More than 850 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘science fiction’

Alien encounters of the strange kind in a captivating sci-fi novel

Remnant Population, by Elizabeth Moon @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Stephen Spielberg’s iconic film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, appeared in 1977, starring Richard Dreyfuss and François Truffaut. Nearly forty years later, in 2016, Arrival covered similar territory with a cast headed by Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Both films featured uniquely original ideas about… Read More ›

From Connie Willis satire that doesn’t make me laugh

Bellwether, by Connie Willis @@ (2 out of 5) I’m a big fan of satire. For instance, I love Christopher Buckley‘s books. Some of them make me laugh almost nonstop. But there’s nothing worse than a satirical tale that. Just. Isn’t. Funny. Unfortunately, that’s what I found in Bellwether by Connie Willis. Apparently, Willis wrote… Read More ›

The Vorkosigan Saga: much more than a space opera

Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga #3), by Lois McMaster Bujold @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Captain Cordelia Naismith is one of the most compelling characters I’ve ever come across in science fiction: empathetic but tough, brilliant but self-effacing, loving mother and coldblooded soldier. In Barrayar, the third book in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, she is… Read More ›

A powerful feminist story in a dystopian landscape

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, by Meg Elison @@@@ (4 out of 5) Meg Elison‘s debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the prestigious Philip K. Dick Award and was included among the Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2016, and Amazon Best Books of the Year, 2016. It’s another sign that science fiction has… Read More ›

Terrorism. Homeland Security. Teenage rebellion.

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Welcome to dystopia. In Little Brother, the Department of Homeland Security runs amok in San Francisco after terrorist bombings take out the Bay Bridge and the cross-bay BART tunnel with the loss of more than 4,000 lives. The city is flooded with heavily armored agents… Read More ›

My 1000th post: revisiting my 10 most-read book reviews

Seven and a half years after I launched this blog, I’ve reached a milestone: this is my 1000th post. Nearly 900 of those posts are book reviews. I’m listing here the 10 most popular over the past three years. Four of the 10 books reviewed are mysteries and thrillers, two are trade novels, and four are works of… Read More ›

An engrossing tale of aliens, giant robots, and a motley collection of scientists

Waking Gods (Themis Files #2), by Sylvain Neuvel @@@@ (4 out of 5) Here’s how I began my review of Sleeping Giants, the first novel in the Themis Files series: “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… Read More ›

San Francisco after the Plague

The City, Not Long After, by Pat Murphy @@@@ (4 out of 5) Pat Murphy’s novel, The City, Not Long After, is a puzzling piece of work. With generous helpings of fantasy, it doesn’t quite qualify as science fiction. Sometimes the book is categorized as a dystopian novel. Since the near-future American society Murphy depicts… Read More ›

Life on Earth after the apocalypse

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel @@@@@ (5 out of 5) This is not the plot for Emily St. John Mandel’s captivating post-apocalyptic novel, Station Eleven: Doctor Eleven has fled the destruction of Earth to take up residence on Station Eleven, a space station the size of a small planet that is nearly covered… Read More ›

A superb tale of a future where artificial intelligence rules

This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Centuries in the future, the people of Earth live under the control of an artificial intelligence called UniComp. A century and a half earlier, the computers governing the five continents had come together in the Unification. The result was a worldwide society free of… Read More ›