Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Posted August 24, 2016 By Jandy
Science FictionZoe's Tale by John Scalzi Zoe’s Tale John Scalzi; Tor Science Fiction 2009

New colonists come from many places. Zoe lived on Huckleberry with her adopted parents and two alien bodyguards. (Her birth father gave their race a special gift and now Zoe is their hero.) The Colonial Defense Force sought out her parents to help start a new colony. Any new human colony is under threat from an alien race that prohibits any new planet’s human colony.

Now teen-aged Zoe and her parents, John and Jane, are joining a new colony that is under threat of destruction. The other colonists come from other colonies rather than from Earth. When the colony ship emerges into normal space, they discover they aren’t where they expected to be. No one knows where they are and they don’t have any protection provided by the Colonial Defense Force. To hide from the aliens, the colonists have to give up all their electronics or anything.

Zoe’s Tale is a light story about alien encounters, people readjusting to their situation, prejudice, bravery,  consciousness. and hero worship. John Scalzi wrote Zoe’s Tale as a counterpoint to his previous novel in the Old Man’s War series, The Last Colony. It is written from Zoe’s point of view, and fills in a couple holes from the earlier book.

This young adult book isn’t deep but is fun. Zoe is a normal teen who loves her family but it trying to kick her bonds and her history. Zoe’s Tale is in her voice with the frustrations and joys of new life and love, growing up, and large world politics.

More books by John Scalzi

Link to Amazon.com Books

The Peripheral by William Gibson

Posted April 28, 2016 By Jandy

Science FictionThe Peripheral by William GibsonHere’s the thing for the average reader to remember when starting a novel by William Gibson – it’s often confusing for the first quarter or third of the book. Once he starts bringing the threads together, it turns into a fascinating story that challenges the brain.

Flynne lives in a deteriorating future United States. Homeland Security is the major law enforcement in the country. The best way to escape a hand to mouth existance is to join the military, work for Hefty Corporation, or get involved in the drug trade. Her brother Burton chose the military. He’s back now, changed but able to live a normal life with only minor PTSD. He has a part time job with a video game company doing beta testing. Occasionally Flynne takes a shift for him when he has other obligations.

Netherton lives in London. He’s in public relations. In his current job he works with a performance artist who sells her actions and her body art for her fame. Now she is getting ready to make a diplomatic sky dive into a floating isolationist country. Netherton is to keep her on track and not screw up the diplomatic job.

Flynne witnesses something in the new video game that brings in some of Netherton’s associates. His public relations experience makes him the best person to work with her to solve their problem. Unfortunately, their competition sees Flynne as a problem and now her life is in danger. Nertherton’s people have the technology to transfer her consciousness to an organic empty “person” (a peripheral) who becomes her while she occupies it so she can help them.

Gibson’s grasp and vision of cyberpunk science fiction is alive and well. In The Peripherals Gibson looks at where we are and where we could easily be going. His dismal future vision of Flynne’s rural world is believable and unnerving. Yet Flynne and Burton, along with other friends, show the goodness and hope that keeps Gibson’s tale from being too dark.

Netherton’s world is different yet. He lives in the rich society. London has become an empty city that uses its history to survive on tourism. The very rich can change economy of Flynne’s region with some well placed phone calls and people. When Netherton and Flynne start working together they both get insights a society they can barely imagine.

Be prepared to imagine a scary future and a basic tenant of science fiction of alternate realities. I can’t explain The Peripherals – and I can recommend it.

Notice: Non-graphic violence, Strong language

More books by William Gibson

Link to Amazon.com Books


The Martian by Andy Weir

Posted August 28, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionThe Martian by Andy WeirNo one wants to be left behind when their group leaves a gathering. Unfortunately, Mark Watney was the one left behind. Even worse, he is left completely alone – on Mars.

Six astronauts had just started their exploration on Mars when a horrific windstorm blew up. The communications array was destroyed – along with any planetary communication with NASA back on Earth. It appeared that Mark was killed when his spacesuit was impaled by one of the antennas. By the time he regained consciousness, his shipmates had followed protocol, left the planet, and took the Mars shuttle home. Read the remainder of this entry »

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

Posted July 19, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionTime Salvager by Wesley ChuJames Griffin-Mars has an unusual job. He’s a dumpster diver in time. He jumps back in time to just before a recorded disaster, takes out energy devices, technology, art work, or other objects that are deemed important in the depressed, toxic future. Most of humanity has left Earth and only the poorest remain in an environmentally devastated world. The large corporations run the governments throughout the solar system. Only the ChronoCom is self-governed, although the different businesses can request and pay for items from the past.

The Chronmen cannot change the incident in the past. James jumps back to retrieve the original version of the Time Laws, but he doesn’t save the Mother of Time or stop her space ship from being destroyed. Read the remainder of this entry »

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Posted May 31, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionThe Three-Body Problem by Cixin LiuTranslated by Ken Liu

(All character names in this review will be written in the Chinese style, surname then given name, as the author put them in the original language.)

During the Cultural Revolution in China in the late 1960’s, Ye Wenjie watches her father die at the hand of the Red Guards. Although Ye has a degree in astrophysics, she is one of the many educated and rich who are sent to work in the farm lands and agricultural regions. Ye is sent north to the Greeater Khingan Mountains to help with the lumbering there. On top of the mountain is the Red Coast Base, an isolated building with satellite dishes and air space vibrations that repels wildlife and birds. When Ye gets involved in a publication that is labeled seditious, she is banished to the station with no contact with the outside world.

Fifty years later the Cultural Revolution is only a black spot in China’s history. Now their leading scientists are committing suicide. Read the remainder of this entry »

Cold Light by Traci L. Slatton

Posted May 19, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionCold Light by Traci L. SlattonThe mists eat metal. In the two years since the mists appeared on the world, cities have been eaten. Buildings don’t stand against them. Living organisms don’t, either, because of the trace minerals in them. The only way to survive the mists is to avoid them. Even without contact, the mists affect humans. People are developing unusual powers. Read the remainder of this entry »

Ring Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak

Posted May 10, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionRing Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak Ring Around the Sun
Clifford D. Simak; Ace Books 1959

An everlasting razor blade, cigarette lighter, and light bulb. A recipe for disaster? Jay Vickers’ agent has him come into New York City to meet a man about a book.

George Crawford, the owner of a very large business, wants Vickers to write a book exposing how these items will ruin America and the world. It’s things like this that will last forever that will bring an economy to its knees and ruin the system. Belongings that will last forever will bring down capitalism. Vickers refuses the job, much to his agent’s disgust. Ann Carter keeps trying to change his mind for his sake as well as hers. Read the remainder of this entry »

The Green Millennium by Fritz Leiber

Posted April 27, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionThe Green Millennium by Fritz Leiber Green Millennium
Fritz Leiber; Ace Books 1983

One morning Phil Gish wakes up feeling happy and hopeful. Life, formerly monotonous and sad, is now wonderful. The crowded society, the hot and cold wars that have lasted over 50 years, the right wing drunk president, the threats from Russia, being replaced at his job by a robot – none of these bother him now. Instead, he has a new pet and a new attitude. He names the green cat who appears in his room Lucky.

Phil decides to descend to the city, taking Lucky with him. Once free, Lucky starts off, Phil following. The Lucky disappears up behind one of the mixed sex wrestling arenas. Read the remainder of this entry »

Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Posted April 26, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionGolden Son by Pierce BrownBrutal. Compelling. Violent. Intriguing. Golden Son shakes up beliefs and emotions.

Born a Red, Darrow had worked in the mines of Mars. The human classes were distinct and divided by color. When his wife was arrested and hung by the order of the Golds, he almost gave up. Then he was able to join a revolution to help bring down the caste system. He went through painful surgery and training and has become a Gold himself. In Red Rising he proved himself as a strong, fierce Gold.

Three years later, Darrow is a disgraced lancer for the House Augustus, ruled by the man who ordered his wife’s death, Nero au Augustus. He is still strong and crafty but is considered a nonentity Read the remainder of this entry »

Farside by Ben Bova

Posted April 17, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionFarside by Ben BovaOn the dark side of the moon is the Farside Observatory. Dr. Jacob Uhlrich is the lead scientist there. He is determined to build an optical interferometer and become the first scientist to view the newly discovered planet orbiting one of a pair of stars. No telescope on Earth has been able to do more than observe its presence. A larger telescope unobstructed by the atmosphere is needed to actually see the planet. Farside Observatory is a perfect place to place the telescope under the auspices of Selene, the capitol of the Moon. Read the remainder of this entry »

Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold

Posted April 12, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionKomarr by Lois McMaster BujoldKomarr
Lois McMaster Bujold
; Baen 1998

No longer with the military, Lord Miles Vorkosigan is now a Barrayaran Imperial Auditor. These trusted men go where needed for Barrayaran Emperor Gregor. Miles is young for the job but his health and political issues made him leave the military. He joins Imperial Auditor Vorthys when the terraforming mirror orbiting Kormarr is badly damaged by an accident with an ore ship. But was it really an accident or an act of sabotage?

Miles and Vorthys stay with Vorthys’ niece Ekaterin and her husband Etienne Vorshisson. Vorshisson is an administrator of some of the continuing work to help the Komarrans with their terraforming project, now centuries old, as they try to turn Komarr into a safe, self sustaining planet. Komarr is the planet at the worm hole gateway to Barrayar. It is strategically important. Vorthys and Miles are visitng officially to determine the cause of the accident, then see what repairs are needed. Read the remainder of this entry »

Obsession In Death by J.D. Robb

Posted March 28, 2015 By Jandy

Science FictionParanormal RomanceRomantic SuspenseObsession In Death by J.D. RobbIt’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s. When Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody are called out to the scene of a wealthy defense attorney’s murder, Dallas discovers a present has been left for her. The killer wrote a message on the wall indicating the woman was murdered for Dallas’sake.

The attorney and Dallas had had courtroom confrontations in the past and the woman tried to disparage Dallas. The defendant got off with a lesser sentence than he deserved for his crime. While Dallas didn’t like the attorney, she wouldn’t want her killed either – especially for her sake. Read the remainder of this entry »