Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Ender's Game

I can see why Ender's Games won so many awards and is seen as a sci-fi classic. It is a great story, well written, that does as good sci-fi should do - keep the reading but asking questions. On purpose, I had not read any reviews of the book so I missed an spoilers (I won't be including any here I hope).

Story revolves around Ender a six-year old boy selected to be trained as the military saviour of the human race, the goal being to training him (if possible) to be lead the space fleet to victory against the enemy. What is done to him is arguably cruel but does the end justify the means? Is it right to take away his childhold? I will confess I didn't predict the ending but that might just be me.

If you haven't read, don't be put off by the techno-war; it is more about human issues than war. I enjoyed it; so I have brought the next in the series.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Doctor Who: Harvest of Time

Another great read from Alastair Reynolds. The third Doctor and the Master have to collaborate (some of the time) to defeat an invasion of bodysnatching aliens. The imagery in the book is great, you get a good sense of the locations, characters (especially the Doctor and the Master) and the aliens Sild.

The combination of Alastair Reynolds and Doctor Who is a great combination; the pace is fast and the book is quite hard to put down.

Other reviews

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Tidhar's Central Station

This is a collection of three short stories that appear in Interzone by Lavie Tidhar all set in Central Station and revolves around a book-worm/seller with a vivid imagination and a sort of vampire who sucks memories out of be people.

'Strigoi' (Interzone 242) is concerned with the arrival and the 'vampire' and how she came to be one.
'The Book Seller' (Interzone 244) is concerned with the book seller and his relationship with the 'vampire'.

'The Core' (Interzone 246) explains partially some of the questions raised in the first two stories about why the 'vampire' was allowed into the city.

I hope there will be more of these stories.

Sunday, 30 June 2013


This is one of the best short stories I have read in a while. It has  all the horror and humour of a Charles Stross Laundry series story (have a go if you haven't read one of these), which it is. A Christmas story with Lovecraft overtones and a nice antidote to more sugary Christmas stories. Events take place with the hero Bob Howard on duty in a British Government supernatural organisation over Christmas; with a creepy take on the nature of Father Christmas.

Good, tongue-in-cheek fun, that is well written, at a good price.

For more reviews on this book

After the Coup

If you like John Scalzi's 'Old Man's War' books or 'The Human Division' I think your will like this. It is a short story, (I read it on the Kindle for 38p in the UK at the time of writing). It concerns the things some of the characters have to do, to gain success on a diplomatic missions. In this case one of the character's has to fight (and lose) as a form of 'champion' for humanity a representative of the alien race. The story is imaginative, and like good short stories is great for a quick satisfying read.

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A Tall Tail

This story by Charles Stross is a great read. It is put across as factual, and throws in some real and possible unreal chemicals in to the story about space craft propulsion systems and possible unhand things US and Russians (in this story) did to get ahead in the space race. The story revolves around a group of rocket scientists at a party discussing the weird propulsion system they worked on, or pretended to work on to trick their opponents with misinformation.

If you looking for a good, tongue-in-check read this is worth a look, especially at 35p (in the UK) on the Kindle.

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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Poor Man's Fight

I bought this book, in large part, because of the price (under £2.00 on the kindle), thinking if it not that good I have lost out too much. Well it is on this blog, so I am more than happy I took the chance.

This is a fast paced book, mixing politics, a tiny bit of social commentary but mostly a good sci-fi action book. The story revolves around Tanner who joins his system's Navy largely to repay the debts for education. The book starts with him not doing as well as he should have on standardised tests; leading to greater debt, joining the Navy and becoming a hero fighting pirates. There is a lot more to this book than that one sentence summary, it could have gone down all the standard plot-lines of all in the military are deep good-at-heart, who are just being tough for positive reasons; instead the crew maybe heroic but are flawed. There are twists in the book, and politicians doing what ever it takes and making some morally questionable deals.

I enjoyed this book. A good read at a very good price.