All posts tagged: Science Fiction

November is SF Month

Having signed up to participate in SciFi Month (the perfect month to do a speculative fiction readathon!) I then had to think about what books I was going to read—and yes, of course, review. One book was going to be obvious. I’m reading and reviewing Beth Cato’s ROAR OF SKY for the Science Fiction Foundation website, and their magazine, Foundation. The other obvious choices of books are in my over-flowing TBR pile—I need to separate them from one pile, and make a new one exclusively for this November Challenge. My reading list now looks like this: ROAR OF SKY — Beth Cato (Fantasy) EMBERS OF WAR — Gareth L. Powell (Space Opera) LEGION OF PROPHECY — Mark A. Latham (Fantasy) MARCH OF WAR — Bennett R. Cole (Science Fiction) ORPHAN BRIGADE — Henry V. O’Neil (Military Science Fiction) If I manage to read all five books in one month, it will be something of an achievement. Not that I’ve not read more than 5 books in a month, but that lately, I just choose not …

Five Authors I Have Met

Either through work, or via conventions I’ve attended over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a number of authors. It’s one thing to love an author’s work, and to rave on about this or that book. But getting to meet them, in person, and even have that extended moment with them long enough to say more than: ‘I love your work,’ is a huge privilege and yes, priceless. MICHAEL MOORCOCK — Fantasy Way back when I lived and worked in London, I met one of the biggest fantasy authors of his generation, Michael Moorcock, whose work (at the time) I was a huge fan of. If you haven’t read any of his work, you should try: Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories The Jewel in the Skull (Hawkmoon series) The Cornelius Quartet (Jerry Cornelius Series) All books I grew up reading back in the 70s. Moorcock once wrote of himself, “I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I’d rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas.” …

Speculating on Fiction

Anyone who knows me and knows me well, knows I love science fiction and was, up until a few years ago, a SF reading machine. That is, until I got jaded by the then up and coming authors writing books that weren’t just door jambs, but were a trilogy in one volume. I simply lost interest in wading my way through these novels. Some had good ideas, but mostly, it was recycled ideas, being reused and tweaked, but without adding anything new or relevant to the genre. I felt like I had read it all before. People kept telling me you should read so and so, but so and so had written something that was, to me at least, a pale imitation of something Clarke, or Asimov, or what Heinlein had written 10, 20 and 30 years ago. These new authors, to my mind had (a) never read the authors that had come before them or, (b) had, and were cherry-picking ideas as their own. I didn’t know what was the bigger of the crimes. …

Hive Monkey, by Gareth L. Powell

DETAILS Title: HIVE MONKEY Author: Gareth L. Powell Publisher: Solaris Books, 2013 ISBN: 978-1781081662 Genre: SF | Steampunk BACKCOVER BLURB In order to hide from his unwanted fame as the spitfire-pilot-monkey who emerged from a computer game to defeat the nefarious corporation that engineered him, the charismatic and dangerous Ack-Ack Macaque is working as a pilot on a world-circling nuclear-powered Zeppelin.
But when the cabin of one of his passengers is invaded by the passenger’s own dying doppelgänger, our hirsute hero finds himself thrust into another race to save the world – this time from an aggressive hive mind, time-hopping saboteurs, and an army of homicidal Neanderthal assassins! WHAT I THOUGHT The Mayhem-Monkey does it again, blowing away the cobwebs in a rollicking roller coaster ride to save the world! Introducing the reader to a new character, writer William Cole—possibly the alter-ego to the actual author?—Powell opens up Hive Monkey with a dash of intrigue that is quickly followed by our first loud explosion worthy of the Mayhem Monkey himself. The author then drops us right …

Ack-Ack Macaque, by Gareth L. Powell

DETAILS Title: ACK-ACK MACAQUE Author: Gareth L Powell Publisher: Solaris Books, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-78108-060-3 Genre: SF | Steampunk BACKCOVER BLURB In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque.’ The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence. A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins circle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon. WHAT I THOUGHT Ack-Ack Macaque, by Gareth L. Powell, is, without a doubt, one of the best reads I’ve enjoyed in a long, long time. This superbly plotted and …