Delivering the News During an Alien Invasion: “Paper Girls”

28204534Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, & Matthew Wilson
Image Comic: April 5, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation

I snapped up Paper Girls solely because I’ve really enjoyed Vaughn’s Saga graphic novel series. I knew absolutely nothing about Paper Girls when I jumped in, but this retro read was a lot of fun.

Paper Girls features four young women who deliver papers in a suburban neighbourhood. They are the first female delivery girls. Because these ladies are harassed on their beat, they team up to get their job done and on the night in question some strange happenings occur, including an alien invasion. (more…)

Spacey Adventure Ends on a Lackluster Note: “Their Fractured Light”

13138736Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Disney-Hyperion: December 1, 2015 
Genre: Science Fiction; Romance; Young Adult
Review Source: Free from library.

Liked the place, but the food was bad.

Their Fractured Light is the third and final book in Kaufman and Spooner’s spacey Starbound trilogy. I’ve enjoyed both These Broken Stars and This Shattered World, but I have to admit to feeling a bit let down by Their Fractured Light.

Their Fractured Light picks up soon after the events in This Shattered World; however, readers are now following two new characters Sofia Quinn, teen con artist, and Gideon Marchant, computer hacker extraordinaire. Like the characters in the previous books, Sofia and Gideon are both fighting against LaRoux Industries. LaRoux Industries has a dastardly plan and both Sofia and Gideon are fighting back unbeknownst to the other. This is the big tension between Gideon and Sofia; neither know that they are essentially on the same side. Secrets. Unnecessarily complicating teen lives since forever. (more…)

“Not Really An Ending” in “Ancillary Mercy”

23533039Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Orbit: October 6, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Review Source: Free from library.

I’d go there again!

I had Ancillary Mercy sitting on my shelf for over a month before I actually picked it up to read. Not because I didn’t want to read it, but because reading it means that Leckie’s fantastic trilogy is at an end.

Ancillary Mercy fantastically wraps up the story arc established in the first two books while also leaving readers frustratingly unsatisfied, after all, “Every ending is an arbitrary one. Every ending is, from another angle, not really an ending” (p. 316). And that contradictory ending, which is is both satisfactory and unsatisfactory, pretty much sums up what I have enjoyed about Leckie’s trilogy: she makes me think. Whether I’m thinking about the nature of language, or the nature of personhood, or the concept of citizenship, or the host of other compelling subjects tackled, I’m always deeply engrossed in this world and the cerebral nature of it. (more…)

Doesn’t Quite Succeed in Going “NOVA”

23398742NOVA by Margaret Fortune
DAW: June 2, 2015 (Science Fiction; Young Adult)

The view was nice, but the food was bad (meh)

I like books set in space. I like YA. I like reading about aliens. NOVA had all these things but unfortunately it did not live up to its namesake. What started out as an intriguing and mysterious read:

My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.

And I am a genetically engineered human bomb (p. 10).

Turned out to be a lot disappointing. (more…)

The Terrans: Super Space Opera and First Contact

the terransThe Terrans by Jean Johnson
Penguin/Berkley/Signet: July 28th, 2015 (Science Fiction / Space Opera)*

Outstanding Adventure!

Two hundred or so years in the future, the peoples of Earth have colonized the Moon and a few other planets in the solar system. Faster-than-light travel (in this universe, called Other-Than-Light, or OTL) has been around for approximately a decade. After yet another major conflict with massive loss of life, the nations united to become one Earth government, with a governmental structure much more focused on ethics and honesty than on … corruption, greed, etc.

In addition to this utopian civilization, some people have developed telekinesis, telepathy, and clairvoyance. The emphasis on ethical behavior for these people is much stronger than for others, although it is mandatory for all civil servants.

Within this environment, Jacaranda has been a high-ranking civil servant for years. With a military background, and psi abilities that surpass the vast majority of mentally gifted folks, she is in a unique position to become Ambassador to other races from other solar systems. In fact, she has been chosen by the government based on her presence in a number of prophetic visions, as have the other members of the First Contact team. Some clairvoyants have seen human-like aliens, some spider-influenced, and some even more horrific (sorry, spider people) aliens. All coming into contact at roughly this time, with the selected First Contact team playing the leading roles.


Space Adventure in “Fortune’s Pawn”

œF$¿Æ‘$8Òò¤»däå¸R8BIFortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
Orbit: November 5, 2013 (Science Fiction; Romance)

I’d go there again!

Fortune’s Pawn was an excellent sci-fi adventure with a kick-butt heroine. Devi Morris is an ambitious mercenary and she is not ashamed to admit it. Everything that Devi does is with one goal in mind: to become a Devastator, one of the elite soldiers of her people, the Paradoxians. When she signs on with the Glorious Fool Devi thinks she’s found her ticket into the Devastators, only to find all is not as it appears on this seemingly unassuming trader ship. (more…)

The A.I. Continues to Mature in “Ancillary Sword”

20706284Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
Orbit: October 7, 2014 (Science Fiction)

My rating: I’d go there again! vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

Ancillary Sword is an excellent follow up to the fascinating Ancillary Justice. While I liked Ancillary Justice, I loved Ancillary Sword, perhaps since I actually had the time to really appreciate the complexity of the world that Leckie has created.

Ancillary Sword picks up where Ancillary Justice left off. Breq has failed in her mission to kill Anaander Mianaai, ruler of the Radchaai. Not that her mission would have been simple as Anaander exists in thousands of iterations. Killing one Anaander would not solve the problem that is the many bodied Anaander.

Breq has been put to work by Anaander and is sent to Atheok (the only place she would actually allow herself to be ordered to go) to keep the peace while Anaander wars with the other iterations of herself. Breq is angry, so very angry about her position, but she goes because she wants to protect the sister of the captain that she served and was forced to kill as an ancillary. When she arrive on Atheok, Breq realizes that there is much happening and not all of it good and takes it upon herself to investigate the problems that she can see there. (more…)

This Shattered World

13138734This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner (Starbound #2)
Disney-Hyperion: December 23, 2014 (Science Fiction; Young Adult)*

My rating: I’d go there again! vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3 vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

I love the fact that YA is moving in direction where there is more science fiction, and by that, I really mean, books set in space. I’m really digging the space-set books in YA and I hope they keep on coming; it’s a refreshing change in the YA that I read. This Shattered World is exactly what I’m looking for in a space adventure. There’s action, rebellion, and an impossible romance, what more can you ask for? This was a very good follow-up to These Broken Stars,
which I also quite enjoyed.

This Shattered World is the second in a trilogy; however, what I like about this trilogy is that it changes the focus of the narrative by introducing new characters. Yes, we see the characters from book one, but new characters, Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac are the focus of this story.

On a colonized world, Avon, the inhabitants are controlled by the military, which naturally leads to a rebellious faction that would like to overthrow the military that is “protecting” them and assert their own independence. Flynn Cormac is the leader of that rebellion and has been since the death of his elder sister. Unlike many of his compatriots, Flynn wants his people to gain their independence with minimal bloodshed. Unfortunately, when Flynn kidnaps a well-known captain, he unwittingly provides his people with the motive for violence, forcing him to take a stand against the very people he is trying to lead.  (more…)

Ancillary Justice

17333324Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch #1)
Orbit: October 1, 2013 (Science Fiction)

My rating: I’d go there again! vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

Ancillary Justice is a sci-fi novel that has been getting a lot of buzz (it won the 2014 Hugo for Best Novel, among others), and so while it’s not something I would generally pick up, I decided to give it a try. Ancillary Justice has a lot going on, it mediates on the themes of identity, humanity, gender and what I read as imperialism – all very heavy themes, all of which were explored in a complex and meaningful ways in the novel. In all honesty, I don’t think I do the book justice in a review, so take my words simply as a primer to a very good book.

Breq is a soldier on a mysterious mission. She was betrayed and is now less than she once was. Before she was the Justice of Toren, a starship, and now she is only a segment of that intelligence inhabiting a single human body. For the past nineteen years Breq has been working towards the goal of getting revenge on the one that betrayed her, Anaander Minaai, the leader of the Radch. A leader that, like the former Breq, exists in many bodies, making this revenge plot nearly impossible. Finally, Breq is close to her end game, and with that, her past is revealed to those close to her and this will either help or hinder her mission. (more…)

“Lagoon”: Aliens, shapeshifters, and revolution in Lagos, Nigeria

lagoonLagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., April 10th, 2014 (Urban Fantasy / Contemporary Fantasy / Science Fiction)*

My rating: It’s complicated (but probably I’d go there again) (3-4 stars)

Lagoon takes place in contemporary Lagos, Nigeria. Three main protagonists, one a marine biologist, one a soldier, and one a famous Ghanaian musician, come together when aliens land in the Lagos Lagoon. Called by a mysterious force to Bar Beach, Adaora, Agu, and Anthony are briefly kidnapped by the aliens and subsequently become the alien ambassador’s main contacts with the human world. They navigate the human, geographical, and alien consequences of the disruption of Lagos by the alien spaceship.

Nnedi Okorafor weaves dozens of perspectives (including those of bats and spiders!) into an intricate tapestry that depicts the story of a city turned upside down and inside out by a peaceful-ish alien invasion. Although Adaora, Anthony, and Agu are the three major narrators in this novel, it is arguably the city itself that is the main protagonist. We, as readers, never really become deeply involved with any of the characters – the most important character development takes place as the city changes under the influence of the alien invasion. Although the aliens come relatively peacefully (but not without their own determination to thrive on Earth, mingling with humans), chaos ensues when the lagoon level rises, flooding the Beach, when sea creatures grow enormous and more threatening, and when the news that aliens would settle in Nigeria reaches the citizens through inexplicable uses of human technologies.