Archives for posts with tag: SF

House of Suns (I), 2012

House of Suns  is a novel by Alasdair Reynolds. It was published in 2008. Broadly speaking it’s a space opera, but… as with all his books it avoids the flat prose and clumsily drawn female characters traditionally associated with the genre. It also goes some way to conveying a yearning sense of wonder at the vast, black, inkiness of space and the planets that hang about in it.

It’s not my favourite Reynolds book, but it is a gripping, fun read. If you’re interested in a modern take on space opera, I’d recommend you start with Revelation Space (2000). If you like that, you’ll get round to House of Suns in the end.

Anyway, this is from the dust-jacket: “Six million years ago, at the dawn of the human starfaring era, Aigail Gentian split herself into a thousand clones and launched them into the galaxy, to gather more memories and wisdom than one single human being could ever accumulate in a universe bound by Einstein’s laws. Periodically the shatterlings of Gentian Line meet for a grand bacchanalian reunion, where, over the course of a thousand heady nights, they exchange memories.

Two wayward shatterlings, Campion and Purslane, are about to be decades late for Gentian Line’s thirty-second reunion. Even worse, they have fallen in love…”

And here’s the first paragraph and a bit:

I was born in a house with a million rooms, built on a small, airless world on the edge of an empire of light and commerce that the adults called the Golden Hour, for a reason I did not yet grasp.

I was a girl then, a single individual called Abigail Gentian.

During the thirty years of my childhood, I only saw a fraction of the vast, rambling, ever-changing mansion.

In our house, this book can be found: dining room, left-hand bookshelves, second shelf down.

House of Suns (II), 2012

* * *

Thank as always,  John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our sixteenth is over at Richard’s blog – check it out!

Advertisements

Riddley Walker (I), 2012

Riddley Walker (II), 2012

Riddley Walker (III), 2012

The first two shots were taken in central London and the third in Clock House, UK.

Riddley Walker  is a novel by Russell Hoban. It was published in 1980.

The book is set about two thousand years after a nuclear war in a small settlement (in what is today, Kent), which has reached a technological/ social level equivalent to the Iron Age, (without the inhabitants being able to make their own iron. Metal is salvaged). The government is in part a Theocracy, with laws and mythology built around scraps of information from the pre-war age, mixed in with Bible stories and art history. Our young hero, Riddley lives in the settlement and is just about to stumble upon a plot to resurrect an ancient weapon that could bring about the end of everything.

Well, I love Russell Hoban’s work, and Riddley Walker is probably my favourite of his books. It uses an invented dialect to describe an invented time, populated by a people struggling to come to terms with their world using an invented belief system. Apparently for some time after writing the book, Hoban had difficulty writing in modern English.

Here’s the first paragraph and a bit:

On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the last wyld pig on the Dundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. He dint make the groun shake nor nothing like that when he come on to my spear he wernt all that big plus he lookit poorly. He done the reqwyrt he ternt and stood and clattert his teef and made his rush and there we wer then. Him on 1 end of the spear kicking his life out and me on the other end watching him dy. I said, ‘Your tern now my tern later.’ The other spears gone in then and he were dead and the steam coming up off him in the rain and we all yelt, ‘Offert!’

The woal thing fealt jus that littl bit stupid. Us running that boar thru that las littl scrump of woodling with the forms all roun. Cows mooing sheap baaing cocks crowing and us foraging our las boar in a thin grey girzel on the day I come a man.

In our house, this book can be found: dining room, left-hand bookshelves, second shelf down.

* * *

Thank as always,  John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator.

Empty Space (II), 2012

Empty Space (III), 2012

Empty Space (IV), 2012

These were taken in Central London and Beckenham, UK.

Empty Space: A Haunting  is a novel by M. John Harrison. It was published in 2012. I’ve already posted about the anticipation of this book here.

I’ve finally started reading it. It’s slow going, not because of the book, which is engrossing and brilliant, but because of other stuff, mundane things, sticky situations. I’m on Chapter Eight, and gripped.

So far, the book is divided between three narrative strands – one set on Earth in the near-future, and two set in the city of Saudade, which is light years away. One of these strands is from the point of view of a not entirely above-board shipper and the other from an investigator of irregularities. I couldn’t possibly hope to summarise the book at this stage, so instead here’s the second paragraph from Chapter Three:

Whether you believed these claims or not, one thing was certain: Antoyne was no longer the loser you used to see beached-up in Saudade City, narratising his bad luck, drinking Black Heart Rum, reduced to making small points at the very edge of the game as errand boy for cheap crooks like Vic Serotonin or Pauli DeRaad. He owned his own ship. He had an eye for a transaction. He wasn’t even fat anymore.

The photographs are not representative of the text in any way except that they kind of felt right – maybe something of the atmosphere…anyway, there will be more (and a fuller review of the book when I’ve finished it).

In our house, this book can be found: bedroom in a pile of stuff on the chest of drawers.

M John Harrison has his own blog here.

* * *

Thank as always,  John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator.

Signal To Noise, 2012

Signal To Noise is a short story by Alastair Reynolds. It was published in 2006, as part of Zima Blue and Other Stories. It’s atypical of his writing in general in that it is set partly in a parallel world in roughly the present day. It’s a good read, but I prefer his space opera, for which he has rightly won many plaudits. I’ve been trying to work in a title from his Revelation Space series, but they’re tricky blighters to pin down. The series manages to be simultaneously very human and terrifically vast in scale, and features massive space-ships, cyborgs who are sniffy about travellers without “enhancements”, people who spend their whole lives sealed in moveable boxes, and some interesting spins on the psychological and emotional effects of space travel. Plus a universal steriliser that looks like a trumpet. I wish he’d written more…

* * *

For the next few days I will be naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is naming his photographs after Dr. Who serials – some great work over there already.

I also highly recommend Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, and Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods.

In The Country Of Last Things, 2012

In The Country Of Last Things is Paul Auster’s fifth novel (the fourth under his own name). It was published in 1987. It was preceded by The New York Trilogy (City of Glass (1985), Ghosts (1986), The Locked Room (1986)), which is my favourite of his books, but it’s not science fiction, so there’s no place for it here. In The Country Of Last Things takes the form of a letter written by Anna Blume. Anna has entered an unnamed city in search of her brother, William. Life in the city has descended into chaos and disorder. No industry takes place and most of the population scavenges for rubbish to resell. Bleak stuff. Good title, though.

* * *

It’s Science Fiction Fortnight here at The Future is Papier Mâché.

I am indebted to John and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is cooking something interesting up at his blog.

Do yourself a favour and visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, and Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods.

Blood Music, 2012

Blood Music is a novel by Greg Bear. It was originally published in 1983 as a short story in Analog magazine. It first appeared in its current form in 1985. The book has been credited with being one of the first to make nanotechnology its subject. The plot’s really quite difficult to summarise, so here’s a link to a Wikipedia article. I heartily recommend it as a technology gone mad novel – a nice one to read on the beach far away from science parks and laboratories…

* * *

For the time being I’m  naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion.