Posts that have been tagged with: "Science Fiction"

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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Review

American Elsewhere

American Elsewhere

So, we put this book on our “Best of” back in 2013 without posting a review for it. I know. Naughty us. I thought it was about time that we rectify the problem. Plus, it gave me another chance to read a Robert Jackson Bennett book. 🙂 After reading his Divine Cities series, I made a point of putting his name on my go-to list of authors to constantly check in on. Interesting story that’s actually on topic: I was having dinner with a few friends back in February. Brian McClellan (of Powder Mage fame) was part of the group and talking about how he was helping beta read Robert Jackson Bennett’s most recent work in progress. Nearly lost my stuffing. Can you say jealous? Whoa. Anyhow, I found this story on my audio book app, and the rest, as they say, is history.
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Review

Provenance

Posted: May 10, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Ann Leckie, Science Fiction
Provenance

Ann Leckie’s PROVENANCE (Amazon) is not a space opera. While the scope is broad, covering an uneasy interstellar treaty and the implications of a society obsessed with origins and authenticity, the real focus is on Ingray Aughskold, a foster child from a public crèche, acutely aware that in her mother’s eyes, she has always lacked “a certain something” (423). PROVENANCE plays out on an intimate scale, the coming-of-age story of a woman who should have come into her own years ago.
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Review

Tomorrow’s Kin

Posted: April 26, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Nancy Kress, Science Fiction
Tomorrow’s Kin

A while ago, I had a dearth of books sitting on my shelf for which I was foaming at the mouth to read. Several times I walked by the stacks and asked myself which of those various offerings I would dive into next. After several attempts, I just started grabbing books at random, and decided to choose the one that I thought had the best potential based on the first two pages of story. This is usually about all it takes for me to decide whether I’m going to be able to like a book or not. Like there’s a base-minimum amount of goodness that my inner reader is willing to accept, and after about two pages I can just tell. After parsing through a dozen or so of the possibilities, I whittled my choices down to this single book. It was even science fiction, which is always a good thing in my opinion because I feel like I need to read more science fiction. Problem is, I need to read science fiction that’s better than this.
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Review

Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon

As with my previous review, the decision to finally read this novel came as a result of consuming media outside of the book realm. Prior to now, I hadn’t picked this book up because of the complete underwhelming Richard K. Morgan had given me in previous books. Granted, most of his stuff that I’d read was in the fantasy genre. Although I have also read THIRTEEN, but that didn’t really ruffle my feathers either. Still, the trailer for the series that Netflix recently did just looked AMAZING. Grabbed me and would not let go. And wouldn’t you know it, about that same time the book came up in my audiobook queue at the library as available and I just couldn’t help myself. Turns out, I probably should have listened to myself and/or watched the show instead.
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Review

Dune

Posted: March 23, 2018 by Allan Bishop in Elitist Classics Meta: Frank Herbert, Space Opera
Dune

A timeless classic is a term that should be uttered rarely. Timeless implies you could pick it up today, read it in ten years, and still come away with a new perspective, a new rage at a book that challenges you politically, socially, and spiritually. DUNE, the grandfather of modern science-fantasy, in my opinion, of course, is the black sheep of the pulp Science Fiction family that ran away from a raygun shooting, fish bowl shaped, space helmet wearing universe of tomorrow. Instead, it is a morality play in line with Shakespeare, a political examination of tyranny, prophecy, good intentions, and how a tiny, insignificant planet holds the real-politik resource to create or destroy galactic dynasties with a simple drop of an atomic bomb. Even if its vision of the future is a wrong-way mirror compared to the projections of today, it cannot be overstated how vital, how genre-changing it was to the language, the imagery, and the soul of Science Fiction. DUNE deserves all its accolades both in terms of story, theme, character, and its sprawling, fully realized false future that never came to be.

DUNE (Amazon), the first in a long series of novels by Frank Herbert, tells the story of humanity millennia in the future. Certain technology is suspect, due to dark atrocities brought about by atomics (atomic bombs and other atomic-powered technology) and robotic uprisings, in the vein of contemporaries like Arthur C. Clarke. The universe is ruled by a galactic emperor who divides planets into the stewardship of noble houses. Within this viper’s nest of nobles clashing against each other, there are monastic orders like the Bene Gesserit, an all female order of psionically gifted matrons manipulating a genetic conspiracy for millennia, who vie for influence and control within the Galactic Padishah Empire.
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Review

Iron Gold

Posted: March 22, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Pierce Brown, Science Fiction
Iron Gold

I remember picking up GOLDEN SON for the first time and being surprised at where the author started the story. RED RISING had finished in such a way that, given the thousands of other books I’d read, I fully expected GOLDEN SON to be about Battle School. If any other author had written it, that book just might have been about Battle School instead of starting at the end of those two vicious years of Darrow’s training. And that single fact made not only that book, but the entire series, rise up above so many of those others and give a mighty shout that it would be heard. Thus, it was no surprise to me to learn that after writing three solid books about Darrow’s rise to power, that Mr. Brown should choose to begin the next book in his series after ten years of hard-fought war later. Ten. Years. From what I can tell, Pierce Brown is not only asking himself “What is the next story in this world that I could tell?” when he sits down to write the next book, but “What is the most brilliant next story in this world that I could tell?”. And people, when an author does that for their readers — when he goes all out to deliver a knockout punch every single time — THAT is the kind of author that you want to pay attention to. THAT is the kind of author that you want to give you money to. Because THAT author deserves his coveted title. The title of “Favorite Author”.
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