GENRE: Science Fiction, Alternate History, Planetary Romance, Space Opera, Low Fantasy with a historical setting
PUBLISHER: Night Shade Books and AudibGENRE: Science Fiction, Alternate History, Planetary Romance, Space Opera, Low Fantasy with a historical setting
PUBLISHER: Night Shade Books and Audible
PLOT: When Lt. Jain and her JSC team tries to conduct a Martian routine geological survey, the amount of unexplained and illogical phenomena starts mounting. Add to that a book that writes itself and the only plausible explanation is that physics laws don’t apply anymore.
That is, Terran physics laws, because everything makes perfect sense in an alternate reality, where people use alchemically-enhanced frigates to travel between planets.
COMMENTS: This is one of those books that eludes genre, or, better said, mixes so many genres that it almost falls under the new-weird territory. Half of it reads like hard science fiction, while the other reads like an adventure novel about Magellan’s travels. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does, and the result is a wonderful investigation about how the two seemingly incongruous worlds could make sense.
TECHNIQUES: This is a multiple narrative story told in the past tense.
PLOT: Nyx a disgraced government assassin, reduced to a bounty hunter andGENRE: Science Fiction with a dash of Low Fantasy
PUBLISHER: Night Shade Books
PLOT: Nyx a disgraced government assassin, reduced to a bounty hunter and occasional gene pirate, lives from one deal to another. When the queen requests her to track down and bring back a foreign diplomat—preferably alive—Nyx stars questioning why her and not the official assassins. After all, the queen claims that the diplomat is the one person able to end the war. But Nyx isn’t the only one hunting down this quarry and the others are much less fussy about killing, maiming, and torturing.
COMMENTS: This is one of the darkest heroine of the recent SF literature. There is nothing apologetic about Nyx, not about her killings, sex life, drinking, or the methods to reach her goals. She is brutal in everything she does, including the way she loves—she is almost socially crippled. Yet, she doesn’t appear savage in the context of her world, because her world is one of extreme violence, a world ravaged by war for so long, that no one still remembers how it started. Placed in this Muslim-inspired reality, she announces herself as a survivor, ready to sell her body parts if that means to complete her mission. Despite her rough methods, she comes through as highly patriotic, much more than the official assassins, from whose ranks she had been demoted.
There is a manifest switch in the gender roles of this novel: the women are the strong ones, the leaders and officers of the male soldiers, their protectors. This novel doesn’t aim to find a solution to gender inequality, but to point out the irrationality of our real world, by reversing the roles.
The world and its politics, centered around genetic research, reminded me of DUNE. People are regarded as nothing more than genetic material and human rights are discounted with impunity. However the similarities end there, which is great: this quite original world its mix of low fantasy and plausible science. In fact, if not for the shape-shifting aspect of the mutations, I would say all the speculative aspect of this novel is scientifically possible.
TECHNIQUES: This is a multi-narrative with two points-of-view: Nyx‘s and her love interest who is her exact opposite—educated, fragile, following the rules.
Quick and dirty reading notes and (i)relevant thoughts This was such a beautifully written short story, if a bit sad in the end. I think everyone woQuick and dirty reading notes and (i)relevant thoughts ✐ This was such a beautifully written short story, if a bit sad in the end. I think everyone would agree that the descriptions are simply breathtaking.
✐ It is about a scientific expedition which comes to backwater planet Wraithworld to investigate the existence of wraiths. These mythological "beings" are said to have caused a series of deaths since the discovery of the planet, and ever since they attracted tourists fascinated by their mystery. The head of the expedition is convinced that the wraiths are a fancy of imagination and fails to understand the essence of this place. On the other hand, the journalist who covers the story falls in love with the lush scenery and the natural mystery of the planet.
✐ In the end, this is a story about the inability of the science to see beyond numbers and experiments and its destructive effects. Definitely a recommended read (listen)....more
Welcome to the real estate of the galaxy, a.k.a, the Zones of Thought, where everything from teReview Subtitle: "Location... location... location..."
Welcome to the real estate of the galaxy, a.k.a, the Zones of Thought, where everything from technology to the cognitive process itself is a function of the distance from the galactic center. That is, the further away from the center, the more advanced the potential civilizations and the forms of life. So advanced in fact, that the Transcend, the outermost region, is the home of the gods or Powers (entities whose intelligence is omnipotent), while the Slowness, the innermost region, is a galactic ghetto and home of... the Old Earth (modest technology, human-equivalent of intelligence). Mr. Vinge truly creates a fascination and original landscape of our galaxy.
Still, A Fire Upon the Deep is not a story about the Old Earth (by now, an almost forgotten planet), but the story of Tines, a backwater world located even further up in the Slowness and hence stuck for millennia at a Medievalistic level of technological development. It is also the story of Relay, of Straumli Realm, of Sjandra Kei, of Harmonious Repose (humorously nicknamed "Rest in Peace"), all worlds of of the Beyond, the middle zone of the galaxy, and all of them (view spoiler)[destroyed (hide spoiler)] by the Power called Blight that is accidentally brought to life in the first chapter of the novel. And in the same time, it is a profoundly human story of a handful of characters, whose life is threatened by the newborn Power and who try to find a way to annihilate it.
The amount of information that streams in front of us is incredible, and since he used to be a professor of Mathematics, that information is quite often strewn with abstract details. Most often the facts help advance the plot, but at times, I felt that the novel would have done better with 50 pages less. Also, and this is the reason, I down-rated the book, I found some of the characters' motivations a bit weak, Ravna's particularly.
To end, I didn't believe that the solution to expunge the Blight was morally questionable, as it's been suggested. In fact, I believe that a free civilization, even crippled, is superior to a civilization who lost its freedom and selfhood. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more