The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin

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

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Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie

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.

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Aurora – Kim Stanley Robinson

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.

Forty Signs of Rain

Forty Signs of Rain – Kim Stanley Robinson

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.

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The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman

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.

Alive - Scott Sigler

Alive – Scott Sigler

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

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Roboteer – Alex Lamb

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.

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless – Jack Campbell

After sleeping for a hundred years, lost in his survival pod after a fleet engagement, John Geary is awakened to a world in which the war has dragged on too long, killing senior officers faster than they could impart their knowledge to the next generation. Trapped in a fleet far behind enemy lines, surrounded by ship captains who never learned the tactics and battle strategies he was trained with, and with the position of fleet admiral thrust upon him, can he make the difference between the seemingly inevitable destruction of the fleet, and a return to Alliance space?

Trading in Danger - Elizabeth Moon

Trading in Danger – Elizabeth Moon

Part space combat thriller, part coming of age story for a young heroine, Elizabeth Moon’s “Trading in Danger” introduces us to a formidable heroine with a difficult past, whose strength and skill is tested against all manner of poor luck and ill-intentioned individuals as her ship, destined originally for a simple trading run and eventual salvage, finds itself at the heart of a local war. Can she overcome her relative inexperience and the perception of others to become what she needs to become to save her crew and her ship?

Rule 34 Charles Stross

Rule 34 – Charles Stross

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.