Books

Sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson brings a stormy view of the future to Bee Book Club

Author Kim Stanley Robinson
Author Kim Stanley Robinson Courtesy of Orbit Books

The thing about science fiction is it keeps coming true. That’s a particularly fascinating notion given sci-fi novelist Kim Stanley Robinson’s new look at the future in “New York: 2140” (Orbit, $28, 624 pages).

It visits a world in which climate change has caused sea levels to rise, to the point where New York City has become a Venice of sorts, where “every street is a canal, every skyscraper an island.” Still, the drama and surprises of life continue for the tenants of one apartment building in particular, where the disappearance of two young squatters sets off events that “threaten the existence of all.”

Booklist calls “New York: 2140” “a tale of adventure, intrigue and relationships (woven) into a complex story well worth the read.” New Yorker magazine adds, “New York may be underwater, but it’s better than ever.”

“When you write science fiction, you’re writing realism,” Robinson said from his home in Davis. “And we’re now living in a science fiction novel we’re all writing together.”

Robinson is the author of 10 novels in three series (one speculates on colonizing Mars), 11 stand-alone novels and numerous short stories. He holds all of science fiction’s major awards, including the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy. He’s often referred to as “one of the greatest living science-fiction writers.”

Black Book Fair

The fourth annual Sacramento Black Book Fair is a free celebration that will span five venues in historic Oak Park – Underground Books, the Guild Theater, Brickhouse Art Gallery, the Women’s Civic Improvement Center and Alpha Kappa Alpha House. The theme is “Black Books Matter: The Truth of Our Many Selves.”

The June 2-3 event will feature more than 50 authors whose books cover a range of genres, including contemporary and historical fiction, nonfiction, self-help, inspirational, poetry, academics and children’s. Among the authors will be Sacramento poet laureate Indigo Moor, Patricia Canterbury, Suzette Harrison and Ayanna Simone Fabio.

Also: a book drive, community parade, book signings, workshops, panel discussions, kids zone, cultural vendors, food trucks and art displays.

Information: www.sacramentoblackbookfair.com, 916-484-3749

Five to read right now

Now’s the time to “meet” author Stephen Hunter, via his 10th Bob Lee Swagger adventure-thriller, “G-Man” (Blue Rider, $27, 464 pages.) Homespun hero Swagger is a legendary Marine sniper, retired, whose exploits are page-turningly addictive. As for Hunter, he’s the retired chief film critic for The Washington Post and winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

“G-Man” alternates between present and past, as Swagger sets out to discover who his lawman grandfather really was, and as grandfather Charles tracks “the nation’s most notorious outlaw” in the 1930s. The parallel tales merge in a very satisfying way, using literate and informative language.

Though Lincoln Child is best known for his multi-novel collaboration with Douglas Preston (including the superb 17-title Aloysius Pendergast series), he has written 11 novels solo. They include the five-title science-centric series starring Jeremy Logan, who investigates the “supernatural and fantastic.” In his new adventure, “Full Wolf Moon,” the “enigmologist” investigates a gruesome case that involves what may or may not be a werewolf (Doubleday, $27, 256 pages).

In “Shadow Man,” Ben Wade is an L.A. detective who proves that you can (almost) go home again, in this case to his quiet hometown of Rancho Santa Elena, where he wants to work at getting his marriage back together (Random House, $27, 368 pages). Of course, his retreat is ruined when a serial killer shows up. The big-buzz thriller has been described as “a descendant of Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Big Sleep.’ 

Sherri Crichton, widow of novelist Michael “Jurassic Park” Crichton, was going through her late husband’s files when she came across a manuscript that since has become his posthumous thriller, “Dragon Teeth” (Harper, $29, 304 pages). She tells his fans, via the publisher, “It has Michael’s voice, and his love of history, research and science woven into an epic tale.” The story is set in American West of 1876, in the “golden age of fossil-hunting,” and follows the drama of rival paleontologists and an outsider’s discovery of epic magnitude. The question is, can the young man who made the discovery survive to share it with the world?

Are we living in a society where human behavior is increasingly out of bounds? What’s moral and what’s immoral these days, and where is the dividing line? Moving to nonfiction, Eden Collinsworth investigates the role morality plays in our a technologically advanced, money-motivated world, in “Behaving Badly: The New Morality in Politics, Sex and Business” (Nan A. Talese, $27, 272 pages). Part of her research involved interviews with “a prime minister, the editor of London’s Financial Times, a holocaust survivor, a pop star and a former commander of the U.S. Air Force.” Collinsworth served as the chief of staff at the EastWest Institute, a global think tank.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe

Sacramento Bee Book Club

Science-fiction novelist Kim Stanley Robinson will appear for The Sacramento Bee Book Club at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 15, in The Hive at The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q St., Sacramento.

Tickets to the event are $20 for seven-day-a-week subscribers, $10 for students and $25 for general admission. Buy tickets at www.sacbee.com/events. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Parking is free. Barnes & Noble will be on site, selling “New York: 2140” for 30 percent off the list price (Orbit, $28, 624 pages).

All proceeds benefit The Bee’s News In Education program, bringing news and information to more than 20,000 students in the region.

“New York: 2140” also will be offered for a 30 percent discount through June 15 at these bookstores: in the Sacramento area at the five Barnes & Nobles, Avid Reader at the Tower, Underground Books, Time Tested Books and Sac State’s Hornet Bookstore; in Davis at Avid Reader; in El Dorado Hills at Face in a Book; and in Grass Valley at The Bookseller.

Information: 916-321-1128; www.sacbee.com/events

  Comments