Category Archives: Science Fiction

Ninefox Gambit

Broken Forum has a thread in which the posters regularly list the works that are nominated every year for the Hugo and Nebula awards. Despite being nominally a science-fiction fan, it has been years since I’ve kept myself up to date with these picks so I thought I’d mix up my reading of older novels with newer releases. This one has the added benefit of not being too difficult to read as it’s described as being military science-fiction. In fact, one poster even likened it to the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

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Random Acts of Senseless Violence

This title is up on my reading list from What Makes This Book So Great though it’s arguable whether it even counts as science-fiction. I mentioned in the earlier post about how Jo Walton thought it odd that this book failed to achieve much success when it was first released yet immediately upon reading it, one quickly realizes that it is a work that deserves to be taken seriously.

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The Arrows of Time

Nearly two years after first starting the series, we now come to the final book of the trilogy by Greg Egan. This brings to an end the journey of the Peerless and its inhabitants across many generations as they look forward to reuniting with the homeworld. I believe that this volume has the least mathematics and physics of the three but makes up for it with a conception of free will that is philosophically very mind-bending.

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Janissaries

So I promised after reading What Makes This Book So Great that I would slowly work my way through some of the picks in it that I found most interesting. I’ve read some of Jerry Pournelle’s work before, notably his collaborations with the better known Larry Niven, but this was quite recent and I somehow I missed out on reading any of his stuff back when I was first discovering the genre. I picked this one because it has a premise that turns up often in crack fiction or fan-fiction and shows what can be done in the hands of a professional writer.

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Stories of Your Life and Others

As you might expect this rereading of the stories of Ted Chiang was prompted by watching Arrival. In fact, I didn’t just read the eight stories collected in this book. I read pretty much everything that I could find by Chiang since plenty of his stuff is readily available online and easily found via the author’s Wikipedia page. I’ve read almost all of it before of course with the notable exception being The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate and The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling.

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What Makes This Book So Great

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I’ve had this book on my wishlist for a couple of years now but only recently bought it on Google Books. This one is a collection of essays, all of which you can actually read for free on the Tor website as a series of blog posts by Jo Walton. The original idea of the column was that, as the subtitle states, she would re-read the classics of science fiction and fantasy and write about her thoughts on them. I found it more convenient to read a curated set of the best ones in the form of a book and it turns out that it’s not so much about the classics of the genre as some of Walton’s favorite books.

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The Eternal Flame

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It’s been over a year since I read the first book of Greg Egan’s Orthogonal trilogy and I make no apologies for that. I can enjoy pretty much every single one of this author’s book but they require significant mental work and consequent preparation to fully appreciate. Reading The Eternal Flame requires having read the first book as Egan wastes no time in explaining how the physics of this universe work or the biological details of the alien species who are the protagonists of the story. Consequently I also assume this prior knowledge in this post.

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