Old Firehouse Books staff picks

Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, the staff from Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins recommends some science fiction and romance.

Translation State

By Ann Leckie
June 2023


From the publisher: Qven was created to be a Presger translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, and eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else isn’t “optimal behavior.” It’s the type of behavior that results in elimination. Masterfully merging space adventure and mystery, and a poignant exploration about relationships and belonging, “Translation State” is a triumphant new standalone story set in the celebrated Imperial Radch universe.

From Allison, Bookbuyer: New political mystery about a middle-aged rookie diplomat on a seemingly dead-end assignment to track down an alien fugitive. This one is centered around my favorite darkly funny aliens from Leckie’s Radch series — the Presger. The basic rundown: the Presger can appear human but even with professional training lack most of the social nuance and cues to fully pass. They’re almost constantly thinking about interesting ways to kill, dissect, and eat everything else and the best of them are able to keep it to (very) intrusive thoughts.

Love, Theoretically

By Ali Hazelwood
June 2023


From the publisher: The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people-pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.

Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And he’s the same Jack Smith who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job.

From Andrea, Marketing and Events Coordinator: In the most professional of ways, please marry me, Ali Hazelwood. This book is another phenomenal, hilarious, wonderful, every other positive descriptive word you can think of, romance novel. I love Hazelwood’s ability to intermix steamy and fun romance with the hardships of being a woman in STEM. I also have to say, I adore the aro-ace rep in this book and the ace rep in Hazelwood’s books in general. Super fun! A perfect summer read!

A Closed and Common Orbit

By Becky Chambers
Harper Voyager
March 2017


From the publisher: “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for—and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates. “A Closed and Common Orbit” is the stand-alone sequel to that beloved debut novel, and is perfect for fans of “Firefly,” Joss Whedon, “Mass Effect” and “Star Wars.

From Zane, bookseller: I’m a bit late to the party on this one but I finally had enough friend-pressure to start the Wayfarers series and I would like to publicly thank my friend for having incredible taste. The first book in the series, “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet,” is so good, but this one is a full-on masterpiece. Yes, you should read the first one first, to get the full picture, but the two are connected rather loosely and you should really get to this one as quickly as humanly possible. In short, it’s about two characters: a girl raised by an AI, and an AI who is later “raised” by that girl. Just a beautiful, heart-wrenching, clinic in character writing. Becky Chambers writes good characters even better than I can tie my shoelaces. And I’m 27, so I’m very good at that.


Old Firehouse Books

232 Walnut St., Fort Collins


As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. Read more.

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