Science fiction writers are often able to rework our understandings of our own world's norms through building different worlds with unique traits. Here are a few books where authors played with traditional gender constructs and created new genders and gender pronouns, featured genderless characters, or were chronicled by a narrator without a distinguishable identity. 

Up against it by M. J. Locke

In this debut novel written by a professional engineer and set on the asteroid colony Phocaea, a group of space-born high-school students amuse themselves by hacking matter compilers to produce dancing skeletons, using their rocket-bikes to salvage methane ice shrapnel that flies away when the colony brings in a big (and vital) rock of the stuff, and figuring out how to avoid the ubiquitous surveillance motes that are the million eyes of 'Stroiders, a reality-TV show that spies on the colonists' daily lives for entertainment back on Earth. Then the brother of one of the young men is killed in a freak accident. The accident reveals that the colony is facing a water crisis. Jane, the resource-management specialist in charge, discovers that the accident and the crisis were probably arranged by the Martian crime syndicate, which wants to control the colony. And then there's this rogue AI from somewhere . . . . Thrills, action, real characters that you come to care about, and a true sense of what it would be like to live in a space colony Locke has given all these. Here's hoping to see more books from this writer.--Murray, Frieda Copyright 2010 Booklist

A New York Times bestseller and winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Dreamsnake is the haunting, critically acclaimed novel of an extraordinary woman and her dangerous quest to reclaim her healing powers. When the healer Snake was summoned, she traveled the blasted landscape with her three serpents. From the venom of two of them, she distilled her medicines. But most valued of all was the alien dreamsnake, whose bite could ease the fear and pain of death. When the dreamsnake is killed, Snake's powers as a healer are all but lost. Her only hope of finding another dreamsnake lies in a treacherous journey to the far-off Center City, where Snake will be pursued by two implacable followers: one driven mad by love, the other by fear and need.

The left hand of darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

An official from an interplanetary federation is called in to arbitrate peace on a planet whose inhabitants are technically advanced, androgynous, and have telepathic powers.

With all of the information we have access to, it is sometimes hard to understand where everyone is coming from. Canton Public Library has some resources to help you work through complicated issues.

If you are interested in comparative essays about current events, check out Opposing Viewpoints in Context. This is a good resource if you are seeking articles in which authors use fact-based arguments to make a case for a certain side of a debate and if you would like to compare arguments. This is good for exploring positions on topics like gun control, recycling, and net neutrality.

If you are looking for academic research on a certain topic, for example the benefits of public libraries, a database like Academic OneFile may be good for you. This database has a range of articles published by professionals in their fields. This is an excellent resource for people seeking foundational information about a specific topic. 

For topics that have been covered by newspapers such as historical events, General OneFile is a wonderful resource. For example, if you are curious about the emergency manager's decisions in Detroit, General OneFile will pull newspaper articles from the time period you are researching so you can better understand the historical moment.

 

Happy researching!

Are you interested in starting a small business? Gale courses can assist you! With courses such as Start Your Own Small Business and Accounting Fundamentals, you can boost your small business knowledge and learn key skills. Are you looking for extra income without taking that leap? Courses like Learn to Buy and Sell on eBay can lead you in the right direction.

All Gale Courses are free with your Canton Public Library card, and the next set of classes will begin on Wednesday, February 15. Learn on your own schedule, and receive a certificate of completion when you've finished. Our goal is to provide lifelong educational opportunities for you to gain new skills or improve existing ones. New sessions are offered every month. Take advantage of these instructor-led courses on our databases page!

Do you need to relieve some of your post-holiday stress? You can explore Gale courses like Drawing for the Absolute Beginner to sketch your pet or Introduction to Interior Design to make your space cozier. Self care is important and Gale courses can provide you with well-deserved relaxation tools.

All Gale Courses are free with your Canton Public Library card, and the next set of classes will begin on Wednesday, January 18. Learn on your own schedule, and receive a certificate of completion when you've finished. Our goal is to provide lifelong educational opportunities for you to gain new skills or improve existing ones. New sessions are offered every month. Take advantage of these instructor-led courses on our databases page!