ed_rex: (ace)

'Steaming like raw meat dropped onto a hot stove'

Image: Cover of The Departure, by Neal Asher

It's not news that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I have a soft spot for space opera; I confess, the big space base (which I initially mistook for a starship of some sort) adorning the cover of Neal Asher's novel, The Departure, helped sell me on it.

As it turned out though, The Departure hardly qualifies as space-opera and only squeaks by as science fiction pretty much the way Superman does: on technicalities only.

Though it's set in the future and some of the action takes place in orbit and on Mars, the book is really just a narrated first-person shooter dressed up in some SF tropes — a corrupt and incompetent world government, artificial intelligence, robotic weapons and a transhuman genesis.

But all that is only window-dressing. That spectacular cover is a gateway to lugubrious dialogue, sophomoric libertarian philosophy, hackneyed world-building and, especially, to one pornographic blood-bath after another.

The Departure is one of the worst books I have read in a very long time. More boring than Atlas Shrugged (which I reviewed a while back), it drips with just as much contempt for ordinary human beings. Unlike Rand's John Galt though, Asher's superman does much of his killing at first-hand.

Does this novel have any redeeming qualities? The short answer is "no". The long answer lives behind this link.

ysabetwordsmith: (Rose-Bay)
posted by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith at 01:39pm on 07/01/2013
Nominations are currently OPEN for the 2013 Rose & Bay Awards. This award recognizes excellence in crowdfunded  material.

Art: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate art! (0 nominees)
Fiction: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate fiction! (4 nominees)
Poetry: [personal profile] kajones_writing Nominate poetry! (2 nominees)
Webcomic: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate webcomics! (5 nominees)
Other Project: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate other projects! (0 nominees)
Patron: [personal profile] kajones_writing Nominate patrons! (4 nominees)

Eligibility period: January 1, 2012-December 31, 2012
Nomination period: January 1, 2013-January 31, 2013
Voting period: February 1, 2013-February 28, 2013

One of the awesome things about the crowdfunding business model is that it breaks the stranglehold of mainstream publishing. This encourages people to publish material on topics they love for niche markets that mainstream editors would never accept. Publishing is a popular category on the crowdfunding hubs like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. What crowdfunded projects did you enjoy last year with speculative themes? Who did the most original portrayals of aliens? Which artists were doing cover illustrations? Which writers took you to other worlds? Who hosted prompt calls where you could ask for science fiction? Nominate them in the relevant category. Did you know folks who helped support those projects with donations? Nominate them as patrons!

Please drop by to nominate your favorite crowdfunded projects from 2013. Post about the award in any relevant venue to help alert more people.
Mood:: 'busy' busy
wisesong: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] wisesong at 06:21am on 15/11/2012
The GALILEO needs you!

Welcome to the USS Galileo, a Star Trek roleplay set in the year 2389. This is an all original character cast crewing the Nova-class science vessel Galileo, on her missions throughout the galax. We are looking for writers to help take up the mantle at any one of our open posts. We have dozens of open positions available for the picking, so make sure to check us out! This roleplay is for anyone who is interested in the Trek continuity, who enjoys writing and active participation in a roleplay. This roleplay uses the very intuitive Nova software to make writing between multiple people simple and fun. If you love Star Trek, roleplaying and writing, the Galileo is for you.

These are the voyages of the starship Galileo. Her mission, to explore strange, new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations.
To study spacial rifts, wormholes, and time fluxes. To develop and test the latest cutting-edge technologies.
To observe and catalog new life forms...even though they might be slimy and look kind of disgusting....
To boldly go where no research vessel has gone before!

Current mission! » Rules! » Personnel (Writers)! » Roleplay information! » Enlist today!

"Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so."
~ Galileo Galilei
boundbooks: Zhang Ziyi (dark coffee in blug mug)
"In celebration of the release of RAPTURE, the final book in the trilogy, Night Shade is giving away totally FREE ecopies of BOTH GOD’S WAR and INFIDEL.


Just send an email to Beldamegiveaway@nightshadebooks.com. Night Shade will shoot back an email to you with the info you need to download the files for GOD’S WAR and INFIDEL. Both Epub and Mobi files are available.

Free downloads are only available from November 1st to November 8th, 2012."

via http://www.kameronhurley.com/?p=12633

The first of these books was all kinds of very good (I haven't had the chance to read the second yet), so if you've heard of these and haven't had the chance to read them, this giveaway might be of interest to you. The files appear to be DRM-free.

Here's the blurb for God's War:

Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn't make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out.
ed_rex: (Default)
Drawing on myths from Jamaica to Russia, on folk tales of Coyote and Brer Rabbit, and maybe from sources as disparate as Chuck Jones, J.R.R. Tolkien and Mervyn Peake (not to mention Lewis Carroll), Nalo Hopkinson's "Young Adult" debut is as singular a creation as it has been my pleasure to read in a very long time.

All at once a surreal adventure, a subtle exploration of privilege in caste-ridden society and a daring push against the walls of narrative fiction itself, The Chaos has no villain and its (black, Canadian) heroine never wields a blade nor fires a gun.

Though questions of race and identify form organic parts of how the novel's characters view and interact with the world (none of the book's major characters is white), race is not what the book is about. Hopkinson is telling a story, she is not preaching.

Narrated by probably the most fully-realized teenager I have come across in fiction, The Chaos is always surprising, a thoroughly unconventional page-turner you owe it to yourself to read — to pass on to any literate young person you know.

For my full review, click, "When I cried, the tears were black."


ed_rex: (ace)


Awards among the shallows:

Hugos considered as dyptich of semi-precious novels

Vernor Vinge and why the golden age of science fiction is still twelve



I really ought to know better by now. It doesn't matter whether an award is given out by fans or by peers, critics or the general public, whether the criteria is ostensibly "best" this or "favourite" that.

Awards are a crap shoot, influenced by fashions, by lobbying and by plain old bad taste.

That's right, I said it. Sometimes an award is given out to a book (or a movie, or a play, or a poem — the list is as endless as variations in the arts) that simply doesn't deserve it. That doesn't even merit being on the short-list in the first place.

Let me tell you about Vernor Vinge and why the golden age of science fiction is still 12. My full review lives at Edifice Rex Online. Yell at me here, or there.

ed_rex: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ed_rex at 02:27am on 09/05/2012

The girls, the monster and the Artifact!

More than a year ago I reviewed the first half of what I thought then was a "gentle" children's adventure, Stargazer, by Ottawa indie cartoonist Von Allan. I bought the concluding sequel back in December if memory serves, but circumstances didn't see me get to it until now.

A black and white comic book featuring three pre-pubescent girls in the role of unlikely heroines, Stargazer features a Magic Doorway in the tradition of Alice's rabbit-hole and Narnia's wardrobe (and the Starship Enterprise's warp drive, for that matter).

But what seemed a "gentle adventure" in its first half, proves to be a considerably more spicy brew in its second. What seemed to be turning into an exercise of that hoary old "And then she woke up!" cliché becomes something very different — and very memorable — by the time the story is over.

A little rough-hewn, Stargazer nevertheless has considerable virtues. This story of friendship and loss just might be a gateway drug to comics for that young boy or (especially) girl in your life — but keep a kleenex handy. My full review lives on my site, ed-rex.com/reviews/books/stargazer_volume_two.

ionized: The glowing blue-purple plume of a pulsed plasma thruster against a black background. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ionized at 06:00pm on 22/12/2011
So I am apparently the community maintainer. Obviously, I am not very good at it, since I'd forgotten this comm existed. Is there anyone subscribing who'd like to take over? I don't mind staying on if nobody wants to, but I'm not going to do much to promote the place or anything. I don't really have the time or the interest anymore.
boundbooks: A color photograph of two manatees in bright blue water, looking at the camera. (manatees look at you)
I figured that this would be of interest to the community! Tobias Buckell is currently holding a Kickstart Project for funding the fourth book in his Carribean-inspired sci-fi series, which started with Crystal Rain. Of the $10,000 needed, his project has successfully passed the $5,000 mark, and you can still participate in this project until October 19th 2:56pm EDT.

Kickstarter page for The Apocalypse Ocean:

"One of the most frequent questions I get is this: 'When will you write a sequel to Crystal Rain/Ragamuffin/Sly Mongoose?' The truth is, I have most of the outline for the fourth book already written, as well as a chunk of the opening already done. And I think it would be great to see it fully written...If enough people commit to backing it, readers will get an awesome eBook (I create eBooks for freelance income on the side), or a great hardcover (with the help of a great designer), with even cooler rewards for those who want to read the book as it is being written or who want to leave their mark on the Xenowealth universe.


If we can raise $10,000, upon completion of the novel (I will start writing it January 1st at the latest, and will finish in June), backers receive their rewards (those backing the project for above $250 get to read along live, however) once the book is finished and turned into an eBook and limited edition hardcover."

Check out his blog for updates on the project, or go to the Kickstart page for The Apocalypse Ocean.
ed_rex: (Default)


As you might know, I've been serially reviewing the latest Torchwood series, a work that (I presume) is as much the product of Russell T Davies' personal vision as is possible in an inherently collaborative medium.

So it is rather difficult to ignore the irony, that there is more credible social commentary, more humour and more excitement in Peter Watts' 300 page adaptation of a first-person-shooter video game, which (again, I presume) was written strictly for the money, than there has been in the first five hours of Davies' brain-child.

Watts' story, about a an accidental cybernetic soldier's brief campaign on a ruined island of Manhattan a scant 12 years in our future is also fairly rigorous science fiction, as one might expect from the "reformed marine biologist", but probably not from a novel about a super-soldier and his mysterious battle-armour.

If Crysis: Legion is not quite the follow-up to his 2006 hard-SF masterpiece, Blindsight one might have wished for, it's a better book than one has any reason to expect of a media tie-in.

Click here for "Strange bed-fellows". Some spoilers may occur.


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