Book Review: Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Space Opera generated a lot of buzz when it was published last year.  This year, it got nominated for the 2019 Hugo Award for the best novel.  And rightfully so.  This is one of the funniest books published in recent years.  It is uproariously funny, unpretentious and unapologetic about reusing tropes that should have died a long time ago, and so well crafted that many readers won’t even notice these tropes.  It is a story of impending annihilation of humanity, which can only be prevented by Yoko Ono…

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Hugos 2019 – Short Stories

This year’s short stories nominations for Hugos were a disappointment for me.  I’ve read three of the six nominated stories last year, and my records indicate that none of the three were in my top twenty short stories.  What’s more, I can’t, even by the greatest stretch of imagination, call two of the six stories science fiction or fantasy.  The top story on the list is good: had I read it before, I would have probably nominated it.  It also so happens that it’s the only science fiction story of the lot.  So let’s take a closer look at the short stories nominated for the 2019 Hugo Awards, ranked from best to worst, according to my tastes.

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Book Review: The Bobiverse Trilogy by Dennis E. Taylor

The Bobiverse trilogy is an excellent blend of high concepts, believable future, adventure and action.  It is both entertaining and introspective, with deep moral dilemmas.  The prose is easy flowing, and the characters relatable.  However, is misses its mark by not fully exploiting its potential, becoming already dated at its time of release, and occasionally getting bogged down by false leads and unfinished threads.  The books are thus a mixed bag, which one reader may enjoy while another may find boring.

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Hugo review – The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin

K. Jemisin became he first author to win three consecutive Hugo awards for this trilogy. Between 2016 and 2018 she took home the Best Novel award for The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky. If I’m not mistaken, this is also the first time all books in a trilogy won the award.  In this heavily spoilerish review, I will argue that while the first book certainly deserves all the accolades it got, the next two titles aren’t on the standard I’d expect from a Hugo winner.  Even though the worldbuilding and unique concepts are superb, I found little to like about the characters, think the author took too many shortcuts as she neared the ending, and missed a great deal of potential.

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The Story So Far: The Magitech Chronicles by Chris Fox

Space dragons, magic-powered weapons and spaceships, dead and resurrected gods and planet-sized skulls.  That and much more can be found in this blend of science fiction and fantasy.  After five books I must admit I am a fan.  The books are pure, unadulterated fun, easy to read and not forcing any moral lessons on the audience.  They have their flaws, but nothing that would stop me from grabbing the next part as soon as it is released.

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Musings on the 2019 Academy Awards

The Academy Awards have never been heavy on science fiction, and the 2019 awards are no exception.  Still, some movies should have been nominated, while others could have been left out.  Allow me to write a few words on what I think of this year’s nominations, as they pertain to the science fiction genre.

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Comics review: Shipwreck by Warren Ellis

Shipwreck is not for everyone.  It is a difficult, but rewarding work.  Its twisted story that leaves the reader guess till the last moment, weird characters and quirky worldbuilding, as well as the amazingly appropriate art style, all combine to make this a compelling book for the discerning reader.

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Movie Review: Venom (2018)

Let’s get straight to the point:  Sony managed to deliver their best comic book related movie to date.  Venom delivers pure fun and is more rewatchable than anything else in Sony’s Marvel catalog.  So don’t believe the low critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, pay attention to the much higher viewer score and go see it.

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Classic Review: Neuromancer by William Gibson

In my opinion, Neuromancer is the most influential science fiction novel published to date.  It’s been revolutionary, it predicted technologies and concepts better than some of the older classics (most notably Stand on Zanzibar, which is often praised for its predictive powers), and it influenced an entire slew of books and movies, as well as computer and Internet development.

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The Name of the Monster was Frankenstein

When it comes to classic science fiction, you have two kinds of people: those who call the monster “Frankenstein”, and those who smugly point out that Frankenstein was its maker; the monster was never named in the book.  Let me assert a third category: those who read the book and realized that Victor Frankenstein was the real monster.

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