Reviews: 4 Best New Books for Sci-Fi Lovers
By Stephen Baxter
Gollancz, 529 pages, $34.99
In the year 2057, the Earth has already been through a lot. The effects of climate change have even forced the relocation of the British Parliament to Newcastle and the US government to Alaska. But then the Blink occurs – a name given to the sudden disappearance of the Sun. It really does feel like the end of things. But then, as quickly as the Sun is gone, it comes back.
Obviously, very powerful forces are at work, which the world minds call Galaxias. It seems that the removal of the Sun is a message that has been sent to us, although the meaning of this message is obscure and the nature of Earth’s response much debated by scientific bureaucracies in China and the West.
That makes Stephen Baxter’s new novel a bit verbose in places, but the focus on a trio of friends and the backdrop of large-scale speculative « hard » SF combine to make « Galaxias » a engaging enough cosmic mystery story, with an ending that opens wide.
lost in time
By AG Riddle
Head of Zeus, 416 pages, $33.95
Even for veteran SF readers accustomed to creative new ways of dealing with crime — like convicts whose memories are wiped or transported to penal colonies on other planets — the idea of criminals being sent back in time Hundreds of millions of years so they can fight dating dinosaurs in an alternate Earth timeline might seem like a bit of a stretch.
Nonetheless, that’s the premise here as Sam Anderson, one of the scientists who developed the patented Absolom time travel technology, is found guilty of murdering a colleague he was dating and then dumped in dinosaur country. . As he struggles to survive Triassic Park, his daughter Adeline tries to figure out who trapped him here on Earth Prime, while working with the other Absolom scientists to develop a machine that can bring her father back.
« Lost in Time » is obviously a high-level Hollywood concept, but if you’re looking for a bubble-gum page-turner with lots of silly action, cliff-hangers, and twists, it’s hard to beat a murder mystery in time. with dinosaurs.
By Wall Lafferty
Aces, 464 pages, $23.00
Mallory Viridian is not the kind of person you want to get close to. She carries some sort of weird « murder virus », which means that wherever she goes, someone nearby ends up being killed.
Such fatal penumbra leads Mallory to become a mysterious writer. She is also the ideal host for a new series by Mur Lafferty (“The Midsolar Murders”), of which “Station Eternity” is the first volume.
Aware of her dangerous condition, Mallory takes a solitary and lowly job at the sentient space station Eternity, where she is one of the few humans on board. She thinks this should keep the death rate manageable, but her plans for self-quarantine crumble when a visitor shuttle arrives at Eternity, with many of its passengers already dead. It appears the murder followed Mallory into space. Now, as the bodies begin to pile up, she’s tasked with finding out what’s going on.
It’s a good mystery, presented lightly, but the real pleasures here are the fascinating aliens, including a swarm of wasp-like creatures called Divers and a race of rock creatures known as Gneiss. Luckily for Mallory, they seem to like her, because she’ll need all the help they can get.
The Holidays of Tomorrow: Life in the Anthropocene
Ed. by Jonathan Strahan
MIT Press, 215 pages, $25.95
In recent years, perhaps believing that established literary genres aren’t vague enough already, some people have embraced the term « speculative fiction » as an alternative to « science fiction. » Whatever the merits of the new label, it’s fair to say that some SF is more geared towards a kind of imaginative forecasting of what the future might actually hold, which is the direction taken by the stories collected in the series. anthologies published by MIT. Press which started under the name of Twelve Tomorrows and of which Tomorrow’s Parties is the last opus.
Despite the subtitle here, Tomorrow’s Parties isn’t just something called CliFi (climate-change SF). The effects of climate catastrophe are included, and an introductory interview with CliFi master Kim Stanley Robinson touches on the real challenge of the Anthropocene, but otherwise what we get is just a great range of stories that examine the wide range of concerns of SF writers today. about the future. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but Dylan Gregory’s « Once Upon a Future in the West » is definitely one of the highlights. A possibly cannibalistic Tom Hanks transporting a refugee from a California wildfire is a truly magical vision of the end of the world.
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