To start (and to state my conclusion), this is a fantastic book with brilliant worldbuilding that confounds traditional characterizations of nature, government, allegiances and magic. Nature is out to get you, vindictive and vengeful. The system uses gifted individuals like animals, their enslavement preordained and accepted by all as a part of the natural order of things. Selfishness and brutality are enshrined in a hybrid of law and religion known as stonelore, which also provides guidelines for… Continue reading The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Washington Post share their five best science fiction and fantasy books of 2015. Since they only choose 5 books, it forces an exclusion of a lot of inevitably excellent work, but provides a manageable reading list that’s worth comparing to the 2015 bookshelf to see if there’s one of these that has somehow slipped through the net.
You’d think, in our highly indexed, catalogued and searchable dataverse, that it would be easy to find the information you wanted. Especially when there was a financial incentive for certain individuals and organizations to make that data available, but unfortunately this is not the case. At least not when you’re looking for new books in speculative fiction.
Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch series concludes with Ancillary Mercy. A person is discovered in the Undergarden who should not exist, who may represent a ship that has been hiding from Anaander Mianaai for centuries. But just as new information begins to provide the pieces of the puzzle, forces arrive in the outskirts of the system, and they don’t appear friendly.
A powerful investigation of the challenges of truly reaching for the stars. Kim Stanley Robinson asks, “What would it really be like if we tried,” and then comes up with some answers, not all of which are pleasant to consider. While you can (and people have) poke holes in some of the science and assumptions, this book goes further and deeper into the underlying difficulties of sending people into space for over a hundred years, and leaving behind the cradle from which we came.
This story is a warning of the consequences of apathy and denial in the face of gradual climate change. Like a gradually heated lobster, we fail to notice the danger until the water is already boiling and it is too late. Similarly, institutions in a position to effect policy changes that could arrest or reverse global warming fail to act, even when water is lapping at the foot of the Lincoln memorial. The broken interface between science and political leadership results in energy expended in arguments to defend doing nothing, and Robinson shows us, through the eyes of his characters, the powerlessness of society in the face of global problems of our own making.
A strong handling of what could have been an amalgam of tropes and clichés. Cogman takes hold of concepts such as alternate realities, the fae, adventurous librarians and a detective story that thinks it’s a treasure hunt, and weaves them into an enjoyable adventure. We are introduced us to Irene, a character we will without doubt be seeing more of, who inhabits a world that I hope can continue to offer us the same level of depth and originality it has demonstrated so far.
I read some strong reviews of Scott Sigler’s latest book, Alive, and was looking for something to get my teeth into as I managed to free up some time for reading again. Unfortunately, there was a gap between my expectations and what the book delivered that made it hard for me to enjoy it. That obviously doesn’t mean that the book isn’t good, but I’m not good with young adult fiction unless it’s sufficiently complex under… Continue reading Alive – Scott Sigler
Genetically adapted to interface with robots and manipulate their semi-sentient programs, Will is thrown into an all-out war to protect his colony world, Galatea, from the invading forces of Earth. Driven to a new crusade by an emergent planetary religion, and seizing upon the opportunity presented by a newly-developed weapon, Earth seeks to crush its old colonies once and for all. A fresh voice in space opera, a newly-imagined interplanetary political landscape and a rollercoaster ride through fleet battles of epic proportions, this book is a welcome addition to the science fiction bookshelves.
If you glance at the bookshelf page of the website, you’ll notice that the rate at which I’ve been finishing books lately has shot up, peaking at two books in one day on 3rd August. A bit ridiculous, actually, and as a result I’m a little sleep-deprived. There’s a few reasons for this. One of which is that reading is a handy escape from stress that I’ve been indulging in lately since I’ve got more… Continue reading Pause reading…