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Don't Blink — Read!

by Tomas - 4 Comment(s)

neil gaimanIf you’re a Whovian, I don’t have to explain the significance of November 23rd. To those not yet initiated, this date marks the premiere of the 50th Anniversary special episode: The Day of the Doctor. If you're new to the phenomenon of Doctor Who, long-time fan Neil Gaiman recently shared a succinct synopsis of the show so you can dive right in:

“No, look, there’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up, there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed ’cause he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch ‘Blink’.”

In another post, Gaiman expands on his thoughts on the literary quality of the series:

“Doctor Who has never pretended to be hard science-fiction. At best, Doctor Who is a fairytale, with fairytale logic, about this wonderful man in this big blue box, who at the beginning of every story lands somewhere there’s a problem.”

The appeal to Doctor Who naturally extends to lovers of fiction (writers and readers). From a wardrobe that is bigger on the inside, to the wibbly wobbly act of Tessering, many books offer similar mind, space and time-bending experiences.

Over the years, a number of celebrated authors have contributed stories—in both television and book form—including Douglas Adams, Jenny Colgan and Neil Gaiman.

nenshiFans of the series also include our recently re-elected mayor Nahed Nenshi. In our centennial publication, His Worship wrote how he devoured every copy of the Doctor Who novels he could get his hands on.

“One of the things I really loved were science fiction novels and in particular I was a fan, and have been for a long time, of the British science fiction show Dr. Who,” ...

“There must be hundreds of Dr. Who paperbacks and I would always be awaiting them. I would always know which ones the Forest Lawn library had and which ones I had read.

“Whatever was there I would grab so I would read them wildly out of sequence which was ok because they were self-contained stories.”

In anticipation of the 50th Anniversary episode, Penguin Books commissioned 11 writers to come up with short stories. These were published monthly as e-books, one for each for one generation of the Doctor. So far these are only available as ebooks for sale, but hopefully will be added to our collection soon. In the meantime, you can check out the links below for samples of each writer’s story, courtesy of The Guardian, as well as interviews where they speak about their inspiration and enthusiasm for their particular Doctor:

 

Eoin Colfer - A Big Hand For The Doctordoctor who

Michael Scott - The Nameless City

Marcus Sedgwick - The Spear of Destiny

Philip Reeve - The Roots of Evil

Patrick Ness - Tip of the Tongue

Richelle Mead - Something Borrowed

Malorie Blackman - Ripple Effect

Charlie Higson - The Beast of Babylon

Derek Landy - The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage

Neil Gaiman - Nothing O'Clock

 


If the thrilling prospects of time and space exploration leave you wanting more, check out these other great reads.

A Monster Calls mister monday hitch-hikers guide hourglass wrinkle in time garden of iden

Steampunk H.G. Wells, Wollstonecraft and Poe? Yes please!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Not had enough of things that creep in the dark post-Halloween? Ready to start designing next year's costume? Zdenko Basic's New Steampunk Series puts the ghostliness into the steam. It includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, amongst others.

Each book features a SHORT insightful introduction which gives some interesting tidbits about each author's life as well as some historical context. Lushly illustrated with which creep their mood from mechanical to ghostly to gory, there's plenty here to fuel the steam engine of your imagination. Especially if you are a Steampunk fan. And if you've never heard of Steampunk before but like horror and gore this might just turn your crank enough to start dreaming of making Next year's Halloween costume involve gears, lace and, rivets.

I'm sure you can imagine and design your own steampunk characters or dress up your favourite YA Hero/Heroine. What would a Steampunk Katniss or Harry wear???

Soooooo... design a costume and photograph yourself or draw your favourite YA character Steampunk style and submit these to our TeensCreate page! These books may help: Steampunk Fashion & How To Draw Steampunk. For further inspiration check out CPL's great and growing Steampunk Collection. Then continue the adventure by reading Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicle's trilogy starting with The Girl in The Steel Corset, (which includes many descriptions of awesome Steampunk outfits...) and finish with Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey. May your engines be well oiled!

Explore other dimensions of your favorite Sci-Fi characters

by Tomas - 1 Comment(s)

Dr. Who reading

Fiction has always been a vital part of the Sci-Fi equation, and literature regularly figures into the plots of classic and contemporary TV series. Think of Mark Twain's visits to the Star Trek Universe, Data's obsession with Sherlock Holmes, or The Doctor's interest in pulp fiction (no spoilers here, check out the Angels Take Manhattan finale in the 7th season... coming to the library soon!).

Nathan Fillion - Kids Need to ReadSome of the crossovers aren't as conventional, and extend into the lives of the actors themselves. Looking at the line up for the upcoming 2013 Comic Expo, I came across an interesting tidbit about Nathan "Mal" Fillion. In addition to his work on Firefly, and later shows like Castle and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, this former Edmontonian is co-founder of Kids Need to Read, a non-profit organization which aspires to provide underfunded libraries with more books!

Another Expo guest, comic legend Stan Lee, recently formed the Stan Lee Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy, cultural awareness and artistic diversity throughout the arts (as if his 50+ years of output through Marvel Comics didn't already provide enough encouragement...)

Across the pond, the BBC has launched a series of storytelling segments by some of the U.K.'s biggest celebrities, including -naturally - cast members from Dr. Who, such as John Barrowman (also a guest of the Expo). Come on, who hasn't wanted a bedtime story told by The Master, or Captain Jack (???)

Geordi and DataAnd then, there's Levar Burton: As a long time fan of his run on Reading Rainbow, as well as his turn as Chief Engineer Geordi Laforge on Star Trek: TNG, nothing could prepare my 15 year-old self for the mind bending moment when the two shows / universes paradoxically combined in one glorious episode!

Mind bending in an entirely different way is Leonard Nimoy's, ah, unique rendition of Tolkien's The Hobbit. Much more concise than Peter Jackson's take, but just as exhilarating an experience!

Live on Mars!

by Tomas - 1 Comment(s)

Curiosity on Mars!

Whew! What an intense few weeks. Amazing performances by Usain Bolt, Christine St Clair, the reunited Spice Girls, hmm, what else happened? Oh yeah…. A ROBOT LANDED ON MARS! MARS!!!

Ok, fair enough, the Olympics were a thrilling spectacle of athletic prowess, but seriously consider for a moment the magnitude of sending a rocket flying through the vastness of space and safely touching down on another planet… I think there is a team of engineers and astrophysicists that deserve to bite down on a gold medal too.

Of course, this also isn’t the first contact we've had with the red planet. Curiousity (nice name!), the plucky little rover that is currently exploring the planet is the latest in a number of robotic explorers that over the years have given us a clearer picture of the planet. The similarities in size and climate to Earth, and the tantalizing possibility of water and life continues to stoke our imaginations and ambitions to one day reach the planet.

But what will happen when we reach it? Humans don’t exactly have an impressive track record when it comes to encountering and then laying claim to ‘uncharted’ territory…so after the initial thrill of discovery, what can we expect? .

Although set on a fictional planet, Monica Hughes' classic Isis Trilogy offers one possible scenerio. Olwen, and her guardian -until recently the only residents on the remote planet of Isis- now have to come to terms with newly arrived colonists.

Recently republished on account of it's 100th Anniversary (I wonder if CPL had this book in it's collection in 1912, hmmm...) The Mars Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs is a pulpy sci fi classic. Earth man John Carter finds himself mysteriously transported to a fantastically imagined Mars, complete with Martians! Skip the disappointing film adaptation and go right to the source for this one.

As the first book in a new trilogy by David MacInnis Gill, Black Hole Sun is a dark and gritty -and at times also humourous- story of sixteen-year-old Durango and his crew of mercenaries who are hired by the settlers of a mining community on Mars to protect their most valuable resource from a feral band of marauders.

Closer to home, in stories such as Girl from Mars and the critically acclaimed Manga series Mars, the planet plays a peripheral role, but also stands as a metaphor of the terrifying and wonderful emotional terrains of the strange world we currently find ourselves on.