1970 Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning science fiction. A motley crew of
explorers travels to an immense, star-girdling ring.
1989 swashbuckling science fiction. Against the background of the
thousand-years' war between the Hanoverian Monopolity and the Jendyne
Empery-Cirot, Arran Islay fights for freedom and revenge.
2016 SF, 13 episodes. The plague that wiped out human civilisation is
still a problem for the post-apocalyptic time travellers to solve, but
other time travellers are a greater threat.
2016 science fiction, stand-alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small,
Angry Planet. A new AI in an illegal human-shaped body, and the human
who's getting it out of a bad situation, work together to build new
1969 Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning science fiction. Genly Ai is a
human emissary to the world of Winter, sent to bring it into
star-travelling civilisation. The natives change gender as part of
their life cycle. And this is a problem for him.
2004 alternate-history science fiction war story. In the near future,
an American-led multinational naval force is approaching an Indonesia
turned muslim-fundamentalist, when it finds itself hurled through time
to 1942, just before the Battle of Midway.
2016 science fiction, 10 episodes. Kirsten Clark continues to have her
consciousness inserted into the minds of the recently-dead, while
hunting for more information about her father.
2015-2016, 22 episodes. Brian Finch is an unemployed slacker, until
he's introduced to a brain-boosting drug. Naturally he goes to work
for the FBI to catch crooks.
1965 Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning science fiction. In the distant
future, plots whirl within plots, and the control of the most valuable
planet in the universe is a poisoned chalice.
2011 science fiction, dir. Neil Burger, Bradley Cooper, Robert de
Niro: IMDb /
Eddie Morra is a struggling writer, until his ex-brother-in-law offers
him a new drug that makes him smarter.
2016 alternate history mecha science fiction, adaptation of a manga
spinoff of a visual novel, 12 episodes:
1983, the 666th Tactical Surface Fighter Squadron of the East German
Army is the only force between the invading alien hordes and the rest
2015 science fiction. Ren works as the 3D printer engineer in a colony
on an extrasolar planet, right next to the alien biotech artefact
known as God's City. Then a stranger shows up, a descendant of the
people thought to have been lost in an accident during planetfall.
2016 science fiction, 12 episodes:
a world where all power is provided by "coils" that draw from a
parallel dimension, Mabuchi Kyouma is a "collector" who gets hold of
the illegal ones.
2008 humorous science fiction, second in the series. Captain Isambard
Smith of the British Empire in space is sent to the Didcot system,
where a revolutionary movement threatens the Empire's supply of tea.
2016 mecha science fiction, 12 episodes:
In a very changed world, Kazuki Azuma leaves an island in the sky to
return to Japan, and gets involved with power struggles and giant
2003 space opera, first book of Dread Empire's Fall. The Shaa
subjugated the galaxy, binding all the races they met – including
humanity – under their universal philosophy, the Praxis. But ten
thousand years later, the last Shaa has chosen to die.
2014 young adult science fiction, third in the Earth Girl trilogy.
Jarra is Handicapped, unable to leave Earth for any of the colony
worlds where most of society now happens, but she's also a famous
hero. Which means she's now become a symbol, both for those who want
to bring the Handicapped more into society and for those who resist
2014 science fiction. A nameless scholar of the Second Chinese
Republic looks back from the year 2393 on the Penumbral Age that
brought western civilisation to its close.
2014 military SF, first book of the Alexis Carew series. Barred by her
sex from inheriting the family estates, Carew signs aboard a ship of
the Royal Navy as a midshipman… in space.
2003 military SF, second book of Succession. Captain Laurent Zai
tries to win a space battle; Senator Nara Oxham tries to survive
2003 military SF, first book of Succession. Captain Laurent Zai of
the Imperial frigate Lynx is attempting to rescue the Child Empress
from invading cyborgs. Only that makes it sound dire, and it's
actually rather good.
2009 SF, loosely connected with the Company series. The British
Arean Corporation sponsored the colonisation of Mars… then it turned
out that short-term profits weren't possible, and they lost interest.
Mary Griffith runs the only place to buy a beer on the Tharsis Bulge.
2015-2016 science fiction, 10 episodes. When the ice-hauler
Canterbury gets destroyed, the Belters blame Mars, Mars blames
Earth, and Earth blames the Belters.
2015 science fiction comedy, 10 episodes. In a corrupt neon future,
the Moonbeam City Police Department tries to keep the peace. More or
2014 SF, first of the Solarian War Saga. Elfrida Goto works for the
Space Corps, persuading asteroid-dwellers to accept resettlement
before their asteroids are dropped into Venus as part of the
terraforming project. But her telepresence robot is acting up, and
then the space station she's living on comes under attack.
2006 military SF, fourth of the Kris Longknife books. Kris finally
gets an independent command: a single-world "naval district" on the
far end of anywhere.
2015 short science fiction, dir. Luke Gilford, Pamela Anderson, Dree
An ageing fitness instructor is dissatisfied with her life, in
particular feeling disconnected from the world, and looks for a way to
1994 science fiction, sequel to The Ring of Charon. This review
contains spoilers for that first book.
2016 science fiction crime drama, 11 episodes. Jimmy Pritchard is a
75-year-old, corrupt, disgraced, but unrepentant former sheriff. When
he's murdered, secretive tech billionaire twins restore him to life,
youth and extreme vitality (as a side effect of their own plans).
Formerly known as Frankenstein, The Frankenstein Code and
2016 science fiction drama, 10 episodes. Aliens have landed and
conquered Earth, ruling through drones and human trusties. But there
is, of course, a resistance.
2016 SF/mystery; fifty-third (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. Dennis Mira went to confront his cousin Edward over plans to
sell the family house, but found him tied up in a chair; then someone
knocked Dennis on the head. Now Edward's missing. Fortunately Dennis
is married to Charlotte Mira, police profiler and friend of Lieutenant
2013 science fiction/romance. Finn is a robot who looks and acts
human; he arrives in young Cat Novak's life as her tutor, and stays as
the years pass.
2007 science fiction. The starship Fenrir was lost ten years ago to
a misjump, but its warp engine has just reappeared in open space…
embedded in coral, and accompanied by three dead bodies and a fishing
boat. Captain Mikhail Ivanovich Volkov takes the frigate Svoboda to
find out where the Fenrir has been.
1937 feminist alternate history. Seven centuries after Nazi victory,
women are uneducated cattle, and men have eliminated history, books,
2015-2016 children's science fiction, 26 episodes: the five Tracy
brothers pilot a variety of vehicles to rescue people in trouble.
2011 military SF novella, a later insertion into the Kris Longknife
series. After the triumph of the Battle of Wardhaven, Kris and crew go
out to train allied fast patrol boat commanders.
1964 science fiction, sequel to The Survivors/Space Prison. The
survivors of the hell-world Ragnarok have handily won the war against
the Gern, but they don't seem to be able to talk sensibly with either
Earth or the former Gern-slave colony of Athena. And there's a new
2005 military SF, third of the Kris Longknife books. As a victim of
fallout from a political attack against her family, Kris gets sent on
a diplomatic mission, then comes back to a desperate struggle in
defence of her homeworld.
2015 science fiction, 26 episodes:
Mecha pilots fight against the corruption of words.
1990 science fiction. Larry Chao is a junior scientist at a gravity
research station on Pluto, that's about to be shut down. He's just
made a remarkable improvement in gravity manipulation, but the chief
administrator won't take it seriously, so he fires off an unauthorised
experiment to prove to the scientific community that there's real
progress being made. At which point something very unexpected happens.
2015 SF/mystery novella; fifty-second (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In
Death series, published as part of Down the Rabbit Hole, a
multi-author anthology of stories loosely inspired by Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland. Apparently Darlene Fitzwilliams fatally
stabbed her brother, then jumped off his fifty-second floor balcony.
But there's no sign that she was the sort of person who'd do that.
2012 science fiction. Amy Peterson is a self-replicating ("von
Neumann") humaniform robot, who has been growing up slowly as part of
a mixed human/android family. Then her grandmother shows up, and she
has to eat her.
2008 humorous science fiction; first in its series. In the 25th
Century the British Empire will soon be fighting the insectoid Ghast;
but Captain Isambard Smith, square-jawed, courageous, and perhaps a
bit dim, is called on to take an elderly refitted freighter on a
2015 SF mini-series, adapted by Matthew Graham and directed by Nick
Hurran. In 2016, alien ships arrive on Earth, with the aliens saying
they're come to bring utopia. But not everyone agrees that that's what
2014 science fiction. The mixed human and alien crew members aboard a
wormhole-building ship move from world to world, on their way to the
job that'll let them move into the big time.
2016 science fiction, sixteenth novel in the Vorkosigan universe.
Three years after the death of Aral Vorkosigan, his widow Cordelia
starts to move her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral of
Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in unexpected ways.
1958 science fiction. When the aliens capture a colony ship, they take
the slaves who can work and abandon the rest on an uninhabited world.
That's their error. (Also published as Space Prison.)
2015 science fiction, ten episodes, sequel of sorts to the 2002 film.
After the PreCrime programme is shut down, the three precognitives try
to live normal lives. Of course, one of them ends up Fighting Crime.
2012 science fiction, second in The Expanse series. Ganymede, the
main supplier of food to the outer system, is attacked and its fragile
artificial ecosystem destroyed; Earth and Mars seem likely to go to
2015 SF/mystery; fifty-first (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. Two serial killers have crossed the USA and landed in New
York; Lieutenant Eve Dallas tracks them down.
2008 alternate-history suspense/thriller, last in the "Small Change"
trilogy. In the fascist Britain of 1960, former Inspector Carmichael
still runs the Watch, the secret police charged with rounding up Jews,
Communists, and other undesirables; his adopted niece, Elvira, is
looking forward to her début.
2016 SF and fantasy. Patricia is a witch who can sometimes talk with
animals, and Laurence is a budding mad scientist. Having met and split
up during their hellish schooldays, they meet again as the world seems
to be winding towards its end.
2002 military SF, long-delayed final volume in the Antares trilogy.
The combined human fleets are taking on the Ryall menace, to remove it
once and for all. But is there any option short of extermination?
2013 modern occult secret service novelette, between The Apocalypse
Codex and The Rhesus Chart in the Laundry Files series. Bob
Howard is sent to inspect a livery stables, because they're buying a
worrying amount of meat.
2007 alternate-history suspense/thriller, second in the "Small Change"
trilogy. Eight years after the "peace with honour" of 1941, as Mark
Normanby's new government is cracking down on Jewish communist
terrorists, a bomb goes off in a Hampstead suburb. Inspector
Carmichael, compromised but useful to his political masters,
2012 modern occult secret service, fourth in the Laundry Files
series. Bob has been promoted to management, and has to supervise a
couple of freelance agents. Seems an American televangelist is getting
too much into favour with the Prime Minister…
2000 military SF, first in the Valor/Confederation series. Staff
Sergeant Torin Kerr's platoon of Marines is just back from a hard
fight when their liberty is cancelled and they're sent off to escort a
group of diplomats as they try to get a recently-discovered world to
join the Confederation. Then things get worse.
2010 modern occult secret service, third in the Laundry Files
series. Bob Howard becomes entangled in a cultist plot to steal the
Eater of Souls.
2009 modern occult secret service novelette, between The Jennifer
Morgue and The Fuller Memorandum in the Laundry Files series. The
Laundry is down to a skeleton staff for Christmas… so Bob Howard is
the one man who might be able to prevent the annihilation of the
2015 science fiction, 13 episodes. The crew of the destroyer USS Nathan
James works to distribute the cure for the plague that killed most of
the world's population. But not everyone thinks that's a good idea.
2008 modern occult secret service novelette, between The Jennifer
Morgue and The Fuller Memorandum in the Laundry Files series. Bob
visits the asylum where broken Laundry agents go; all, unsurprisingly,
is not well.
2005 futuristic fantasy. Detective Inspector Chen is a cop in the
franchised city Singapore Three, in charge of magical and supernatural
investigations. When a missing girl's soul turns up demonstrably in
Hell, rather than Heaven where it should be, that's the first thread
of a long and political investigation.
2006 modern occult secret service, second in the Laundry Files series.
Bob Howard is sent to a Caribbean island to stop a billionaire from
destroying the world with magic.
2004 modern occult secret service, first in the Laundry Files
series; a short novel of the same title coupled with the novella The
Concrete Jungle. Bob Howard is a techie working for an extremely
secret part of the British intelligence community, trying to suppress
knowledge that could destroy the world… and clean up when it gets out.
1987 SF, second in the Antares trilogy. The Altan and Sandarian
space navies won't be able to fight the alien menace on their own, but
they have a plan for getting back in contact with Earth.
2015, 13 episodes. A motley crew wakes up on a spaceship with skills
but no memories. They try to find out who they were and what happened.
1996 SF/fantasy short story collection of some of Drake's more
humorous short stories.
2015, 10 episodes. Space bounty hunters discover that being apolitical
is really hard work if you have even the vestiges of a conscience.
2011 science fiction, first in The Expanse series. With the asteroid
belt colonised, tensions are rising between Belt, Mars and Earth. When
ships start getting destroyed, war is inevitable; but who actually
kicked it off, and why?
2015 science fiction. In the near future, helium-3 mining on the Moon
is big business, but the shipments back to Earth are being hijacked.
2015 science fiction, 11 episodes. Kirsten Clark suffers from
"temporal dysplasia" and can't feel the passage of time, but that
makes her the ideal subject to be inserted into the memories of the
2015 science fiction. At a regional American SF convention, things are
going with the usual level of chaos… until the entire con hotel gets
kidnapped by time-travelling androids.
2013 young adult science fiction, sequel to Earth Girl. Jarra is
Handicapped, unable to leave Earth for any of the colony worlds where
most of society now happens, but after a daring rescue she's a hero.
Now her archaeological and historical skills will be tested in an
entirely new field.
2015 vaguely steampunk science fiction. In Rapid City on the Pacific
Northwest coast, Karen Memery is one of the "seamstresses" at Hôtel
Mon Cherie (sic). It's not a bad life, but she's about to get in the
way of a powerful man on his way up even higher.
2006 alternate-history mystery, first in the "Small Change" trilogy.
In 1949, Britain is at peace with the Reich, which is still fighting
in Russia. At Farthing, a country house in Hampshire, one of the
architects of that peace is murdered. Jews and Bolshevists are
immediately blamed, but Inspector Carmichael thinks it's more
complicated than that.
2004 military SF, second of the Kris Longknife books. Thanks to deft
political manoeuvres, Kris is now a princess as well as a naval
lieutenant. But when a friend goes missing while they're both on
leave, she can't really do anything else but go and look for him.
2013-2015 science fiction, manga adaptation, 4 or 10 episodes:
In a world of cyborgs and poor data security, Major Motoko Kusanagi
tries to catch the bad guys. A prequel of sorts to Ghost in the
2015 science fiction. The people of a small English town cling on to
life after an economic collapse, under the protection of the Process,
an ultimate allocating algorithm. But the Process seems to be
spending scarce resources on recreating a battlefield of the First
1981 science fiction. In the Todos Santos arcology, life is much safer
than outside in Los Angeles, if somewhat sanitised: but it's still
right next door.
1986 SF, first in the Antares trilogy. The colony world of Alta has
been cut off from other planets for more than a century, since Antares
exploded into a supernova. Now a ship has come through where there
wasn't supposed to be a jump point…
2015 science fiction; a team of scientists is assembled to explore a
newly-discovered planet. Saraswati Callicot is an exoethnologist, and
the planet's uninhabited, but she's sent along to keep an eye on Thora
Lassiter, the daughter of one of the powerful families who went a bit
mad on her previous mission; she's been cured, but she might still be
an embarrassment. Then things start to go bizarrely wrong.
1964 children's SF. Nik Colherne's face was badly burned in an
accident, and as a resident of the Dipple he can't afford the advanced
surgery that might fix it. The Thieves' Guild offers him a new face,
if he impersonates a boy's fantasised hero. But it's all rather more
complex than that.
2015 science fiction, manga adaptation, 13 episodes:
The Giftia androids look and act like humans, but they have a limited
lifespan: 81,920 hours. After that, they need to be retrieved and shut
down before bad things happen. Mizugaki Tsukasa goes to work for
Terminal Services, and is partnered with the Giftia called Isla…
1963 children's SF. Naill Renfro sells himself into servitude to get
drugs to make his mother's dying easier. After that, things improve
slightly. Well, they'd have to, wouldn't they?
1961 children's SF. Troy Horan was thrown off his planet during the
big war. Now he lives hand-to-mouth in the Dipple. But a casual job
with an importer of exotic pets leads to unexpected intrigue and
2015 SF, sequel to Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword. Fleet
Captain Breq is still on Athoek Station, but there are plenty of
problems even without the civil war coming closer.
2015 SF, sequel to Lines of Departure. The alien Lankies have moved
into the solar system, and a random assortment of ship crews from the
two previously-warring powers must decide what to do next.
2014 SF/mystery; forty-ninth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. Just before Christmas, a personal trainer is found in his
home, with a nasty head wound and a knife in his chest. He seems to
have been a thoroughly nasty person, but for Eve Dallas the homicide
cop's job is still the job.
2012 young adult science fiction. Jarra is Handicapped; something in
her immune system revolts at alien worlds, so she's limited to living
on Earth with the other people who can't go to the stars and be part
of proper civilisation. What's worse, all the offworlders look down on
"apes". But that's not going to stop her doing her best to have a good
1954 science fiction juvenile. Lummox is the Stuart family pet,
brought back a hundred years ago from who-knows-where by
great-grandfather the space explorer. He's large, and occasionally
hazardous to property, but basically docile. But now he's gone on a
rampage, and the forces of law and order want him put down…
2011 humorous science fiction. Lord Thomas Kinago, foppish distant
cousin of the Emperor and son of the First Space Lord, is sent on his
obligatory short tour of military service. Meanwhile, a cluster of
worlds on the edge of the Imperium is being taken over…
2015 science fiction. Jacob Kelley's old friend shows up at his house,
babbling about artificial intelligences in the quantum computer that
is the universe. Later, the old friend is found dead – having
apparently been murdered the night before he turned up – and Kelley is
put on trial for his murder.
1999 thriller. On board the International Space Station, a
microbiological experiment has gone wrong. Dr Emma Watson tries to
keep the rest of the crew, and herself, alive in an increasingly
challenging environment. (Nothing to do with the 2013 film of the same
2014 science fiction, seventh in the Alex Benedict series that began
with A Talent for War. Alex Benedict the relic-dealer and Chase
Kolpath the pilot go hunting for the last cache of artefacts from
Earth's early space age.
2001 military SF, third in the Jump Universe series. At the same time
as the events of The Price of Peace, Ray Longknife's exploration
ship has comprehensively misjumped to where a much earlier lost ship
founded a colony. But they aren't the only things on the planet.
2000 military SF, second in the Jump Universe series. The Unity War is
over, but that doesn't mean things are peaceful; Commander Izzy Umboto
of the cruiser Patton is chasing down pirates, and worse.
2013, dir. Mike Slee, Mark Strong, Jock McLeod;
A brief history of the Great Martian War, combining interviews with
veterans and archive footage.
1999 military SF, first of a series that comes both chronologically
and in publication date before the Kris Longknife books. Four soldiers
on opposite sides of the war between the Society of Humanity and the
Unity do their best to stay alive in the face of enemies both of the
conventional kind and in their own ranks.
2004 military SF, first of a series of twelve books so far with at
least two more planned. Kris Longknife, daughter of the Prime Minister
of the long-settled world of Wardhaven, joined the Navy to get away
from politics. But as the old alliance of humanity falls apart, it's
not going to be that easy.
2009 military SF, last in a five-book series. Ky Vatta has her fleet,
and is ready to move against the pirates as soon as they attack. But
she doesn't know all their plans.
2011 SF. Nyx is a bel dame, an assassin tracking down and killing
deserters for the government of Nasheen. Then things go wrong. Now
she's being employed for a covert recovery mission, but everyone's
hand is against her.
2014 SF anthology about the run-up to the end of the world.
2007 military SF, fourth in a five-book series. Kylara Vatta is
putting together an anti-pirate navy while her cousin Stella is
rebuilding the family firm.
2014 SF, sequel to Terms of Enlistment. Humanity is losing the war
against the aliens, but Andrew Grayson might as well re-enlist:
there's nothing else for him to do.
2014 technological fantasy. On the island of Kavekana, the main
business is idols: all the convenience of a god, but none of the
commitment or free will of the real thing. One of them has died
thanks to a bad financial deal, but the priestess Kai tried to save
her, and heard something odd as she did.
2013 science fiction. Six months' hyperspace travel from Earth, a
small scientific team explores the lightless under-ice ocean of the
2013 SF. Andrew Grayson is a long-term welfare recipient, and there
are only two ways out: hope to win a lottery for the colony worlds, or
sign up with the military. He's going for option B.
2014 military SF, second in the Ark Royal series. The outdated and
over-armoured carrier Ark Royal did what the newer ships couldn't,
taking the war to the alien invaders and even capturing an enemy
starship. Now it's time for a larger raid into alien space.
2013 SF, by the only non-slate nominee for the Campbell this year.
Unaging aliens and their human hosts struggle across the Earth.
2006 SF, third in a five-book series. With the space pirates moving in
earnest to extort protection money from interstellar trading polities,
Kylara Vatta starts to build a fleet to take them on.
For this year's Hugo awards there are three semiprozines in contention
that satisfy my voting criteria. One didn't bother to provide a sample
in the Hugo packet. This is one of the other two.
2011 SF, first of a five-book series. Ia is a precognitive who
foresees the collapse of human civilisation… unless she takes a
specific path, which starts with becoming a space marine.
2015 science fiction. On an island off the Washington coast, there's a
disease outbreak, but a religious community living there doesn't seem
to be worried about it. And it all has something to do with the
2004 SF, second in a five-book series. Kylara Vatta survived her first
solo trading venture, but now someone's taking on the family firm. UK
vt Moving Target.
There's only one non-slate novelette on the ballot this year, so
that's what I'm reviewing here: The Day The World Turned Upside
Down, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.
2003 SF, first in a five-book series. Kylara Vatta is thrown out of
space navy academy, then gets a job taking one of the family firm's
oldest ships on its final voyage to the scrapyard. Of course it all
gets more complicated than that.
2014 translation of 2006 SF from China. In the long shadow of the
Cultural Revolution, various people try to work out why scientists are
2015 SF, 13 episodes. In the future, humanity has been nearly wiped
out by a plague. James Cole is sent back in time to 2015, just before
it started, to try to prevent it.
1990 military SF. In the 22nd century, the Japanese empire which
controls Earth and the colony worlds sends a task group to suppress a
three-way colonial revolt. It doesn't help that many of the colonists
are exiled Boers.
1999 SF. More than a thousand years after Greatwinter destroyed
civilisation, new cultures have grown up in what was once Australia.
But what is the secret at the heart of the Library?
2005 SF, sequel to The Getaway Special. With cheap hyperdrive
available to the world, things are falling apart; two people try to
work out their options.
2015, 12 episodes:
Mecha series, continuation of last summer's Aldnoah Zero. The
Martians are still invading Earth, but things have bogged down.
2014-2015, 25 episodes:
Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon.
In a magical/tech society, the princess is discovered to be a
non-magic-user, stripped of her rank, and exiled to the high-casualty,
low-empathy defenders of the kingdom.
2015 SF/mystery; fiftieth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. At the end of 2060, Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas comes up
against a new threat: a murderer who's such a fan that he's killing
people who've offended Dallas. And there are a lot of them.
1990 SF. On a passenger liner in hyperspace, the speed of light is a
mere ten metres per second. But humans are still humans.
2013 SF, seventh in the Academy series and a prequel. Priscilla
Hutchins is just completing interstellar pilot training, but already
demand for pilots is dropping. And terrorists are threatening the
terraforming project. Spoilers.
2014, 11 episodes:
The perfect society of 2012-2013's
encounters a new threat.
2008 SF/romance, second in the Grimspace series. In the previous book,
Sirantha Jax was instrumental in bringing down the evil corporation
that ran everything. But nature abhors a power vacuum.
2014 SF mini-series. In the 1950s, a project was begun to build an
interstellar generation spacecraft as a lifeboat for humanity should
the Cold War turn hot. Now they're half-way through the mission and
they've just had their first murder. Meanwhile, on Earth, someone's
looking into long-buried secrets. Possible spoilers ahead.
2014, 13 episodes:
Mars was seeded with engineered cockroaches and mould. Five hundred
years later, they ate the first manned mission. The second one had
only two survivors. Now it's time for the third.
2001 SF, expansion of 1985 short story. A scientist invents a
hyperspace drive that's easy to build and use, and tells the world.
Things don't go as smoothly as he expects.
2014, 24 episodes:
follow-up to 2012's
Sword Art Online.
The survivors of the VR MMO Sword Art Online go on to new adventures.
2008 SF/romance. Sirantha Jax is a jumper, one of the rare humans who
can navigate FTL ships through grimspace. But her ship crashed, her
pilot/lover died (along with everyone else on board), and she may be
2014 SF; sequel to Honour's Knight. With most of the powers in the
known universe arrayed against her, Devi is still infected with the
virus that could solve everything (or bring it all crashing down).
2014 SF; sequel to Fortune's Pawn. Devi is now security chief on the
tramp space-freighter she signed on with, but clearly something very
strange is going on.
2005 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, looks into the affairs of a techie who's been hit by a car
and is now in intensive care. Was it an accident?
2004 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, follows up on a lead to an old enemy.
Some people may review the new Star Wars trailer. I find this one more
2003 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, has just lost a friend and employee: he's been murdered. The
police reckon it was random drug-related violence; she tries to find
Some time in the future, two convicts working on the Moon discover
something strange: a flower, blooming on the surface. Then things get
Sequel to Ancillary Justice. Breq, now a Fleet Captain, travels to a
backwater world to help assure its survival in the civil war.
Ross Baker is having a bad day. He'd just lain down for an
experimental brain scan, and now he seems to be a cyborg soldier in an
endless war. And it's going to get a lot stranger than that. If you
plan to read this book, know that I thought it fairly good (I'd rate
it with Pandæmonium as minor but worth reading, much better than
When the Devil Drives) and stop reading now to avoid the spoilers.
2014, 12 episodes:
Mecha series. The Martians are invading Earth, and their technology is
overpowering. But some Earthlings are able to fight back.
2014, dir. Gabe Ibañez, Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen:
After the vast majority of humanity has been killed by solar storms,
robots keep the remainder alive in a small numer of cities. But some
robots seem to be breaking their rules.
After civilisation is nearly destroyed by an invasion of
virus-controlled creatures, only the children born with a small dose
of the virus are an effective weapon against them. So they're paired
with adult handlers, and sent off to the fight.
While the destroyer USS Nathan James is on exercise in the Arctic, a
plague has killed over 80% of the world's population. Now her captain
must decide how to proceed.
A nostalgically strange series about the dandiest man in space.
Technological fantasy. Sixty years after the Aztec-like city-state of
Dresediel Lex was "liberated" and its gods killed, someone seems to be
trying to break the hold of the company that replaced those gods.
SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, is worried about her programmer: he seems to have vanished,
and the records she can find aren't helping. So she turns for help to
the two humans who are aware of her nature.
2012, dir. Brandon Cronenberg, Caleb Landry Jones:
In a world where the cult of celebrity involves taking on their
diseases… pretty much everything that can go wrong with such a setup
Self-published industrial fantasy romance. The relict of a bishop
inherits her mother's great airship, and tries to avoid becoming the
mistress of the Emperor.
Last of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen
space-navy captain tries to lead his fleet home. I'm going to deal in
spoilers both for this book and for the whole series.
In a city powered by steam heated by a fire-god, that fire-god has
suddenly died. An inexperienced mage looks into what happened.
Gladstone is nominated for the John W. Campbell award for Best New
These are my thoughts on the remaining Hugo packet submissions for
Best Editor, Short Form. If you're planning to vote, you may wish not
to read these notes until you have done so. There will also be
SF anthology edited by John Joseph Adams. Twenty-two stories on the
general theme of mad scientists. Nominated for Best Editor (Short
These are my thoughts on the Hugo-nominated novellas. If you're
planning to vote, you may wish not to read these notes until you have
done so. There will also be spoilers here.
These are my thoughts on the Hugo-nominated novelettes in 2014. If
you're planning to vote, you may wish not to read these notes until
you have done so. There will also be spoilers here.
These are my thoughts on the Hugo-nominated short stories in 2014. If
you're planning to vote, you may wish not to read these notes until
you have done so. There will also be spoilers here.
Fifth of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen
space-navy captain tries to lead his fleet home. Spoilers will follow.
Fourth of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen
space-navy captain tries to lead his fleet home.
2013, dir. Bong Joon-ho, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton
After the world has frozen, all that's left of humanity lives aboard a
train eternally circling the planet.
Third of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen
space-navy captain tries to lead his fleet home.
2013, dir. Francis Lawrence, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson:
After winning the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is a post-traumatic
wreck. The perfect time to send her on a publicity tour! Spoilers for
book and film will follow.
Second of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen
space-navy captain tries to lead his fleet home.
First of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen
space-navy captain may tip the balance in a century-long war.
Astronaut Mark Watney is on Mars. Alone; the rest of the crew thought
he'd died in the dust storm that they were escaping from. Now he's
trying to work out how to survive.
2013, dir. Ruairi Robinson, Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas:
Towards the end of a manned mission to Mars, things start to go wrong.
Anthology from 1998 of alternate histories based on different
decisions by military leaders; edited by Harry Turtledove, Roland
Green and Martin H. Greenberg.
2013, dir. Caradog W. James, Caity Lotz, Toby Stephens:
Some time in the nearish future, researchers try to build a
self-directed robot soldier/assassin. It doesn't go well.
2011, dir. Gonzalo López-Gallego, Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen:
The found-footage story of the secret final Apollo mission in 1974.
2012, dir. Colin Trevorrow, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass:
A journalist and two interns, trying for a human-interest story,
interview a man who's placed an advertisement for a companion in time
Concealed in Death is the forty-eighth story of J. D. Robb's In
Death series, and a huge improvement on its immediate predecessor
Thankless in Death. It drops many of the science-fictional trappings
of the setting to deliver a powerful and well-told story.
After the total nuclear war, the captain of a missile destroyer leads
his crew through the irradiated world and towards a new life.
I am going to talk about plot details, so if you care about not
knowing that sort of thing you probably shouldn't read this review.
Some time in the future, most major countries have space fleets and
interstellar colonies. Ark Royal is an outmoded carrier left in a
parking orbit, not broken up only because of her famous past, and her
captain's a drunken embarrassment. Then the aliens arrive, and blow
straight through the more modern fleet…
Young adult novel, read because a film based on it is coming out soon
and I want to be able to complain about the film-making separately
from the writing. (And because last time I did this I read The Hunger
Games, which I quite enjoyed.) Here be spoilers.
First of a projected trilogy. I learned about it from a half-chapter
free sample in the back of Ancillary Justice.
This first novel marks Leckie as someone to watch.
I picked up this collection of novellas for the Robb story, as I was
clearly intended to. All the stories here are loosely based on, or
more properly inspired by, fairy stories (something of a coincidence
given the Elemental Masters series I've also been reading).
Ready Player One is a young adult SF novel, the first by this
author. Set in the future, it deals with its protagonist's efforts in
a pervasive virtual world to win a contest based in the videogaming
and related culture of the 1980s.
Thankless in Death is the forty-sixth of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. It's also, for me, the first disappointment.