science fiction

Thumbs up for Green Angel by Alice Hoffman. Science fiction.

After a girl’s family is killed in some sort of semi-apocalyptic event, she finds a new emotional identity and learns how to survive. If you embrace this novella as a work of poetry, it is lovely. If you insist on having things logically explained, you will hate it. I can keep myself in the former camp, with a bit of effort.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz by Dan Simmons. Fantasy.

A novella set in the world of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth; I haven’t read any of that series but it didn’t reduce the pleasure I took in this gleefully purple little gem. Shrue the Diabolist learns of the death of Ulfant Banderoz, proprietor of the Ultimate Library, and sets out on a quest to possess the library’s secrets.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny. Science fiction.

The hallmark of the books I’ve read by Zelazny is that they are almost entirely dialogue, and nothing is explained, so reading them is like doing an enjoyable logic puzzle. As, indeed, was my experience with Roadmarks. However, even one week after reading I discover I retained none of it except for the delightful fact that the characters include two sentient books, Flowers (Les fleurs du mal) and Leaves (…of Grass) which help their human companions interface with their cars.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for An Alien Heat (Dancers at the End of Time #1) by Michael Moorcock. Science fiction.

The end of time is nigh, but the last humans do not care; they are busy being decadent: to wit, creating things out of the air, indulging their hobbies, having sex, and playing pranks on each other. (Satire, yet I’m not sure what else I would hope for the end of humanity?) The crux of the story is when the hero, Jherek Carnelian, decides to do something daring–he intends to fall in love!… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi. Science fiction.

Just as impossible to understand and just as pleasing to read as the previous two in the trilogy.

‘Look, I’m sorry about the Realm,’ she says. ‘The mountain and all that. I can see now that it would have been disorienting for you. We usually try to bring orphans in through Realms, to let them work out their issues: they get the narrative rights to shape their surroundings in the framework we give them.

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Thumbs up for Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather. Science Fiction.

In this quick novella, the Sisters (as in nuns) who crew the Our Lady of Impossible Constellations provide ministry to the outer systems. Unfortunately, their Mother Superior is suffering cognitive decline, and their liveship has fixated on a mate. The situation gets vastly (*pun intended*) more complicated as they are pulled into larger events.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson. Literary history.

The publisher Quirk Books’s jawdropping and funny reference to vintage horror novels, Paperbacks from Hell, was one of my favorite books of 2017. When I saw they were publishing a history of women horror writers I got very excited.… >> Read more

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. Science fiction.

I think I’ve passed the point where I can read classic science fiction without noticing how much it creaks. I didn’t hate reading this, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it, either.

The person most immediately affected had been George Greggson. He could never forget his feeling of terror as Jean pitched into his arms.

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