The Promise of the Child, by Tom Toner

I haven’t seen worldbuilding of this breadth and scale since Iain M. Banks’ Culture series, Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun, or Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space. That’s not to say that the story is anything like those other series, but the worldbuilding is just as expansive as they are, if not more. It’s just absolutely massive, and well thought through. I think when all is said and done The Amaranthine Spectrum will stand at a similar level as those Culture/New Sun/Revelation Space novels in the canon of great SF works. This is far future Speculative Fiction with tight roots to its past. A lot of that past is still the future for us, some is closer to our present, and some is our past both recent and ancient.… Continue reading

The Art of John Harris: Beyond the Horizon

Beyond The Horizon, John Harris

John Harris is hands down my favorite Science Fiction cover artist. I’m a simple man: I see his artwork on a book, I pick it up. Every single time. There’s just something about his work that is instantly recognizable and always draws me in. His covers have become so highly sought after that their inclusion on a book has become a personal indicator for me that a publisher has faith in that book. It’s a certain mark of quality, or almost a seal of approval. It says: “This book lives up to the John Harris cover”. If you’ve read any Samuel Delany, Frederik Pohl, John Scalzi, Ann Leckie, Jack McDevitt, Ben Bova, Jack Vance, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Allen Steele, John Barnes, etc, then you’re most… Continue reading

Growth, by A. J. Smith

This novel was really something special, definitely a new favorite and a book that I’ll be coming back to often in the future. It’s undeniably clever, darkly humorous, and highly self-aware. It’s cerebral and incredibly well written. It rewards the reader, and sends them down and through a rabbit hole of literature. I found myself torn between wanting to read it slowly, savoring the prose and unique deconstruction of language, and wanting to quickly arrive at the resolution because the story was so engaging. I ended up reading the first half over three or four days, and slamming the second half all in one sitting. Growth’s main character Bburke is a relatively uneducated fellow, living a simple life, rooted in the present. His primary pursuits are his artistic passion toward… Continue reading

Bang Crunch: Stories, by Neil Smith

A solid little collection of human stories. Clever themes, tight writing, and very vibrant three dimensional characters. Something to relate to in every story, with only one stinker in the bunch. Neil Smith is Canadian, so there was a little more french in it than I was prepared for. I should probably learn at least some basic French at some point. 3.5 stars averaged, rounded up because there are some killer ones in here. Isolettes: 4/5 Sad, but very poetic and knowing. Love this guy’s writing. Green Fluorescent Protein: 3/5 Coming of age, dealing with the hand you’re dealt. Being comfortable with yourself. B9ers: 3/5 Clever and cute story about pushovers and correlation. One race based plot point fell flat for me near the end. Bang Crunch: 5/5 Really reminded… Continue reading

House of Suns, by Alastair Reynolds

This is my first Alastair Reynolds standalone novel. Having previously absorbed everything remotely related to his Revelation Space series over the last few years, I wanted to dip my toes into some of his one-off writing before digging into his newer series work. For some reason this book has been out of print in the US for a few years, making a physical copy a little tedious to come by, but I did eventually find one. Come on ACE, it’s time for a reprint! Coming from the RS camp, I was surprised with the linearity of this story. The whole thing is written in first person, with two main point of view characters in alternating chapters. Every 6-7 chapters brings a flashback interjection that slowly reveals details and moves everything… Continue reading