Inside a world of worlds within worlds, a wonder of the galaxy, evolved civilisations play out their conflicts through the bloody wars of lesser societies. When a warring king is murdered and his heir framed, the prince strikes out into space in search of his long-lost sister, a ward of the Culture. But will they intervene?
800 years after the Idiran War, the dying light of two suns destroyed in it will finally reach Masaq’ Orbital. For Ziller, the occasion is overshadowed by the arrival of a Chelgrian emissary on a mission to bring the composer in exile home. But Quilan has other motives for his visit, and the Idiran War is not the only one whose consequences will be felt on Masaq’.
Will and Temeraire are roused from their Australian retirement with an offer they can’t refuse: full reinstatement in return for a voyage to Brazil to try and forge a peace between the Portuguese colonies and Napoleon’s imported Tswana shock troops. Can they redeem themselves in the eyes of England?
No matter how advanced a civilisation may be, there’s always a chance it will encounter an Out of Context Problem: something so far beyond it that it may accidentally – or intentionally – destroy everything. When an impenetrable black-body sphere appears in Culture space, factions scramble to take advantage – if they can work out how to do so.
I nearly chose I Am Legend for a Confession, but I’ve read it before – however little I remembered beyond the ending. Instead, I’m going to take another look at it side by side with the Will Smith adaptation (as a Bad SF Fan, I haven’t seen the Vincent Price and Charlton Heston versions). Which will be better?
Double whammy confession time: I hadn’t previously read Philip K Dick’s classic, and I don’t much like Blade Runner. Spot the obvious problem though: I have seen Blade Runner, and it’s really hard to read the book without being influenced by it.
In 1527, a Spanish colonial expedition landed in Florida to establish new colonies. 9 years later, the only 4 survivors finally reached Mexico City: 3 Spanish noblemen and 1 Moorish slave. This is his story.
When Donatella Dragma has her sister kidnapped to save her from an arranged marriage, Scarlett is taken to Caraval for the yearly interactive theatrical. But Caraval’s reputation is stained by death and madness, and Tella goes missing on the very first night. Can Scarlett avoid the traps and win the game to rescue her sister?
Christmas Eve is when Icelanders given books to one another and winter is when we Brits historically told ghost stories by the fire. I’m celebrating the season with a collection of speculative horror stories chosen by Margrét Helgadóttir.
Okay, having ‘fessed up about how few classics I’ve read, I shall endeavour to read at least half a dozen seminal SF works next year in my ongoing Confessions. But first, some catch-up – I read Slaughterhouse Five a while back. I knew it was hailed as a great SF AND great anti-war novel, but I didn’t really know what to expect. It certainly wasn’t what I got.
NASA has known about the alien ship in the asteroid belt since Roswell. But now they’re ready to send a small team to investigate it, including linguist Jane Holloway. When they find an empty ship, the military assume command: but someone – or something – still lives in the empty corridors. And it wants to talk.
Iris Villarca is an only child, kept isolated from friends and servants. Her father wishes only to protect her, but she dreams of stories where headstrong daughters seize their freedom. There is no freedom for a Villarca. Villarcas sicken if they leave Rawblood. Villarcas die young. And so do those they love.
Twenty years after the Madness, the Settlement has turned its back on the disastrous ways of the City People, embracing self-sufficiency and fending off attacks by Ferals. But the children of this new age are different, manifesting new powers as they hit puberty. What will the Change bring for tight-knit twins Arika and Narrah?
Agatha is plump, her swelling belly a cause for mockery within her unpleasant family. Agatha is also rich and well-connected; she can buy a new one and sell hers on, jiggles and all. But when she sees her buyer, her desires change… J Y Yang’s Secondhand Bodies takes an unflinching look at toxic relationships and the arrogance of privilege.