This will be the beginning of a new age. Or I will fail. Again.
The Sith were the practitioners of the dark side and mortal enemies of the Jedi Order. Darth Sidious postulated that the source of dark side power was of the universe outside the borders of our maps. Star Wars Sith books explore the dark side and its most notorious characters on a deeper level than the films. There is a lot to learn when you delve deeper into the rivalry; In fact, some have postulated that the Sith are the good guys and the Jedi are the bad guys. From Darth Plagueis to The Dark Lord Trilogy, Star Wars Sith books expand your understanding of an ancient complex battle where sides are often gray and characters conflicted.
Sci-fi art doesn't just tell a story. It takes you into a story, often of your own making. Science fiction art inspires a creative process in the mind. Your intellect is forced to wrap a tale of other worlds and dimensions around the visual your eyes are locked on. From the erotic sci-fi art of greats like Hajimi Sorayama to the sweeping landscapes of sci-fi artist Vincent Di Fate, the works of sci-fi artists can be found in the best sci-fi art books, which provide countless hours of imagination and storytelling.
Star Wars is perhaps one of the most important franchises of the 20th century. The 21st century promises to deliver more of the ever expanding universe. Disney has bought Lucasfilm and has mapped out the next decade of Star Wars activity. With some of the most exciting characters in the franchise being women, the audience for the franchise has grown exponentially. Not only has J.J. Abrams rebooted the movies, but the franchise has inspired an army of writers focused on the Star Wars universe. The Star Wars books enhance the experience of being a Star Wars fan, whether it’s learning ancient history, getting background on a favorite character, or following the heroes of the original trilogy.
Time: the final frontier. These are the voyages of storytellers throughout the mysteries of time, exploring how to break through its apparently-rigid barriers and break its (apparently equally rigid) rules. But when you think about it, we're all traveling through time together—in what we can perceive as forward. Not all of us pass through at the same subjective rate, of course, because there are teeny-tiny relativistic effects at work, which have to do with our relative motions.
Philip K. Dick's work has transformed the way we view science fiction. He published 44 novels and over 100 short stories, and 12 book to film adaptations, extending his influence even to today. In most of his works, the wall between reality and illusion fails to exist, leaving his audience to figure out what is and is not real. He touched upon deep philosophical issues. What does it mean to be human? What is an identity? Can I trust my own memories? As a long time science fiction fan, I can't list the following PKD novels in any particular order. To impose my own order would be arrogant of me. Each of the best Philip K. Dick books can be enjoyed by any fan of science-fiction.
As a sub-genre of science fiction, sci-fi military books often imagine the future of war, relying heavily on speculative technology and, oftentimes, extraterrestrial combatants. Many authors rely on historical events, such as Hannibal or the Vietnam War, and transcribe them for the future. Instead of nations in conflict, authors present planets at war. The ethics of war and consequences of military action are on the front-lines of many sci-fi military books. When is war justified? What is the value of one life versus many? New moral dilemmas present themselves as science fiction concepts muddle the line between what is and is not permitted. Military science fiction is about the people engrossed by the carnage of war and the larger problems facing them.
Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, is something of a success story for self-published authors everywhere. Released by the author as an e-book in 2011, the book was picked up for broader distribution last year by Crown Publishing group, and is now well on its way to the big screen. The book itself is a labor of love for Weir, a well-researched and highly-realistic work of speculative fiction. It endeavors to answer a fairly straightforward question, how could a person survive on Mars if they were stranded there? This question requires knowledge of space travel, orbital physics, botany, and NASA bureaucracy to answer effectively, and Weir quickly establishes his expertise on all of the above. The resulting book is impressive for the amount of preparation it must have required before pen could be put to paper, and manages an engaging story to boot.
Pohl’s early career unfolded over the background of the Great Depression and the Second World War, a climate of unimaginable fear and uncertainty. This was the so-called "Golden Age" of science fiction, the years of John W. Campbell's catalytic editorship of Astounding Science Fiction, when pulp publishing was slowly metamorphosing into a defined genre, an era when its practitioners hadn’t yet begun to comment on the gloomy aspects of progress. To Pohl’s generation, science represented the potential for escape from the disaster of economic failure and war. No one was looking for a downside; they only saw the virgin capacities of uncolonized planets, and dreamt of a people united in the betterment of the species through new technology. “In those early days,” Pohl writes in his lovely collection of short stories, The Early Pohl, “we were as innocent as physicists, popes and presidents. We saw only the promise, not the threat.”
If there's anywhere the old axiom about judging a book by its cover holds true, it's science fiction. Few classic sci-fi authors and their cover artists ever see the same vision for the cover illustration. Typically it is the publisher that makes the final choice. Dune art was different. John Schoenherr connected to Frank Herbert's vision immediately. He was able to tell the same story visually. "Herbert wrote in 1980 that though he had not spoken to Schoenherr prior to the artist creating the paintings, the author was surprised to find that the artwork appeared exactly as he had imagined its fictional subjects, including Dune Sandworms, Baron Harkonnen and the Sardaukar." An extraordinary illustrator is capable of contributing to a piece of literature and even enhancing its message. In the case of an artist like John Schoenherr, he became the franchise's joint architect and left a mark no less indelible than the novel itself.