The Weave, a first novel by Nancy Jane Moore, is science fiction that thoroughly deserves its advance praise by Vonda N. McIntyre and Michael Bishop. Rather than simply chronicle the first human expedition to a solar system beyond our own, First Contact with sentient aliens, and the ensuing war, Moore shows a future Earth and that alien world as experienced by two protagonists – one human, one alien – in plotlines that intertwine throughout the book…
Archive for October, 2015
This is the kind of post-apocalypse, after-it-all-changed novel with clever codicils that the Brits do with so much more classy, idiosyncratic style than anyone else. It is full of magisterial weirdness, logical surrealism, melancholy joy and hopeful terror. If I begin to toss out names like Adam Roberts, Brian Aldiss, Keith Roberts, and J. G. Ballard, I will not be lavishing undue praise.
While the titles in Ken Scholes’s Psalms of Isaak sequence for Tor seem as monumental as Bach oratorios (Lamentation, Canticle, Antiphon, Requiem and the forthcoming Hymn), his collections have longer, more offbeat yet deliberately chosen names. In November 2008 (issue #574) I reviewed Long Walks, Last Flights, and Other Strange Journeys. Though I missed the sequel, I’m back for his third collection, Blue Yonders, Grateful Pies and Other Fanciful Feasts.
Forstchen’s braiding of these four chords is deft and exciting and symphonic. In the midst of battle, Matherson has a moment to contemplate his daughter’s condition. In the midst of a community pig roast, he is formulating strategy. The organic feel of the story replicates the blended nature of real life, where at any one moment we are all juggling a dozen different issues.
N. K. Jemisin’s new novel The Fifth Season starts the Broken Earth, a series “set in a world where apocalypse is routine.” We see its devastating impact on a large continent known as The Stillness, an ironic name for land this volatile, periodically beset by Fifth Seasons where great faultlines crack, spawning volcanoes whose smoke can hide the sun for years at a time, while lava obscures most of the previous culture leaving behind only a mix of rumors and ruins, in the fragments of “stonelore” that endure.
Cherryh’s influence can be seen and felt, I think, in the debut novel from Seth Dickinson, The Traitor Baru Cormorant. There is the same sense of culture clash mediated through politesse, with deadly stakes, for one major aspect. But another tributary stream flows into the book, and those equally rich waters derive from Samuel Delany’s Return to Nevèrÿon series.