Category Archives: Books

The Fifth Season

Once again, I had no idea that this was another first book of a trilogy instead of a standalone. In retrospect I guess the titles were an obvious clue. The Fifth Season won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for 2016 and the second book The Obelisk Gate won the same award for 2017. Then again, author N.K. Jemisin is hardly a stranger to the awards circuit. This however is the first book I’ve read by her as I’ve been out of the loop for a while.

Continue reading The Fifth Season

China Mountain Zhang

Since this is an older novel, it was obviously another pick out of Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great. This was Maureen F. McHugh’s debut novel and it was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula though it didn’t win either. As its title suggests, China and Chinese culture takes center stage in this novel. It’s far from being the first Western science-fiction work to do so, notably David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series was started in 1989. Still this book is more highly regarded and is very enjoyable while I found the Chung Kuo series to be an impressively wordy mess back when I tried it ages ago.

Continue reading China Mountain Zhang

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.

Continue reading Ninefox Gambit

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.

Continue reading Random Acts of Senseless Violence

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.

Continue reading The Arrows of Time

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.

Continue reading Janissaries

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.

Continue reading Stories of Your Life and Others