Newest Science Fiction Reviews

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Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Science Fiction, Crime

What happens when Utopia is achieved? When everyone is linked neurologically to everyone else and people vote on each minor decision so every aspect of life is truly democratic? Everyone knows everything and everyone decides everything so what can possibly go wrong? Except people are dying, melting to be precise, and no one knows how, or why, or who could be next. In such a circumstance who can be trusted to solve this crime and do so without spreading panic? What if the only people who can be trusted have already let you down once before? Full Review

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The Beasts of Electra Drive by Rohan Quine

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Science Fiction, Fantasy

Meet Jaymi. He's a world-class video games designer, and fresh to a new mansion in the Hollywood Hills on the basis of some recent success. But he's seen the future and he doesn't like it. His current employers, able to bring any amount of class, skill and culture to the world of gameplay, are beset on appealing to the most lunkheaded and lowest common denominators instead. Indeed, their next big thing will change the world for the worse – it will be a massively disturbing environment, where people progress through the world of the entity by spreading fake news about anyone and everyone else on the planet, whether they're playing along or not, and by getting kind of prestige points on spoiling and shaming anything beyond a user-accepted, algorithm-designed, status quo. With a much more Reithian approach, Jaymi goes freelance, and sets up a way of restoring the balance with a launch of his own, where aspects of his more humanitarian mind are played out by avatars of him in the game. He sees this as a way to improve society and get his own back – but the chance of getting revenge more quickly comes about when those avatars leave their encoded background, and become fully playable characters in reality… Full Review

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William Shakespeare's the Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh by Ian Doescher

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Science Fiction, Humour

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was a man called William Shakespeare, who was able to create a series of dramatic histories full of machinations most foul, rulers most evil and rebellious heroes and heroines most sturdy. You may or may not have noticed the cinematic version of his original stage play for The Force Doth Awaken, but here at last we get the actual script, complete with annoying-in-different-ways-to-before droids anew, returning heroes from elsewhere in his oeuvre, and people keeping it in the family til it hurts. And if you need further encouragement, don't forget his audience only demanded three parts of Henry VI – here the series is so popular we're on to part seven – surely making this over twice as good… Full Review

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Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Science Fiction

Living in 2017 has me longing to live in some sort of futuristic Utopia, in a world of free thinking and no major crime. Perhaps in a Space Station high above the Earth were the greatest minds have travelled so that they can build a vessel that will send the next generations of humans to populate new planets. You know that as soon as you arrive it will be the same old problems. You can't really have a Utopia with people in it, can you? Full Review

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Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction

Something has happened, something very nasty and on a submarine a pregnant elephant is one of only a handful of animals living below the waves. We follow Nerissa Crane, a vet, as she remembers recent events, looks after the animals and falls into a world of intrigue.

It is difficult to properly review this book without giving too much away. There will be mild spoilers throughout this right from the start but I will try to avoid the main ones. Full Review

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Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams by Philip K Dick

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Science Fiction, Short Stories

Philip K Dick's stories were originally published in the 50s, but they are more present than past. On the big screen Blade Runner 2049 relaunched the Dick-inspired cult classic to reviews of pure praise; and on slightly smaller screens, Channel 4 has adapted the author's short stories for TV. Startlingly, Dick's current relevance reaches beyond fiction and into the factual: his topics from intrusive advertising and loss of privacy to the increasing machination of society are all headline material in today's news. It is as if half a century after their inception, Dick's electric dreams are becoming reality. Full Review

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Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection of Time Lord Verse (Dr Who) by James Goss and Russell T Davies

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Children's Rhymes and Verse, Science Fiction, Humour

Consider the Doctor. Just how many birthday and Christmas gifts must he have to hand out each year, were he to keep in touch with even half of his companions? He would certainly need a few novelty gifts for some of them, say, for example, whimsical books of verse that pithily encapsulate the life of a Time Lord and that of some of his friends and enemies. As luck would have it, he has the space in his TARDIS to stock up in advance, so my advice to him – sorry, her – would be to pop along to his local Earth-based book emporium and get himself ready. And if you're working on a shorter timescale, with a shorter lifespan, and thinking perhaps just one gift season ahead, well my advice is pretty much the same. Full Review

Ghosts of Empire by George Mann

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Taking on a band of undead Mummies will take it out of the best of us and a holiday may be needed. If you are from New York there are not many other cities worldwide that could impress you, but London is one of them. Surely, a nice visit to England, far from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, will help you to relax. It is not as if Russian Tsarists are on the loose with magical powers or the events are conspiring to raise the sleeping power of Albion from its slumber. Is it? Full review...

Artemis by Andy Weir

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Welcome to Artemis, the first city on the moon. A powerhouse for the rich and a once in a lifetime trip for earth tourists, and also a place a small community of citizens call home. Jazz Bashara is one such citizen. She came to Artemis with her father aged six, it's the only place she's ever known but she wouldn't say she's flourishing. In fact, the phrase most often used to describe Jazz is a waste of talent. Jazz lives in the low end of town, sleeping on a bunk, using a shared bathroom, which is all she can afford through her job as a porter. However, Jazz dreams above all else of being rich and to this end, she has set up a side business of illegal smuggling activity. When one of Jazz's regular clients wants her to step up from petty criminal to major criminal for a handsome reward, it is just too tempting to refuse. What Jazz doesn't know is all the facts behind what she is being asked to do. Full review...

My Name is Sam by Wes Stuart

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Who is the real enemy? This is the question which confronts Sam, the champion of the Sereia in their cosmos-spanning war with the Gibbus, and the main character in this story. Sam is an unimposing boy who has no past and no memory of who he is, yet he possesses extraordinary abilities. He is also Earth's last hope for salvation from the Gibbus who, in seven days, will destroy the planet and everyone on it. This is not his choice however: that is the decision of the alien Sereia, his mentors and guides, as he is forced to confront this hazardous task. They have their own reasons for wanting Earth to be saved, but are too weak to challenge the Gibbus themselves. In their search for a human champion they find the unlikely and ill-prepared young boy, Sam – but this child is not quite as he appears… Full review...

Sea of Rust by C Robert Cargill

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Have you ever watched the Terminator movies or some similar 'Robo-geddon' franchise and wondered what would have happened if the robots had actually won? Well wonder no more, because Sea of Rust hinges on that exact premise; a world where the robots have wiped out every living thing from planet earth. Only artificial life remains; there is no trace of organic matter anywhere, since the robot uprising that devastated the planet. Now two huge mainframes compete for world domination: CISSUS and VIRGIL. They capture robots and turn them into drones; uploading their minds into a hive consciousness. The few remaining bots are called 'freebots,' and inhabit a desert called the Sea of Rust, where they do what they can to survive, including cannibalising other bots for spare parts. Full review...

Austral by Paul McAuley

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Austral has no doubts about who she is. Her birth was, as she puts it, a political act. Conceived in a laboratory dish by direct injection of sperm into an egg. I was customised by a suite of targeted genes… She was, as the jargon of her world has it edited. She is, as a result, a Husky. A human modified to withstand the cold temperatures of the Antarctic continent. Those temperatures are still hard for un-modified humans to survive in, but maybe not for much longer. This is a world in which the threats of global warming went unheeded…a world in which the ice has retreated and continues to retreat…a world in which the harshest of environments is being opened up for exploitation. Full review...

Hunted by Geoffrey Arnold

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Tullia learns about survival in the bush when she is taken hostage and later saves a youth's life during a hunt. Adopted into a Bushman family and the tribe, her presence stirs disparate feelings amongst the young men and women, a mixture of awe, desire, fear and hate. Living a very different life, Qwelby, Tullia's twin, is deeply shocked by the violence on Earth. As he is rescued by his four best friends from the Pit of Despair, he experiences his first feelings for Tamina, a girl he has known for years. Feelings which become much stronger for another girl he tries to help during a violent attack from his own world as he and Tullia seek to restore their telepathic link. Forming a connection with the twins during the attack, the girl, Xaala, is charged by her master with monitoring their attempts to mentally reconnect – and to prevent them. Xaala is torn between her mixed feelings for the twins and obeying her orders. Meanwhile, on the planet Vertazia and in secret, Quelby's family and friends build what they hope will be the first ever inter-dimensional transport. On a short test run, the village where he is staying is discovered. When Quelby finds out he is being watched, he flees from the village... Full review...

Change Agent by Daniel Suarez

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I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I had blue eyes, I wish, I wish, I wish. In the genetic lottery that is our lives we are given a selection from our mother and our father to work with. However, although they may be over six foot, you could still end up being shorter. You can't currently choose what coding you get, but what if you could cherry pick the best aspects of your family traits? It would be a great way to save people from hereditary disease, but would we end up with a world full of identikit humans all following the latest genetic fashions? In the future someone would need to be in charge of stopping science going too far. Full review...

Xeelee: Vengeance by Stephen Baxter

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Michael Poole, Earth's greatest living engineer, changed the galaxy when he opened a worm hole to allow for quick and easy transportation across the solar system. However, such a thing was created with a degree of naivety and a lack of foresight because out of the worm hole flew an unknown vessel of alien origin. Unlike anything seen by human eyes before, it is unstoppable and unfathomable. Bent on an unknown path, the vessel is unresponsive to the human life around it. It ignores hails and even direct attacks. Nothing affects it, not even the surface of the sun. All it seems to want is energy, and Earth has plenty of that to be absorbed. Full review...

Empire of Time (New Pompeii) by Daniel Godfrey

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Warning: Spoilers for Book 1 from the beginning. The experiment to study Ancient Romans by transporting them through time to a new Pompeii just before the disaster hits the old one sounded great in theory. The practice has been going on for years now, but the modern and old worlds living alongside each other in an uneasy peace. Scientist Nick Houghton only ever wanted to live within the experiment out of curiosity but it's more dangerous than he ever dreamt. Since he arrived, he's watched the Romans kill the inventors of the machine that saved them. Nick, or Decimus Horatius Pullus to give him his Roman name, is the only non-Roman living in New Pompeii and that's not a safe position or location in which to live. Full review...

The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

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If anyone thought that the short story as a form had been relegated to the pages of women's magazines (no disrespect) – think again. One genre that has always been a stalwart supporter and encourager of the short form is Sci-fi. So when you pick up a collection of Sci-fi shorts, you know that it will have just as much depth and thought-provoking philosophy as any similar novel. Add to that the intrigue of seeing how the concepts are approached by someone from China which – to be polite – has a somewhat different world-view in many ways to much of the rest of the planet…and add to that an author who is not only a best-seller in his home country but has the distinction of having produced the first translated work of SF ever to win the Hugo Award…this has got to be good! Full review...

The Genesis Fleet: Vanguard by Jack Campbell

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The human adventure continues! As humanity spreads to the stars it takes with it both the best and the worst examples of itself. The isolation and edginess of a Spaghetti Western meets hard Sci-Fi in this tale of far-flung colonies and bullying neighbours. We follow our protagonists, each failures in their own careers (crisis management, space navy, politics and marines) as they become heroes. Full review...

The Space Between The Stars by Anne Corlett

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Jamie Allenby wakes, alone, and realises her fever has broken. But could everyone she knows be dead? Months earlier, Jamie had left her partner Daniel, mourning the miscarriage of their baby. She'd just had to get away, so took a job on a distant planet. Then the virus hit. Jamie survived as it swept through our far-flung colonies. Now she feels desperate and isolated, until she receives a garbled message from Earth. If someone from her past is still alive – perhaps Daniel – she knows she must find a way to return. She meets others seeking Earth, and their ill-matched group will travel across space to achieve their dream. But they'll clash with survivors intent on repeating humanity's past mistakes, threatening their precious fresh start. Jamie will also get a second chance at happiness. But can she escape her troubled past, to embrace a hopeful future? Full review...