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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

* * * * *

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

Jay Kristoff
Stormdancer

 
Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Review: Eye In The Sky By Philip K. Dick


WELCOME TO THE (NOT SO) REAL WORLD

Eight accident victims awake to find themselves trapped in a bizarre alternate reality… Or do they?

 

Book CoverEye In The Sky

Philip K. Dick
 

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback, 256 Pages
Date: 9th December 2010 (First Published 1957)

ISBN-10: 0575098996
ISBN-13: 978-0575098992

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Philip K. Dick was not a writer generally known for his humour, therefore it is unsurprising that his stories aren’t particularly noted for their comedy value. Yet, his 1957 novel, Eye In The Sky, is undoubtedly a hysterically funny book whether or not he intended for it to be comedic in tone. A story by which he uses his trademark motif of distorted reality to take a satirical swipe at the Cold War paranoia of McCarthyism that had gripped the US during the Fifties when the book was written. The end result mocking the absurdity of persecuting people for what they may or not secretly think, based on random, innocuous criteria which effectively means that anyone can come under suspicion.

The narrative concocted by PKD actually has a few more layers than a cursory synopsis might convey. While being a denouncement of the witch-hunts of the era, the book does also posit that the beliefs that people hold can and do shape how they view the world around them. And the author takes this conceit and uses it in the literal sense within the story, with laugh out loud hilarity ensuing, as he torments his characters with manifestations of how the world is perceived in the minds of other people.

Continue reading

Review: Gameboard Of The Gods By Richelle Mead


GODS WALK AMONG US, WE ARE THEIR PAWNS

Behind a series of ritualistic murders lies a hidden reality a kick-ass heroine isn’t ready to believe.

 

Book CoverGameboard Of The Gods
(Age Of X, Book 1)

Richelle Mead

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback, 464 Pages
Date: 6th June 2013

ISBN-10: 140591355X
ISBN-13: 978-1405913553

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

For almost a decade author Richelle Mead has been one of the most popular voices of the urban fantasy scene; writing a number of successful books in more than one series, for both the young adult audience as wells as adult readers. With the very noticeable shift towards dystopian stories in the mass market publishing sphere, kick-started by the success and popularity of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, it was perhaps inevitable that Mead would follow the trend and throw her hat into the dystopia ring.

Continue reading

Trivia: A Look At The Nebula Awards


HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE NEBULA AWARDS?

Here is everything you ever wanted to know about America’s most prestigious science fiction and fantasy award, but didn’t think to ask.

 

GraphicIf you look back a few days you’ll notice I wrote a short post about The Origins Of The Hugo Awards, arguably the most prestigious award for science fiction and fantasy literature. Today it’s time for a brief look at The Nebula Awards, which is widely viewed to be America’s most highly regarded and sought after accolade for science fiction and fantasy literature.

The Nebula Awards takes place annually to honour the best science fiction or fantasy works published in the United States during the previous calender year. The award ceremony is organised by the Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers Of America.

Continue reading

Quotable: Nylon Angel, “…I’m Not Planning On Dying Yet.”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Proof positive that even an average novel is capable of providing a memorable quote.

 

Book Cover _ Book Cover _ Book Cover _ Book Cover

* * * * *

“All right, Mei. But I’m not planning on dying yet. So don’t get any ideas about helping things along. Or you might find yourself closer to the spirits than you figured.”

Marianne De Pierres
Nylon Angel

 
Continue reading

Review: Ender’s Game By Orson Scott Card


AT BATTLE SCHOOL FIGHTING IS COMPULSORY

Is Ender Wiggin humanity’s last best hope for the future, or a monster in the making?

 

Book CoverEnder’s Game
(Ender Saga, Book 1)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
Date: 1st December 2011 (First Published 1985)

ISBN-10: 0356500845
ISBN-13: 978-0356500843

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

One of the most noteworthy things about reading Ender’s Game today is that thirty years after its initial publication the book hasn’t noticeably aged much, if at all. In fact, if one were unaware of its publication history it would be easy to believe that author, Orson Scott Card, penned his science fiction classic within the last couple of years. There is little, if anything, contained within the book that is obviously outdated.

Continue reading