Archive for the SF Category

Slow Bullets, by Alistair Reynolds

Posted in Books, Reviews, SF with tags , , on February 20, 2017 by davidnm2009

This is a fairly short, and rather enigmatic, work. It’s as much horror story as it is science fiction.

A few thoughts under the cut…

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Revenger, by Alistair Reynolds

Posted in Books, Reviews, SF, Uncategorized with tags , on December 25, 2016 by davidnm2009

I very recently finished Revenger by Alistair Reynolds. I can highly recommend this novel.

Reynolds at the top of his game is an awesome sight to behold. This novel is no disappointment.

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The Birthgrave, by Tanith Lee

Posted in Books, Reviews, SF, Uncategorized with tags , on December 4, 2015 by davidnm2009

The Birthgrave is a challenging work; if it were published today, it would definitely be considered dark fantasy. However, it is also thought-provoking and poses some hard-to-answer questions about the topics of collective guilt and innocence – just how responsible are we for the sins of those who are like us?

For its time of publication, in the mid ’70s, it was also rather subversive. You see, at its heart, The Birthgrave is a journey of self-discovery, and it has the singular conceit that a woman’s experience is valid and worth considering. Even in today’s SFF, that can be regrettably-rare.

For purposes of trigger warnings, etc., I’m filing this review under “choose not to warn”. Frankly, given the state of the world of The Birthgrave, TWs are probably redundant. I’m also going to change the usual review structure and have a singular “commentary” section, as the “liked/problematic” contrast doesn’t really work in this context. Be aware that the needle will be over on the “problematic” side of the dial a lot during this review.

So, without further digression, here’s the review…

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Omega, by Jack McDevitt

Posted in Books, Reviews, SF with tags on November 18, 2015 by davidnm2009

Time for another review. Omega is the fourth book in the sequence started by Engines of God; I’m sad to say that it’s also the last that’s at all rewarding to read. It’s a work that contains some interesting ideas, and also some very frustrating ones.

My review is under the cut; because of the basic premise of Omega, it contains spoilers for Engines. There’s arguably one in the title(!), so proceed with this in mind…

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Extinction Game, by Gary Gibson

Posted in Books, Reviews, SF with tags , on November 17, 2015 by davidnm2009

This book surprised me. I’d read Gibson’s Shoal trilogy, and vaguely enjoyed them, but hadn’t been hugely struck on them.

Extinction Game, however, was a book that instantly got under my skin.

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Hollow Shell, Chapter 2

Posted in SF, Writing with tags , on November 1, 2015 by davidnm2009

What is this? Hollow Shell is a rather strange SF/horror story, written from the viewpoint of a self-aware suit of power armour. In the previous chapter, we met Alex, our protagonist, who is not-entirely-enjoying an unexpected second life as an AI derived from a brain upload. We also met Onyx, an emotionally-insecure alien with whom Alex has had to establish a working relationship.

In this chapter, Alex and Onyx go to the firing range, where Centurion Kyanite is waiting to oversee the day’s training. Whilst Kyanite berates the misfortunate trainees, Alex exchanges notes with Melanie, a former banker and another post-human upload.

Faced with an onslaught of very-personal negativity from Kyanite, Onyx is showing signs of pressure. Alex needs to figure out a way to let Onyx keep his shit together long enough to be useful…

Chapter 2: A Memory of Ozone

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Unintended Extra Travels…

Posted in Astronomy, Science, SF with tags , on October 31, 2015 by davidnm2009

Just for once, I’d love to see a time travel story where the protagonists know their probe has worked because they see a starfield when it drops backward to 9,000 BC (or whenever).

This is a minor point that often annoys me with time travel stories: if you actually had a time machine or viewer, you’d better hope it’s a space machine as well. Why? Because the Earth (and the Sun) move.

And they’re actually quite fast.

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