Episode 102: Science Fiction

Science fiction

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Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience of our book group.

This is a very inclusive book group. There are no “right” or “wrong” books to read and chat about for our book group. We love books, and want to talk about them – and we want you to share your books. All of us will take away at least a title or two that we want to read at the end of our time together!

Who is joining us this week? Our regular hosts Angie and Mary are here. This week our guest host is Kathy Parker, director of libraries at St. John’s and St. Ben’s.

This week we are discussing Science Fiction books!



We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself!  Obviously, feel free to sip your coffee as you listen; and everyone needs more water – whatever is right for you. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books!

Pangalactic GargleblasterPangalactic Gargleblaster “Don’t Panic! Invented by Zaphod Beeblebrox, in the Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is described as having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped ’round a large gold brick. It has also been described in the novel as the alcoholic equivalent to a mugging; expensive and bad for the head. This recipe should be a little less potent.

Combine the gin, rum, vodka, tequila, creme de menthe, Galliano and ice in the container of a blender. Cover, and blend until slushy. Pour into a glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.”


Romulan AleRomulan AleAn infamous blue alcoholic beverage with a powerful kick, the drink has been banned in the United Federation of Planets since before 2285 and is still not a commonly known commodity”

“Combine 1 ounce blue curacao and 2 ounces vodka in an ice-filled glass. Fill with seltzer, top with a splash of lemon-lime soda and garnish with blueberries.”


Ambrosia From the Battlestar Galactica television show


6 oz Midori
4 oz Blue Curacao
2 oz lime juice

Add all ingredients to the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker pitcher (or a blender) and add ice as directed in the owners manual. Makes 36 oz. of delicious concoction. Garnish with a stemmed cherry and enjoy.”

DSCN2767editYoung Amelia Pond mocktail –”The grown-up version of our Young Amelia Pond mocktail, this hearty cocktail walks the line between savory and sweet, is both exotic and familiar, and  seems at all times to be both a simple drink and a complex cocktail.

6 oz. Ginger Ale

3 oz. Black Cherry Juice

¾ oz. Grenadine

Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice, stir, and serve.”

Genre Discussion

This is another one of those very broad genres, similar in that way to the Romance books we discussed last week. Here are just a few types of scifi books you might encounter:

  • Alien invasion
  • Post-apocalyptic
  • Cyberpunk
  • Steampunk
  • Dystopian
  • Hard science fiction
  • Military science fiction
  • Parallel universe, aka alternative universe
  • Scientific romance
  • Soft science fiction
  • Space opera
Check out the award winners:
  • The Hugo Awards: “The Hugo Awards, presented annually since 1955, are science fiction’s most prestigious award. The Hugo Awards are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”), which is also responsible for administering them.”
  • The Nebula Awards: “The Nebula Awards® are voted on, and presented by, active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Founded as the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1965 by Damon Knight, the organization began with a charter membership of 78 writers; it now has over 1,500 members, among them many of the leading writers of science fiction and fantasy.”

This genre often is mixed together with Fantasy books. Both are wonderful, and we are discussing both this season. (Fantasy will be out Jan. 2, to help you celebrate your new year in fantastic style!) But Scifi can be defined as having a story that focuses on science; things in the story are possible (in theory at least) now or in the future. Items can be built, diseases can be unleashed or vanquished, robots walk among us. Fantasy books, in contrast, rely on magic or paranormal creatures or powers to advance the story.

NowNovel.com discussed this distinction: “Surprisingly, science fiction and fantasy cannot always be distinguished by settings or other elements. Many would argue that Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series is science fiction despite the existence of dragons while others say the Star Wars films are clearly fantasy despite the space setting.”

Goodreads has tons of lists for every conceivable topic, and here are a few lists including Scifi books:
  • Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
  • Best Kick-Ass Female Characters From YA and Children’s Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
  • Best Time Travel Fiction
  • Zombies!
  • Best Books Involving Forbidden Love
  • Best Science Fiction With a Female Protagonist
  • Excellent Space Opera
  • My Dream Leading Men…
  • Military Science Fiction
  • Best of Cyberpunk
  • Best Alternate History Novels and Stories
  • LitRPG: the books set in virtual reality online
Other suggestion resources:

Our Book Suggestions

That is what the experts have to say, and we have more to contribute! Let’s get to the discussion! Book below are examples of the books we discussed; the pictures are links to Amazon. We encourage you to browse around other books by these authors. (Anything you buy after following these links will give us a small percentage of the purchase price from Amazon. Thanks!)





Thank you so much for joining us for this discussion! We will be back next Tuesday with another genre, more book group hosts, and all kinds of books to share and discuss. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you want to hear more about the work we do in libraries – which is surprisingly fun! – subscribe to our podcast Linking Our Libraries.

Bring your book ideas, bring your beverages, and join us back here on Tuesday!

We support libraries!