Thursday, February 28, 2013

February in Review

February was another good month for reading.  Unfortunately I fell behind in writing reviews.

The 2013 Science Fiction Experience wrapped up in February.  Carl hosts one of my favorite events of the year.  I read and reviewed three books for February that were part of this non-challenge.

Fallen Dragon by Peter Hamilton
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Science Fiction the 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 by Damien Broderick & Paul Di Flippo

Being a huge fan of book reviews helped make the Broderick & Di Flippo book my favorite for the month.

I read many good short stories.  Hopefully I will get the reviews posted shortly.

As for what is coming in March, I plan on alternating between some of the current writers I have not tried yet and some books from the SF Gateway series.

I plan on reading books by Eric Brown and Iain Banks from the current writer list.  From the SF Gateway publications I will be reading books by Kenneth Bulmer, Doris Piserchia, and Richard Cowper.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"iRobot" by Guy Haley

Title:  iRobot
Author:  Guy Haley
First Publication:  Interzone, Jan-Feb 2013
Cover Artist:  Jim Burns

Thank you, Guy Haley.

This short story reminds me why I like science fiction.  It is about the last functioning robot on Earth.  Humanity has died out but it is still trying to fulfill it's programming.

The title is obviously a tribute to Isaac Asimov's classic story with the same name.  Looking back even further, it is also the name of an older story by two brothers who wrote under the name Eando Binder.  In more recent times, Cory Doctorow also used this title.

Why do I like this story so much?  In addition to the title reminding me of Asimov, the writing also reminds me of the short fiction of another favorite of mine-Roger Zelazny.  The idea of the last robot on Earth is a story that Zelazny might have written in his prime.

It is worth buying this issue of Interzone for this story alone.  I will definitely be adding more of Haley's works to my "to be read" pile.

Illustration by Jim Burns

Friday, February 22, 2013

Science Fiction the 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 by Damien Broderick & Paul Di Flippo

Title:  Science Fiction the 101 Best Novels 1985-2010
Authors:  Damien Broderick & Paul Di Flippo
First Publication:  2012
Cover Artist:  Luis Ortiz

From Amazon:
Inspired by David Pringle's landmark 1985 work Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, this volume supplements the earlier selection with the present authors' choices for the best English-language science fiction novels during the past quarter century. Employing a critical slant, the book provides a discussion of the novels and the writers in the context of popular literature. Moreover, each entry features a cover image of the novel, a plot synopsis, and a mini review, making it an ideal go-to guide for anyone wanting to become reacquainted with an old favorite or to discover a previously unknown treasure. With a foreword by David Pringle, this invaluable reference is sure to provoke conversation and debates among sci-fi fans and devotees.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Green Lantern Corps Vol. 1: Fearsome

Title:  Fearsome
Author:  Peter Tomasi
Pencillers:  Fernando Pasarin & Geraldo Borges
Inker:  Scott Hanna
First Publication:  DC Comics 2012


From Goodreads:
As part of the DC New 52 event, the Green Lantern Corps return, led by fan favorite Lanterns Guy Gardner and John Stewart.When a new menace, The Keepers, begins to march across the space sectors and devouring not only their natural resources but their entire populations, it is up to The Corps, severely outnumbered, to stop them. The Corps soon find one of their own held by the ruthless Keepers and must figure out a way to save their comrade and defeat the Keepers without the Green Lantern's most powerful weapon, their power rings.

Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Title:  Welcome to Lovecraft
Author:  Joe Hill
Artist:  Gabriel Rodriquez
First Publication:  IDW Publishing, 2009


From Goodreads:
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them.... and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all... Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder, with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez.

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Title:  Anthem
Author:  Ayn Rand
First Publication:  1938
Cover Artist:  Unknown


From Wikipedia:
Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella by Ayn Rand, written in 1937 and first published in 1938 in England. It takes place at some unspecified future date when mankind has entered another dark age characterized by irrationality, collectivism, and socialistic thinking and economics. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur at all) and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the use of the word "I" is punishable by death).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton

Cover by Jim Burns

From Amazon:

In the distant future, corporations have become sustainable communities with their own militaries, and corporate goals have essentially replaced political ideology. On a youthful, rebellious impulse, Lawrence joined the military of a corporation that he now recognizes to be ruthless and exploitative. His only hope for escape is to earn enough money to buy his place in a better corporation. When his platoon is sent to a distant colony to quell a local resistance effort, it seems like a stroke of amazing fortune, and Lawrence plans to rob the colony of their fabled gemstone, the Fallen Dragon, to get the money he needs. However, he soon discovers that the Fallen Dragon is not a gemstone at all, but an alien life form that the local colonists have been protecting since it crashed in their area. Now, Lawrence has to decide if he will steal the alien to exploit the use of its inherent biotechnical processes -- which far exceed anything humans are capable of -- or if he will help the Resistance get the alien home.

Hamilton is one of the British authors who I have been anxious to read.  Instead of starting one of his multi-book epics, I thought this would be a good one to try since it is a stand alone novel.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New and Old Asimov Stories

The "new Asimov stories" are ones from Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.  So in one respect, I am reviewing new Asimov's stories.

Title:  Dolly
Author:  Elizabeth Bear
First Publication:  Asimov's Science Fiction, Jan. 2011
Cover:  Tomislav Tikulin

Elizabeth Bear must be a fan of Isaac Asimov’s robot stories.  “Dolly” seems like a modern version of the classic Asimov robot mystery.  Bear’s robots are not as advanced as Asimov’s.  The positronic brain has not been developed.  The main characters, two detectives, are called in to investigate a closed room murder.  Only the victim and his robot companion are in the room.  The robot obviously had to commit the murder.  The question becomes who hacked into the programming to orchestrate the deed.  Or is something else going on…  Bear has captured the spirit of classic science fiction short story telling and combined it with a modern writing style.  After reading this story, I will be looking for more of Bear’s work in the future.