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Review: Distaff – A Science Fiction Anthology by Female Authors (edited by Rosie Oliver)

Hey everyone, hope you’re all well. 🙂

I’m back with a review of a wonderful anthology and I hope my review will make you curious enough to get yourselves a copy. 🙂

The first tale, The Broken Man, by Jane O’Reilly, has a beautiful allegorical feel to it, almost as if it’s a myth which had been handed down through generations, while also being a look at the impact waste and pollution have on society. It follows the efforts of a girl, Kiko, to save a man who fell from a city in the clouds, and how what she does changes her and the man she rescues.

Space Rocks, by Kerry Buchanan, follows the return of a crew to Earth after they’ve collected some interesting rock-samples. These samples turn out to be much more than what they appear to be, and the tale does a great job of exploring how seemingly innocent actions can have wide, even dangerous, ramifications.

The Ice Man, by Rosie Oliver, is a clever murder mystery sans spaceships or aliens, and may seem out of place in this anthology, but it’s one of my stand-out stories; I really enjoyed this one! 🙂

A Cold Night in H3-II, from Juliana Spink Mills, is a claustrophobic and tense look at how a colony continues to dwindle after most of its population was struck down by a mysterious sickness. It’s tense and pacey and reminded me of The Thing (Carpenter’s original). Great tale!

The Colour of Silence, by Damaris Browne, explores the lengths parents will go to to protect and save their children. In this tale, humanity’s future, our children, have been infected with a terrible disease, and the only hope for them is the technology of an alien race.

Holo-Sweet, by E. J. Tett, is a cute, fun tale about love, AI’s, and the search for actors. Having enjoyed ‘Love, Sex and Robots’, I think this tale would translate wonderfully to that show. 🙂

My Little Mecha, by Shellie Horst, is a tale which explores what happens when children break free of the limitations and narratives forced on them by their parents, using an orbital defence station and an attack on it as its vehicles. Well written, and another stand-out story.

Ab Initio, by Susan Bolton, is a tale which explores the changes a deadly disease outbreak wrought on society, and cleverly uses age and how it affects our need to create as one of its vehicles.

The Shadows Are Us And They Are The Shadows, by Jo Zebedee, cleverly explores the aftermath of global devastation from the perspective of an interesting people. I won’t say more than that, in an effort not to spoil the story. It’s memorable and different, another great stand-out.

All in all, this anthology works wonderfully in showing that SF is still a genre which has a lot to say and has so many ways in which to say those things. Filled with great ideas and characters, Distaff is, hopefully, the first volume in what I hope will be an anthology series, and deserves to be widely read and enjoyed.

9 / 10

For more info about the anthology, the talented story tellers and their tales, check out this site. The anthology will be released on August 15 and is available for pre-order. 🙂 Also, go ahead and add Distaff to your Goodreads shelf.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2019 in Reviews

 

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Review: Adrift by Rob Boffard

Hey everyone, hope you’re all well. 🙂 I’m back with a review of Rob Boffard’s excellent ‘Adrift’!

In the far reaches of space, a tour group embarks on what will be the trip of a lifetime – in more ways than one . . .

At Sigma Station, a remote mining facility and luxury hotel in deep space, a group of tourists boards a small vessel to take in the stunning views of the Horsehead Nebula.

But while they’re out there, a mysterious ship with devastating advanced technology attacks the station. Their pilot’s quick thinking means that the tourists escape with their lives – but as the dust settles, they realise they may be the only survivors . . .

Adrift in outer space on a vastly under-equipped ship, they’ve got no experience, no weapons, no contact with civilisation. They are way out of their depth, and if they can’t figure out how to work together, they’re never getting home alive.

Because the ship that destroyed the station is still out there. And it’s looking for them…

First off, that cover sets the reader up brilliantly for what they can expect, so congrats to massive kudos to Charlotte Stroomer, the cover designer. Secondly, what a read! Rob’s work first came to my attention years ago when I received a printed MS copy from his South African distributors, and I’m ashamed to admit that I just never got around to reading Tracer. After reading ‘Adrift‘, I’ll be reading the entire ‘Outer Earth Trilogy‘ (the omnibus edition), as soon as I can. This is definitely a case of “don’t delay, read the damned books!”.

Adrift‘ takes place in a possible future where humanity had found and learned how to use wormholes to travel to many different solar systems, but the expansion hasn’t gone well – and not because of aliens. I won’t give the reason for the background conflict away (the first scene of the first chapter gives the reader a great introduction to this conflict, and the rest of the book adds more detail), but the conflict itself is central to the plot, and in surprising ways.

The plot, detailing how a group of disparate tourists, a representative of the tour company, and the pilot of their vessel are thrown into a survival nightmare- is expertly paced and unputdownable. Every chapter ends with a sneaky hook to lead you into the next and the chapters cycle between specific characters, which gives the reader a broad and yet intimate look into the kinds of people and personalities who will take them through the book. And let me tell you – there are massive surprises and turnarounds; many times I had to lower the book and exclaim to the wall across from me, “What the fuck?!” – in an admiring and jealousy-laden tone. These events serve the plot and deepen it – they’re not just there to make things more exciting, and everything ties together as the pieces of the mystery the characters are embroiled in fall into place.

What Rob manages to do with this novel is present the reader with a kickass premise, stand-out characters, brilliantly conceived and handled action set-pieces, and a multilayered mystery which ends with massively cool bang. He’s also managed to end the story as well as leave the universe he’s created open for more exploration. SciFi Magazine called this: “A TERRIFICALLY CINEMATIC ROLLER-COASTER” SciFi Magazine, and Gareth Powell said that Adrift is ‘an edge-of-the-seat epic of survival and adventure in deep space‘; I agree wholeheartedly with both assessments. Absolutely kickass novel!

9/10

To order your copies of ‘Adrift‘, head over to Amazon, and add the book to your Goodreads shelf here. Also, don’t forget to have a gander at Rob’s site.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2019 in Reviews

 

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Launch Day Review: Satic by M.D. Thalmann

One of the craziest, coolest rides I’ve ever been on.

You’ve got God as a character (while also fulfilling one other interesting role), geneticists and the cutting edge (and way past it), SF that doesn’t boil your mind while still being interesting, and characters that are both naive and compelling, powerful and tragically weak.

You’ll step into a world massively changed by a world-wide catastrophe involving nanotech, robots, androids, one weird baboon, and creepy board members. You’ll meet face-wearing barbarians, too.

How does it all fit together? Not telling – that you’ll have to read for yourself. But it does all fit together – and many, many times you’ll be cursing the author, because often what was in your mouth (or even in your nose) will be forcefully expelled by sudden laughter.

This is a fast-paced, fun and ultimately awesome SF ride – I haven’t read anything quite like it before, and I’m looking forward to every book we’ll get from this author. Highly recommended!

10/10

Order at Amazon now!

Check out more about M. D. Thalmann and his work over at his website, and have a browse through his Amazon page.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Indie Movie Spotlight: Space Trucker Bruce – Directed by Anton Doiron

Morning! 🙂

I’m back with another spotlight, this time focusing on an Indie movie called ‘Space Trucker Bruce‘. 🙂

space trucker 1

In the near future, a breakthrough in gravity control allows inexpensive access to space.

Bruce is a trucker who works the hog fat lines between Earth and the Titan Station. He’s content with his life but a bit lonely. A month away from the Titan Station Bruce picks up Max, an easily bored automation engineer with a broken shuttle. As Max is about to go crazy from space boredom they receive a strange distress call. Soon they discover a huge dark object on a collision course. Bruce and Max must risk everything to survive their deadly encounter and deliver the hog fat.

The movie was shot over 6 years with a budget of $10000, and all the sets were built in Anton’s backyard and house. I haven’t had time to check out the movie yet, but this review on The London Film Review has definitely got me curious! 🙂

Here’s a preview of the movie:

If you’d like to get more info on the movie and Anton’s work, check out the official website here; you can also head over to Vimeo to rent the movie. 🙂 If you’re on Facebook, Like the movie’s page here. 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Spotlight

 

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Review: Heaven’s Shadow by David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt

When I first heard about Heaven’s Shadow I was extremely excited – who wouldn’t be, with a clever title like that, with a novel coming from the writer who brought us amazing new takes on Batman alongside Christopher Nolan? And more, it was Sci-Fi – a welcome break from all the Fantasy I had been reading.

Unfortunately the book didn’t live up to the hype I allowed it to gain in my mind – it’s not a terrible novel, but it is a novel that could have been so much better.

What’s wrong with it? Well, it seemed to me that I was reading a mash-up between Rendezvous with Rama, Rama II, Armageddon (the big-spectacle movie), and Apollo 13 (also the movie).

I say that because the formula seemed so similar – the first section of the book introduces the major characters, much as the major personalities were introduced in Armageddon: the introductions are pulled off well and the characters themselves are immediately interesting and entertaining (especially an astronaut who has had to raise a teenage daughter, I mean that in itself would make for an interesting novel!), but once the action starts the characters take their places a bit too nicely and fittingly; there just didn’t seem much room for surprise.

The action and storyline does a lot to save the book – but also led me to call to mind novels such as the first two Rama books and the movies I mentioned. There are some very well-done surprises in store for the reader, which I really enjoyed because I just didn’t see them coming, and where the characters go and what they go through held my attention and was actually pretty cool, but having read the Rama novels, I was able to make the connections, and then it just didn’t seem so cool anymore.

Like I said before, it wasn’t terrible, or even bad, or even mediocre – it was basically a re-treading of territory I’ve already enjoyed, and I was expecting something new and fresh and inventive. Now, having said that, I realize that there will be plenty of people who, in fact, haven’t read Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama Cycle, and you will probably enjoy this novel – forgetting the similarities between Heaven’s Shadow and the Rama Cycle, the book really is great: the characters take shape quickly and fully, the action is what you’d come to expect from Goyer (with a dash of JJ Abrams), the science was okay (and by okay I mean interesting enough that it didn’t steal the show but kept me wondering), the SF-aspect was interesting and begged many questions (especially as to where this trilogy might be heading), and the style of the writing is fast-paced and attention-holding.

I would aim this book at readers who haven’t yet read much SF – it’s light enough (in terms of subject matter and science) that it won’t break their heads and entertaining and quick enough to keep them turning the pages until they’re done; one of my friends who doesn’t read a lot of SF summed it up nicely by telling me that it wasn’t amazing or incredible but that she couldn’t put it down. 🙂 I do think, though, that well-read SF-readers (people who’ve read Hamilton, Asher, Reynolds, Ballantyne, Egan, Clarke and the like) won’t be really impressed by the book – in fact, they might even agree with me when I say that Heaven’s Shadow is more Hollywood-SF than novel-SF. (Not surprising, when I remember that the trilogy has already been optioned by Warner Brothers…)

I’ll definitely be back for the next two books, though – it’s just the kind of read that will be quick, entertaining and serves as a nice break when wanting to take a break from a particular non-SF genre.

7 / 10

To order your copies of Heaven’s Shadow, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and to order online in South Africa click here for Exclusive Books. You’ll also be able to order the book in-store – stock should be arriving any time now from the UK, brought to us thanks to Pan Macmillan SA. 🙂

Until next time,
Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Reviews

 

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