Tag: science fiction

A Review of The Only Living Girl on Earth by Charles Yu

Piece by piece, the stories unfold to reveal the reasons Earth was left behind in the first place. The artificial intelligence (AI) system in charge of geoengineering disrupted the planet’s food sources, and humans, persevering as they are, took off to pursue life on other planets. Meanwhile, Jane is not as preoccupied as others are about the meaning of life; instead, she’s spending hours at The Earth Gift Shop pondering her life.

A review of Vanished Earth by Geoff Nelder

Nelder’s world building is excellent and his scientific capability is very clear. Everything flows smoothly and makes perfect sense, even when it involves the wryly sardonic artificial intelligence, Can, whose witty missives are no longer quite as futuristic as it was in books 1-3 given the speed at which AI is developing, quantum displacement technology (the “pinch”), or turbojets that are able to descend into Jupiter.

A review of The Plotinus by Rikki Ducornet

In effortlessly elegant and comic prose, The Plotinus probes the impulses and desires that bring joy to human life while, at the same time, upending literary conventions that contemporary readers may take as immutable truths. As though she were playing with us from the title, she signals an exploration of The Plot In Us.

A review of Isle of Dogs by Jon Frankel

Isle of Dogs is full of densely plotted, exciting political intrigue and violence. But Frankel is at best when writing about the intimacies of daily life which persevere in this new world–a meal made with food grown at a garden, a woman’s relief at putting a baby to a full breast, a man picking up his child before going to work.

A review of Kepler’s Son by Geoff Nelder

His worlds are full of anomalies that draw on real-life quantum quirks, cosmic paradoxes and biological anomalies, and his aliens are both delightfully bizarre and yet somehow plausible. He is a writer who knows his sci-fi tropes well enough to twist them into a Möbius strip and take them to new places while still providing plenty of easter eggs to keen readers of the genre.  

A review of How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness by Jessica Bell

Like the best sci fi writers, Bell doesn’t hesitate to draw out the parallels between her futuristic world and our own, using the imaginary to highlight the all-too-real.  What is also obvious is that there are some aspects of life that are core to happiness, no matter the context: love, empathy, and care.

A review of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Paolini has successfully crossed-over into the sci fi realm and it’s obvious he’s done his physics homework, utilising existing science and scientific theories in a way that would make Arthur C Clark proud. The work displays a great deal of creative ingenuity, with well-developed and interesting aliens (who are neither like ET nor like super-humans), witty spacecraft banter, all sorts of fun technologies, a super fast-paced plot line that is deeply engaging—this is an easy-read— and description that is often poetic, charged by an obvious love of astronomy.

A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer

A Superior Spectre is deftly constructed piece of literature. It sits shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greats. Thematically it is a worthy companion-piece to Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve. Structurally it folds like the origami of Italio Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, and Jennifer Egan’s The Keep. Stylistically it employs some of the fuzzy voice of China Mieville’s This Census Taker, where the who and when of the narrator becomes blended and circular.

A review of Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

With this new novel, the cosmopolitan Tidhar turns away from the noir that drove his award-winning Osama, The Violent Century, and A Man Lies Dreaming. Those who appreciated the Dashiell Hammett/Raymond Chandler scrubbed into a pulpy Po-Mo alternative reality resembling a lighthearted Phillip K. Dick will still find that in Central Station through Achimwene—a bookseller in an age when books are antiquated commodities—whose life “had been a Romance, perhaps, of sorts. But now it became a Mystery” when he meets and falls in love with the data/memory vampire (alternately called “strigoi” and “shambleau”) Carmel.

An Interview with Justin Isis

The author of Welcome to the Arms Race talks about his new novel and how it relates (or doesn’t relate) to his previous novel, about his favourite sci-fi writers, and particularly about Lawrence Miles, about the Singularity, Artificial Intelligence, and lots more.