Category: Science Fiction

Dec 12 2018

The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley

I did not love this nearly as much as the book that first introduced Aliya Whiteley’s genius to me (The Arrival Of Missives — go pick it up, it’s amazing,) but it was still an incredibly deep and powerful meditation on an important aspect of the human condition, examined through a sci-fi what-if filter. In …

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Nov 30 2018

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

Connie Willis at her best tells tales of engaging characters in surprising situations and then lands an emotional blow that can still be felt a decade or more later. I can’t, offhand, think of another author who has done what Willis does two-thirds of the way through Passage. When she’s merely very good, Willis can …

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Nov 28 2018

Firefly: Big Damn Hero by Nancy Holder and James Lovegrove

First, can I talk about just how beautiful this book is? Titan sent me a hardback copy which, as always, has an incredible cover. That dust jacket needs to be felt to be believed. And it comes with a ribbon bookmark! I don’t usually go gaga over the physical format of a book, but this …

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Nov 08 2018

An Interview with Aliya Whiteley, author of The Arrival Of Missives

aliya whiteley. copyright Sebastian Lister

Q: Every book has its own story about how it came to be conceived and written as it did. How did The Arrival Of Missives evolve? A: It started with the voice of my main character, Shirley, and grew entirely from there. I loved her straight away; she’s a teenager who is both naïve and …

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Nov 06 2018

The Arrival Of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

This is a volume that is dead set on subverting our expectations of science fiction, and succeeds at that goal brilliantly. Packaged together with the short story The Last Voyage Of The Smiling Henry, the title novel (I know that some might argue that its 133-page length renders it more of a novella, but I, …

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Oct 14 2018

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

You know what would be really scary? A novel written from the point of view of one of the women who believed wholeheartedly in the tenets of the Republic of Gilead, who rejoiced in the work they were doing, who revelled in her role as helpmeet, as implementer of God’s will on an earth that …

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Oct 13 2018

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Hunh. So, okay. This book is super rich in ideas and philosophy and science, and posits a logical extrapolation of capitalism to its vilest ends. The question of autonomy vs indentured servitude, and the heartbreaking necessity in this future of individual (en)franchisement, plus the stranglehold of corporate patents on technology, are all discussed and examined …

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Sep 10 2018

Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan

So let me begin with a quotation from near the end of the novel (pg 345 of the paperback Titan edition): “If I took away the sensory overlay I could directly know the patterns of so many concepts coming to fruition out here on the North Sea: the physics behind pressure gauges and safety seals, …

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Sep 07 2018

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells

Definitely my favorite of the series so far. Murderbot is slowly becoming more comfortable and confident as an autonomous unit interacting with humans, with a purpose that is becoming clearer, as well: to take down the GrayCris corporation whose actions essentially precipitated Murderbot’s discovery and subsequent flight across the galaxy. There’s a greater wistfulness, too, …

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Aug 21 2018

Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Hands down my favorite fantasy novel of 2018 so far. In large part because it isn’t a fantasy novel or, as I described it to Bookclub chat, is really a meaty sci-fi novel in a delicious fantasy shell. It’s smart and witty and heartfelt, and I laughed and cried and gasped in sheer astonishment in …

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