A small group of devoted science fiction fans spent Saturday afternoon discussing their favorite pieces of fiction and sharing new things for fans to check out.
The Zoom discussion, hosted by James Kennedy Public Library, celebrates National Science Fiction Day, a non-official holiday held every Jan. 2 to celebrate all things sci-fi.
Paul Zurawski, young and emerging adult librarian, said this is the first year the library has planned a program for National Science Fiction Day.
“We thought this might be a good way for people to connect this year with everything going on,” he said.
The Zoom group centered mostly around different science fiction novels, from “Dune” to “Ender’s Game.” Max Werner, 19, said that he was drawn to reading the classic “Ender’s Game” novel from one of his favorite science fiction video games, “Halo.” The two differing forms of media share similar stories of children being used to fight, he said.
He added that his favorite “Halo” campaign involves the story of a protagonist partnering with his enemy to take on a universal alien threat.
“Just the chemistry between (the partners) is just so nice, because they form a bond and respect each other,” he said. “It’s just a good time playing next to my brother.”
Max’s brother, Alex Werner, 15, also joined in on the conversation to show his enjoyment of the novel “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. He had to start the novel for school, he said, but he liked it enough to have recently started the sequel, “Ready Player Two.”
“They also made a pretty good movie, but the book is better, though,” he commented.
The National Science Fiction Day celebration concluded Saturday night with a virtual movie night. Zurawski said the library has held several of them this past year. The sci-fi selection was the 2015 film “Ex Machina.”
The library has held many virtual programs since the COVID-19 pandemic, including “sit and stitch” Zoom gatherings, virtual book discussions and author visits, Dungeons and Dragons games and virtual STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Fun Fridays.
Zurawski said it initially was a “learning curve” for the staff to figure out which of the many virtual platforms and programs worked best for them. In addition to fun programming, educational programs like test preparation and language learning services are now accessible online. Library virtual visitors can also stream movies, listen to music and download e-books with their library card.
All of these virtual offerings are in lieu of allowing library visitors to stop by at their leisure. James Kennedy Public Library initially closed its doors to the public from March to June and has since allowed guests to come indoors by appointment only.
“Especially with everything going on, one of the biggest problems with COVID is loneliness,” Zurawski said. “We wanted to do what we can to keep everyone connected.”