Archive for science fiction

Author Query – Naomi Foyle

naomifoyle-rooksongIn a fortnight Jo Fletcher Books is publishing Rook Song the second book in the Gaia Chronicles. Having had a complicated reaction to her debut Seoul Survivors, I got along far better with the first book in her current series called Astra. I enjoyed this world teetering between utopia and dystopia and Astra was a marvellous protagonist. I’m very much looking forward to Rook Song, which promises to be an exciting read after the conclusion of Astra. Today I get to bring you an interview with Naomi, in which I get to ask her about Astra, Rook Song, the potential pit falls of Gaia Play and what is next on her docket. I hope you enjoy this Author Query and don’t forget to check out Rook Song out on Thursday 5 February.  Continue reading »

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Jennifer Brozek – Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

jenniferbrozek-apocalypsegirldreammingPeek into the mind and dreams of award winning editor and author Jennifer Brozek. Travel from the weird west to the hidden worlds of Kendrick all the way to the far reaches of space. This collection contains twenty previously published short stories and includes the brand new Kember Empire story “Found on the Body of a Solider.” Enjoy your journey and don’t forget your survival gear. Apocalypse Girl is waiting.

Includes a foreword by science fiction author Jody Lynn Nye.

When I was contacted about reviewing Jennifer Brozek’s new short story collection Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, there were two things that sprung to mind: I remembered hearing her on the SF Signal podcast and really enjoying the episodes and I remembered reading her Valdemar story in Under the Vale and liking her angle of looking at those who are rejected for Collegium instead of the ones who are Chosen. So I was pleased to get the opportunity to read more by Brozek and discover what else she had written. It turns out Brozek is a versatile writer as at home in fantasy as she is in military SF or the Weird West and everything in-between.  Continue reading »

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Thomas Sweterlitsch – Tomorrow and Tomorrow

thomassweterlitsch-tomorrowandtomorrowIt is ten years since the attack that reduced Pittsburgh to ashes. Today all that remains is the Archive: an interactive digital record of the city and its people.

John Dominic Blaxton is a survivor, one of the ‘lucky ones’ who escaped the blast. Crippled by the loss of his wife and unborn daughter, he spends his days immersed in the Archive with the ghosts of yesterday.

It is there he finds the digital record of a body: a woman, lying face down, half buried in mud. Who is she … and why is someone hacking into the system and deleting the record of her seemingly unremarkable life? This question will drag Dominic from the darkest corners of the past into a deadly and very present nightmare.

When I started Tomorrow and Tomorrow, I was a bit unsure as to what to expect. Was it a murder mystery? An SF novel? A dystopia? It turned out the book is all three. Thomas Sweterlitsch delivers an immersive and thrilling tale of a man whose barely patched-together existence comes crumbling down around him when he discovers a murder in the City Archive that its perpetrators would rather stay buried with the city it happened in. The narrative is fascinating, though at times a little hard to follow. But staying on its tracks paid off beautifully in the end.  Continue reading »

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Stephanie Saulter – Binary

Stephanie Saulter - BinaryZavcka Klist has reinvented herself: no longer the ruthless gemtech enforcer determined to keep the gems they created enslaved, she’s now all about transparency and sharing the fruits of Bel’Natur’s research to help gems and norms alike.

Neither Aryel Morningstar nor Dr Eli Walker are convinced that Klist or Bel’Natur can have changed so dramatically, but the gems have problems that only a gemtech can solve. In exchange for their help, digital savant Herran agrees to work on Klist’s latest project: reviving the science that drove mankind to the brink of extinction.

Then confiscated genestock disappears from a secure government facility, and the more DI Varsi investigates, the closer she comes to the dark heart of Bel’Natur and what Zavcka Klist is really after – not to mention the secrets of Aryel Morningstar’s own past…

When I received a review copy for Binary I was super stoked as its predecessor Gemsigns topped my 2013 favourite debuts list, by a mile I may add. And then I was hit by a gigantic case of book fear—the fear you get after being swept away by an author’s book that their next book couldn’t possibly live up to your expectations. And thus Binary languished on my to-read-pile, until last Christmas, when I gave you my heart kicked myself in the behind and told myself to get it in gear and pick up this book I’d wanted to read so badly before it was out. Thank you past-me, because I have to admit that Binary was fantastic and every bit as good as I could have wished for.  Continue reading »

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Nnedi Okorafor – Lagoon

nnediokorafor-lagoonA star falls from the sky.
A woman rises from the sea.
The world will never be the same.

Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa. Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria’s legendary mega-city, they’re more alone than they’ve ever been before.

But when something like a meteorite plunges into the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they could never imagine. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world… and themselves.

Before I say anything about the actual story of Lagoon, I have a PSA for publishers: if you want me to check out your books give them a Joey Hi-Fi cover. I’ll never not look at a Joey Hi-Fi cover. His work is just amazing! </fangirlrant>

Of course, while the cover certainly drew me to the book, Nnedi Okorafor is an author I’ve long meant to read, as she’s one of the names that always pops up in discussions of writers of colour and especially those writing in English.  When I discovered the synopsis for Lagoon I was immediately taken with the book because it sounded both fun and exciting. It was those things, but it was also a searing examination of humanity and the way we treat each other and the world around us.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in fantasy, review, science fiction | 6 Comments

Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (eds) – Kaleidoscope

krasnosteinrios-kaleidoscopeWhat do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgender animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories!

Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.

Featuring New York Times bestselling and award winning authors along with newer voices:

Garth Nix, Sofia Samatar, William Alexander, Karen Healey, E.C. Myers, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Ken Liu, Vylar Kaftan, Sean Williams, Amal El-Mohtar, Jim C. Hines, Faith Mudge, John Chu, Alena McNamara, Tim Susman, Gabriela Lee, Dirk Flinthart, Holly Kench, Sean Eads, and Shveta Thakrar.

One of the most buzzed about anthologies of 2014 was Twelfth Planet Press’ kickstarted title Kaleidoscope. Edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, Kaleidoscope collects twenty YA stories around the theme of diversity. Diversity of gender, of sexuality, of origin, ability, and race; it’s all present in Kaleidoscope. The result is a wonderful book filled with wonderful stories, some of them funny, some scary, some heart-breaking, but all of them engaging and emotionally touching. None of the stories disappoint, there wasn’t a single dud for me, but the following five were my favourites.  Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2015: YA April-June

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. YA books have become a steady part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the second one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2015: YA January-March

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. YA books have become a permanent part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the first one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Rajan Khanna – Falling Sky

rajankhanna-fallingskyBen Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he’s ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back. 

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters—whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.

I was excited to learn about Falling Sky, Rajan Khanna’s debut novel. I’ve really enjoyed Khanna’s short fiction in the past and he’s also one of my favourite narrators over at the Escape Artists podcasts. In addition, Falling Sky just seemed like a really cool story. It was. On the relatively short side – my ARC clocked in at 261 pages – the story still managed to cover plenty of ground, yet never felt rushed.   Continue reading »

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Liu Cixin – The Three Body Problem

cixinliu-thethreebodyproblemWith the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

Diversity and giving space to voices other than those of the privileged majority have been a huge talking point in SFF in the past year. One way to achieve this is through translating foreign-language titles into English and to introduce these new perspectives to English-speaking readers. Yet this is still a very rare occurrence, as few foreign-language titles are translated and published each year. Off the top of my head the only authors I can think of in speculative fiction are Haruki Murakami, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Pierre Pevel, and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, and of course, Thomas Oldeheuvelt’s Hex series that will be published in English in the autumn of next year. So  it was really exciting to see this novel brought to print in English by Tor. It’s the first Chinese SFF series ever to have been brought over, at least by one of the big Five, as far as I’m aware. This is exciting because China is one of the biggest and fastest-developing countries in the world, where there is some great voices we’ve never heard of and we finally get to discover one of them. Liu Cixin is one of the best-known and most successful SF writers in China, so his being the first to be translated into English isn’t actually that surprising.  Continue reading »

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