Category Archives: C. J. Cherryh

Summer Science Fiction

IMG_9512

Summer is here!

Life has interrupted all business activities of writing and reviewing as I have traveled across country, and family from across country have traveled to me.

For the past few weeks I have attended a wedding, the Nashville Factory  (craft and art venue), my book signing and presentation, the Nashville Repertoire’s “Look-In” on a developing play and hot, hot card games with relatives. (No, I had no chance of winning there)

(Deep breath)

I have been at the Portland Zoo, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, Tiilamook Cheese factory, cycling on Canon Beach, flying kites on said beach, blueberry picking, outlet mall shopping, and wrangling four visiting kittens.

God, I love summer.

So, what kind of reading have I done?

Imager's IntrigueA lot of follow up reading in series where I loved the first book and wanted to continue more in the series. In some cases, I’m well into it as in the case of L. E. Modesitt’s third of his Imager series: Imager’s Intrigue.

As in most of Modesitt’s books, the action started off relaxed and slow. You soon fall into the flavor and rhythm of his style.

The main character, Rhennthyl is now married to Seliora and has a five year old child.There is a lot of detail concerning his daily activities and quite a lot of political proselytizing. His Imager powers have increased, and so have his enemies who fear him. He starts off as a Captain in one of the precincts where a new dangerous drug is spreading and causing concern. Random people are dying and Rhenn feels that the situation is being manipulated by more than just the drug lords, possibly an enemy country trying to destroy them from within.

Just when the reader is wondering if anything is going to happen, a surprise attack on the Collegium of Imagisle leaves Rhenn second in charge of the Imagers and the only one who can discover where the attack came from. The story becomes a detective story as different events and pieces of the puzzle come together through Rhenn’s efforts.

I enjoyed the story. Would give it four stars. Several critiques complained that Rhenn is thinly drawn with little emotion, but I quite liked him. The details Modesitt goes into about his everyday life drew me into the world that has the flavor of a French Renaissance period. He shows how people who have great power, or fame, often pay a large price in their personal life with loss of freedom and fear for their security.

Another series I’m reading is the Liaden Series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. However, the books on Amazon in this series are fairly expensive, (even Kindle version) and as I mentioned at the beginning, I have been so busy, that I haven’t had much time to read. So, I decided to try some of their novelettes that are $2.99 and run 50 to 70 pages.

ConstellationI consider it much like a tasty candy bar of summer reading rather than a full blown meal. I picked The Courier Run and will soon let you know what I think of this different way of reading. It got five stars from all eighteen reviewers; so here’s hoping.Courier Run

To that end, I have written two stories in my own Alysian Universe and may offer them as tasty tidbits around Christmas.

If you want the full meal, Constellation just came out in June, and Amazon is offering Trade Secret as a presale that will be available January 2014. Constellation is a series of shorter works, seventeen stories from Chapbooks this duo has written and is the first volume with 384 pages.

Trade SecretTrade Secret tells the story of human Jethro Gobelyn who is adopted by the Liaden clan after an ill directed bow that insults a major Liaden clan noble and jeopardizes the human’s life. Jethro wants to win his trader’s ring, but instead finds himself wrapped in interstellar intrigue and Second Board on a scout ship facing danger. He has to learn to balance his Terran heritage while learning Liaden rules of survival.

A final sad note on the passing of Iain Banks from a brain tumor. I had just started getting into his Culture Series and looked forward to many more of his books. Alas. We will miss this Hugo award winning author.

Savor summer and enjoy some good stories.

Leave a comment

Filed under alien life forms, artificial intelligence, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, C. J. Cherryh, ebook science fiction, Hugo winners, Political Science Fiction, Science Fiction book review, Science Fiction Mystery, science fiction series, Space opera, space travel, super computer

Best Selling Military Science Fiction

IMG_9503When I think about being on board a spaceship that feels real, I think of C.J. Cherryh’s Alliance Universe series.

Finity’s End was a surprise in that I expected an end of the universe story, and got a space ship named “Finity’s End” instead. The story deals with the transition from war to peace and how the merchants who travel space have to survive in the uneasy new alliance. Also in this series is Tripoint, which is the story of a young boy whose mother was raped by a ship’s captain and has preached revenge to her young son his whole childhood. The boy is kidnapped by his step-brother onto his father’s ship where he has to deal with strained family ties, and the truth.

Merchanter’s Luck, also in the series, is about the merchant ships who ply the spaceways and the big conglomerate ships who starve out the small independent ships. It has the feel of spaceships and the details of living on them that Cherryh is so good at.Downbelow Station

Others: Rim Runner, and Down Below Station. (received a Hugo) I am currently interested in this series because I am editing my novel about a space voyage on board a ship in Past the Event Horizon  and want to get that same virtual feel that Cherryh gives.

Another good space voyage novel is Timothy Zahn’s Icarus Hunt.

This is about the pirate captain who you can’t help but like. Again, the gritty life among the stars that holds danger and starvation at every turn as crew and captain try to hold the ship together at all costs. A surprisingly good read. With a touch of romance thrown in.
The Lost Fleet 1When I asked my writers group what their favorite science fiction was, my military guy said, “John Campbell and his Lost Fleet Series.” This is a popular series of a renegade military ship on several space adventures. Black Jack Geary, is pulled out of “survival hibernation” to lead a fleet of ships against the alien enemy. He has to overcome his earlier hero persona and the myth that has grown up around him over the last many years. I have read the first three and agree that it’s good, but I think you military types will enjoy it even more. Now the most recent (May 2012)The Lost Fleet:Beyond the Frontier has come out and continues Geary’s story. This time he is caught between two alien enemies and an antagonistic high command.

Ouch.
I showed up at Powell’s bookstore the other night thinking that Richard Morgan of Altered Carbon (won a Hugo) fame was speaking. It turned out that a book club had read him and was discussing his novel. Still, I met some nice ladies and had a good discussion. Interesting that one saw a religious tone to his book. I considered the question of how would our world be changed if we could be immortal? If we each had a cortical stack with a back up locked away. The group read it as a mystery. The mystery being that a murder is committed and the protagonist has been “backed up” and brought back to life, but the time of the murder is missing in his memory and evidence suggests that he was the murderer. What happened between his last saved identity and recent events?

Here us a list of two great Military Science Fiction Series:

John Scalzi:                                      Richard Morgan

Old Man’s War                                Altered Carbon

The Last Colony                             Broken Angels

Red Shirts                                         Thirteen

Zoe’s Tale                                          Woken Furies

I may be female, but I like a good rousing fight ‘em up, get the bad aliens type of macho book. I read Old Man’s War before I knew that John Scalzi was popular. It was an unexpected discovery and I remember saying, “Hey, this is interesting. Why hasn’t anyone said anything before?”

Well, they had.

What I thought was my unique discovery turns out to be the number#1 book on the recent TOR’s best science fiction of the decade list. Not to mention it made the Hugo nomination in 2006. Do I have good instincts or what? I went on to read Last Colony which was nominated for a Hugo 2008, Ghost Brigade 2007 Prometheus award nomination and Zoe’s Tale, also nominated for a Hugo in 2009.  John Salzi started by winning the John W. Campbell award best new sfwriter in 2005.

So I checked him on twitter and found out that he is a seriously funny man. Best twitter notes ever.

He just came out with a new book, Red Shirts. Check it out.

Scalzi takes old men and downloads their experience into young buff military bodies and sends them off to fight aliens in order to protect Earth. Richard Morgan does the same, but his guy is more of an interstellar mercenary. His series takes on a cyberpunk noir type atmosphere. NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. Both writers use the idea of disposable bodies–which is perfect in a military setting. Both writers put their protagonist through an identity crisis. After reading all the above books, I was having a bit of one myself.

For you geek people. I found a blog on gravity that argues that it is faster than light. It’s rather interesting and seems to be the basis for Ursula LaGuinn’s ansible, which is a space communicator that is instantaneous. Since I have an alien space communicator in Past the Event Horizon (did I mention soon to come out? See side panel) this was very interesting to me.   http://www.metaresearch.org/cosmology/speed_of_gravity.asp

What do you think? Hello, hello. Why does my iPhone do everything but have a decent phone conversation?

4 Comments

Filed under award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, C. J. Cherryh, Classic science fiction, downloaded personalities, ebook science fiction, Hugo winners, military, military science fiction, Nebula nominations, science fiction, Science Fiction book review, Science Fiction Mystery, science fiction series, Science fiction world building, space ship, Tor's Reader's Choice, war

Building a List of ebook Science Fiction

Often writing doesn’t proceed at an even pace. It has a component of push and pull; stop and start. Last week’s blog of words sat poised like a rubber band ready to snap into place, but this week’s words felt the pull of a special visitor in town. Time stretched while words waited in the wings not ready to rush onto the page, not given time to develop and mature into ripe thought. Ideas danced like fireflies unwilling to light and make themselves known. Wonderful distraction trumped responsibility.

Sallie was in town.

Beautiful weather, a wine tasting tour, Cirque du Soleil tricks and cards riffling through fast fingers came center stage while reading and all things science fiction were moved to the back burner. The obligation of the writer evaporated under the duties of the hostess

And yet, I did read The Intruder by C. J. Cherryh, falling into the trap of the familiar while browsing a library shelf. I found myself eager to try her latest in the series and continue the intriguing adventure of the human, Bren Cameron, struggling to understand the intricacies of an alien world as its human ambassador. This book in the series has a different very even tempo. The action is a steady diet of alien politics. Alien politics permeate the story. Like Cajeiri, the young restless heir who is confined to the royal apartments, the reader chafes for action. Unlike the young heir, the reader knows it will come because Cherryh rarely disappoints.

However, this time the crescendo arrives not through overcoming an assassination attempt or the arrival of an alien ship in the sky, but through the emotions of a young son for his family and a wayward pet. Cherryh explores the subtle entanglement of family emotions. A father-in-law’s ruthless ambition, a powerful father trying to parent an precocious son, a son jealous of a coming baby and a wife struggling with losing her son to a dominating mother in-law and human, all weave a tapestry of volatile family emotions.

Once again Cherryh delivers a totally satisfying read.

Next week I am working on The City and the City by China Meiville.

When I read the best-read lists from TOR, of course it contains all TOR novels and a lot of the other science fiction lists, except Amazon, contain publishing house books.

So what I want to do is to offer an Indie science fiction list. No fantasy, sorry. Also, you cannot be the author. I don’t want the author to be touting his or her own book. I’ll be flooded then. The suggestion has to be a science fiction ebook that you have read and consider outstanding. I want to pass the word on really good scifi ebooks. Sometimes I will suggest the book and at other times I will actually review a story that looks like something I would like. No shorts stories, only novels.

So let’s see what happens.

3 Comments

Filed under C. J. Cherryh, ebook science fiction, Indie Science Fiction Authors, science fiction, science fiction series, Science fiction world building