Archive for March, 2013

Somehow, I missed both this and the BFSA back in January ……   the 2012 Philip K. Dick Award nominees are:


BLUEPRINTS OF THE AFTERLIFE by Ryan Boudinot (Black Cat)

PDick award-2012
HARMONY by Keith Brooke (Solaris)

HELIX WARS by Eric Brown (Solaris)

THE NOT YET by Moira Crone (UNO Press)

FOUNTAINS OF AGE by Nancy Kress (Small Beer Press)

LOVESTAR by Andri Snær Magnason (Seven Stories Press)

LOST EVERYTHING by Brian Francis Slattery (Tor Books)

The winner will be announced on Friday, March 29, 2013


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I’m posting this rather late, sorry — the 2012 British Science Fiction Awards shortlist was announced.    I’m just listing the shortlist for Best Novels, but if you click on the link, you can see all of the nominees.

Best NovelBFSA-2012

  • Dark Eden, Chris Beckett (Corvus)
  • Empty Space: a Haunting, M. John Harrison (Gollancz)
  • Intrusion, Ken Macleod (Orbit)
  • Jack Glass, Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
  • 2312, Kim Stanley-Robinson (Orbit)

Winners will be announced during Eastercon (March 29-April 1)

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I came across this, and wanted to share it —- since we’ll be discussing The Rook in July, 2013.      Locus Magazine has a nice list of the finalists, if you’re interested in taking a look.   Our library doesn’t own all of the nominated titles, but we have a few (our call # is next to the ones we have):

Best Science Fiction Novel

Best Fantasy Novel


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As I said, there are a lot of nice, shiny, new books coming to our SF-F shelves.   In fact, some of them are already here!    As always, this is just a sampling — if you’re wondering about a specific book, please ask!   🙂

Moscow But Dreaming by Ekaterina Sedia     sf on order-2

Necessity’s Child by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by E.B. Hudspeth

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

Stepping Stone & Love Machine by Walter Mosley

Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb

Wool by Hugh Howey  (this was one of the books suggested at our planning meeting)

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

You by Austin Grossman

Blood and Bone by Ian Esslemont (Malazan Empire, Book 5)

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb (Rain Wild Chronicles, book 4)

Casino Infernale by Simon Green (Secret Histories, book 7)

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (Mercedes Thompson, book 7)

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Age of X, book 1)

Grail of the Summer Stars by Freda Warrington (Aetherial Tale, book 3)

Magician’s End by Raymond Feist (Chaoswar Saga, book 3)

Rebel Angels by Michele Lang

Robert Asprin’s Myth-Quoted by Jody Lynn Nye

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder  (Avry of Kazan, book 2)

Shadow of Freedom by David Weber (Honor Harrington, book 14)

Shield of Sea and Space by Erin Hoffman (Chaos Knight, book 3)

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I’ve ordered a lot of new books for the SF-F section recently, so I’m breaking this up into two posts.   This is just a sample to whet your appetite — if you’re looking for a specific book, please check our catalog or contact me to see if it’s on order.    🙂

Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencersf on order-1

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

Doktor Glass by Thomas Brennan

Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card

Farside by Ben Bova

The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Human Division by John Scalzi

Knuckleduster by Andrew Post

London Falling by Paul Cornell

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Only a few books were mentioned at our discussion on March 20th —

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce xtra books-032113

Edge of Dark Water by Joe Lansdale

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Mary Coin by Marisa Silver


Also mentioned was that the Lifeline Theater’s performances of The City and The City run through April 7th, so there’s still time to go see it.

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Last night, the group met to discuss When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.   We had a great discussion (as always!), so I’ll do my best to give a summary of what people had to say (with chosen aliases for some people).  There were mixed reactions to the book, which made for an interesting discussion.

  • Pokéthulu started the discussion by saying that that the book “was a jagged little pill I could not swallow.”   She felt there was a lot of the book that didn’t make sense to her, and while she found the book to be well-written, it was too hard to believe.
  • Hola appreciated the references to The Scarlet Letter, but felt that the book didn’t really say anything new.  She also didn’t feel that the book was believable, and didn’t like that all of the male characters seemed so flawed.  She questioned a lot of things in the story, and felt some things were way too far-fetched.
  • Burt Macklin, FBI really disliked the book.  He said he thought the first half was okay, but the whole world in the story made his skin crawl. He felt the plot completely dropped after Hannah started on her road trip and wondered why there was no more reference to her sister, or the situation with Cole, for example.  He also didn’t like that the only liberal group in the story was an underground terrorist group; why do they have to be terrorists?  He also felt the story was very one-sided, and not believable.
  • There were readers who enjoyed the book.  Furry said that she liked it, and thought it was well-written.  She agreed that some of the relationships didn’t make a lot of sense, but overall liked the story.   Menolly said that while she disagrees with a lot in the book, that she thought it would make for a good discussion.  She felt that you can’t underestimate the power of indoctrination, and this story really showed that with Hannah. She said the book is scary, but it’s an interesting social experiment to take things to this extreme; as a way to get you thinking, it’s good.
  • Ed said that he could understand some parts of the story, but overall, it felt like the author took all the feminist ideas she could think of, put them into one story, and had a deus ex machina at the end; it was done too neatly.
  • We had some general discussion about Hannah — some people felt she made decisions that didn’t seem to be logical, and others chalked this up to the fact that she had led such a sheltered upbringing, that when she had to start to make decisions for herself, this is why things didn’t always seem logical.  Mike pointed out that in Hannah’s upbringing, women are raised to be completely obedient and not question, and so when she starts to change, she’s just cracking open a door.   The group talked about how there are parts of our society that focus on this kind of role for women, and also, which can be a bit aggressive about their kind of Christianity.     Mike did say that he found Hannah’s transformation to happen a bit too quickly, but thought that the author was doing this for the storyline, so it could move more quickly.    Andrew said he just didn’t like Hannah as a character; he felt both she and the plot were too inconsistent.  Kathleen mentioned that she saw Hannah as someone who makes the best decisions with what she had to work with, who is going through being abandoned and unprotected, and choosing to survive.
  • Nicole said that she enjoyed the book because she was intrigued by the story and motives.  She didn’t know much about the story, so had wondered what life would be like after Hannah left prison and went into the outside world.  Naberius mentioned this was also something she found interesting in the story.  She said that in this world, where you wear your crimes, literally, on your skin, that there’s no escaping.  The idea of being so vulnerable, and not being able to trust anyone, even other Chromes, would be really frightening, especially for a woman.
  • The halfway house, itself, generated some discussion.   There were some comparisons to places like the Victorian homes for fallen women (as well the ones that existed even into the 1950s), as well as the Irish Magdalene Laundries.  Naberius said that this was a particularly scary part of the book; it would be the perfect setup for people who are sadists and sociopaths to prey upon vulnerable people who had nowhere else to go.    Kathleen mentioned how the society, in general, in this story is very predatory, and how scary that is.
  • Plot was something that a lot of people mentioned as being a problem in the story.   A lot of readers didn’t like that plot lines would be dropped quickly, with no resolution.  There was a general feeling that the book was pretty heavy-handed with a lot of the subject material, which readers didn’t care for.   Naberius said that while she appreciated the story, she prefers Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and the more subtle writing — the world is still scary, but the story is handled in a way that she prefers.   Many readers said they would have appreciated more back-story, like more about the infection/infertility crisis, or more exploration into the racism issues of Chroming.  Pokéthulu said she wanted to more about the scourge, and more back-story, and felt the author took on way too much in the book to cover everything completely.  However, no one said they wanted the book to be longer, especially those readers who felt the book was a chore to finish.
  • People also talked about the idea of Chroming in the story.   A lot of people thought it was an interesting idea (and for some, one of the best parts of the book).    aNON said that while he found the Chroming interesting, he didn’t quite believe the part about anyone being able to see where Chromed people were, and felt it would make more sense if it were just law enforcement that could track them.    A few people said that they felt this was perhaps the author expanding on how sex offenders are tracked now, in our own society.   Mike II said that he found the Chroming fascinating, and liked how controversial this idea is, and how it’s a solution for criminal justice in the story.
  • We had some general discussion about the sex scene between Hannah and Simone.  It seemed like everyone felt this didn’t make a lot of sense to the story, and could have been left out completely.  Some readers felt the encounter seemed too far-fetched, and unrealistic.   Another comment was that it felt too forced, and unlikely.   Kathleen pointed out that it could have been better handled by the author; that sex can be healing, and that this was a way that Hannah was reaching out to Simone.  However, she said that it seemed coercive (and not written well).

While many people felt the book had a lot of flaws, we agreed that it made for some good discussion.  More comments are always welcome, so if you’d read the book and would like to add your thoughts, please do!

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