A new review over at Tor.com:
The Stars Now Unclaimed uses short, sharp chapters, its style reminiscent of a thriller. This works very effectively, because the action leaps forward: tense and well-paced, with just enough breathing room that the narrative never feels forced or overstuffed.
A new column over at Tor.com.
A new post over at Tor.com:
I’m still not sure how I feel about Star Trek: Discovery at the close of this first season. I’m not alone in that: in a season filled with excellent performances, rushed narrative arcs, peculiar (and sometimes predictable) choices, and a criminal neglect of the Klingon politics that the first two episodes primed us to look for, it’s hard to know which side of the scales is more heavily weighted.
A new review over at Tor.com:
Sikander Singh North is a prince of a planet that is, essentially, a colonial protectorate of the powerful space nation of Aquila. He’s been an officer in the Aquilan Commonwealth navy for ten years, and has now received the position of gunnery department head aboard the light cruiser Hector. He’s junior for the post, and several of his colleagues disapprove of him on grounds of where he comes from. Fortunately, he has a mostly sympathetic captain, but he must prove himself to some of his direct superiors.
Reviewed over at Tor.com:
On the whole, Cold Welcome is something of a mixed bag. If you’re looking for a survival adventure with characters you already know, it ought to be satisfying. If you’re looking for fun space opera with battles…
Click over to read the whole thing!
A new post over at Tor.com, in which I talk about space opera and what I would LIKE to see go boom in space.
Reviewed over at Tor.com. I rather liked it.
A little while back I mentioned that I wanted to talk more about William C. Dietz’s Andromeda’s Fall and Andromeda’s Choice: what they did well, and what they did poorly.*
But I’ve been thinking about American military space operas that get republished in the UK – Titan Books seems to be the headliner in this, having republished the works of Jack Campbell AKA John Hemry and moved on to Tanya Huff’s Valo(u)r books and Dietz – so this blog post is more of a set of disconnected questions than a coherent essay.
Neither Campbell nor Dietz are particularly innovative writers, or technically accomplished. (Huff is more interesting, but her military space opera never captured my imagination the way say David Drake’s RCN series did.) Both essentially repeat a similar narrative over and over again with little character change or growth, the former with a space navy, and the latter with a space legion étranger. What’s the appeal, and why do there seem to be no homegrown UK military space operas in a similar mode? Because as far as I can tell, SF by UK authors has a rather different focus, tonally and thematically.
Andromeda’s Choice and Andromeda’s Fall are not particularly interesting books, themselves. Their worst failing is that the narrative requires the main character to act stupidly or aimlessly. The narrative fails to commit in terms of consistency of character emotion and action – and prose itself never rises above the pedestrian. The main character, Andromeda McKee, views herself through the lens of the male gaze a little too often – but at least Dietz isn’t entirely preoccupied with breasts.
And yet, for all that, these two books possess some quality that kept me reading: despite their flaws, they’re weirdly fun. And I’m not at all sure why.
*Let’s note that in comparison to Dietz’s Legion of the Damned, they do many things well.