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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
Originally published in 2010 as part of the Apocalyptic SF Anthology from Mammoth Books, Alastair Reynolds’ Sleepover flew somewhat under the radar for me, in large part because I wasn’t much of a short story reader back then. When asked to perform feats of imagination for post-apocalypse science fiction, writers have every reason to go looking for stories that lean slightly away from the traditional nuclear winter by-way-of global warming story lines that I for… Continue reading Sleepover – Alastair Reynolds