Month: February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: historical and futuristic settings I love

Top Ten Tuesday: historical and futuristic settings I loveIt’s time once again for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week we’re discussing the historical and futuristic settings we love best. I love both genres but lately I’ve read lots of dystopia, since it seems to be a popular genre of late and I do really like sci-fi. Here are ten books with historical and futuristic settings that I’ve really loved, broken down book by book.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. Well, it’s historical fiction, time travel, adventure, mystery, and romance, all rolled into one, so it touches multiple bases in my genre-reading category. But I really enjoy seeing historical events through the eyes of a modern woman (Claire). She’s feisty and outspoken and constantly gets into trouble for her big mouth.

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness. I always find it interesting to read about a futuristic society without realizing it—that is, you don’t start to get hints of a sci-fi story until several chapters in. Some sci-fi authors seems to feel the need to hit you over the head with the sci-fi elements so I appreciate subtlety.

Lock In, by John Scalzi. This book blew me away with the writing. I’ve read very few sci-fi books that so subtly slip in details and background and manage to weave such a complex story without confusing you or resorting to info dumps. Supposedly this was the start of a series but I haven’t seen any updates on further installments.

The Map of Time and The Map of the Sky, by Felix J. Palma. Historical sci-fi is so awesome and yet so rare (at least to my knowledge). These books feature H.G. Wells as a protagonist in Victorian London, and yet they deal with sci-fi elements like time travel and alien invasions. I can’t explain how awesome they are, you just need to read them. I just found out that The Map of Chaos was published recently and now I can’t wait to read it and see how the trilogy wraps up!

Best historical and futuristic settings in books

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, and The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. Sci-fi, dystopia, and other futuristic books can sometimes feel mechanical or too formulaic, so I always appreciate finding a futuristic tale that’s beautifully written. Both of these books look at a post-apocalyptic human future, though one focuses on earth and one is set in outer space. The writing is lyrical and the pacing just perfect. I will definitely re-read these books in the future.

In the Land of Armadillos, by Helen Maryles Shankman and The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. One is a collection of interwoven short stories set in World War II-era Poland, the other is a novel set in Alaska during the time of settlers, gold rushes, and new frontiers. Both blend historical fact with fiction and a healthy dose of magical realism, for a result unlike anything else I’ve encountered.

Abandon, by Blake Crouch. I love it when an author takes a historical mystery and makes up their own story for it. This one had a really creepy bent to it that made it perfect for horror novel lovers as well.

So what historical and futuristic settings do you love best? Do you prefer historical fiction or futuristic stories? Are futuristic stories that aren’t super sci-fi cool or do you prefer lots of otherworldly tech and dystopia? What about historical stories—do you like lots of period details, or do you like it when the author uses their imagination?

On my mind: February 2016

"I don't know where I'm going from here but I promise it won't be boring." (David Bowie quote)(David Bowie quote, original photo by Atlas Green via Unsplash)

This month I’m thinking a lot about disappointment—best laid plans and all that, the realization that you’ve set out on a path with a specific destination in mind, but things haven’t turned out as you planned. The past six months I’ve made a lot of plans and gotten off to a lot of false starts, which have generated a lot of disappointment, but also a lot of lessons and rewards.

Part of the reason I quit blogging on the regular was because I decided it was time for a career change. I spent a lot of time looking for other jobs and ended up taking a second job for a couple of months in the hopes that it might turn into a full-time gig and let me leave my current job. Long story short, that didn’t happen, which was initially a bit of a letdown, but in the end it was for the best. I ended up getting some perks at my current job that I definitely wouldn’t have received had I switched to a different job. Now that I’ve fishtailed about a bit with my job hunt and have settled down to stay at this job (for now), my schedule has opened up a bit and I have more time to write, which is my real passion anyway.

I’ve learned time and again over the past several months that even though it can be rough to not get what you want, it’s sometimes for the best. And even though it can be frustrating to be nearing another birthday and have no clearer picture of where my path will go in the next few years, I’m realizing that that is absolutely okay. I may not know what the next six months or the next two years will hold—a new job? travel? school? new writing gigs?—but this no longer bothers me. An unwritten future is freeing; anything can happen. And for all that it may be uncertain, it certainly isn’t boring.