Archives for July, 2015

A second book in Stross’s “Halting State” universe. Less a police procedural, more complex conspiracy theories this time, although the detective story hums nicely in the background. Stross continues his experimentation with the second person perspective, to much better effect this time, but also to my continuing annoyance as I find it a psychological obstacle to story immersion. His imaginative working of pervasive technology into every facet of daily life is creative and intelligent, and is probably the greatest strength of this otherwise complex and convoluted storyline.

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Jupiter Ascending is a half-digested piece of narrative effluent shrink-wrapped in some strong special effects, with just about enough creative juice to spit out a really pretty trailer. Unfortunately, once the wrapping is opened and the entire contents consumed, the meal is devoid of flavour, narrative, story, coherence, continuity or character. A modern example of how fancy special effects really, absolutely cannot compensate for a dreadful script. Go see this if your medical doctor failed your lobotomy and you need to self-medicate.

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The British Fantasy Awards nominees have been named. I’m quite fond of the way the BFS nominate – they have a democratic

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A strong work of fiction from a master storyteller, David Mitchell weaves his fantasy into the world around us with such skill that we forget the fantastic is only an arms length away throughout his story, only to have it manifest in an explosion of weirdness when we least expect it. No doubt a strong contender for many awards this year, The Bone Clocks ranks as one of the best novels I have read so far in 2015. It is no doubt also a contender for a future film adaptation.

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A grand novel by Robert Jackson Bennett, brought to my attention through its nomination for a World Fantasy Award, City of

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A story of utter destruction, real heroics and ultimate regenesis, Seveneves is a hugely ambitious narrative by a master of the genre, demonstrating once again his immense attention to detail and his ability to keep his feet firmly on the ground while he takes the rest of us into space.

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The 2015 World Fantasy Award nominees have been announced, the better to weigh down your required reading list. They are reproduced here for your reading and viewing pleasure.

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A war story unfolding in the near future, Ghost Fleet weaves a believable and frightening picture of how the next world conflict might unfold. Bringing together multiple technologies, strategies and viewpoints, the book shows how the growing strength of external powers coupled with an overriding need for resources could lead to war, and how technological development will dictate the way in which that war is prosecuted. An entertaining insight that reveals a little of the scenarios that must go through military strategists minds in this day and age.

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Charles Stross shows us a near-future world full of wonders, extrapolated realistically from the current state of technology. In this world we have a crime, the investigation of which leads to the unravelling of a much larger conspiracy. Aside from some fairly strange narrative choices, this book provides a compelling vision of what our world may become, and then sets its characters to solving a crime within these new and complex boundaries.

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A dangerous and malevolent wood casts a deep shadow over the towns that border it, and by extension over the kingdom those towns belong to. Agniezska will soon be chosen, against all odds, by the Dragon, a reclusive wizard who protects the villages from the wood, at the cost of one girl every ten years. Her unexpected gift with magic will make her more of an actor in her kingdom’s fortunes than she could have imagined, or wanted.

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