- Megan Bingham
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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)
The Big Showdown: A Caleb York Western by Mickey Spillane
Before leaving for San Diego and his new job as a Pinkerton man, Caleb York vows to make the streets of Trinidad, New Mexico, safe once again.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story. (catalog summary)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner is based on this book)
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . .They even built humans. Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in. Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.
Dream Park by Larry Niven
A group of pretend adventurers suit up for a campaign called "The South Seas Treasure Game." As in the early Role Playing Games, there are Dungeon Masters, warriors, magicians, and thieves. The difference? At Dream Park, a futuristic fantasy theme park full of holographic attractions and the latest in VR technology, they play in an artificial enclosure that has been enhanced with special effects, holograms, actors, and a clever storyline. The players get as close as possible to truly living their adventure. All's fun and games until a Park security guard is murdered, a valuable research property is stolen, and all evidence points to someone inside the game. The park's head of security, Alex Griffin, joins the game to find the killer, but finds new meaning in the games he helps keep alive. (catalog summary)
Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she'll be admitted into the Academy--the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she's been taught isn't the whole story. And the Academy isn't what she believes it to be. In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax's examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim? (catalog summary)
Glorious by Jeff Guinn
Rising to a life of influence and wealth after a hard-luck youth in late nineteenth-century Arizona Territory, Cash McLendon flees in the wake of a tragedy and tries to win back the heart of a woman from his past only to be targeted by his former father-in-law. (catalog summary)
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Japan's most widely-read and controversial writer, author of A Wild Sheep Chase, hurtles into the consciousness of the West with this narrative about a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters—not to mention Bob Dylan and Lauren Bacall. (catalog summary)
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
The three laws of Robotics: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm 2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future—a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete. Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world—all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark. (catalog summary)
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars--and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars—the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury. (catalog summary)
In the year 7000 CE, metahumans, descended from robots, have replaced the extinct human race. Traveling to the water world of Shin-Tethys in search of her sister Ana, Krina Alizond-114 is captured by pirates. Believing that Krina and her sister each possess half of a lost financial artifact known as the Atlantis Carnet, Count Rudi, the pirates' leader, agrees to accompany her in the hopes of obtaining the item. Neither Krina nor the pirate captain realizes that an assassin is pursuing her for the same purpose. (Library Journal)