Sci-Fi & Fantasy

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John Scalzi: The End of All Things

john scalzi - End of All Things 2015This was a fitting end to the series – I think it may be the end.  All the books in this series are readable, fast paced and exciting.  I loved the premise of using old people to fight wars – giving them a new life and offering them a chance to make a difference.  We all can image how this will back-fire as a great idea.

Year/Format: 2015, Book , 380 pages ;

 

Library Summary

Hugo-award winning author, John Scalzi returns to his best-selling Old Man’s War universe with The End of All Things, the direct sequel to 2013’s The Human Division

Humans expanded into space…only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement…for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.

Now the Colonial Union is living on borrowed time-a couple of decades at most, before the ranks of the Colonial Defense Forces are depleted and the struggling human colonies are vulnerable to the alien species who have been waiting for the first sign of weakness, to drive humanity to ruin. And there’s another problem: A group, lurking in the darkness of space, playing human and alien against each other-and against their own kind -for their own unknown reasons.

In this collapsing universe, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the Colonial Union diplomats he works with race against the clock to discover who is behind attacks on the Union and on alien races, to seek peace with a suspicious, angry Earth, and keep humanity’s union intact…or else risk oblivion, and extinction-and the end of all things.

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David Weber – Hell’s Foundations Quiver

David Weber - Hells Foundations Quiver 2015I am exhausted reading and holding this large hardcover book. This is the 8th book in the series.  If you are looking for a great time – start reading.  Always a pleasure to read his work – although I did lose interest in his Honor series after about 5 books.  If you like warfare strategy , battles on land and sea, along with interesting characters and how they interact, this should be on your list.

There is little connection to my last review of his more fanciful story which include mystical happenings and along with horror, a lot of humour.  This series is very serious and opens the  door for speculation about humanity and will it ever change.  Not in his universe I fear.

Contributors: Youll, Stephen,

Year/Format: 2015, Book , 784 pages ;

Library Summary: Hell’s Foundations Quiver:the latest novel in David Weber’s New York Times-bestselling Safehold series begun with Off Armageddon Reef, By Schism Rent Asunder, By Heresies Distressed, A Mighty Fortress [ How Firm a Foundation, Midst Toil and Tribulation] and Like a Mighty Army.

TURNING OF THE TIDE

Centuries ago, the human race fought its first great war against an alien race-and lost. A tiny population of human beings fled to distant Safehold. Centuries later, their descendants have forgotten their history; for them, life has been an eternal Middle Ages, ruled by the Church of God Awaiting, whose secret purpose is to prevent the re-emergence of industrial civilization.

But not all of Safehold’s founders were on board with this plan. Those dissidents left behind their own secret legacies. One of those is Merlyn Athrawes, cybernetic avatar of one of Earth’s long-dead defenders, now reawakened after a thousand years to restart human progress and reclaim our place in the universe. Merlyn has intervened in the small Safeholdian realm of Charis, seeding it with ideas and innovations and helping it to rise to challenge the hegemony of the Church.

It’s been a long and bloody fight, but aided by a stream of inventions–breech-loading rifles, signal rockets, claymore mines, new approaches to manufacturing and supply-Charis and its few allies seem to have finally gained the upper hand. Now major realms have begun to consider switching sides.

To all these ends, Merlyn Athrawes has been everywhere, under multiple disguises and wielding hidden powers. The secret of who and what he is has been closely held. But a new player has arrived, one who knows many secrets-including Merlyn’s own.

David Weber – Sword of the South

David Weber - Sword of the South 2015
I loved the 1st books David Weber wrote about Bahzell [Horse-stealer] and am thrilled that there is a 2nd series.  The pace is almost exhausting.  Great characters and world – good and bad.  The good humour and the clever plot twists keep you reading.  Even though this writer always writes large volumes – you can’t believe the richness he crams into each paragraph.  These stories are more boisterous and wild than most.  They have a less military quality and deal more with small groups.

Previous Books – not to be missed.

  1. Oath of Swords
  2. War God’s Own
  3. Wind Rider’s Oath
  4. War Maid’s Choice

Similar authors, universe/fantasy and style: CJ Cherryh, Elizabeth Moon, Michelle Sagara, Tolkien, M.C. Plank, come to mind.

 

The sword of the south

by Weber, David, 1952- author.

Year/Format: 2015, Book , 560 pages

Summary

#1 in a NEW EPIC FANTASY SERIES by 28-times New York Times and international best seller David Weber, set within his Bahzell Bahnakson/War God universe. A swordsman who has been robbed of his past must confront an evil wizard with a world at stake.

About The Sword of the South:
“Weber returns to his epic fantasy world last depicted in War Maid’s Choice . . . With the full pantheon of gods, wizards, elves, dwarves, and dark sorcery, this title is guaranteed to win the favor of Robert Jordan and Michael Sullivan enthusiasts. Designed as an entry point for first-time readers, it also is a great option for teens and adults.”–Library Journal

Gregory Benford & Larry Niven – Collaboration

Gregory Benford and Larry Niven are my top writers and when I saw them collaborating I was thrilled. These 2 novels do not disappoint.   The characters and story are rich and ask so many questions.  As in the summaries provided – they bring very interesting ideas to the genre as Nivens’s many books on Ringworlds and similar stories by Clark’s Rama bring us questions and answers about alien encounters.

Benford’s epic Galactic Centre novels are an outrageous series covering 6 novels of wonder and scientific theory as well as fanciful imagery.  Here he allows the same creativity – based on science and probabilities.   These books remind me of the collaboration Niven did with Jerry Pournelle – The Mote In God’s Eye in 1974.  If you haven’t read that and the sequel – The Gripping Hand 1993 – I highly recommend you check them out.  They are more adventure stories with less science.  Here there is lots of science and lots of adventure.

BowlofHeaven

Bowl of Heaven – 1st book
by Benford, Gregory, 1941-
Contributors: Niven, Larry.
Year/Format: 2012, Book, 412 p. ;
Subjects:
• Humanalien encounters–Fiction.
• Life on other planets–Fiction.
• Quests (Expeditions)–Fiction.

Library Summary/Review: A human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by the discovery of an immense bowl-shaped structure in space that leads to hostile alien encounters and profound revelations about humanity’s place in the universe.

Early notes – great read –  very Ring-world but with Benford’s help the story is more scientific. Heavy Niven influence.

ShipstarShipstar – 2nd Book
by Benford, Gregory, 1941-, author
Contributors: Niven, Larry,
Year/Format: 2014, Book , 415 pages :
Subjects:
• Human-alien encounters–Fiction
• Outer space–Exploration–Fiction
• Space colonies–Fiction.

Library Summary
Science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape) continue the thrilling adventure of a human expedition to another star system that is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure cupping a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths. And which, tantalizingly, is on a direct path heading toward the same system the human ship is to colonize.
Investigating the Bowl, or Shipstar, the human explorers are separated–one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape–while the mystery of the Shipstar’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that transform their understanding of their place in the universe.

Interview: C. S. Boyack

Great interview – nice to hear the author’s thoughts outside of the work.

Planetary Defense Command

It’s midnight, and I’m standing in a snow-covered field, waiting for C. S. Boyack. Something howls in the distance. The light of the full moon reflecting off the snow is almost as bright as daylight. Almost. A man approaches, and I spot fur sticking out from the top of his jacket. This guy has definitely turned. I raise my arm to give the ‘fire’ signal to my marksmen. Wait, Boyack has a bushy beard. I take a closer look, and wave off the marksmen. The wind picks up, reminding me I’m not dressed warmly enough – bulky clothing would slow me down if a werewolf charged. I look down at my pad of paper and scratch out half of my questions. I want to get out of here.

Many people daydream about writing a novel, but never write anything. What was it that pushed you over the edge?

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Charlaine Harris – Midnight Series: Book 1 & 2

This is a new series and one that is sure to please fans of Sookie Stackhouse [True Blood – TV series] and Harper Connelly [Grave] stories.  Its a conjoining of some characters and the background stories.  If you start reading here – you will no doubt turn to the previous stories to fill in time until the next Midnight story hapCh Harris -Day Siftpens.

The two stories I just read –  Midnight Crossroad - Ch Harris1) Midnight Crossroads 2014 & 2) Day Shift 2015 were entertaining and lively reads.  The number of things that go wrong add a certain black humour.  The characters are quite diverse and they begin to form a pack with different functions.  A whole new group of Fey have arrived.  Charlaine Harris has a never ending capacity for the fanciful – the stuff of daydreams.  Her writing is quite good in these two books – very relaxed and not quaint.  The two books are great together – like an epic novel.

This is old-school Pulp Fiction – Fantasy Sci-Fi.  I had a good time and look forward to next year’s.  At least I could read 2 right away because I had forgotten about this author.

Normally I give a LIbrary Summary but that one was a major spoil alert.  So avoid the reviews and just read.

Jo Baker – The Mermaid’s Child

I Loved it – was surprised it was cataloged in the Sci-Fi Genre section as it is clearly not Sci-Fi – not even fantasy!  I am listing this book because it was so lovely. It is a great story about following you journey and not a lot of thinking. It is written like a dream.  As such I was compelled to follow the journey to the end.  The writing is clear, colourful and vivid.  I will have to send a note to the Library but part of me wants other Sci-Fi readers to check it out.

This is a new author for me as I have been only reading Sci-Fi for some time.

JoBaker-The MermaidsChildThe Mermaid’s Child

by Baker, Jo.
Year/Format: 2015, Book , 288 pages.
Subjects:
• Mermaids–Fiction.
• Mothers and daughters–Fiction.
• Voyages and travels–Fiction.

Library Summary/Review: “In this fantastical novel, the acclaimed author of Longbourn brings us the magical story of a young girl in search of her mother…who just might be a mermaid. Malin has always been different, and when her father dies, leaving her alone, her choice is clear: stay, and remain an outsider forever, or leave in search of the mythical inheritance she is certain awaits her. Apprenticed to a series of strange and wonderful characters, Malin embarks on a grueling journey that crosses oceans and continents–from the high seas to desert plains–and leads to a discovery that she could never have expected. Beautifully written and hauntingly strange, The Mermaid’s Child is a remarkable piece of storytelling, and an utterly unique work of fantasy from literary star Jo Baker”–