Reviews :: Book Genre :: Science Fiction

Review

Ball Lightning

Posted: September 11, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Cixin Liu, Science Fiction
Ball Lightning

You’re probably going to do this anyways, so instead of leaving halfway through the review I’ll suggest now that you type ‘ball lightning’ into Youtube/Wikipedia and get it out of your system.

Pretty weird, huh?

Alright, back to the review.

If Cixin Liu’s name sounded familiar to you a few years ago, it might have been because you were following the speculative fiction scene in China, where Liu has won multiple Galaxy and Xingyun Awards (equivalent to winning multiple Hugos and Nebulas, respectively).

If Liu’s name sounds familiar to you now, it’s probably because he was the first Chinese author to win a Hugo award for his novel THE THREE BODY PROBLEM, the first book in The Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy.
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Review

Signal

Posted: September 7, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Hate Meta: Tony Peak, Science Fiction
Signal

A couple weeks ago, a public relations specialist from Audible contacted us about possible interest in reviewing a new book slated for immediate release. Publishers contact us quite frequently to review their books, but this was the first one that I could remember coming directly from Audible. The book was Science Fiction, so naturally I picked it up. What with me loving Science Fiction and all. 🙂 My first surprise of many came when I found out that this book wasn’t going to get any kind of print version. Meaning no physical book and likely not even an ebook. This understanding gave me the immediate feeling of a very tiny dagger stabbing me in the heart. How could someone do that to a story? Especially if it’s a good one. I mean, doesn’t everyone love the feel and the smell of the paper? The heft of the bound pages? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good audio book (Simon Vance is a voice-talent god). I listen to them quite often actually, so I felt fairly qualified to give Signal a go. Thus, I dove in.

And that’s when I got my second surprise.
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Review

The Moons of Barsk

Posted: September 5, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Lawrence M. Schoen, Science Fiction
The Moons of Barsk

BARSK: THE ELEPHANTS’ GRAVEYARD (EBR Review) was such a pleasant surprise that I can’t help but smile every time I think about the experience of reading that book. And feel bad, of course, because it took so long to finally make its way to the top of my reading queue. It was fun and engaging and intelligent without feeling like it was pandering in any way. So, when I saw that there was going to be a sequel… I determined that I was going to do right by it. To mention nothing of the fact that I was actually quite excited to hear that we’d be getting more from the world of Barsk. In fact, I can still feel that excitement in the slightest bit, even on this side of my reading experience.

Which is somewhat interesting, because it’s been a long time since I’ve been quite so disappointed with a sequel.
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Review

The Calculating Stars

Posted: August 7, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Mary Robinette Kowal, Science Fiction
The Calculating Stars

Did you read Mary Robinette Kowal’s 2014 Hugo-winning novelette “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”? If not, you can read it here on the Tor.com website, or for time’s sake my reaction to it at the bottom of this EBR Review post. In short, it was the obvious standout winner. The main character, Elma, is a 60-something former pilot/astronaut who must make the ultimate sacrifice. But after reading that, one wonders, how did history change to make it possible for 1950s Earth to colonize Mars?

Wonder no more!
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Review

Apocalypse Nyx

Posted: July 31, 2018 by Allan Bishop in Books We Like Meta: Kameron Hurley, Science Fiction
Apocalypse Nyx

Strange is good; in fact, strange is what makes Fantasy and Science-Fiction so wonderfully memorable. Neither genre need always be grounded in absolute realism; but, as Fantasy and Science Fiction fans expect, worlds must adhere to their own internal logic.

In an alternate future, far from Earth, there is a planet. It is a planet where eternal war rages. Its rationale? Forgotten. Its objectives? Pointless. It is on this world, where Islamic-influenced matriarchal societies dominate the planet, we encounter a particular soul.

She is a bel dame, she is a killer, and she has the heart of a venomous eel. Her name is Nyx, once a government assassin, now a rundown mercenary, a black dog.

And so begins APOCALYPSE NYX, a series of interconnected novellas surrounding Nyx, her team, and several contracts of… well, non-importance.
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Review

Carbide Tipped Pens

Carbide Tipped Pens

Hard Science Fiction, huh? Sounds cerebral, nerdy, probably unsentimental, maybe a bit dry… but could be good. Or really boring. I have had good fortune reading and reviewing anthologies so far for EBR. (Let the streak continue!)

My sincerest apologies to the publishers of this mostly excellent anthology. This is possibly the most beat-up paperback I have ever carried around and carried around and…which I cannot explain because I enjoyed it very much. There was one story that stopped me cold, though so, in good conscience, I could not write this review until I had read every SINGLE word. That wasn’t easy.
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Review

Freeze Frame Revolution

Posted: July 17, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Love Meta: Peter Watts, Science Fiction
Freeze Frame Revolution

Author Peter Watts’ newest offering, FREEZE FRAME REVOLUTION exists somewhere in the squishy space between a novella and a novel (according to the ‘Afterword’ it’s 1,000 words over the length of a standard novella, but who’s counting?). Watts is of the opinion that he has written a novella and I think that the story he tells is well-served at this length, which allows him to explore a single incident in-depth and with a focus that wouldn’t be well-served by irksome sub-plots or other novel-length narrative features.
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Review

Writers of the Future, Volume 34

Writers of the Future, Volume 34

I find it somewhat unsettling how quickly I tend to look past the art associated with this annual anthology. Well, if I’m being truthful, I tend to naturally look past most of what is offered in these anthologies other than the stories from the winners. Because it’s those stories that most have the chance of speaking to my soul, as an aspiring author myself. And yet, this time around, I’ve made it a goal to give special attention to those “extras”. After all, it’s the winners of the “Illustrators of the Future” that will be penning the future covers that will catch my attention enough to get me to pick up books and give the first handful of written pages a chance at catching my mind afire. As well, it is the extra writings–the essays and sometimes stories from the judges of the contest–that represent what they admire and enjoy in fiction. There is indeed much more to this anthology than just a simple collection of stories by a bunch of newbie, but not always unskilled, writers of fantastical fiction.
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Review

Head On

Posted: June 5, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: John Scalzi, Science Fiction
Head On

The first time I ever read a story by John Scalzi was a short of his about something to do with an alien, but I don’t remember the details. He was selling it for whatever you wanted to pay for it, but hoped that you would pay more than a buck because, ya know, it cost him a solid buck per sale to run the transaction through Paypal. Even before I’d read his story, and the dude already had me laughing. I remember enjoying that one quite a bit, but some of his others I haven’t been too enamored with. I still haven’t read his Old Man’s War series, although there have been several times when I’ve been tempted to pick them up. After reading this one, I think I might just have to do that.
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Review

Killing Is My Business

Killing Is My Business

The line between an homage and a pastiche is as thin as a sheet of New England lake ice. At times refreshing when done right, but often as bitter as an old flame’s sudden departure, the Noir genre has for decades fascinated, riveted, and influenced literature, both pulps and classics alike. When I caught wind of a fusion of a hard-boiled mystery staged in an alternate 1960s LA, still as iconic as it was in the days of yesteryear, I had to crack it open over a bottle of ten-year-old stale gin for a compulsive reason. Why I have gin in my rickety desk is only my business, but I was feeling pretty cozy with this little spine opener of a yarn.

But it didn’t have that pop you’d expect from a Coke. It was more like a flat Coke. Sure, it’s got the feel, the look, and even the shape of a Coke, but it don’t have the taste of it. You can feel it in your gullet. Something just ain’t right about this one. But that’s ok. Not every tale’s got to be a real sob story, a mournful heartbreaker, or make your gray matter noggin do some joggin and thinking real hard about all the bad stuff that goes on in life. So it goes.
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