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Science Fiction rss

Reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” in the Age of Trump(0)

March 20, 2017

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In a front-page essay in The New York Times Book Review for March 19, 2017, Margaret Atwood reflects on writing her science fiction classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. “Back in 1984,” she notes, “the main premise seemed—even to me—fairly outrageous. Would I be able to… Read More ›

The exciting second book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga

Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga #2), by Lois McMaster Bujold @@@@ (4 out of 5) Commander Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony is leading a scientific study team on an unnamed planet when she and a colleague become separated from the rest of the team. They witness their planetary shuttle taking off in the distance, only… Read More ›

Classic science fiction with a timely message

The Parable of the Talents (Parable #2 of 2), by Octavia E. Butler @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Read Octavia E. Butler‘s two-book Parable series or the five-volume Xenogenesis cycle, and you’ll understand why she won a MacArthur Foundation genius grant as well as multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. The Parable of the Talents, the… Read More ›

An outstanding sci-fi series

Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga #1), by Lois McMaster Bujold @@@@@ (5 out of 5) For some time I’ve known that Lois McMaster Bujold is one of best of the contemporary science fiction writers. She’s won the Hugo Award five times and the Nebula three times. Somehow, though, I’ve managed not to read any of her… Read More ›

A superb dystopian novel

The Parable of the Sower (Parable #1 of 2), by Octavia E. Butler @@@@@ (5 out of 5) 15-year-old Lauren Olamina is the daughter of a Baptist minister and the eldest of his five children. Both Reverend Olamina and his second wife, Lauren’s stepmother, are African-American, and both hold Ph.Ds. Lauren’s father reaches at a… Read More ›

Is the U.S. on the road to totalitarianism?

1984, by George Orwell @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Ten days ago Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States. The actions he’s already taken confirm the widespread suspicions about his authoritarian personality that so many remarked upon during his campaign. Many observers saw him as the heir to Adolf Hitler or Benito… Read More ›

An entertaining if puzzling sci-fi novel

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1 of 2), by Sylvain Neuvel @@@@ (4 out of 5) Every once in a while you come across a work of fiction so puzzling that you simply can’t put it down. No matter that the story seems not just farfetched but downright silly. The narrative drive, the sheer suspense, keep… Read More ›

Roman gods in the 30th Century?

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1), by Pierce Brown @@ (2 out of 5) Red Rising, and its two sequels in the trilogy of the same name, have been hailed as the equal of the Hunger Games Trilogy. The series’ hero, Darrow, has been likened to Ender Wiggin of Orson Scott Card’s classic four-book science… Read More ›

A novel about alternate universes?

My Real Children: One Woman, Two Worlds, Two Lives, by Jo Walton @@@ (3 out of 5) Jo Walton’s My Real Children may be a science fiction novel about alternate universes — or simply a complicated fantasy in the addled mind of an old woman afflicted with advanced memory loss. Since Walton has written other… Read More ›

A science fiction trilogy reaches a surprising conclusion

A review of The Last Town (Wayward Pines Trilogy #3), by Blake Crouch @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Spoiler alert: do NOT read this book (or this review!) unless you have already read Pines and Wayward, the first two novels in the Wayward Pines trilogy. It makes no sense as a standalone story. Now, assuming… Read More ›