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Confessions of a bad SF fan: Flowers for Algernon

Book cover: Flowers for Algernon - Daniel KeyesLast autumn, I ‘fessed up that I rarely read SF classics. Looking at “scifi novels every fan must read” lists, I’m a very bad SF fan indeed. This year I made a half-hearted effort to mend my ways (I haven’t exactly let them dominate my reading), but Sci Fi Month was my inspiration to tackle a giant.

Yes it’s taken me a while to get round to marshalling my thoughts

Tremontaine: Into the Woods / Behind The Mask

I’ve fallen behind on Tremontaine, so it’s time to quickly catch up! In Into the Woods, a party of nobles celebrate midwinter at Diane’s hunting lodge in the woods, but the Land calls for blood during the White Days and someone will have to pay the price. Behind the Mask sees Kaab closing in on the rixinkun’s secrets, whilst Rafe suffers a disappointment. Will Micah ever master the peculiar game of Social Graces?

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Tarnished City: Equal opportunities for the few

Book cover: Tarnished City - Vic James (a chained hand points down, a Scottish castle in the background)With the Chancellor dead, the Jardines are back in control of Britain. As Luke Hadley is delivered to the Scottish fortress of Lord Crovan for his Condemnation, Abi escapes to join Luke’s agitating allies. But can they do anything to avert the horror the Jardines will bring to Britain – let alone rescue poor Luke before he chooses to walk through the Last Door?

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Cargo: in space, everyone can hear you dream

The Earth is dying. Humanity is living in slum-like orbital stations, tantalised by the promise of Rhea, a paradise only the wealthy can afford to emigrate to. Laura takes an 8-year mission aboard a cargo ship to earn her passage – but her duty shift is disturbed by strange noises and a glimpse of another person where none should be. Just what cargo are they carrying? And where are they really taking it?

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A Matter of Oaths: cyberpunk space opera

Book cover: A Matter of Oaths - Helen S Wright (a silhouetted man overlaid with a web of light)Formidable Commander Rallya needs a new First Officer for Bhattya; talented young webber Rafe needs a new berth. But Rafe is an Oath-breaker and few crews will consider taking him on. Worse, he was identity-wiped: he has no idea who he was or why he broke faith. But there are those who do, and they aren’t finished with him – or with Bhattya if she takes him on Excellent story with bonus pulp scifi cover art

Tremontaine: My Life for Your Life

Rafe and Reza are men about town, while Kaab gains a startling insight into the Duchess and hunts down her wayward spy. We’re coming up to mid-season and inter-relationships are starting to get complicated, with hints of unexpected alliances as new friendships develop.

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There’s always room for one more… Alien movie (apparently)

2104. The colony ship Covenant is headed for Origae-6 with 2000 colonists, 1100 embryos and 15 crew aboard. After a freak accident, the crew intercept a mysterious signal from a supposedly uninhabited – but temptingly habitable – planet. They turn aside from their course to investigate. What can possibly go wrong?

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Revenger: a young lady’s guide to becoming a space badass

Book cover: Revenger - Alastair Reynolds (a spaceship, black on black)Humanity is scattered across the hundreds of worlds of the Congregation, picking through the locked baubles of previous Occupations to steal their lost technologies. Few have the courage to venture into that darkness. But the Ness sisters are keen to escape their controlled lives on Mazarile, and they have no idea what evils lurk in the Empty…

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The Book Was Better (or was it): Android vs Blade Runner

In a slight twist on proceedings, I’m not only asking whether Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was better, but comparing it to two films at once. Which is a tall order and gives me lots to talk about. Or may just be a thinly veiled excuse to talk about Blade Runner 2049.

…yeah, it may just be that.

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Tremontaine: Every Face A Forgery

This week’s episode is a warning to guard our hearts. Diane’s former mantra – attachment is a weakness – may come back to haunt all our beloved characters. Their affections and their assumptions make them vulnerable. I AM WORRIED ABOUT EVERYONE, OKAY?

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The Collapsing Empire: if only it were tv

Book cover: The Collapsing Empire - John Scalzi a spaceship against a lurid green backdrop)When humanity left Earth, they did so via the Flow – a little-understood force that handily connects disparate places in the universe. The Flow makes faster-than-light travel unnecessary. The Flow, consequently, holds the far-flung Empire together. And as one emperox dies and an unsuited heir is crowned, the Flow is collapsing…

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Tremontaine: Night of the Flames

While Riverside revels in being released from its siege (and Tess tries to keep it from revelling in ways that would see the siege reinstated), the City – and Rafe – prepare to party through the Night of the Flames. But some fires have a sadder purpose, as the Kinwiinik release Ixsaabim’s spirit to rejoin her ancestors at last. How can Kaab satisfy everyone who is now watching her?

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