Update: Another World Blog Status



RISING LIKE A PHOENIX FROM THE FLAMES

Any reports of Another Worlds’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.

 
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The irony is not lost on me that having taken the decision to try writing full-time I haven’t written anything for this blog for 4–5 months; at least not posted anything in that time I should say. There is a perfectly good reason for this neglect however, I have devoted that time to finishing my first novel, but that’s a story for another day.

This brief update is to let you know that I will resume posting in November, though chances are I’ll limit myself to posting no more than twice a week.

 

Happy Reading,
Ian


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Bringing to your attention the latest news in the world of fantasy and science fiction literature; plus site announcements and updates.


Review: Ancillary Sword By Ann Leckie



SOCIAL JUSTICE WILL COME TO THE EMPIRE.

If at first you don’t succeed… abandon your revenge and work for your dissociative disorder afflicted nemesis?

 

Book CoverAncillary Sword
(Imperial Radch, Book 2)

Ann Leckie

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
Date: 7th October 2014

ISBN-10: 0356502414
ISBN-13: 978-0356502410

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

If you cast your mind back to 2013 you may not recall that Ann Leckie’s début novel, Ancillary Justice, was published with little in the way of fanfare or hype. Yet you’ll have no difficulty remembering that the book quickly garnered great critical acclaim, which translated into significant commercial success. The book went on to win both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel, as well as the Arthur C. Clarke Award. These plaudits, in addition to the other awards and nominations, were well deserved because Ancillary Justice was a breath of fresh air. The space opera genre had for many years been a stale wasteland of tedious novels weighed down by their bloated, cliché-ridden narratives. But Leckie conspired to bring something more original and satisfying to the table than most of her contemporaries were producing.

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Review: The Invisible Man By H.G. Wells



THE ORIGINAL MAD SCIENTIST

From the imagination of science fictions greatest pioneer, a tale that’s neither grotesque or romantic, but a classic nonetheless.

 

Book CoverThe Invisible Man

H.G. Wells
 

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Format: Paperback, 208 Pages
Date: 31st March 2005 (First Published 1897)

ISBN-10: 014143998X
ISBN-13: 978-0141439983

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

I have previously made the case that H.G. Wells is the most influential science fiction author of all time, ahead of such luminaries as Verne, Clarke and Asimov. Despite his obvious limitations as a fiction writer, he was an exceptionally creative and original storyteller with an imagination unrivalled by his peers; many of his ideas were truly ahead of their time. While it may be difficult to categorically state which of his published stories should be considered his definitive work (as there are several candidates), his 1897 novella, The Invisible Man, is arguably his best known work. It has been a hugely influential book, spawning numerous adaptations in other mediums, and been a source of inspiration to countless other writers. Little wonder that over a century after its first publication the story continues to be reprinted to this day.

Fittingly, coming from such a pioneering author, The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance (to give the book its full original title) is one of the earliest, if not the first, examples of the “Mad Scientist” trope: the conceit of the man of science who is so consumed by whether or not it is possible to accomplish a particular goal through science, he doesn’t stop to think about the possible negative ramifications of doing so, or wilfully chooses to ignore the potential consequences, which invariably results in disastrous outcomes. The invisible man of the story is just such a scientist; someone whose single-mindedness and lack of foresight in regards to his quest to achieve invisibility leads him to recklessly experiment on himself before he has devised a way to reverse the process. The book’s plot charts the increasingly desperate efforts of the invisible man to make himself visible again.

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Quotable: Stormdancer, “It’s Easy To Lose Yourself…”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY.

A most insightful observation from a steampunk adventure heavily influenced by a love for Japanese anime.

 

Book Cover _ Book Cover _ Book Cover _ Book Cover

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“It’s easy to lose yourself in the idea of a person and be blinded to their reality.”

Jay Kristoff
Stormdancer

 
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Review: The Curse Of Chalion By Lois McMaster Bujold


A DARK CLOUD HANGS OVER THE HOUSE OF CHALION

A reluctant hero finds himself thrust into the role of saviour, to protect the royal heir to the throne from a sinister curse.

 

Book CoverThe Curse Of Chalion
(World Of The Five Gods, Book 1)

Lois McMaster Bujold

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 448 Pages
Date: 11th April 2006 (First Published 2000)

ISBN-10: 0061134244
ISBN-13: 978-0061134241

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Lois McMaster Bujold is an author whose name is perhaps synonymous with science fiction. However, no reader could have any genuine concerns when a writer of her calibre chooses to step somewhat out of her comfort zone to write a high fantasy novel. Bujold is, after all, one of the most acclaimed and decorated genre authors ever, with four Hugo Awards for best novel to her name; equalling Robert Heinlein’s record. That being the case, it should come as no surprise to learn that The Curse Of Chalion is a splendid novel, coming as it does, from a writer with such a pedigree.

There are numerous examples of novels with intriguing premises that fall down, either on account of poor execution, or just plain weak writing. Rest assured, The Curse Of Chalion is not one of those books. Bujold’s capabilities as a writer ensure that not only does the story hold together from beginning to end, her story is also riveting, thanks in no small part to her exceptional prose; which is all the more impressive given that the book is by no means a fast paced, action packed swashbuckler. Though it does, somehow, possess the page turning quality that might be expected of a novel that is those things. Undoubtedly the result of Bujold being one of those rare writers who can make the most mundane of situations insanely engrossing, when printed on a page.

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Review: Prince Caspian By C.S. Lewis



THE RETURN TO NARNIA

In the hour of greatest need the Pevensie’s are recalled to Narnia to save the day once again.

 
Book CoverPrince Caspian
(The Chronicles Of Narnia, Book 4)

C.S. Lewis

Genre: Children’s, Juvenile Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 224 Pages
Date: 1st February 2009 (First Published 1951)

ISBN-10: 0007323115
ISBN-13: 978-0007323111

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Let’s get the trivia out of the way first. Prince Caspian was the second book of The Chronicles Of Narnia to be published, in 1951, though the events narrated therein make it chronologically the fourth story of the series. So being, effectively, the direct sequel to The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, the book marks the inevitable return to Narnia of the four Pevensie siblings; Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. After all, once a king (or queen) in Narnia, always a king (or queen) in Narnia.

Prince Caspian’s plot, though not a complete rehash of its predecessor does have one or two obvious parallels and similarities. Narnia is once again a land in peril; so once again, in its hour of greatest need, the Pevensie’s are inexplicably plucked from our world to find themselves back in Narnia. But it is not Narnia as they remember it. Several centuries have elapsed since the golden age of their reign as kings and queens. Narnia is now ruled by the descendants of human invaders from Telmar who have driven the indigenous population of mythological beings and talking animals into hiding.

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In Coming: Brand New Releases For March (2016)


WHAT’S ON THIS MONTHS RELEASE SCHEDULE?

Take a gander at some of the most noteworthy book releases for the third month of 2016.

 

This month there are over thirty new titles vying for the attention of genre fans. These include a few first instalments of new book series as well as a several sequels to ongoing series. Which of these offerings will succeed in persuading you to add them to your reading lists this March?

Note:
Based primarily on UK publication dates.

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Review: The Phantom Tollbooth By Norton Juster


MAKING LITERACY AND NUMERACY COOL FOR KIDS

The strange adventures of a bored schoolboy with too much time on his hands.

 

Book CoverThe Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
 

Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 272 Pages
Date: 3rd March 2008 (First Published 1961)

ISBN-10: 0007263481
ISBN-13: 978-0007263486

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

The Phantom Tollbooth is one of those children’s books that should be one of the defining reads of every bookworm’s childhood; much like The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is. I certainly have fond memories of my first reading of it as a young schoolboy. But whereas C.S. Lewis’ classic is a very easy book to categorise and describe (being an age old tale of good triumphing over evil), Norton Juster’s story almost defies conventional categorisation. It is a story that is as unique as it is bizarre, making it all the more memorable. And as an added bonus, it’s hard to think of another book as likely The Phantom Tollbooth to spark an interest in literacy and numeracy in a young child.

Giving a synopsis of what the story is about would not likely engender much enthusiastic interest in the book. But here is a summary of the plot anyway. A bored young schoolboy called Milo, with little interest in school and studying, returns home from school one afternoon to discover that a build-it-yourself toy tollbooth has been delivered to him. After putting together the mysteriously sent gift, Milo gets into his toy pedal car to play, little suspecting that the tollbooth would magically transport him to the Kingdom Of Wisdom. He subsequently embarks on a bizarre road-trip around this fantasy land to complete a mission that will finally bring to an end a period of turmoil brought about by the disappearance of two princesses.

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Review: Willful Child By Steven Erikson



BRAVELY GOING WHERE THEY REALLY SHOULDN’T

Erikson boldly goes where he hasn’t gone before (and hopefully never will again) with this ill-judged parody that wears thin, all too quickly.

 

Book CoverWillful Child

Steven Erikson
 

Genre: Science Fiction, Parody
Publisher: Bantam Press
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
Date: 27th August 2015 (First Published 2014)

ISBN-10: 0857502441
ISBN-13: 978-0857502445

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Steven Erikson is an author whose name is synonymous with the High Fantasy genre, having authored the Malazan Book Of The Fallen series. It was a surprise then, when he decide to dip his toe into science fiction with the publication of Willful Child; a parody novel that takes aim at Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry. After reading the book, one can only hope that Erikson never again ventures outside of his comfort zone, for Willful Child is a spoof with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. And when a novel of only 350 pages feels at least 250 pages too long something is seriously amiss.

There is little point wasting words to give a synopsis of Willful Child. The novel’s plot is paper thin, which probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise. It seems Erikson’s sole purpose in penning the book was to poke fun of Star Trek, not to write an engaging story. And why not? Anyone who is familiar with Roddenberry’s brainchild, particularly The Original Series, will appreciate that Star Trek is an ideal vehicle for sendup. It is a franchise responsible for numerous television tropes ripe for mockery: copious technobabble and disposable “redshirts” being two of the most obvious examples. And the author goes after all these familiar Trek tropes with often hilarious results. The crew of the Willful Child even discover a planet made up entirely of a fake environment; a dig at the laughably bad set design of The Original Series. But Erikson’s lack of subtlety means that the joke wears thin, all too quickly.

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