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Book Reviews

Clarke at 100: The Sands of Mars

by Paul

After looking again at Earthlight and A Fall of Moondust, our revisiting of the works of Arthur C. Clarke in the year he would have turned 100 brings us to one of his earliest novels: The Sands of Mars. Early novels can be curiously revealing. When a writer still hasn’t acquired the sophistication of more mature works, what […]

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Review: Pirate Utopia by Bruce Sterling

by Paul

In September 1919, the Paris Peace Conference had granted the city of Fiume and its surrounding territory on the north-east coast of the Adriatic to the new kingdom of what would become Yugoslavia. But the population of the city was largely Italian, leading to disagreements about the ultimate fate of Fiume. Taking advantage of the confusion, […]

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Clarke at 100: A Fall of Moondust

by Paul

In our celebration of the work of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who would have turned 100 this year, we follow Earthlight by turning to another of his novels set on the Moon, A Fall of Moondust. Not far short of a decade separates the two books, so it is not surprising that it is a somewhat different Moon that […]

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Review: Europe in Winter

by Paul

There is a problem with writing a series, a problem that is inherent in the very structure of the work. The fact that it is a series demands that each volume offers more of the same (as, probably, do many of the fans); yet that way lies simple repetition, and what is really needed is […]

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Review: Everything Belongs to the Future

by Paul

Oxford has always been a divided city: town and gown, the privileged and the plebeian, academe and industry, the hallowed past and the dirty present; so Oxford makes for an appropriate setting for the new class divisions at the heart of Laurie Penny’s short novel, Everything Belongs to the Future. It is the end of this […]

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Clarke at 100: Earthlight

by Paul

Arthur C. Clarke would have turned 100 this year. To celebrate one of the greats of science fiction, I’m going to spend the year revisiting some of his books, and writing about them here. I’m not going to be reading them in any specific order, more a matter of which one I happen to take […]

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12 Great New SF Titles to start 2017

by Paul

Hi, have a good break? I did, but I’m glad to be back at the blog. Particularly as there’s so much going on this year. And if the books coming out in January are anything to go by, it’s going to be a great year in science fiction. Just look at these books: 4 3 […]

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Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

by Paul

As Cora first boards the Underground Railroad she is told, “Look outside as you speed through, and you’ll find the true face of America”. The bitter joke, of course, is that when you look out from a train underground there is nothing to see but a uniform darkness. When I reviewed Underground Airlines by Ben […]

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Review: Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

by Paul

… that’s just the way things go If you’re black you might as well not show up on the street ‘Less you want to draw the heat Bob Dylan, “Hurricane”     It is 40 years since our latest Nobel laureate pointed out the running sore in the American body politic. It wasn’t new then, […]

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Discover Ted Chiang before everyone else does

by Paul

It looks like Ted Chiang is going to be the new Philip K. Dick. That is, his work is going to be the source for first rate intelligent science fiction films. The new film, Arrival, based on his short story, “Story of Your Life”, is already a big hit at cinemas around the world. But it […]

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