by Cybil, October 03, 2017, first appearing in Goodreads Blog
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything is an in-depth investigation into a huge range of technologies that might change the future, including DNA-altering medicine, elevators that reach space, programmable matter, 3-D-printed organs, and more.
The book is peppered with humor, comic strips, weird facts, and stories the husband-and-wife team of Kelly and Zach Weinersmith uncovered while researching their book. Really weird. Like did you know humans will usually obey a killer robot that claims to have cookies?
“We are giant science nerds, and Goodreads asked us to recommend five of our favorite pop sci books. We managed to narrow it down to ten. All of these books were so good that they changed the way we think. The first five are pop science. The next five are, let’s say, not exactly light reading. But they are all well worth the journey,” says Zach Weinersmith.
To me, my comics fans! 2017 was a banner year for the medium, and our editors assembled to forge a list that covers the best in illustrated fiction and non-fiction, with 20 graphic novels spanning memoirs, family dramas, superheroes (both hopeful and downtrodden), pets, and subjects that defy classification.
Below is a quick snapshot of three highlights, but please see our Best of the Year store for the full list.
Congratulations to Katie Green, as her debut memoir, Lighter Than My Shadow, is the editors’ pick for our 2017 Best in Comics and Graphic Novels. A harrowing study of a life gripped by eating disorders, Green’s story reveals itself as a narrative greater than one of abuse. Instead, this is the story of a life recaptured. Editor Adrian Liang had this to say last month when she celebrated it as a Best of the Month selection for October: “A vast number of thoughtful books about mental illness and eating disorders already exist, so it seems almost impossible that a new story could add anything more to the genus. But Katie Green does exactly that with her astonishing graphic memoir that reveals through every delicate squiggle the long-lingering anguish people in recovery live through while friends and family assume that everything is now A-OK…Artist and storyteller Green exposes buried-deep emotions through the slope of a shoulder or the slightly-too-big distance between her characters in a way that can’t be mimicked through words.”
Another startling debut, Emil Ferris’ graphic novel arrives in the form of a fictional diary—complete with faux notebook pages upon which she illustrates incredible land and mindscapes–detailing a murder mystery in the life of young Karen Reyes. Set in Chicago during the 1960s, Karen’s story is one of family and where reality and fantasy embrace. As she investigates the death of her upstairs neighbor, Karen uncovers truths about her own brother, mother, and the tenuous truths we cling to in order to cope with everyday madness. But Karen’s focus tends to wander, as she is fascinated with monster movies and pulp horror magazines, inserting creatures into the margins and, with loving detail by Ferris, as centerpieces into her journal (Karen portrays herself as an adorably fanged werewolf). It’s a singular vision with effortless humor and a brilliant form. My favorite thing is also monsters.
If any superhero ruled 2017, it’s Wonder Woman. Breaking box office records and becoming a rallying symbol in and outside of the genre, Wonder Woman stepped off of Themiscyra Island and into the zeitgeist. With 75 years of backstory to sift through, DC Comics offers new and old fans an easy entry point into her adventures with an origin story written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Nicola Scott. The result feels a lot like her cinematic debut: full of action and charm. Here, Wonder Woman is hero with brains and brawn, discovering her powers as well as the modern world. Steve Trevor and Ares are both here, and although it is confusingly subtitled with a “Volume 2,” this can be read as a stand-alone adventure to complement the film, by Hera!
For those of you feeling space action-adventure/super hero-y.
… Baby in a small, unmanned spacecraft hurtling towards Kansas.
Gulliver traveled by sea to (accidentally) reach his fantastic destinations – this traveler’s journey was a touch more… celestial.
Once upon a time Lara and Jor-El had a baby. He was everything they could ask for in a bouncing, baby boy and they named him Kal-El and loved him very much. If their planet wasn’t about to violently explode they would have been very happy. But it was about to explode and it was too late to do much other than boil an egg… and maybe save their infant son from sharing their fate. You see, Jor-El and Lara were scientists, and not just any scientists; they were, like, the scientists. While, on the one hand, this made them distressingly aware of their planet’s ultimate demise long before anyone else, it also afforded them certain opportunities; specifically access to the materials and technology necessary to quickly and quietly construct a spacecraft built for a single, very small, astronaut.
And so, moments before their entire civilization was turned into flaming space debris, they swaddled their precious baby in his favorite blanket, which had the added benefit of being nigh indestructible, placed him carefully in the craft and set him on a course that would take him across the galaxy where, if all went well, he would land on a planet that they had determined would be hospitable to their child.
It is hard to say what wonders baby Kal-El saw on his trip and what he thought of it – he was just a baby after all. What we do know is that he made it to his destination, where he landed safely, if not smoothly, on June 18 by the local calendar. He was found and taken in by a young couple that lived nearby where he landed. They were kind, honest people that raised the boy as their own. Not knowing of his origins, or even his true name, they named him Clark. He’d eventually be known by a different name.
I know he’s Superman (I hope that you’d figured that out already and I didn’t just ruin the surprise), but still, across space. As a baby. Makes trying something new this summer seem a lot more reasonable, doesn’t it?
Your public library at your fingertips. Anytime. Anywhere.
hoopla is a digital media service offered by Moline Public Library that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, or phone! With no waiting, titles can be streamed immediately, or downloaded to phones or tablets for offline enjoyment later. Over 200,000 titles to choose from, with more being added daily.
Interested? You can find instructions for using getting started and using hoopla here; instructions-for-using-hoopla-on-computer for computers, or instructions-for-using-hoopla-on-a-mobile-device for mobile devices. Or you can stop by the 2nd floor reference desk and ask any hoopla questions you have.