Friday, 28 April 2017

Books Received in April 2017

Many thanks to the amazing publishers who sent me books this month. :D

Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele - I've not read any of Edmond Hamilton's Captain Future stories, but I have read some pulp SF, so this may be a lot of fun.

Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret after the murder of Curt's parents.
Curt's innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There's only one way to uncover the evil mastermind-Curt must become Captain Future.
With the permission of the Edmond Hamilton estate, Allen Steele revives the exciting adventures of Captain Future.



Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Alex Puvilland - I've already read this graphic novel, and my review of it will be up on May 2nd, the day it's published. While the artwork isn't quite to my liking, the book is very atmospheric and sets up several intriguing mysteries.
Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.
The Spill claimed Addison's parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn't spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone's twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death-or worse.
When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits-and it seems to be calling Addison's name.


The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett - This is a debut novel and sounds like a slow burn philosophical SF novel. I'm looking forward to it. Out June 13.

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be...

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi - This novel sounds very interesting.

Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster than light travel is impossible-until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.
Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war-and, for the empire's rulers, a system of control.
The Flow is eternal-but it's not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it's discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals-a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency-must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan - I absolutely loved book one of this series, The Waking Fire, so I'm really looking forward to this. Out June 27.

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood—and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed—to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen—a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it.
Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilization.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Shout-Out: The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan

Translated from Russian by Yuri Machkasov

The Gray House is an astounding tale of how what others understand as liabilities can be leveraged into strengths.

Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. From the corridors and crawl spaces to the classrooms and dorms, the House is full of tribes, tinctures, scared teachers, and laws—all seen and understood through a prismatic array of teenagers’ eyes.

But student deaths and mounting pressure from the Outsides put the time-defying order of the House in danger. As the tribe leaders struggle to maintain power, they defer to the awesome power of the House, attempting to make it through days and nights that pass in ways that clocks and watches cannot record.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Video: ROSA

This is an amazing short film by Jesús Orellana.

Description:
ROSA is an epic sci-fi short film that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where all natural life has disappeared. From the destruction awakes Rosa, a cyborg deployed from the Kernel project, mankind’s last attempt to restore the earth’s ecosystem. Rosa will soon learn that she is not the only entity that has awakened and must fight for her survival.

ROSA from Jesús Orellana on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Book Review: City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

Pros: emotional punch, multi-layered plot, great characters

Cons: 

It’s been thirteen years since Sigrud last saw Shara Komayd, but the news of her assassination still hits him hard. When he goes looking for those who killed her, he stumbles into a series of plots started years past.  He also has to locate and protect her adopted daughter, Tatyana, from Shara’s enemies.

This is the third book in the Divine Cities trilogy. While it was possible to read book two of this series as a standalone, the personal connections and plot twists of book three require having read at least the first book, though I’d recommend reading both before starting this one. Knowing the close connection between Sigrud and Shara is what propels the first half of this book, with Mulaghesh making an appearance and Signe’s name showing up several times. But it’s Shara’s presence that infuses the story, and Sigrud’s regrets regarding his treatment of the women in his life that completes it.

In many ways this book takes the plot of City of Stairs and brings it full circle, explaining some of the mysteries that book left open as well as some of the mysteries surrounding Sigrud himself. 

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Sigrud as the main point of view character considering how straightforward he is. But he’s quite fascinating once you get into his mind. And while he isn’t the planner that Shara was, he’s quite intelligent and figures things out pretty fast.

It would have been nice to get to know Tatyana better, but I loved Ivanya. It’s strange seeing the future of a fantasy world, and seeing how people affected by the great events in one book pick up the pieces of their lives - or transform themselves completely - because of them. Ivanya is cool under pressure, having prepared for years for what’s coming. 

The plot has several layers to it, some of them get pulled back quickly, while others take a while to be revealed. 


This is a brilliant end to a brilliant series, and I’m not ashamed to say that it had me in tears several times.

Out May 2

Friday, 21 April 2017

Artist Spotlight: Gregory and Olga Grozos

The Grozos' are a couple living on Cyprus who own a shop called Micro (as well as an Etsy shop where you can buy some of their amazing creations).

They work in a micro scale, making tiny steampunk and other inspired jewelry. Here's a tiny sample from Gregory Grozos' facebook page:



Thursday, 20 April 2017

Shout-Out: Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock

In a near-future London, Millie Dack places her hand on her belly to feel her baby kick, resolute in her decision to be a single parent. Across town, her closest friend—a hungover Toni Munroe—steps into the shower and places her hand on a medic console. The diagnosis is devastating.

In this stunning, bittersweet family saga, Millie and Toni experience the aftershocks of human progress as their children and grandchildren embrace new ways of making babies. When infertility is a thing of the past, a man can create a child without a woman, a woman can create a child without a man, and artificial wombs eliminate the struggles of pregnancy. But what does it mean to be a parent? A child? A family?

Through a series of interconnected vignettes that spans five generations and three continents, this emotionally taut story explores the anxieties that arise when the science of fertility claims to deliver all the answers.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Video: BBC's Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams

This is a wonderful video about the automata created in the 1700s and the technological advances made by clockmakers and other artisans and how they changed the Western world. The presenter is Professor Simon Schaffer.