Science and Technology

02/16/2017 - 1:47pm
If you like Ghost in the Shell

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Ghost in the Shell [Volume 1] by Masamune Shirow
Deep into the twenty-first century, the line between man and machine has been inexorably blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg superagent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged to track down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including "ghost hackers" who are capable of exploiting the human/machine interface and reprogramming humans to become puppets to carry out the hackers' criminal ends. When Major Kusanagi tracks the cybertrail of one such master hacker, the Puppeteer, her quest leads her into a world beyond information and technology where the very nature of consciousness and the human soul are turned upside down. (catalog summary)

Ghost in the Shell is an upcoming American epic science fiction action film based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche. It will be released on March 31, 2017, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D. See the trailer for the movie below the book recommendations.

If you like science fiction titles like Ghost in the Shell, check out these other far-out-there titles.
 

Akira: Book OneAkira: Book One by Katshuiro Ōtomo
Set in Tokyo 38 years after its destruction in World War III (which, according to this story, happened in 1992), Akira eventually evolves into a philosophical investigation of time. But this first volume is all action, nonstop car chases and gun fights strung together with exaggerated speed lines and lots of gigantic machinery. The complicated plot revolves around two teenagers in a motorbike gang that encounters a strange child with an old man's features. When one of the young bikers begins manifesting violent, supernatural powers that threaten to destroy him, both bikers find themselves enmeshed in a massive conflict between two sinister agencies (which both believe they're fighting to save the world) over some unnamed thing so terrifying it's locked away in a vault and frozen to absolute zero. (catalog summary)


01/20/2017 - 2:41pm
Fabulous Friday: Beyond the Stars

At our Beyond the Stars Fabulous Friday, get involved in hands-on STEM activities (that might get a little messy) while exploring the wonders of outer space.

Salem Church Branch, February 3, 4:30-5:15; February 17, 4:30-5:15

Porter Branch, February 10, 4:30-5:15

02/22/2017 - 8:42am
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. (catalog summary)
 

Have you read our Rappahannock Read, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly? If you have and you're looking for more titles like Hidden Figures, check these out! These selections include: history of the Space Race and women's achievements in science and other fields of STEM.


 

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True StoryThe Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose—and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives—they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. (catalog summary)
 


02/02/2017 - 9:41am
Launch It! A Trebuchet Contest

This May for the first time, Central Rappahannock Regional Library will be running a trebuchet contest. A trebuchet is a kind of medieval siege engine. Full-sized ones were used to smash down castle walls.

This contest will be a fun, family event, and you can join in by bringing your handcrafted trebuchet and testing it against your competitors!

12/12/2016 - 2:45am
Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Disease has been eliminated. Crime and poverty have been eliminated. Natural disasters have been eliminated.

Overall, death has been eliminated.

This is all thanks to a self-aware digital cloud called The Thunderhead, whose totalitarian rule has turned the future Earth into a Utopia.

Everyone can turn back their ages, to any age above 21. So, a 32-year-old you meet, might be a 105-year-old human. Everyone is now guaranteed immortality. Well, almost everyone.

12/13/2016 - 12:53pm

Slow, sleepy winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly through winter, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. This unusual, deep sleep is called hibernation.

What Is Hibernation?

True hibernation is a very deep sleep. The animal's body temperature drops, its breathing slows, and it is very difficult to awaken. But some animals, such as most bears, do not really hibernate.

12/01/2016 - 10:57am
Red Rising by Pierce Brown

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him, are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies...even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. (catalog summary)
 

If you like the Red Rising series, check out these other science fiction novels for both teen and adult:
 



The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
In the mid-21st century major world cities are controlled by a formidable security force and clairvoyant underworld cell member Paige commits acts of psychic treason before being captured by an otherworldly race that would make her a part of their supernatural army. (catalog summary)

 



 


The Fire Sermon
by Francesca Haig
Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fall-out has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way--and the other an Omega--burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world's sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other. (provided by publisher)


 

11/25/2016 - 2:33am
If you like the TV series Westworld

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

Westworld, is a science fiction thriller that premiered on October 2nd, 2016. The series, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, is inspired by the 1973 film of the same title written by Michael Crichton about a futuristic theme park populated by artificial beings. Nolan and Joy serve as executive producers along with J. J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk. The first season consists of ten episodes.

The program takes place in fictional Westworld, a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated completely by synthetic androids dubbed "hosts". Westworld caters to high-paying visitors dubbed "newcomers" (or just "guests"), who can do whatever they wish within the park, without fear of retaliation from the hosts. (Wikipedia)

Once you've finished Westworld on December 2nd, here are a few fiction books involving technology, the Old West, robots, and dangerous adventures.

Anything Goes by Richard S. Wheeler
The cowboys, gold miners, outlaws, gunmen, prostitutes, and marshals who populate the Wild West never see much big-city entertainment. Most towns are too wild and rowdy for entertainers to enter, let alone perform in. All that is about to change. August Beausoleil and his colleague, Charles Pomerantz, have taken the Beausoleil Brothers Follies to the remote mining towns of Montana, far from the powerful impresarios who own the talent and control the theaters on the big vaudeville circuits. Their cast includes a collection of has-beens and second-tier performers: Mary Mabel Markey, the shopworn singer now a little out of breath; Wayne Windsor, "The Profile," who favors his audiences with just one side of his face while needling them with acerbic dialogue; Harry the Juggler, who went from tossing teacups to tossing scimitars; Mrs. McGivers and her capuchin monkey band; and the Wildroot Sisters, born to show business and managed by a stage mother who drives August mad. Though the towns are starved for entertainment, the Follies struggles to fill seats as the show grinds from town to town. Just when the company is desperate for fresh talent, a mysterious young woman astonishes everyone with her exquisite voice. The Wild West will never be the same. They've seen comics, gorgeous singers, and scimitar-tossing jugglers. Now if the troupers can only make it back East . . . alive! (catalog summary)
 

11/15/2016 - 9:15am
Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

If you like books about space and the solar system, here are some titles that might appeal to you:

Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve
When ten-year-old Astra and her family move to a new planet, she must save the spaceship and its crew from man-eating cakes, aliens, and more. (catalog summary)




Dreambender
by Ronald Kidd
Jeremy, a "dreambender," enters a dream of Callie, an unfulfilled "computer," and defies expectations and his assigned role to find her in reality so they can follow their own dreams. (catalog summary)

 

 

08/30/2016 - 12:00pm
If You Like Dune by Frank Herbert

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.
 

Dune by Frank Herbert
Follows the adventures of Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny. (catalog summary)
Other books in the Dune series include: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse Dune

 

If you enjoyed Dune, you may enjoy these titles because of the detailed world-building, complex politics, and fascinating characters.


Artemis Awakening
by Jane M. Lindskold
The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay. But the Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of their advanced technology, and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet's secrets...and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind. (catalog summary)
 

 


A Canticle for Leibowitz
by Walter M. Miller
In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. Seriously funny, stunning, and tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece. (catalog summary)

 

 

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