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Science Fiction

Review: Rosewater by Tade Thompson

by Paul

To describe Rosewater as another alien invasion story (as it is on the cover, for instance) is, strictly speaking, accurate; but it is wildly misleading. For a start, it is not so much an invasion as an infestation. True, there is an amorphous blob, which acquires the name Wormwood, that crashes with devastating effect into Hyde […]

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Review: Alien Morning by Rick Wilber

by Paul

What will first contact be like? Well, in all probability it will be the discovery of a microbe surviving in an extremely hostile environment on one of the moons of Saturn. But that, of course, is not what science fiction means by first contact. For science fiction, it means an encounter with intelligence, a meeting […]

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Clarke at 100: Collected Stories

by Paul

Arthur C. Clarke was not actually the most prolific of short story writers. Yes, his Collected Stories is a big, fat volume containing over 100 pieces, but these are brought together from a career stretching over 60 years. They range from his first published story, “Travel By Wire”, which appeared in an amateur magazine in December 1937, […]

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How to Build your SF Reference Library: H.G. Wells

by Paul

As you start to collect books about science fiction, you will, sooner rather than later, come to the problem: H.G. Wells. You see, there are probably more books about Wells than there are about any other science fiction writer. Actually, there are probably more books about Wells than there are about any four or five […]

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5 of the best: John Brunner

by Paul

Time is not kind to science fiction. Yesterday’s novelty can quickly become today’s commonplace, so we can rapidly lose track of which writers were innovative or daring or worth watching. Particularly after the writer has died and their books may no longer be in print. But there are any number of writers who made an […]

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The SF Books we’re looking forward to in April, part 2

by Paul

And here we go with the second part of our long list of new books for April. Blood Enemies by Susan R. Matthews Ever since An Exchange of Hostages, Susan R. Matthews has been building up a long, bloody and complex series of space operas centred on the doctor turned reluctant torturer, Andrej Koscuisko. Now, in the […]

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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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