A Short History of South Asian Speculative Fiction: Part 1 & 2
A Short History of South Asian Speculative Fiction: Part 1 & 2
15 Spring Books We Cannot Wait to Read!
For We Are Many (Bobiverse #2)
by Dennis E. Taylor (2017)
Bob and his copies have been spreading out from Earth for forty years now, looking for habitable planets.
A system-wide war has killed off 99.9% of the human race. Nuclear winter is slowly making the Earth uninhabitable and a radical group wants to finish the job on the remnants of humanity.
Then Bobs discovere a spacefaring species that considers all other life as food.
The difficult second book of the trilogy. Now there are Bob’s throughout the galaxy. They are explorers, guardians and warriors. The pace continues, sometimes to the detriment of clarity as the chapters get shorter and less time is spent with each Bob. It’s still an interesting read and side-steps a lot of cliches in science fiction.
Time to go to the final novel…………
We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
by Dennis E. Taylor (2016)
Bob Johansson is looking forward to a life of leisure. So it’s a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.
Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds.
At last – a great science fiction novel. This is unique as it’s written in first person. But the person has cloned himself, so you get a lot of first person narratives from all over the universe.
It also takes science seriously. Everything takes place in a locigal way. No great leaps of science are needed. It also has a sense of humour that comes through in the dialog.
Can’t wait for the next book.
My Own Kind of Freedom: A Firefly Novel
by Steven Brust (2008)
It was originally proposed as an official Firefly novel to be licensed by Universal Pictures, but it was rejected. Instead it was published on the internet under a Creative Commons license as fan fiction.
This is an average story that would have made a decent 45 minute episode of the TV show. While competently written, there were times in the second half that the plot was not clear and the motivations get a but muddled due to the quick changes between locations.
But it has two big problems. Note that it has been at least a decade since I saw the show on TV.
Firstly, Mal’s motivation in saving the agent at the beginning doesn’t correspond to what I remember of him. He was a cynical rogue and not above the occasional killing.
The other more problematic character is Jayne. I remember him as a grunt and thug, but basically decent. So why does he steal and turn on the team in this story ?
2017 Nebula Award Finalists
Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss
Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf; riverrun)
The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (Orbit US)
Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor; Orbit UK 2018)
River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)
Passing Strange, Ellen Klages (Tor.com Publishing)
And Then There Were (N-One), Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3-4/17)
Barry’s Deal, Lawrence M. Schoen (NobleFusion Press)
All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
The Black Tides of Heaven, JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
Dirty Old Town, Richard Bowes (F&SF 5-6/17)
Weaponized Math, Jonathan P. Brazee (The Expanding Universe, Vol. 3)
Wind Will Rove”, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 9-10/17)
A Series of Steaks, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld 1/17)
A Human Stain, Kelly Robson (Tor.com 1/4/17)
Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time, K.M. Szpara (Uncanny 5-6/17)
Fandom for Robots, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny 9-10/17)
Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM, Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex 8/17)
Utopia, LOL?, Jamie Wahls (Strange Horizons 6/5/17)
Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 9-10/17)
The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard), Matthew Kressel (Tor.com 3/15/17)
Carnival Nine, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/11/17)
U.S. Army Ranger, Rowan Baer, is invited to provide security to a research team visiting the most dangerous island in the world–North Sentinel Island in the Sea of Bengal.
Talia Mayer, is recruited to study the island’s elusive inhabitants–the Sentinelese–who have resided on the tropical island since the dawn of mankind. Mahdi Barakat, is given little choice: join the expedition and make contact with the Sentinelese, or be left to face the men tracking him down.
As part of an expedition funded by the Indian government and supported by a local resort millionaire, the team struggles to make contact with the Sentinelese, a tribal people renowned for their violence, strange behavior, and mysterious ways. But when the expedition’s yacht strikes a reef, and sinks, the team finds themselves stranded on an island few people have ever set foot on and survived, an island that they quickly discover is home to far more than primitive tribal people.
If it wasn’t for the cover, I wouldn’t have thought this was not written by Robinson. It has a slower build to the action, the pacing is a bit slower and has less of the breathless action style normally associated with his writing.
It’s also unashamedly a horror novel. The usual aspects of science fiction and mythology are turned down and the gore factor ratcheted up.
Despite all that, it’s still a good read and will appeal more to the horror fans than the sci-fi ones.
He and his Space Team are broke. Forced to take low-paying gun-for-hire jobs just to keep the food replicator working, their prospects are not looking good.
When they pick up a distress signal from a luxury space cruiser, they think their luck might be about to change. And it does. Sadly, not in the way they’d hoped.
Another enjoyable outing from Cal & his gang. It’s never all that clear what his objective is, but it’s how he does it and bumbles through that is enjoyable and fun.
You will need to have read the previous books as a few characters from previous stories turn up at the end.
The Crescents (The Book of Deacon 5)
by Joseph Lallo (2017)
Generations of war have been put to rest. The D’Karon scourge has been wiped away. All that remains for Myranda, Deacon, and the other Chosen is the long, slow road to recovery for their weakened kingdom. It is no small task, as dark magic has taken a terrible toll on the land. Crops struggle to grow. The scars of war are slow to fade. But from across the sea comes hope.
This is the second book by this author that has disappointed me. The Book of Deacon trilogy and Jade were excellent, Also the first Free-Wrench, but the third I didn’t finish. The problem is this the pacing is just too slow and nothing interesting happens for ages. So it’s goodbye Joe.
Space Police: Attack of the Mammary Clans
(Space Police #1)
by David Blake (2018)
Detective Inspector Capstan wakes up in the 25th century to find that he’s been in a state of suspended animation for over four hundred years.
As he’s forced to adjust to life he finds himself reinstated as a policeman, and together with the great great great great grandson of his former subordinate, Sergeant Dewbush, he’s put on the case of a missing cow.
Close to the works of Simon Haynes, it’s absurdist comedic science fiction. It’s a good combination of witty dialog, silly script and just enough science to make it into the genres.
A fun read, will probably read the three upcoming sequels and the previous four novels.