Mar 5
2019

Locus on Ancestral Night

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

“This book is in conversation with a number of others, first of all with Bear’s own – this future is tied to her Jacob’s Ladder trilogy (Dust, Chill, and Grail) via a mention of that “famous ship from history.” There are also strong echoes of C.J. Cherryh and Iain M. Banks – especially the latter, since the Synarche is clearly a cousin of the Culture: an ancient, galaxy-spanning, multi-species polity dedicated to what we might call rational and utopian values (also prone to snarky ship names, e.g., the Synarche Justice Vessel I’ll Explain It To You Slowly). That, in turn, connects with Haimey’s debates with Farweather about freedom and authenticity, which echo Greg Egan’s frequent examinations of ways of engineering the self (e.g., “Chaff” or “Mister Volition”).

Not that it’s all applied philosophy and psychology. The chases, escapes, and discoveries of ancient alien artifacts and haring across half the galaxy and back again make for as gaudy an adventure as one could want, as does the cast of AIs, sociopathic libertarian pirates, snoozy cats, and particularly a charming giant predatory alien-insectoid cop. And this is just Volume One. I quake to imagine what the encore will be like. ” — Locus

Mar 1
2019

New York Times on Dragon Pearl

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

“Dragon Pearl is a clever mash-up of Korean mythology and science fiction tropes. With crisp dialogue, a winning protagonist and a propulsive plot, the tale is enormously entertaining. And a heads-up to speculative-averse adults: If you decided Harry Potter was O.K., this is another one that might surprise you.” — The New York Times

Feb 22
2019

Artificial Condition is a Nebula Award finalist!

Congratulations to Martha Wells on Artificial Condition, the second book in the Murderbot Diaries, being a finalist for the 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella!

Feb 19
2019

BSFA Award nominations for Lee and Wells

The nominations for the 2018 BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) Awards are out, and this year’s shortlist includes Yoon Ha Lee and Martha Wells!

BEST NOVEL

Yoon Ha Lee – Revenant Gun (Solaris)

BEST SHORTER FICTION

Martha Wells – Exit Strategy (Tor.com)

Feb 14
2019

NPR on All Systems Red

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries 1) by Martha Wells

“But this book is sneaky. As much as you want to think this is just some lightweight little confection made of robot fights and space murder ­and as much as All Systems Red wants to present itself as nothing but robot fights and space murder ­Martha Wells did something really clever. She hid a delicate, nuanced and deeply, grumpily human story inside these pulp trappings, by making her murderous robot story primarily character-driven. And the character doing the driving?

Murderbot.

There are subtexts to be read into Murderbot ­ that its experience is a coming-out narrative, that it mirrors the lives of trans people, immigrants, those on the autism spectrum or anyone else who feels the need to hide some essential part of themselves from a population that either threatens or can’t possibly understand them. Or both. And I get all of that because every one of those reads is right.

It’s the wonder of the character ­that something so alien can be so human. That everyone who has ever had to hide in a crowded room, avert their eyes from power, cocoon themselves in media for comfort or lie to survive can relate. It’s powerful to see that on the page. It’s moving to ride around in the head of something that is so strong and so vulnerable, so murder-y and so frightened, all at the same time.

Best news of all? All Systems Red is only the first of four Murderbot Diaries novellas. Wells followed Red with Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy, all of which have gotten multiple electronic, hard- and softcover releases over the past year or so, with the Red hardcover being released this month after winning Hugo, Nebula, Alex and Locus Awards in 2018. Which is proof, I suppose, that I’m not alone in my love for Murderbot. That we are all a little bit Murderbot. That we see ourselves in its skin. And that reading about this sulky, soap-opera-loving cyborg killing machine might be one of the most human experiences you can have in sci-fi right now.” — NPR

« Previous EntriesNext Entries »