Science Fiction

The Intuitionist

Colson Whitehead

This is a sci-fi novel, and the plot surrounds the life of Lila Mae Watson, the first African-American woman to graduate from the Institute for Vertical Transport. She is also the first female to be employed by the Department of Elevator Inspectors. Ms. Watson works in a futuristic city, which has a strong resemblance to New York City. Her job title is “Intuitionist” which means she’s responsible for checking the conditions of the elevators assigned to her. To accomplish her job, she meditates on the elevators and is then able to “sense” or to pick up the “vibes” of any problems the elevators may have.

The trouble begins when Ms. Watson comes into conflict with the “Empiricists” a group who checks the condition of elevators by looking at the actual mechanical problems. This conflict in turn leads Ms. Watson into the under-ground world of the Intuitionists and the founder James Fulton, who revolutionized elevator construction, and who is working on a mysterious “black box” that could alter life forever. An interesting story, definitely for the advanced reader.

The Sparrow

Mary Doria Russell

A Science Fiction story about life on a distant planet, known as Rakhat. The inhabitants communicate by sending signals in the form of music, or singing.

The UN debates tactics for a space mission to the planet, while a group known as The Society of Jesus organizes its own expedition. The survivor of this mission returns to earth and tries to explain what he’s learned. Very intriguing, especially for sci-fi enthusiasts.

Children of God

Mary Doria Russell

This is the sequel to The Sparrow.

The Hot Zone

Richard Preston

The true story of an Ebola virus outbreak in the late 1980s, that occurred in a laboratory located in Washington D.C. Interwoven are stories of several previous outbreaks that occurred in Africa. The earlier experiences in Africa are related in order to help describe the potential damage such an outbreak could create if not checked.

The story is frightening simply because it’s true.