40 Years by Bernd Struben

You know, there are often times when I get a book through the post, one I’ve not heard of before, and think – shall I or shan’t I? This was the case with 40 Years by Bernd Struben from Strider Nolan Media. The cover didn’t really appeal to me and pique my interest that much, but reading the blurb did. It sounded like the sort of book I would enjoy and I instantly thought of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War books, a series I’ve enjoyed immensely. 40 Years is also a fairly short novel, standing at just shy of 200 pages, so when I browsed my to-read stack this stood out as one I should try – I wasn’t going to lose much by giving it a shot. I can honestly say that I was so glad I did decide to pick it up – it’s a quick read that packs so much into it’s pages and left me wanting more! Continue reading “40 Years by Bernd Struben”

The Apocalypse Ocean by Tobias Buckell

apocalypse-ocean-hcMy review of Tobias Buckell’s latest Xenowealth novel, The Apocalypse Ocean, is now live over at SFFWorld.com. I’ve really enjoyed this series and setting and highly recommend checking them out:

Having just finished a read-through of all four Xenowealth novels I can recommend them in a heartbeat. This is science fiction at its most enjoyable, offering plenty to marvel at, while still giving food for thought. Personally I hope Buckell returns to this universe in the near future to complete the tale, and whether it be by Kickstarter or some other route, I’ll support him every step of the way.

Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell

If you’ve read Buckell’s previous two novels, Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin, then you’ll know what to expect from a third book in the same setting. If you’re new to Buckell and wondering what you’ll get between the pages then the answer is simple: an action packed, well plotted and delivered story with interesting and likable characters. Of course, that can describe many books nowadays, so why is this any different? Well, the whole setting is based on the descendants of the Caribbean Islands and the culture that comes along with it is fascinating and enjoyable. You’ve also got kick-ass characters. And this time around there’s an even more persuasive reason to read: space zombies. Continue reading “Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell”

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

time-salvagerMy review for Time Salvager, Wesley Chu’s latest novel, is now up over at SFFWorld. Definitely recommended despite minor issues I found with it.

If, like me, you came to Wesley Chu’s writing through his excellent Tao novels (Lives of Tao, Deaths of Tao, Rebirths of Tao), then you know that he is an author that can not only tell a good story, but one that is intricately plotted and filled with interesting characters. When Time Salvager was announced I was excited to see Chu expand into a new setting and was left wondering what type of story he would deliver. I have to be honest, time travel is not my favourite of topics, and I find that more often than not stories can either corner themselves with too much internal logic, or simply fail to use the idea to its full advantage. Perhaps this is why it’s taken me some extra months before finally sitting down to read Time Salvager, and disappointed I was not.

Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell

After reading, and recently re-reading, Crystal Rain I loved the way that Tobias Buckell bought a unique flavour to science fiction: the Caribbean influences made for an interesting story and very strong characters. It was with great anticipation that I picked up Ragamuffin, even now when I’ve returned to re-read this novel. My main question at the time was whether or not Buckell could bring the uniqueness and story telling skills to space opera, and if he could how would it all fit together. Despite it being some years since my first read of Ragamuffin I found that I still had the same questions, even knowing that I enjoyed it back then. Both time I was very pleased to find not only an entertaining story, but one that once again brings great characters to the table, delivers an interesting history, and has more than enough action to satisfy. Continue reading “Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell”

Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell

Crystal Rain is Tobias Buckell’s debut novel, initially released back in 2006, and it’s a novel that brings something a little different to science fiction. Born and raised in the Caribbean, Buckell brings a strong flavour of that culture to this story, much to its benefit. With a re-release of the three Xenowealth novels earlier this year (Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, Sly Mongoose), I thought it was about time I revisited them in preparation for my first-read of the fourth (and self-published) novel, The Apocalypse Ocean. Continue reading “Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell”

The Forever War, an appreciation by Peter F Hamilton

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
An appreciation by Peter F Hamilton

I keep coming back to this book. Not that I re-read it much, I don’t have that kind of time-luxury these days. But when Mark asked me to do something for his Appreciation Month1, it was the one that came straight to the front of my mind. It’s easy, that’s why. Continue reading “The Forever War, an appreciation by Peter F Hamilton”

Phoenicia’s Worlds by Ben Jeapes

Finding new and exciting authors is one of the things I love most about reading. Often I’ll go into bookshops or browse online, and all I see are the same names with new books. When something new pops up – like Phoenicia’s Worlds by Ben Jeapes – my interest is always piqued, especially as new sci-fi authors seem to be much fewer than their fantasy counterparts. Picking up Phoenicia’s Worlds was a no-brainer, though what it delivered was so much more than I expected. Continue reading “Phoenicia’s Worlds by Ben Jeapes”

The Old Man’s War Novels by John Scalzi

I’ve recently re-read John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War novels. Why? Well, I loved them first time around and didn’t realise how long it had been since I last picked them up. Add to that the release of the latest in the series, The End Of All Things, and I wanted to remind myself of all the details leading into this one. Despite buying and reading the new novel through the weekly novella downloads (The Life of the Mind, This Hollow Union, Can Long Endure, To Stand or Fall), I still wanted to go back and blast through them all in short order. I’m glad I did, if for no other reason than how entertaining Scalzi can tell a tale. Continue reading “The Old Man’s War Novels by John Scalzi”

Armada by Ernest Cline

armadaLast month I posted my review for Armada by Ernest Cline over at SFFWorld. I loved Ready Player One, but felt that Armada was just not on the same level. Not only that, but the aspects of RPO that I loved so much often felt forced in Armada. It’s a shame, but then expectations and reality are often at odds with each other…

I’m not too sure where to start with Armada, or what exactly to say. It’s certainly an enjoyable novel on many levels, but it also has many failings that can’t always be ignored. The story, for example, is one many who grew up in the 80’s with films like The Last Starfighter and novels such as Ender’s Game will find shockingly familiar. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, and Cline’s referral to many of these in the text of Armada tells us he is all too aware of them, paying homage to what he’s grown up with. Of course, this also has its drawbacks, and often it can get tiring and repetitive. Fortunately, Cline’s prose mitigates these issues to some extent, and it’s easy to power past them to see what else he has in store for us.