaining. I guarantee this book will be enjoyed by all Star Wars fans of all ages. -Stella

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Reviewsday: Parasite by Mira Grant

parasite mira grant

Sally Mitchell is a medical miracle. After a devastating car crash left her in a coma, doctors didn’t expect her to recover and pronounced her brain dead. So when she suddenly opens her eyes and sits up in her hospital bed, confused and disoriented, she becomes a marvel, a wonder of modern science. Her impossible return to life is credited to the genetically engineered tapeworm that lives within her, created by Symbogen, a purpose-grown parasite that helps keep millions of people around the world healthy. The only kicker is that Sally has no memory of who she is.

As she begins to piece her life back together, it quickly becomes apparent that she’s not the girl she used to be. Kind and sensitive where she used to be rough and abrasive, the shadow of her past self looms over her like a dark cloud. Symbogen are constantly running tests on her, her parents won’t let her move out on her own and her accident has left her with a crippling fear of cars. Despite everything, Sal builds herself a fragile peace within the animal shelter she works for and the company of her boyfriend, a doctor who understands her many conditions but doesn’t judge her for her shortcomings. Nothing lasts forever and her delicate shell is broken as a new, terrifying disease sweeps the country; everywhere, people are losing the ability to function, shutting down and turning into mindless sleepwalkers. Baffled, medical institutes struggle to find the cause but it’s not until the sleepwalkers begin to turn violent that wild theories emerge left, right and centre. Theories that sweep Sal into the middle of the chaos and, if some of the theories are correct, immense danger.

Parasite is a spine-tingling journey that throws you from one disaster to the next with skillful plot twists and insane action sequences. There’s much more to be discovered in this novel than is apparent on the surface and once you dig down to the roots, you’ll find chilling tales that will keep you up all night wanting to know more.

Sci Fri: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Illuminae has received glowing praise from the bookish world as a whole ever since it was released. Bloggers would shout it from social media platforms and potential fans all over the world could be seen fangirling over the unique format and sheer amazingness of it all. It has been hailed the YA novel of 2015. The paramount page-turner. An incredible piece of literary innovation. A book so special with all the bells and whistles that you simply couldn’t pass it up.
So. What did I make of it? More importantly – did it live up to the hype?
In my opinion – YOU BET IT DID.

Sure, I’ve read novels before that stray from the traditional structure by incorporating other elements like reports and images to make things seem more realistic. But Illuminae truly does take this concept to the next level by completely revamping literary convention and making this a story like no other. It’s not just a sci-fi adventure – it’s a piece of art. Told through a variety of textual forms such as military reports, diary entries, transcripts from surveillance footage and more, there is never a dull moment. Kady and Ezra are two main characters whose lives are turned upside down because of an inter-galactic conspiracy, a corrupt corporation and an AI that seems to have a mind of its own. Throw into the mix a deadly virus, further attacks on the horizon and a general aura of chaos and you get a heart-stopping, violently thrilling book that will leave you reeling.

At the start it was a little difficult to truly connect with the characters since the novel is told in snippets and readers are left to piece these fragments together. However, by the halfway point I was well and truly hooked. The countdowns, the IM messages, the distress calls and interviews all created a sense of immediacy to the point where I felt if I stopped reading I would miss something big happening that could be on the very next page. On another note, Kady really stood out to me as an admirable character. Not only could she be tough, resilient and had an attitude, but was also ‘human’ as well. She had her own weaknesses but in the end was able to do the right thing and take on all that the universe threw at her. Characters like her in YA are inspiring, and make this a book readers will relate to. This is not a clinical sci-fi novel. Instead, it’s something so much more, and unique at that. It stands apart on the shelf not just because of how visually stunning it is, but because it is impressive both inside and out.

With massive plot twists and an explosive ending, I will be on the edge of my seat waiting for the second book in this trilogy. If you’re one of the people out there still waiting to experience this spectacular feat of literary genius, then it’s time to illuminate what’s been missing in your reading life so far.