Andy Weir: The Martian

A view from the "Kimberley" formation on Mars taken by NASA's Curiosity rover.

Cover for Andy Weir - the Martian
The Martian
is an odd book to review. I’m giving it three stars but it could be two or four, depending on what you want from a novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars. The novel does exactly what it sets out to do, the format is laid out very clearly early on, and the plot all comes together very nicely at the end.Continue reading →

Paul McAuley: Confluence, in part

Cover for Paul McAuley, Confluence: the TrilogySome time in the year 2000, out of money and the PhD in Shandeana moving further out of reach, I must have decided to try book-reviewing again. Not for money, obviously, but to attempt something creative that wasn’t tied up in the PhD disaster. So I wrote the following piece about the first two volumes of Paul McAuley’s Confluence trilogy. It’s still online at Infinity Plus but I don’t think Keith will mind me reproducing it here in this new blog.

Keith sent me the third volume, Shrine of Stars, to review shortly thereafter, so obviously he thought the quality of my work was okay. I believe he sent a couple of other titles too. I spectacularly failed to review anything else for Infinity Plus.

and it’s still fantastic.The entire trilogy was recently reissued in the UK, in an ebook and print omnibus. I reread the first book again at the end of 2013

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Ian McDonald: Kirinya

Cover of the new Kirinya ebookThis review was written in 1998 for Foundation: the International Review of Science Fiction, the academic journal of the Science Fiction Foundation. It was first published  in #74, Autumn 1998. Along with the review of two novels by Lois McMaster Bujold it was my first foray into book reviewing. I’d hoped then to write more, but my PhD studies in Shandeism had to take precedence.

It seems to have been a time for sequels for Ian McDonald – Asimov’s recently published a difficult sequel to his earlier novel Necroville (US Title, Terminal Café) entitled “The Days of Solomon Gursky”, and now we have the full size sequel to Chaga, with recent reports suggesting that a further sequel is on the way. So this is McDonald’s first trilogy. It is unfortunate then that the middle volume suffers from middle-volume syndrome.Continue reading →