Summer Reading Giveaway: The Sparrow

Jabberwocky Audio Theater is joining other writers and artists for a Summer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Bundle Giveaway now through July 12th.

I’m also taking the opportunity to talk about science fiction and fantasy books that have influenced me through the years, including a few that aren’t in the bundle (I’ve covered about all of the ones that are).

Yesterday, I talked about The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s a book that has worldbuilding, sure. It has interesting characters, certainly. But it really makes one think when it comes to how differently people may think and how cultures can be formed around those lines.

As you might imagine, my background in anthropology means I was all into that (and arguably I became interested in anthropology, in part, because of such stories).

So it probably comes as no surprise that one of my favorite science fiction books is written by an anthropologist: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It’s a novel about first contact where you know, from the very beginning, things went horribly, horribly wrong. The story bounces between the lead up to the expedition to the debriefing of the sole survivor. Because it’s weighty and well-researched and philosophical, the usual gang of snobs were desperate for it not to be “science fiction” because they (gasp) enjoyed it too much. I won’t link to the Wikipedia article itself, because it reveals why it’s called The Sparrow and, for me, the reveal of why the book is called that is one of its best moments. And the novel is full of great moments, in part because of the characters: wonderfully ingenious, emotional, imperfect characters.

While The Sparrow isn’t part of this book bundle, it’s easy to track down a copy, possibly at your local library. For the book bundle itself, remember, it ends tomorrow, July 12th.

~ Bjorn Munson, Jabberwocky Audio Theater

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