fantasy

Celebrate Speculative Fiction!

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In February, libraries, classrooms, and communities across the country celebrate Black histories. But what about Black futures? Celebrate the imagination of award-winning Black speculative fiction authors with exciting reads, from first contact with aliens to post-apocalyptic adventures!

Juvenile Fiction Selection: The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson

Ivo the orphan, together with the Hag of Dribble, Ulf the Troll, and Brian the Wizard, sets out to save Princess Mirella from the dreaded Ogre of Oglefort. When the rescuers arrive at the castle they are shocked to find that the princess doesn't want to be saved!  In fact, the princess wants the ogre to turn her into a bird so she can escape an arranged marriage. To further complicate matters the Ogre isn't nearly the fearsome creature everyone believed.  He's actually rather depressed. Now the rescuers are going to help save Princess Mirella from her tyrannical royal family and help restore the Ogre and his castle to the fearsome paradise it used to be.  If you're looking for a fun fantasy story with a good sense of humor you will want to pick this book up! (Grades 4-7)

Out of This World Nebula Awards

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Started in 1965 by the Science Fiction Writers of America, which became the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc., the Nebula Awards are voted on and presented annually by active members. Membership began with 78 writers and has grown to more than 1,500. Awards are given for the best novel, novella, novelette, and short story eligible for that year’s award, with Best Script added in 2000. Nominees for the 2015 novel award, which will be presented the second week in May at the annual awards banquet in Chicago, are shown below. In addition to the nominees, previous Nebula Award winners in the novel category are available for checkout.

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien

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This is the story of a reluctant adventurer who battles enormous forces. Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist, likes his creature comforts and is unsure as he sets out on an incredible journey to complete an important task. In order to succeed he needs to learn how to get along with others and stand up for what he believes in. It is an inspiring tale of adventure, fellowship, uncertainty, and strength.

Wildalone, by Krassi Zourkova

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Thea Slavin is a teenage Bulgarian piano prodigy. Following in her older sister’s footsteps, she wins a scholarship to Princeton University, where she intends to discover the truth about her sister's death—and the disappearance of her body—fifteen years ago. Her musical talent and her sister’s legacy soon draw her into romantic entanglements with two brothers: the enigmatic Jake and the passionate Rhys. But there’s more to both brothers—and to her sister’s death—than Thea first understands, and discovering the truth will challenge her understanding of life, death, and love. Greek mythology supplies the elements of fantasy in this novel of dark romance, making it perfect for fans of Deborah Harkness and Stephanie Meyer.

Half-Resurrection Blues, by Daniel José Older

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Carlos Delacruz is an agent of New York City’s Council of the Dead, charged with protecting the living and maintaining order among New York’s ghosts. He’s also an Inbetweener: after dying and coming back to life, Carlos gained the ability to see and speak with ghosts—and lost all memory of his past. He believes he’s the only Inbetweener in New York until the Council of the Dead orders him to hunt down a rogue sorcerer who turns out to be an Inbetweener, too. Soon, Carlos is untangling the threads of a conspiracy that threatens to bring down the walls between the dead and the living for good—and whose mastermind might be the man responsible for Carlos’s almost-death.

While the plot occasionally meanders, veteran short-story writer Older’s voice crackles with profane and hilarious life in his debut novel. A must-read for fans of urban fantasy.

City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett

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Shara Divani is a spy with a job: find out who killed her protégé, Professor Efram Pangyui, and why. Her suspect pool encompasses the entire city of Bulikov, once the heart of a vast empire guarded by six omnipotent gods, and now a defeated and occupied city seething with resentful citizens and endless plots. With only a week before she’s recalled, Divani must rely on her terrifying “secretary” Sigurd and a cast of colorful supporting characters in order to discover the truth about what happened to Pangyui—and whether the gods of Bulikov are quite as dead as they seem.

Vividly imagined and skillfully executed, City of Stairs will appeal to readers of Tom Rob Smith and N.K. Jemisin alike.

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