Category Archives: Books

2017 Hugos

Winners of the 2017 Hugo Awards 

(presented on the evening of Friday, August 11, 2017 at a ceremony at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention.)

Best Novel

  • The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
  • All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
  • A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
  • Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
  • Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
  • Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Best Novella

  • Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle (Tor.com publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson (Tor.com publishing)
  • Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency)
  • A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com publishing)
  • This Census-Taker, by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador)

Best Novelette

  • “The Tomato Thief”, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
  • Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex, by Stix Hiscock (self-published)
  • “The Art of Space Travel”, by Nina Allan (Tor.com , July 2016)
  • “The Jewel and Her Lapidary”, by Fran Wilde (Tor.com publishing, May 2016)
  • “Touring with the Alien”, by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)
  • “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny Magazine, May 2016)

Best Short Story

  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
  • “The City Born Great”, by N. K. Jemisin (Tor.com, September 2016)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, by Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, March 2016)
  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)
  • “That Game We Played During the War”, by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, March 2016)
  • “An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

Best Related Work

  • Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
  • The Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books)
  • The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)
  • Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)
  • The View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins)
  • The Women of Harry Potter posts, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNationEntertainment/Lava Bear Films)
  • Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/TheDonners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)
  • Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/FeigcoEntertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)
  • Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSGEntertainment)
  • Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/WaltDisney Pictures)
  • Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)
  • Black Mirror: “San Junipero”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Owen Harris (House of Tomorrow)
  • Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Ed Bazalgette (BBC Cymru Wales)
  • Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Door”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Jack Bender (HBO)
  • Splendor & Misery [album], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)

Witches

The Witches is a 1990 British/American dark fantasy horror film based on the children’s novel of the same title by Roald Dahl. It was directed by Nicolas Roeg and produced by The Jim Henson Company for Lorimar Film Entertainment and Warner Bros., starring Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Rowan Atkinson, and Jasen Fisher. It is the last theatrical film to be produced by Lorimar before the company shut down 3 years later in 1993.

As in the novel, the story fantasises witches who masquerade as ordinary women and kill children, but are foiled and exterminated by a boy and his grandmother after the boy is turned into a mouse. The film was very well received by critics but performed poorly at the box office.


A simple story about a boy who becomes a mouse and takes on a gaggle of witches. It’s fun and entertaining. As expected from Roald Dahl, things get dark and slightly scary. The ending is a disappointment as it’s not the same as the book and provides an unnecessary “happy” ending.

 

Dead Guy

Space Team: Return of the Dead Guy
(Space Team #6)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2017)

They may have recently averted a full-scale galactic war, but Cal Carver and Space Team just can’t stay out of trouble.

When a ‘Weird Space Thing™’ threatens to destroy planet Earth, Cal is determined to stop it. But when they get there, they find the place is still swarming with parasitic extra-terrestrial bugs, and that there isn’t a whole lot left to save.


Cal takes on the multi-verse…… and wins.
How, I don’t know. Little of this book makes and sense. Sure, it’s comedy Sci-Fi, but the author could have at least tried some science. This makes it the least successful of the series. (so far).

Star Plunderer

The Star Plunderer
by Poul Anderson (1952)

A Novelette From Planet Stories September 1952
#2 in the Technic History

Another story that gallops along with planet changing consequences.

Told in first person, the protagonist is caught up in a war, gets captured, escapes and begins an empire. All in 10,000 words! Impressive.

High Citadel

High Citadel
by Desmond Bagley (1965)

In the biting cold of the Andes, their hi-jacked plane crash-landed, Tim O’Hara’s passengers are fighting for their lives. While O’Hara leads one group along a deadly, snow-covered pass, the other is working to stall the armed soldiers who plan to kill them all. Ingenious ideas are put into action as they attempt to survive until help arrives.


Desmond Bagley has been a long time favorite and it’s good to get back to an author with a tight prose style that concentrates on the story unnecessary talk.

Written in third person it follows firstly the main character (O’Hara) then the group of survivors before splitting the group into two. This means that while the setup is fairly predictable, the story takes some unpredictable turns before an exciting conclusion.

Recommended reading for thriller readers.

Gunslinger

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)
by Stephen King (1982)

Roland Deschain of Gilead is the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.


This is being read as part of the Sword and Laser August Book read.
It was also started in anticipation of the upcoming ‘The Dark Tower” film starring Idris Alba.

This is one of King’s first books. The last of his I read was “The Tommyknockers” in 1991. That book was so long and meandering I didn’t finish it. At the time I thought King needed a decent editor to cut back on the filler and quicken the pace.

This book is much shorter (60,000 words). Unfortunately it doesn’t help. A gunslinger follows a man, who we don’t know. This is grim, dark and has no sense of an interesting story to come. I just couldn’t get with the tone, so I gave up !

Life Transparent

A Life Transparent (Monochrome Trilogy #1)
by Todd Keisling (2007)

Who is Donovan Candle? He is the consummate husband. Stable, hard-working, and dedicated to his wife, Donovan is a paragon of the Middle Class.

Strange visions of a monochromatic world. Bizarre sensations of physical transparency.

At first, Donovan fears he’s losing his grip on reality, but as the week wears on and the odd afflictions intensify, he wonders if he is truly fading from existence.


Ad odd mixture of fantasy, science fiction, horror and thriller. This is an intriguing story of what happens when boredom takes over. It’s a satisfying story, but at the end, not much is explained.

 

Gormenghast

Gormenghast is a fantasy series by British author Mervyn Peake, about the inhabitants of Castle Gormenghast, a sprawling, decaying, gothic-like structure.

There are three novels, Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast (1950), Titus Alone (1959) and a novella, Boy in Darkness (1956), whose canonical status is debated. Peake was writing a fourth novel, Titus Awakes at the time of his death, which was later completed and released by Peake’s widow in 2009.


I first read the first two books in the 1980s and was impresses with the rich, evocative writing that has stayed with me. The books were made into a four part TV series in 200, which I’m sure I saw in TV. The DVD was released in 2008.

This re-viewing does show up some of the production values of the time. Everything that is a model, looks like a model. And it’s lit like a stage production. Clearly most was produced on a sound stage. There are some great performances, notably Ian Richardson, Christopher Lee and Stephen and Fry. John Sessions is great as the nutty doctor.

Last Bounty

The Last Bounty
by Barry J. Hutchison

(part of the Pew! Pew! collection)

How far would you go to save your arch-nemesis?

Once the baddest bounty hunter in the galaxy, all Konto Oon wants these days is a quiet family life with the woman he loves, and the respect of Deenia, the seven-year-old step-daughter who hates his guts. But when Deenia and her friends are taken hostage on a school trip, Konto must employ all his old skills to mount a death-defying rescue mission.

With a terrorist-filled space station between him and the hostages, and an infuriatingly upbeat boy from Deenia’s class for company, Konto’s talents will be stretched to their limit as he goes after the most important bounty of his life – his daughter.

Can Konto defeat the terrorists, save the children, and earn the peaceful future he craves?

 


Of course he can. This is a standard hero defeats the bad guys story by the author of the ‘Space Team” series. It has little of the humour of  his other work, an enjoyable but short (novella length) read.

 

Perfect Pet

Building the Perfect Pet
by Joe Lallo

This was received after subscribing to Joe’s Newsletter .

An interesting science fiction story set several centuries into the future. It involves a self-obsessed scientist/inventor Karter, living alone in a lab with just his AI ‘mother’ named Ma. He builds bio-tech animals for clients who can pay and doesn’t worry about their future application. He builds a new ‘pet’ he calls Funk (a cross between a Fox & Skunk) that may be helpful.

This is the first story in Lallo’s “Big Sigma” series I have read, it’s a novella (about 25,000 words) so not listed as part of the series. The story presents some interesting ideas about the future of biotech but doesn’t amount to much. It probably makes more sense in the context of the series as it explains the evolution of one of the characters.