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Launch your reading out of this galaxy

Some sci-fi recommendations ahead of Intergalactic Snowdown
Red Rising book cover

When the winters get cold and the snow piles up in the mountains, we sometimes need to escape the cabin fever with a trip to another galaxy. This year’s Intergalactic Snowdown aims to take us to another dimension, and these books can help transport you to a galaxy far, far away.

First, we can visit our near neighbors on Mars and Venus. Red Rising, by Pierce Brown, follows the adventures of the lowborn “Red” miner, Darrow, as he infiltrates the society of the elite ‘“Golds” and starts a rebellion that will change the fate of the solar system.

“It shows what could happen after the human race colonizes the solar system,” says Maria’s Bookshop’s Meghan Doenges. “It’s a mix of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Hunger Games’, taking place in our cosmic backyard.”

Doenges also recommends that travelers venture to Venus in “Long Rain,” a short story in Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man. Bradbury is a classic author when it comes to space fiction.

“‘Long Rain’ is the most descriptive story I’ve ever read,” says Doenges. It follows the stories of four men who have crash-landed on a rainy, fictional Venus and “get lost in the rain searching for a sunhouse where they can find shelter.”

If you are looking for something a little further from home, Frank Herbert’s Dune can offer a great escape. Taking place on an arid, desert planet, Dune follows the story of the young Paul Atreides as he becomes the steward of a vast desert planet, the one place in the universe where “spice,” a resource necessary for interstellar space travel, can be found. The epic explores the interactions of politics, geography, religion, romance and culture across large and vast spaces, providing “great environmental commentary.” The glory of good science fiction, Doenges says, “is that it allows us to examine issues from the sidelines.”

If you are looking for something a bit lighter, look no further than Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

“In the same vein as Enders Game and Ready Player One, it takes place in a post-apocalyptic society that hinges on people conscripted into a space army,” says Maria’s bookseller Dylan Atkinson. It follows the story of Breq, a soldier marooned on an icy planet, reeling from the violent events that transformed her from the Justice of Toren, a large warship, to a fragile human body. She has questions, and wants revenge. “Ancillary Justice won the Hugo and the Nebula,” says Atkinson, “It’s gripping, a total page-turner.”

These books, and many others, can be used to help get you out of this world in the middle of the cold winter. They are available at your favorite local bookstore or at the Durango Public Library.

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