I’ve been aware for some time of a culture war simmering in the SF world. And trying to ignore it, as I believed it was largely irrelevant to any of my concerns and I have friends on both sides of the divide. Recently, for a number of reasons I may go into in a later… Continue reading SF and the damaging effects of literary status envy
Big Boys Don’t Cry (Tom Kratman; Castalia House) is a short novel which begins innocently enough as an apparent pastiche of Keith Laumer’s Bolo novels and short stories. Kratman’s cybernetic “Ratha” tanks, dispassionately deploying fearsome weapons but somehow equipped to understand human notions of honor and duty, seem very familiar.
2040 (Graham Tottle; Cameron Publicity & Marketing Ltd) is a very odd book. Ostensibly an SF novel about skulduggery on two timelines, it is a actually a ramble through a huge gallimaufry of topics including most prominently the vagaries of yachting in the Irish Sea, an apologia for British colonial administration in 19th-century Africa, and… Continue reading Review: 2040
Blogging will be light and possibly nonexistent for the next week, as I’m off to Summer Weapons Retreat 2014 for fun and swordplay. Keep out of trouble until I get back…oh, who am I kidding. Go make interesting trouble.
Yesterday’s Kin (Nancy Kress; Tachyon Publications) is a surprisingly pedestrian first-contact novel. Surprisingly because Nancy Kress has done groundbreaking SF in the past. While this novel is competently written, no new ground is being broken here.
The introduction to The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2014 (Rich Horton, ed.; Prime Books) gave me a terrible sinking feeling. It was the anthologist’s self-congratulatory talk about “diversity” that did it. In the real world, when an employer trumpets its “diversity” you are usually being told that hiring on the basis of actual… Continue reading Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2014
World of Fire (James Lovegrove; Solaris) is a a promising start to a new SF adventure series, in which a roving troubleshooter tackles problems on the frontier planets of an interstellar civilization. Dev Harmer’s original body died in the Frontier War against the artificial intelligences of Polis+. Interstellar Security Solutions saved his mind and memories;… Continue reading Review: World of Fire
As I write, the author of The Chaplain’s War (Brad Torgerson; Baen) has recently been one of the subjects of a three-minute hate by left-wingers in the SF community, following Larry Correia’s organization of a drive to get Torgerson and other politically incorrect writers on the Hugo ballot. This rather predisposed me to like his… Continue reading Review: The Chaplain’s War
There are so many interesting points being elicited in the responses to my previous post on why the deep norms of the SF genre matter that I think I may have passed a threshold. I think the material I have written on critical theory of science fiction is now substantial enough that I could actually… Continue reading Science fiction from within
Nobody will ever confuse Fortunes of the Imperium (Jody Lynne Nye; Baen) with great SF, but it’s a likeable, fluffy little confection of a book that had me thinking “Wodehouse…in…spaaace!”
I had to buy a new UPS for my desktop machine yesterday after the old one succumbed to battery death, so Cathy and I made a run to the local MicroCenter. UPS designers have been pissing me off since forever with designs that require you to throw away the entire device when the battery craps… Continue reading UPS I did it again
In the book reviews I’ve been writing recently I have been applying some very specific ideas about the nature and scope of science fiction, particularly in contrast to other genres such as fantasy, mystery, and horror. I have not hesitated to describe some works found in SF anthologies as defective SF, as non-SF, or even… Continue reading Why the deep norms of the SF genre matter
The new cat, Zola has been with us for about a month now. My wife and I observe an interesting convergence; as he feels increasingly secure around us, his behavior is coming to resemble Sugar’s more and more, to the point that it sometimes feels like having her back with us. What makes this a… Continue reading Feline behavioral convergence