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Confessions of a bad SF fan: no resisting a sequel

earthseaWhen the High Priestess dies, the lesser priestesses leave the Tombs of Atuan and go in search of the newborn she has become. If she grows healthy and unblemished, she is fed to the Nameless Ones, keeper of their rituals, heir to their secrets. Could such a child ever turn her back on the Dark?

Revisiting The Tombs of Atuan

A Gathering of Shadows: an excess of squee

Book cover: A Gathering of Shadows - V E Schwab (a woman with thigh boots and two knives silhouetted above a street map against a red background)Kell Maresh and Lila Bard saved the worlds and went their separate ways. Kell has been confined to keep his royal brother safe; Lila has finally gone to sea to find herself (and scare sensible men witless). But the triennial Essen Tasch lures the world’s best sorcerers back to London – and a girl from Grey London has a few tricks up her sleeve she’d like to try…  Continue reading “A Gathering of Shadows: an excess of squee”

Space Opera Sunday: Use of Weapons

Diziet Sma needs to recruit former superstar agent Cheradenine Zakalwe for one last job to resolve a situation in a politically-unstable star system. But is Zakalwe still up to the job? And will the price he puts on his renewed service unravel him beyond repair?

Continue reading “Space Opera Sunday: Use of Weapons”

Space Opera Sunday: The Player of Games

Jernau Morat Gurgeh is bored of winning, a master of strategy and tactics who can beat anyone at almost any game. When Special Circumstances approach him to represent the Culture in the vicious Empire of Azad – home to a complex Game so revered the winner is made Emperor – he can’t say no. But to play will mean putting more than just his life at risk. Can he resist the lure of Azad?

Continue reading “Space Opera Sunday: The Player of Games”

Space Opera Sunday: Consider Phlebas

The galaxy is at war. Horza, a shape-changing spy captured during an attempted infiltration, is rescued by his Idiran masters for a mission only he can complete: to return to a Planet of the Dead where he once served as a steward and retrieve a downed enemy AI. Now he just needs to find a ship, cross a war zone, and convinced the godlike alien who guards Schar’s World that it’s happy he’s back…

Continue reading “Space Opera Sunday: Consider Phlebas”

The Book was Better (or was it): The Prestige

Book cover: The Prestige - Christopher Priest (a dapper man stares at his reflection - unlike him it is wearing a top hat. Nice trick eh)

I realised with glee after my fun revisiting Jurassic Park that I have lots of overlap between my bookshelves and my DVD rack. You know what this means… This month, I’m revisiting an epic tale of feuding Victorian illusionists – but which Christopher did it better? Almost spoiler-free.

Priest vs Nolan

Confessions of a bad SF fan: I always liked fantasy better

earthseaIt occurred to me that classics of fantasy are as important to me as classics of scifi. So I’m cheating this month, and visiting Earthsea in my celebration of genre classics. I’ll come completely clean: this isn’t even a first read. This was one of my first loves. Can it survive my adult prejudices?

More musings than review, minor spoilers

A Closed and Common Orbit

Book cover: A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky Chambers (two silhouetted figures against a night sky of wheeling stars)The heart-rending follow-up to last year’s break-out debut, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, I liked A Closed and Common Orbit so much I read it twice in two months. Honestly, do I need to say more?

Well I will anyway

False Hearts beat true (and very fast in places)

Book cover: False Hearts - Laura Lam (a heart image comprised of two overlapping fingerprints on a silver background)

What if you spent your first 16 years so close to someone you shared a heart? What would you think if they came to you 10 years later, covered in someone else’s blood? What would you risk to save your twin sister?

Don’t expect to be able to put this down

Bite-size Books: Pockets

Strange things keep coming out of Nadia’s pockets. Not her things. Not things that might accidentally have found their way into the wrong coat. Not things that should, by rights, physically fit in the space afforded by the pockets in question. But they keep coming out. Pockets is the World Fantasy Award-nominated short story by Amal El-Mohtar.

What a lovely story

Empire of Ivory: doing the right things

Book cover: Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik (UK hardcover, stylised woodcut design of dragons, jungle plants and African animals)Laurence and Temeraire return home to discover that British dragons are dying of a fatal illness. The Aerial Corps is grounded, leaving the country exposed to Napoleon and Lien. A belated insight dispatches the boys and their ailing friends to Africa in the hope of finding a cure – but nobody has ever returned from an expedition to the interior…

I WONDER WHY YOU OBNOXIOUS COLONIAL SLAVERS YOU

Throne of Jade: bromance under fire

Book cover: Throne of Jade - Naomi NovikRevealed as a Chinese Celestial, Temeraire has become an international incident: the Chinese have sent a delegation to bring him home, and the Admiralty are minded to agree in the interests of diplomatic relations. Will our boys be separated?

Did I mention it has dragons?

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