Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I just discovered a brand new blog called my3books (www.my3books.com), in which a book rep named John Mesjak spotlights 3 books at a time. He represents a lot of publishers and sells thousands of books per year, and he'll be focusing on the ones that he considers remarkable:

"I’ve been looking for a way to pull out just a few of those books at a time - to restore a more human-readable scale to the process - and focus on some of the really great ones. So here begins a series of posts that will each zoom in on three books - three from the same publisher, or three on a theme, or three by the same author, whatever."

I've added www.my3books.com to the blog feed (at the bottom right of the sidebar) but I'll also try to mention any great posts when I see them. For now, here's my own little list of three great Young Adult dystopian science fiction books.

What is dystopian science fiction? According to Wikipedia, dystopia is: "the vision of a society in which conditions of life are miserable and characterized by poverty, oppression, war, violence, disease, pollution, and/or the abridgement of human rights, resulting in widespread unhappiness, suffering, and other kinds of pain." Dystopian science fiction applies these conditions to a future version of the world, usually including some technology or social/political structure that could conceivably be in our future.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen hardcover, ISBN 978-0765319852, $17.95)
Seventeen-year-old Marcus knows all the tricks to bypass his school's security, but when San Francisco is hit by a terrorist attack he finds himself in Gitmo-by-the-Bay under suspicion of terrorist activities. Marcus must decide whether to believe in the system or fight it--and face the consequences. This is a frighteningly real look at the not-so-distant future of technology, seen through the eyes of a school-skipping, video-game-playing techno-geek.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic hardcover, ISBN 978-0439023481, $17.99)
Readers of this blog know that this is my favorite book of all time. Katniss Everdeen has been supporting her family for years by hunting and trading illegally. When she becomes District 12's female tribute to the Hunger Games, she knows she must be the lone survivor or her family will fall apart. But winning the Hunger Games means the deaths of the other tributes. This book is full of non-stop action. It is an emotional rollercoaster. It is the best book EVER.

Skinned by Robin Wasserman (Simon Pulse paperback forthcoming, ISBN 978-1416974499, $9.99)
Most dystopian science fiction is action-packed and full of technical jargon. This one isn't. It's more of a moral and ethical look at the future of medicine, and how far we will eventually go to keep our loved ones in our lives. Lia wakes up in the hospital with vivid memories of the car accident that should have killed her. A few days go by before she realizes that, in a way, it did--her brain has been scanned and downloaded into a mechanical body that looks only vaguely like her old one. Is she human? Is she still Lia? These are questions that she must ask herself, even as her friends and family are asking them too.


Brian Barker said...

Concerning Arika Okrent's new book

I think that the choice, realistically, for the future global language lies between English and Esperanto, rather than an untried project.

It's unfortunate, however, that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language.

After a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook.

It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and in use by Skype, Firefox and Facebook. Native Esperanto speakers,(people who have used the language from birth), include George Soros, World Chess Champion Susan Polgar, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet.

Further arguments can be seen at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

A Million Words said...

Oh, hello, Esperanto person! Sadly, I think that English is being swallowed whole and being used as a lingua franca in all its semi-Germanic-semi-Latinate Creole glory. I would love to see Esperanto put to use the way it was meant to be...I'll definitely check out those links. Thank you!