Tag archives for science fiction

  1. Probability Moon / Nancy Kress

    Cover of Probability Moon
    The second audiobook I listened to on my massive road trip earlier this year was Probability Moon by Nancy Kress. Ms. Kress generally writes well within the bounds of traditional science fiction. I was worried that this would be tough to listen to because of the complexity of the story and character interaction where I would be able to read on the page and retain the flow. I did have some difficulty with that toward the beginning, but by the one-third point, I could keep the characters straight while listening. The natives on World, an extra-solar planet, experience shared reality. Basically, everyone agrees on what things are, or they experience…
  2. Oryx And Crake / Margaret Atwood

    Cover of Oryx And Crake
    I hold a grudge against the term sci-fi. The term came to mean bad space-ship alien stuff. Though sometimes I read that sort of thing, I prefer higher quality books. I didn’t like that my science fiction got tainted by the crap that people called sci-fi. My dander really gets up when I see people refer to books as not science fiction because they are good. So I have a little bit of sympathy for Margaret Atwood wanting to distance herself from science fiction. She claims to prefer the term speculative fiction because the stuff in her books can actually happen, they just haven’t happened yet. She also claims that…
  3. The Mile-Long Spaceship / Kate Wilhelm

    Cover of The Mile-Long Spaceship
    Reading Kate Wilhelm’s The Mile-Long Spaceship was an attempt to broaden my classic S.F. reading beyond the standard Asimov/Heinlein axis. The book was free, and had been sitting on my shelf for a while. However, my anti-love affair with Golden Age science fiction continues. Most of the stories in the collection were less than amazing and I had to force myself to finish the book. There are eleven stories in the book. Six of them had been published previously. The Mile-Long Spaceship I had to re-read this story three times, and I’m still a little confused. Xenophobic aliens contact a human telepathically. He only communicates with them when he’s out…
  4. Embassytown / China Miéville

    Embassytown
    For the first 100 pages of Embassytown my fanboy willingness to read anything by China Miéville was close to a breaking point. It’s rare when a book I read is so bad for so much of the beginning and actually gets readable by the end. While there is lots of meaty stuff to chew on, the plotting is a hot mess that I can’t recommend to anyone but devoted Miéville fans. In Miéville’s first book of straight science fiction, Embassytown is an outpost on an alien planet. It’s wholly surrounded by an unbreathable atmosphere kept at bay by a permeable bubble. The alien Ariekei evolution bred sentient beings who have…
  5. Seeds of Change / John Joseph Adams

    Cover of Seeds of Change
    John Joseph Adams is kind of all over the place lately. He’s compiled a billion anthologies, edits Lightspeed magazine, and recently took over Fantasy magazine as well. I met Mr. Adams last year at WisCon where chatted with him at one of the parties and he came across as a generally likable fellow. I’ve read a bunch of issues of Lightspeed, which I generally liked. But despite all of that I haven’t read any of his anthologies up until now. The theme behind Seeds of Change is that the authors specifically tackle the pivotal issues facing our society. It’s a fairly short anthology, only nine stories in 200 plus smaller…
  6. Becoming Alien / Rebecca Ore

    Cover of Becoming Alien
    I had high hopes for Rebecca Ore’s Becoming Alien. The author had some published short fiction prior to this book, but I believe the entry in the Ben Bova’s Discoveries series was her first published novel. It has some promising aspects, but disappointed me. Tom and his brother Warren rescue an alien who crashes near their rural Virginia house. The two are orphans, with the drug manufacturing Warren as the guardian for his younger brother who is in high school. The illegal trade has made Warren paranoid, so Alpha (as Tom names him) becomes a prisoner, with the remains of his ship destroyed and his chance at rescue diminished. He…
  7. Herland / Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    April’s text at A Year of Feminist Classics is Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, a feminist socialist Utopian novel from the late 1910s. While this is science fiction of a sort, the purpose of a feminist Utopia generally isn’t predictive, but rather comparative. Instead of saying this is how it would be or even this is how it could be, the idea is to create an ideal (not the ideal either) and contrast that perfection with the real world in order to highlight the latter’s deficiencies. The three main characters in Herland are rich dilettante explorers. On a mission to the Amazon, they stumble on a local legend of a land…
  8. Maul / Tricia Sullivan

    Cover of Maul
    The April book for The Feminist Science Fiction Book Club is Maul by Tricia Sullivan. I’m really looking forward to discussing this book with the group because there’s a lot of meat in it (euphemistically even). I also am really confused by a lot of it, so I’m hoping my fellow book clubbers will clear things up for me. I loved this book for all the vivid images through. For example, the very first chapter starts off with the main character Sun, a mall rat, furiously masturbating with a gun. I used to wish I had a boyfriend but now I know better. Even a hypothetical boyfriend wouldn’t understand. How…
  9. Migration / Julie E. Czerneda

    Cover of Migration
    It’s been a while since I read the first book in Julie E. Czerneda‘s Species Imperative series, Survival. Two and a hald years, or long enough that I didn’t remember a lot of details of what happened. Nevertheless, I decided not to refresh my memory by re-reading it before I delved into the sequel, Migration. I figured Czerneda would cover enough of the events from the first book to ask as a mnemonic for anything important. Though this is the case, this book really shouldn’t be read without having read Survival at least once. Migration is a big and sprawling 520 page combination of space opera and office politics. Mackenzie…
  10. Solitaire / Kelley Eskridge

    Solitaire
    When I get a chance to take a review copy of something that Small Beer Press puts out, I generally jump on the opportunity. Eos originally published Kelley Eskridge‘s Solitaire about 2002. It made the final ballot for the Nebula Award. It didn’t stay in print either, which is a shame. Small Beer seems to agree with that sentiment, and published this edition. On starting the book, it seemed almost a science fiction take on the concept in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Instead of people born on the cusp of Indian independence, Hopes are people born on the cusp of official world government. Now, in this future the world government…