A Superior Spectre is deftly constructed piece of literature. It sits shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greats. Thematically it is a worthy companion-piece to Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve. Structurally it folds like the origami of Italio Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, and Jennifer Egan’s The Keep. Stylistically it employs some of the fuzzy voice of China Mieville’s This Census Taker, where the who and when of the narrator becomes blended and circular.
With this new novel, the cosmopolitan Tidhar turns away from the noir that drove his award-winning Osama, The Violent Century, and A Man Lies Dreaming. Those who appreciated the Dashiell Hammett/Raymond Chandler scrubbed into a pulpy Po-Mo alternative reality resembling a lighthearted Phillip K. Dick will still find that in Central Station through Achimwene—a bookseller in an age when books are antiquated commodities—whose life “had been a Romance, perhaps, of sorts. But now it became a Mystery” when he meets and falls in love with the data/memory vampire (alternately called “strigoi” and “shambleau”) Carmel.
The author of Welcome to the Arms Race talks about his new novel and how it relates (or doesn’t relate) to his previous novel, about his favourite sci-fi writers, and particularly about Lawrence Miles, about the Singularity, Artificial Intelligence, and lots more.
An Android Awakes is an entertaining, sexy, terrifying, and beautiful novel, full of bleakness and fun. While the book is probably not going to suit the prudish or faint-hearted reader looking for an easy read, other readers will enjoy the rich and powerful language, the complex plot lines, and the wacky and inventive landscape that both French and Brown have created in this superb graphical novel.
Browne, a talented writer of fiction, developed his main characters in considerable depth. Parts of his book read like a detective mystery with many twists and turns as his main characters try to unravel some inexplicable events in their lives. The plot starts with one of the sixty-year-old clones seeing a young man that looked exactly like the sixty-year-old when he was that age, and the plot really gets interesting when the main characters discover that the government is behind this mystery in their lives.
A Pride of Lions is a fast paced sci-fi action story full of futuristic scenerios, great spacy fights, good guys vs bad guys, pirates, and even a touch of romance. This is a book that will appeal to any reluctant reader or staunch television watcher looking for for a fast, easy and satisfying plot driven story. Readers looking for more than light relief won’t be disappointed either. Selena is well-drawn, with a strong character arc, and enough tragic back story so that the reader instantly likes and sympathsises with her.
There are touches of I Am Legend in here with leaving announcements they’d be in a certain place for an hour each day and there is ample tension and reasoning to appeal to any aficionado of apocalyptic novels. Maybe the pace is slowed too much in the exposition in the last section of the book but it would be too much a spoiler for me to discuss that now.
Despite the above quibbles, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending A Miracle of Rare Design because it really is an imaginative adventure that demonstrates beautifully how gods are made. It’s a story that highlights all that it means to be human. It’s a story of hunger, and need and hope—and it’s a story of one man’s obsessive quest to have it all.
The world of Maddaddam is harsh and often ugly world – particularly the Painballers – a group of criminals who have survived their Hunger Games style imprisonment a number of times and have lost their ‘humanity’ in the process. However, in spite of some pretty gruesome episodes, ultimately the story is a redemptive and satisfying one. The Craker’s naivety is charming, and beyond Toby and Zeb, the characters are delightfully Dickenesque – turning to fizz, flirting in scientific jargon, and cooking up a storm with weeds and lab-grown splices.