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Review: ‘Lord Valentine’s Castle’ by Robert Silverberg

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Valentine awakes on a sun-drenched ledge overlooking a bustling town. With only vague memories of the day before, he follows a young herdsman into town. Slowly, in vivid dreams, his memories begin to return, though they’re hardly believable. His crown and memories stolen by an usurper, Valentine must travel across half the world to regain his rightful place.

Note: The title on the image is for the sequel, yet the image is otherwise the same as the copy of the book I have.

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Review: ‘The Golden Torc’, ‘The Nonborn King’ and ‘The Adversary’ by Julian May

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I reviewed the first book in the ‘Saga of Pliocene Exile’ a little while ago, and I’ve just finished the remaining books in the series. I’ll review the last 3 books together, and try not to give anything away (though I’ll assume readers know what happened in the first book). Overall I really enjoyed the series, and I think I’ll take a look at the prequel/sequel series – ‘The Galactic Milieu’.

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Review: ‘The Many-Coloured Land’ by Julian May

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In the 22nd century Earth has joined the Galactic Millieu and humanity is scattered across the stars. In this new world of aliens, psychic abilities and amazing technology, some people don’t belong. These misfits travel through a one-way time gate back to Earth’s Pliocene.

THE MANY COLOURED LAND.: May, Julian.

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Review: ‘2312’ by Kim Stanley Robinson

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In the 24th century humans have moved to space and begun terraforming Mercury, Venus, Mars and countless moons and asteroids. Earth hasn’t been forgotten though, and is still the center of much conflict. The wondrous, vivid descriptions of the beauty of the solar system grabbed me from the first page. The story revels in music, art, and revolution. The terrforming is spectacular – ice moons are carved up and slammed into Venus to make rain and snow. Asteroids become spaceships and havens for species whose homes have been destroyed on Earth. It’s a beautiful book, and I would highly recommend it.

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Review: Dragonriders of Pern Series by Anne McCaffrey

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The first book in Anne McCaffrey’s ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ series I read many, many years ago was the ‘Masterharper of Pern’. I’ve read most of the books in the series (written by her, I haven’t read any co-authored with Todd McCaffrey), and a lot of her other books too. I recently got back into them, after not reading any for quite a while. I still love them as much as I did when I was a kid. I started with ‘Dragonflight’, ‘Dragonquest’, the Harper Hall Trilogy (‘Dragonsong’, ‘Dragonsinger’ and ‘Dragondrums’) and then went on to ‘The White Dragon’ in the space of about a week.

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Review: ‘The Windup Girl’ and ‘By Light Alone’

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Science-fiction is a genre I don’t read a lot of. I did when I was younger, but I find a lot of books focus too much on the technology and not enough on the characters and plot. However I’ve recently read two science-fiction novels that are making me re-think the genre: ‘The Windup Girl’ by Paolo Bacigalupi and ‘By Light Alone’ by Adam Roberts.

Image from: Hachette.com.au What I liked most about these novels is that they explore the social ramifications of new technology. In ‘The Windup Girl’ traditional energy sources (ie, oil) are all gone, and people are depending on ‘calories’ (ie, you feed people and they work for you, or animals work for you). The world is described in great depth and detail, more so, I would say, than in ‘By Light Alone’. The characters are also well-fleshed out in ‘The Windup Girl’, and you quickly become attached to them. The plot moves along quickly, and draws you to an unexpected and thrilling conclusion. This is a great book, and I’m looking forward to reading it again.

Adam Roberts, as I said, earlier, did not describe the world in ‘By Light Alone’ in quite the depth that Bacigalupi did in ‘The Windup Girl’, but considering the different focus of the plot, that’s ok. ‘By Light Alone’ focuses mostly on one family, and what happens after their daughter is kidnapped. Image from: strangehorizons.comI found the idea behind it, that humans can photosynthesize, fascinating. It’s something that has occurred to me before, ie, wouldn’t the world be wonderful if… but the world in ‘By Light Alone’, isn’t wonderful, and Adam Roberts does a great job exploring the limitations of the new technology and the ramifications of those limitations. The characters and their reactions are described in great detail (at some points I felt he went on a little long). The plot draws to a surprising conclusion, but one that I was happy with. Near the end I was getting worried and wondering how Roberts was going to draw it all together, but my fears were unfounded. I do have some issues with this book though; I think 10-year olds have much better memories than is shown in the book, and I think the young girls would be more upset by the terrible things that happen to them. The way it’s written, the children seem to accept everything quite calmly. It’s a little weird. Overall though, it was an interesting premise, and it finished well.

I enjoyed both of these books immensely, and I think I’ll start paying more attention to science-fiction. Does anyone else have an opinion on these books?