Jocelyn Pontes ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Contributor
The upcoming release of the much-anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi is nearly here, but it can’t come soon enough! For every Star Wars fan out there who is counting down the days until they can at last see the film, these five books are sure to satisfy all science fiction/adventure cravings and will reawaken one’s inner Jedi.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Set in 1984 Tokyo, 1Q84 is one of Haruki Murakami’s most popular science fiction novels. After getting stuck in traffic on her taxi ride to an important meeting, a woman named Aomame begins to notice odd things about the world around her that do not make sense, and realizes she has inexplicably been transported to a parallel universe. She decides to call this universe 1Q84, the Q signifying that this bizarre parallel world seems full of questions. Aomame’s narrative is accompanied by that of Tengo, a math teacher who hopes to be a writer and who has reluctantly begun a suspicious ghostwriting project at the suggestion of his colleague. The worlds of Aomame and Tengo gradually weave together in unexpected ways, making for a fascinating read. First published in three volumes between 2009 and 2010, 1Q84 will quench one’s thirst for thrilling sci-fi and help pass the time before The Last Jedi arrives.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae is the first novel in the sci-fi series The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The novel is written in the form of a collection of documents that have been hacked, including military files, email chains, and maps. These documents piece together the epic narrative of a small, icy planet being fought over by two intergalactic corporations. The ensuing war threatens life on the planet, forcing inhabitants, including the two protagonists Kady and Ezra, to escape on an evacuation ship. Struggling with the loss of their home, an outbreak of deadly plague, and rogue artificial intelligence, Kady and Ezra are forced to work together to end the crises. The only problem is that they just broke up and can barely bring themselves to speak to each other, let alone save the ship. Evoking the thrills of classic space-opera, Illuminae and the proceeding books in The Illuminae Files series are perfect picks for Star Wars fans.
Dune by Frank Herbert
One of the bestselling sci-fi books yet written, Dune, by Frank Herbert, has inspired generations of sci-fi writers since its publication in 1965. The universe of Dune is a feudal empire controlled by the House Corrino, under which unfolds an interplanetary hierarchy of other wealthy houses. Paul Atreides is next in line to become Duke of the House of Atreides. Paul’s family has been granted control of the planet Arrakis, a desert planet highly coveted by the houses for its status as the only source of the universe’s most valuable substance, a spice called melange. Due to its high worth, the planet poses a dangerous challenge for its owners, who must face constant conflict with rival houses over the planet’s control. The underlying themes of feudalism, religion, and politics make Dune a fascinating multi-layered novel sure to be a favorite among Star Wars fans.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
The comic book series Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, unites a thrilling science fiction/fantasy narrative with beautiful illustrations. The creators credit Star Wars as one of their chief inspirations for the series, making it an adventurous space opera that harkens back to the beloved films. In the series, the married couple Alana and Marko come from two opposing extraterrestrial species who have been at constant war. Along with their infant daughter Hazel, they struggle to find safety while being pursued by both sides of the conflict. Saga’s engrossing storytelling and visually gorgeous artwork make the series the perfect pick for people who love Star Wars.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
A list of sci-fi book recommendations wouldn’t be complete without this classic. Published in 1979, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams brings refreshing whimsy, humor, and lighthearted adventure to the sci-fi genre. With the warning that Earth will soon be destroyed for the construction of an interplanetary highway, Protagonist Arthur Dent joins his friend Ford Prefect on his mission to research and revise The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which gives detailed facts about every star and planet in existence. Accompanied by a miscellaneous gaggle of interesting and humorous extraterrestrial characters who help them on their travels, the two protagonists take a wild tour of the galaxy to research their book within a book, and confront some broad existential questions along the way. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a classic bestseller that echoes the nostalgic appeal of the Star Wars series, rendering the book a favorite for Star Wars fans.
There is only a short time left before the long-awaited arrival of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, though the final stretch can feel like the longest. During the last days of the countdown to the film’s release, these five books are sure to satisfy that craving for thrilling science fiction and space opera.