Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Linda’s Memory

Memory
By Linda Nagata (2010)

A quest, a puzzle, and multiple lives: On an artificial world with a forgotten past, floods of “silver” rise in the night like fog, rewriting the landscape and consuming those caught in its cold mists. Seventeen-year-old Jubilee knows that no one ever returns from the silver–but then a forbidding stranger appears, asking after her beloved brother, lost long ago to a silver flood. Could he still be alive? And why does the silver rise ever higher, threatening to drown the world? Jubilee pursues the truth on a quest to unlock the memory of a past reaching back farther than she ever imagined.

This was  a strange  experience to read. The plot can be exceedingly slow, normally I would abandon such a book. But somehow it just kept drawing me on. Essentially it’s a long road movie, a quest to understand what’s happening to a world. Having read the ‘Red’ series; this is like a completely different author. Maybe it’s an early book (it could do with a good edit as it’s about 130,000 words long) with a different voice. I would only recommend this to someone who  has read and enjoyed other Linda Nagata novels.

 

 

Starcraft Ends

Finally, after almost 20 years I have finished the main story arc of this popular strategy game.

The original game was released in 1998 and I probably started playing it soon after.  Starcraft 2 came out on July 27 2010 and I played it about a year later. Then came ‘Heart of the Swarm’ , released March 12 2013. The final part of the trilogy was ‘Legacy of the Void released November 10, 2015.

Now it’s all over (almost), there   is Nova Covert Ops a nine game mission pack. But with parts 2 and 3 coming out in Dec 2016, I can wait for everything to be released first.

In addition to the games, I have also read the following books:

Golden, Christie – StarCraft – Dark Templar #1 – Firstborn
Golden, Christie – StarCraft – Dark Templar #2 – Shadow Hunters
Golden, Christie – StarCraft – Dark Templar #3 – Twilight
Grubb, Jeff Star – Craft 1 Liberty’s Crusade
Mesta, Gabriel –  StarCraft 2 Shadow of the Xel’Naga
Hickman, Tracy – StarCraft 3 Speed of Darkness
Neilson, Micky – StarCraft 4 Uprising
Rosenberg, Aaron – StarCraft 5 Queen of Blades
DeCandido, Keith RA – StarCraft 6 Ghost – Nova
McNeill, Graham – StarCraft 7 I Mengsk
Dietz, William C – Starcraft II 1 Heaven’s Devils
Golden, Christie – Starcraft II 2 Devils’ Due
Golden, Christie – Starcraft II 3 Flashpoint

So until Nova, it’s goodbye the Jim Raynor, Artanis and the Queen Bitch of the Universe, Sarah Kerrigan.

Kerrigan

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Nebulas

 

Novel

Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
My Review

Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Started the first book, never finished it

The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)

Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Read it, would recommend it

Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)

Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)
Novella

Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
“The Bone Swans of Amandale,” C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
“The New Mother,” Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” Usman T. Malik (Tor.com 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
“Waters of Versailles,” Kelly Robson (Tor.com 6/10/15)

Novelette

“Rattlesnakes and Men,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead,” Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds,” Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
“The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society,” Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
“The Deepwater Bride,” Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
“Our Lady of the Open Road,” Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story

“Madeleine,” Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
“Cat Pictures Please,” Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
“Damage,” David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
“When Your Child Strays From God,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
“Today I Am Paul,” Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)

 

And the Winners Are:

Novel

  • Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

Novella

  • Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)

Novelette

  • ‘‘Our Lady of the Open Road’’, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story

 

2015 Hugos

Best Novel

  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie 
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Best Novella

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)

Best Novelette

  • “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb 2015)
  • “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
  • “Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
  • “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)

Best Short Story

  • “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
  • “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
  • “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
  • “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria
Big Finish Doctor Who Audio Drama (1999)

Phantasmagoria

The TARDIS takes the Doctor and Turlough to the London of 1702 where a mysterious highwayman roams the streets, a local occultist has made contact with the dead and gentlemen of fashion are disappearing, only to find themselves in a chamber whose walls weep blood…

The time travelers become enmeshed in the hideous plans of Sir Nikolas Valentine, a gambler at the mysterious Diabola Club who always seems to have a winning hand.

It’s a Stuart era monster/detective story. And rather pedestrian one at that.  Of course the ‘monster’ turns out to be an alien.

 

 

Cast
The Doctor — Peter Davison
Turlough — Mark Strickson
Henry Gaunt — Nicholas Briggs
Quincy Flowers — David Walliams
Edmund Carteret — Jonathan Rigby
Jasper Jeake — Mark Gatiss
Poltrot/Librarian/Major Billy Lovemore — Jez Fielder
Sir Nicholas Valentine — David Ryall
Dr Samuel Holywell — Steven Wickham
Hannah Fry — Julia Dalkin

Bloodline

Bloodline (Star Wars)
by Claudia Gray (2016)

A prequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set roughly six years before the events of the film.

Despite the positive reviews, this just isn’t as good as her previous book ‘The Lost Stars’ The main problem is the pacing and plot. The first two-thirds feel too slow. Not much happens and around the half-way mark I was not sure if I could continue. Then the action and pacing occurs in the last third of the book. Where ‘The Lost Stars’ had the grand sweep of the original trilogy as background, this feels very restricted to a few planets. And despite mostly taking place at the administrative centre of the galaxy, it lacks an epic space-opera feel expected of a Star Wars novel. I kept going to the end and a new beginning for Leia.

 

Lost Stars

Lost Stars
(Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens)
by Claudia Gray (2015)

LostStars

Eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, the Galactic Empire now reigns over the known galaxy. Resistance to the Empire has been all but silenced. Only a few courageous leaders such as Bail Organa of Alderaan still dare to openly oppose Emperor Palpatine.

After years of defiance, the many worlds at the edge of the Outer Rim have surrendered. With each planet’s conquest, the Empire’s might grows stronger.

The latest to fall under the Emperor’s control is the isolated mountain planet Jelucan, whose citizens hope for a more prosperous future even as the Imperial Starfleet gathers overhead…

This acclaimed novel really is as good as everyone says. It traces the journey of two individuals through the events of Stars Wars ‘A New Hope’ to ‘Return of the Jedi’. The story has two points of view. We follow Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree from trainees on both sides of the war to the end of the Empire.  This would suit anyone who wants to go deeper into the Star Wars universe. There is an audio-book available.

 

Genocide Machine

The Genocide Machine
a Dr Who Big Finish audio drama (2000)

Genocide_Machine

On the planet Kar-Charrat, the Seventh Doctor and Ace try to prevent the Daleks acquiring a technology called the Wetworks Facility.

A decent Dr Who story, with a science fiction theme of misused technology. It’s also a straightforward plot which helps with the increasing tension in the story. There is even an interesting twist and reveal in the forth part. (4/5)

Cast
The Doctor — Sylvester McCoy
Ace — Sophie Aldred
Rappell — Daniel Gabriele
Bev Tarrant — Louise Faulkner
Chief Librarian Elgin — Bruce Montague
Cataloguer Prink — Nicholas Briggs
Dalek Voices — Alistair Lock and Nicholas Briggs
Phantom Voices — Daniel Gabriele

Lexx 4.22 & 4.23

Lexx_Logo

Lexx 4.22 “Trip” April 12, 2002
Each planet the crew encounters on their search for a new home appears to be stripped of life. They conclude that it was “Lyekka”, but Stan is still convinced that Lyekka has changed her ways. “Lyekka” gives the crew a going away present, which appears to be yummy fruitballs, but ends up being a paranoid psychotic adventure, egged on by 790. The cryo control is wrecked and Kai mentions that he only has “days, a few weeks at best” of protoblood left.

It looks like the writers were starved of money for effects and sets and came up with a half decent plot of deception and lies. (4/5)

Lexx 4.23 “Lyekka vs Japan” April 19, 2002
Kai and Xev land near where a “Lyekka” asteroid hit near the coast of Japan, and meet the monks of a Buddhist monastery. There, Xev learns of “inner pieces”; her organs nearly harvested by the “Master”. A Godzilla-sized Lyekka comes out of the sea and starts devastating Tokyo. Kai slays her, and Lexx blasts the walking asteroid that emerges afterwards. The last few minutes of the episode are prematurely feel-good, as Stan decides to head away from Earth forever.

A Godzilla take-off that starts OK then takes ages to get going. The ‘monster’ Lyekka is suitably sub-par special effects and it looks like a quick getaway for the (still un-fed) Lexx. (2/5)

 

The Sirens of Time

Dr Who

The Sirens of Time

Big Finish Audio Drama (1999)

DrWhoSirensOfTime

 

Gallifrey is in a state of crisis, facing destruction at the hands of an overwhelming enemy. And the Doctor is involved in three different incarnations – each caught up in a deadly adventure, scattered across time and space. The web of time is threatened – and someone wants the Doctor dead. The three incarnations of the Doctor must join together to set time back on the right track – but in doing so, will they unleash a still greater threat? The Seventh Doctor is in Episode 1 of this four-part story; the Fifth Doctor is in episode 2; the Sixth Doctor is in episode 3; and all three Doctors are in the final episode.

Initially confusing, this tale is four stories on 2 hours, loosely joined with yet another timey-whimy time travel tale. The first three episodes are just average, but the final provides opportunity for the three incarnations of the doctor; Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison and Colin Baker some fun interaction, illustrating the differing characteristics of each incarnation of the character. The villain only becomes apparent at the and and hence not as interesting as the doctor(s) (3/5)

 

Cast:
The Seventh Doctor (parts 1 & 4) — Sylvester McCoy
The Fifth Doctor (parts 2 & 4) — Peter Davison
The Sixth Doctor (parts 3 & 4) — Colin Baker
Commander Raldeth — Andrew Fettes
Coordinator Vansell — Anthony Keetch
The President — Michael Wade
Elenya — Sarah Mowat
Ruthley — Maggie Stables
Sancroff — Colin McIntyre
Commandant — John Wadmore
Lt Zenther — John Wadmore
Captain Schweiger — Mark Gatiss
Schmidt — Andrew Fettes
Helen — Sarah Mowat
The Temperon — Nicholas Briggs
Ellie — Sarah Mowat
Pilot Azimendah — John Wadmore
Captain — Mark Gatiss
Delegate — Nicholas Pegg
Sub-commander — John Wadmore
Knight Commander Lyena — Sarah Mowat
Knight 2 — Mark Gatiss