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Culture Notable Books

Notable Books

Handout

Clifford Simak

Books

Notable Books

Science fiction/fantasy novels

The two stories in this volume are steeped in rich symbolism. In the title work, “The King’s Justice,” a lone stranger, tormented by his own demons, must solve the vicious murder of a young boy. Americans interested in the balance between religion and law will find this story fascinating. Christians will appreciate its understanding of evil as a chaos that undermines godly order. “The Augur’s Gambit” tells of a prophet who must serve his queen even as she makes seemingly insane decisions. The story echoes that of Nathan, who called out David’s sin at the risk of his own life.

Updraft

Wilde creates a fantastic world in which humans live in bone towers high above the clouds and travel on wings of leather and bone. Their tight living conditions mean that laws are sacred. When young Kirit violates one of the greatest laws, she finds herself tangled in a conspiracy that threatens to end all life in the skies. Wilde’s riveting debut novel is a fast-paced tale of a girl willing to change the status quo, and of friends who help her face and grow through challenges.

Abomination

Whitta, the screenwriter of The Book of Eli and co-writer of the upcoming Star Wars film Rogue One, crowdfunded this tale set in a.d. 888. The novel tells of a good English knight cursed by evil magic to represent in his body the metaphysical costs of sin. Weighed down by his chains, Sir Wulfric believes no redemption is possible until he meets a young warrior woman determined to save him from his monstrous inner self. Through her intervention he discovers that salvation frees the soul, but the monster inside is never gone this side of paradise. (Cautions: profanity, violence, and disturbing imagery.)

Lightless

Questions of statism, government surveillance, interrogation, civil disobedience, and post-humanity meld in Higgins’ carefully plotted space thriller. Althea is the chief engineer on a secret government spaceship working deep in the solar system. The arrival of two thieves bent on subverting the one solar-system government forces Althea to question her unwavering loyalty to the System even as the artificial intelligence of her beloved ship, the Ananke, goes bonkers. Part James Bond, part Star Wars, and part 1984, this mix of political thriller, mystery, and science fiction is as intelligent as it is entertaining. (Cautions: some profanity and scenes of torture.)

Spotlight

In 1977, Clifford D. Simak became the third Grand Master of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. A longtime newspaper editor in Michigan, Simak began publishing science fiction in the 1930s. I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories, which includes a never-before published story, is the first of a projected 14-volume series of Simak’s science fiction, Westerns, mysteries, and horror—but Simak was primarily a science fiction writer, as the 10 stories in this volume attest. Through robots, aliens, and other worlds, Simak explores man’s relationship to himself, the ethics of capitalism, and the power of music. In so doing, he eloquently reminds us we are image-bearers of God who often devise our very own “traps of Earth, snares of Man” when we allow greed, revenge, or hatred to rule our hearts. —J.O.