All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Anders

All the Birds in the Sky has won the Nebula and Locus fantasy awards for best novel this year.  It has been described as a blend of the fantasy, science fiction, and magical realism genres.

James Wallace Harris, in his great review for SF Signal, describes the novel: “I thought All the Birds in the Sky as three weddings: a marriage of science fiction and fantasy, a marriage of YA and adult, and a marriage of genre and literary.”

I would agree with him but ultimately I don’t care all that much about slottingAll the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders books neatly into any genre.  I’m happy just to go with a story and decide at the end whether or not it worked for me.  This might be because I’m into pretty much all genres as long as the story, writing, and characters are good. For this book: check, check, and check.

All the Birds in the Sky is filled with a lot of great ideas that I would have loved to explore more deeply; ideas related to both the fantasy and science fiction elements of the story.  Like most stories, the primary focus is the evolving relationship between Patricia (the witch) and Laurence (the science geek/inventor).  We follow these very different people through their troubled childhoods, their personal evolutions along diverging paths, and ultimately their reunion in adulthood as they rediscover their friendship, fall in love, and then as they find themselves fighting on opposing sides in a fight to save the world.  The crux of this fight is that each side has placed value on different aspects of how and what should be saved of the world.  Laurence and Patricia must act on what they believe and see where that leaves them.

You will find yourself on one side or the other of the fight.  The question is, what is more important?  Just people or all sentient life forms?  I enjoyed the character development of Patricia and Laurence and I especially enjoyed discovering the two sides of science and magic through these two characters.

All in all it was a quick and enjoyable read.  I liked all the wonderful elements jammed together into this story.

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Artemis by Andy Weir

As soon as I found out Andy Weir had written a new book I knew I had to read it.  I really enjoyed The Martian, Weir’s style and voice make for very entertaining science fiction reading.  As expected, I really enjoyed Artemis. Weir writes wonderful books that can be relied on for interesting and entertaining reads. Artemis is another great story, it’s completely different from The Martian but still delivers the goods we’ve come to love and anticipate from Weir; it’s got great characters, interesting scientific details, and loads of humour.Artemis by Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.” (GoodReads)

I devoured this novel and I reckon if you’ve enjoyed Weir’s previous novel or enjoy science fiction in general this will be right up your alley.  Even if you’re not necessarily a huge fan of science fiction, don’t be put off.  Artemis is essentially a story about people, their lives and relationships, with a smattering of criminal intrigue, and it happens to be set on the Moon.  A very entertaining read.

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2017 Hugo Award Winner

The 2017 Hugo Awards were presented in Helsinki this year and honoured the very best in Science Fiction.  Of the six finalists, the winner of the Best Novel went to The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin, the second novel of her Broken Earth Series.  This is Jemisin’s second Hugo win in a row.  She won the 2016 Hugo Best Novel Award for The Fifth Season, the first Broken Earth novel.  The Hugos are awarded in a number of other categories and you can see the winners on their site.

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. JemisinThe Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

“The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.” (GoodReads)

 

The 2017 Hugo Best Novel finalists included:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

2017 Baileys Women’s Prize Winner

The 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was awarded last night to Naomi Alderman for her fourth novel, The Power.

The 2017 Chair of Judges, Tessa Ross, said: “The judges and I were thrilled to make this decision. We debated this wonderful shortlist for many hours but kept returning to Naomi Alderman’s brilliantly imagined dystopia – her big ideas and her fantastic imagination.” (Source)

The Power by Naomi Alderman

In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.
(GoodReads)

Have a look at the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize Shortlist for more reading inspiration.

2016 Nebula Award for Best Novel

The Nebulas honour the best in science fiction and fantasy in a number of categories every year.  This year the honour of Best Novel went to Charlie Jane Anders.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane AndersA novel about the end of the world–and the beginning of our future.
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.
But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.
A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.” (GoodReads)

You can see the rest of this year’s Nebula winners here.

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Review: Neuromancer by William Gibson

Neuromancer by William Gibson is a 1984 cyberpunk novel.  It was the first winner of the science fiction ‘triple crown’ when it was awarded the Nebula Award, Philip K. Dick Award, and Hugo Award in the same year.  I came to know about this novel through the All TIME 100 Novels list.neuromancer-by-william-gibson

“There is no way to overstate how radical Gibson’s first and best novel was when it first appeared. He combined a shattered, neon-chased, postmodern cityscape — its inhabitants rendered demi-human by designer drugs, tattoos and rampant surgical body modifications — with his vision of a three-dimensional virtual landscape created by networked computers, through which bad-ass bandit hackers roam like high plains drifters. When one such hacker, Case, gets banned from this “cyberspace” — Gibson was among the first to use the word — he’ll do anything to get back in, including embarking on a near-suicidal cyber-assault on an all but unhackable artificial intelligence. Violent, visceral and visionary (there’s no other word for it), Neuromancer proved, not for the first or last time, that science fiction is more than a mass-market paperback genre, it’s a crucial tool by which an age shaped by and obsessed with technology can understand itself.” (by Lev Grossman)

Neuromancer was Gibson’s debut novel and is the first book in the Sprawl Trilogy.  Reading this novel I was tossed into a whole new world of vocabulary and it comes as no surprise to me that at the time of publication this novel had what Wikipedia describes as “significant linguistic influence”.  The term ‘cyberspace’ first appeared on the pages of Neuromancer and quickly entered popular culture.  Gibson is also credited with the popularisation of the term ‘ICE’ which Wikipedia defines as “a term used in cyberpunk literature to refer to security programs which protect computerized data from being accessed by hackers”.  While I can say that I knew what ‘cyberspace’ meant I had no clue what ‘ICE’ was, along with many other terms Gibson uses throughout this story.

The world of Neuromancer is as strange and new as the words and Gibson does not stop and fill up the narrative with explanations of either.  You get on, hold tight, and enjoy the ride.  I have to say that I felt throughout that the popular writing advice ‘show, don’t tell’ was perfectly employed here.  You eventually figure it all out as more and more is revealed to you.

This is the first novel of this type that I’ve read before and I really enjoyed it.  It was different, wild, and cool.  It never occurred to me at any point that it was published in 1984 because the story itself is set in some other time where humans and tech are physically and culturally intertwined.  You imagine it to be the future, how far into the future I don’t know.  Gibson doesn’t specify and I liked that he left it to me to imagine for myself.

This novel is still as relevant today as it was to readers in the 80s.  It gives us a glimpse into a possible future that is not only still a viable option but probably a much more easily imagined option to us now.  This is a dark and gritty adventure into AI, cyberspace, and the tech culture of the future.  I really enjoyed it so I recommend it to readers who are into a bit of sci-fi and adventure.Save

Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was published in 2005 and was a Man Booker, Arthur C. Clarke, and James Tait Black Memorial Prize Nominee.  Though the novel didn’t win any of those awards it is one of Ishiguro’s most popular novels.

Last year I read Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day which I really enjoyed.  I ‘discovered’ Ishiguro’s writing in that book and I liked it so much that I feel I would follow him into any story he wrote.  This is why I decided to read Never Let Me Go.  It felt a natural progression into the works of an author I intend to continue reading.  The thing is, I wasn’t sure what to expect because the blurb, which you can read below, and its mention of boarding school ongoings didn’t really strike me as my cup of tea.never-let-me-go-by-kazuo-ishiguro

“From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.  Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day.” (GoodReads)

However, and this is a big however, I had no idea what I was in for.  That blurb gives you absolutely no clue as to the world you are about to step into.  And thank goodness for that.  Not knowing beforehand is key to the surprise, especially together with the way Ishiguro tells this story.

As always, his writing is lovely and his characterisation is spot on.  The pace and the sprinkling of breadcrumbs is well planned.  I can not tell you what this is actually about, of course, because I won’t take the shock of the discovery away from you.  It’s what makes this book.  It’s what contrasts the normalcy of the rest of the story which is an important detail.

Never Let Me Go was a good book.  My advice is read it, without reading any blurbs, articles, or conversations about it.  Don’t let anyone spoil it for you.Save

Review: Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake was published in 2003 and shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prize for Fiction.  It is the first of the MaddAddam trilogy.  The novel is described by the author as speculative fiction and in general as a dystopian novel.

This is the second of Atwood’s novels that I’ve read, the first being The Handmaid’s Tale, and while they are very different in storyline they are similar in that they are both unsettling stories about a very plausible end of the world as we know it.  oryx and crake atwood

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining. (GoodReads)

The GoodReads blurb describes it as an ‘unforgettable love story’ which I wouldn’t agree with.  This book isn’t about love; it’s about a world of segregation between the haves and have-nots, the ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’, the obedient and the rebels.  It’s what our world could very seriously resemble if we continue on the path of fixating on living in security complexes, on being young and immortal, and on unscrupulously modifying genetics to solve immediate problems.

It’s a bleak and horrifying world which could easily have turned into a horror story but told through the eyes of down-to-earth Snowman we are able to experience this story as if it were completely normal.  He is the perfect narrator for this story and an unforgettable character.

I enjoy reading Atwood’s books very much and look forward to reading more as well as carrying on the MaddAddam adventure.  I did enjoy The Handmaid’s Tale more but Oryx and Crake did not disappoint and I’m happy to have finally read it.  I would definitely recommend this book.

 

lilolia review rating 3 stars good

Review: Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

I’ve been meaning to get to Murakami for quite a while now.  I was going to start with 1Q84 but after reading Jessica from Book Oblivion’s post on the best way to read Murakami I took her advice and decided to start with Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World.  With a title like that you’re not sure what you’re going to get! I was completely absorbed by this book.  I loved every moment of it and it is thus far my favourite read for 2015.  Actually, I’ve added it to my favourite books (of all time) shelf on GoodReads.hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world by haruki murakami

Hard-Boiled Wonderland was published in 1985 but not for one minute did it feel like it could not have been written last year.  I would describe this book as part scifi and part fantasy but I don’t think putting a label on this book is going to do it any justice because it is many things all at once.  It is a highly enjoyable and clever book set in a time where some things resemble the world we live in and other things do not.   The book alternates between two narratives; one part End of the World and one part Hard-Boiled Wonderland.  There is so much going on in this book with so many wonderful and inventive details.  You’ll be entertained and you’ll be left thinking about it for a while after.

The blurb on GoodReads describes the novel:

‘A narrative particle accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki Murakami’s international following. Tracking one man’s descent into the Kafkaesque underworld of contemporary Tokyo, Murakami unites East and West, tragedy and farce, compassion and detachment, slang and philosophy.’

None of the characters in the book are named.  A few readers talk about why on GoodReads.  In my opinion, they just don’t need them because they are all so distinct anyway.  That’s a good writer for you.  Also when I finished this book and began mulling it over I realised because of certain elements of this story they can’t have names…I wish I could talk about why I think that but I refuse to ruin this novel for any of you even in the smallest way.  A huge part of the enjoyment of this novel is the discovery of what is going on so if you enjoy detective elements to your reading you’ll enjoy this.

I highly recommend this book! I absolutely loved it! I’d love to hear what you thought of it if you’ve read it.  Next on my Murakami TBR is Kafka on the Shore.

 

lilolia review rating 5 stars excellent

2014 Hugo Best Novel Award Winner

This year the Hugo Award for Best Novel went to:

Ancillary Justice by Ann LeckieAncillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.  Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.  Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance. (GoodReads)

2014 Hugo Award Winners

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2013 Nebula Award for Best Novel Winner

Here is the winner of the SFWA’s 2013 Nebula Award for best Novel:

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.  Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.   An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

From debut author Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice is a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence.

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2013 Nebula Awards Winners Announced

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Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

I have finally finished The Martian by Andy Weir and not because it was painfully difficult to read but sadly because the real world intervened for a bit and kept me from reading this awesome book all day long.  I am happy to share that this book will not disappoint.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.  It started with The Martianthe dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.  But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? (read more on GoodReads)

Mark Watney the main character/martian was very entertaining throughout a book which takes place on a planet where there is literally nothing but his NASA hab home and absolutely no other living soul.  You may wonder what on earth (or Mars, hahaha) is there to read about then, well all kinds of stuff happens to this poor astronaut in addition to being left behind (by accident) on Mars.  Mark is funny and ingenious in his pursuit to stay alive.  I really enjoyed it and learnt a bit too, actually. There was a lot of research that went into this book I think and its detail really makes a difference.  I highly recommend this book.  It’s action, adventure, suspense, and real life funny.   What more can I say?

 

lilolia review rating 4 stars great

 

 

 

The Future through the Eyes of Famous Works of Fiction – A Visual Recounting & 10 Reading Picks

I came across the coolest visual representation of the works of fiction that portray a version of the future that I have ever seen.  This info packed graphic comes from BrainPickings and was originally created by Italian information visualization designer Giorgia Lupi.  For any readers out there who are lovers of any kind of future related genre you will love this graphic and may be great inspiration for bibliophiles.  It has organised the novels along an X and Y axis where the X axis is the year in the future the novel (or short story, comic, comic novel) deals with and the Y axis is the date that the novel was published.  You will notice that each novel is either red, black, or grey and these colours denote whether the story has a positive (red), negative (black), or neutral (grey) take on the future.  Another feature which I thought was very helpful was the symbols placed along the X axis which let you know what the novels are more or less about; environmental, sociological, travel-adventure, technological, scientific, or political.

Enjoy perusing this awesome table (click the image to see a larger version) and immediately after you’ll find my 10 reading picks from the novels on this table.

futureevents_giorgialupi_large

My 10 Reading Picks (in order of date in the future) from the Table

Set in 2020, Air by Geoff Ryman

AirChung Mae is the only connection her small farming village has to culture of a wider world beyond the fields and simple houses of her village. A new communications technology is sweeping the world and promises to connect everyone, everywhere without power lines, computers, or machines. This technology is Air. An initial testing of Air goes disastrously wrong and people are killed from the shock. Not to be stopped Air is arriving with or without the blessing of Mae’s village. Mae is the only one who knows how to harness Air and ready her people for it’s arrival, but will they listen before it’s too late?

Set in 2035, The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

The Speed of DarkIn the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.  Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use “please” and “thank you” and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself.   But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music–with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world–shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a “normal”?

 Set in 2038, Everyone’s Just So So Special by Robert Shearman

Everyone's Just So So SpecialThe history of the world. All of it. Its wars, its empires. Each and every one of its decline-and-falls. It’s really terribly simple. It’s the story of a bunch of mediocrities who are trying to look special. And it is my duty, it is my pleasure, to expose the lot of them.  A little boy who betrays his father to the mercies of Santa Claus. An assassin whose personality is so insipid he erases people with his very presence. A kitty cat that likes to hunt only endangered species. Camel marriages, killer angels, and conjuring tricks that cause worldwide plague.  The history of mankind. As told through twenty-one tales of the comic and the macabre. Frightening and funny. Heartbreaking and wise.

Set in 2082, the Otherland series starting with The City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams

City of Golden Shadow (Otherland, #1)Renie Sulaweyo, a teacher in the South Africa of tomorrow, realizes something is wrong on the network. Kids, including her brother Stephen, have logged into the net, and cannot escape. Clues point to a mysterious golden city called Otherland, but investigators all end up dead.

Set in 2086, Blindsight by Peter Watts

BlindsightIt’s been two months since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent since – until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who to send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn’t want to meet? Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder, and a biologist so spliced to machinery he can’t feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior, and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they’ve been sent to find – but you’d give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them.

Set in 2107, Blind Faith by Ben Elton

Blind FaithAs Trafford Sewell struggles to work through the usual crowds of commuters, he is confronted by the intimidating figure of his priest, full of accusatory questions. Why has Trafford not been streaming his every moment of sexual intimacy onto the community website like everybody else? Does he think he’s different or special in some way? Does he have something to hide? Imagine a world where everyone knows everything about everybody. Where what a person “feels” and “truly believes” is protected under the law, while what is rational, even provable, is condemned as heresy. A world where to question ignorance and intolerance is to commit a crime against Faith. Ben Elton’s dark, savagely comic novel imagines a postapocalyptic society where religious intolerance combines with a confessional sex-obsessed, self-centric culture to create a world where nakedness is modesty, ignorance is wisdom, and privacy is a dangerous perversion. A chilling vision of what’s to come, or something rather close to what we call reality?

Set in 2108, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death. In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.  When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Set in 2240, Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler

Lilith's Brood: Dawn / Adulthood Rites / Imago (Xenogenesis, #1-3)Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected — by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures: their own children. This is their story…

Set in 2312, is 2312 by Kim S Robinson

2312The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.  The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.

Set in 2320, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup GirlAnderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko.  Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.   What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism’s genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.

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2013 Hugo Award Winner

The 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel went to Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives. (Goodreads)

http://www.thehugoawards.org/

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2012 Nebula Award Winner

This year’s Nebula Award for Novel went to: 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

11830394The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.

The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them. (view on Goodreads)

 

http://www.sfwa.org/2013/05/2012-nebula-award-winners-announced/

 

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2010 Hugo Award Nominees

The 2010 Hugo Award Nominees have been announced.  Here is a list of the nominees together with an explanatory paragraph on each of the nominees provided from the Guardian

The 2010 nominees are:

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

“Boneshaker is not the only steampunk book on the list. Although I can’t help wondering how long before the boiler blows on the overheated sub-genre, there’s no denying it provides some fine conceits. How’s the following for a publisher’s description? “At the start of the Civil War, a Russian mining company commissions a great machine to pave the way from Seattle to Alaska and speed up the gold rush that is beating a path to the frozen north. Inventor Leviticus Blue creates the machine, but on its first test run it malfunctions, decimating Seattle’s banking district and uncovering a vein of Blight Gas that turns everyone who breathes it into the living dead.” Yes! It’s “pure mad adventure” according to boing boing and that sounds good to me.”

The City & The City by China Miéville

“If the quality of the one book that I’ve read from the shortlist is anything to go by, this should be a vintage year. China Miéville has set a hard-boiled detective thriller in a city called Beszel that has the strange distinction of being in the same place as another city called Ul Qoma. If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is, but wrapping your brain around the strangeness is all part of the pleasure and challenge of the book. Imagine The Wire with added weirdness and less over-acting. It pushes up against the boundaries of possibility to provoke reassessment of our own reality. It has a few rough edges – but only as a result of flinging itself so hard at the doors of perception.”

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson

“Previous Hugo winner Robert Charles Wilson’s 13th novel has the steampunk-inspired setting of a world after peak oil, where technology has retreated to pre-20th century levels and the United States is dominated by the Dominion Of Jesus Christ on Earth (think the Catholic church, only even worse). It features the deliberately florid narration of the titular hero’s adventures in a war against the Dutch (of all people). It’s a 22nd-century novel, written in 19th-century style that has direct bearing on the present day, and Cory Doctorow says it’s: “politically astute, romantic, philosophical, compassionate and often uproariously funny.”

Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente

“Palimpsest is “a sexually transmitted city”. Bits of its map are transferred from lover to lover in the form of tattoos – and people are only able to enter those parts that appear on their body. Those that want to get around Palimpsest properly have to find “sequential lovers” who link up to their map. It’s a setting that might out-weird even China Miéville and it’s undeniably ingenious – although first glimpses suggest an over-use of adjectives: “They wear extraordinary uniforms: white and green scales laid one over the other, clinging obscenely to the skin, glittering in the spirelight.” Yet, the online reviews I’ve read suggest that this clotted-cream approach just adds to the richness in the long run.”

Wake by Robert J Sawyer

“A blind teenage maths genius undergoes an operation to recover her sight – and when she wakes up discovers that she can also see the electronic signals of the World Wide Web. She does so just in time to help her perceive a new consciousness, the world’s first digital intelligence – as it comes to life on the internet. This is supposedly a return to the hard science fiction of the old school, blending theories from pure science with imaginative speculation. The Canadian National Post says that Sawyer has put together: “a daunting quantity of fact and theory from across scientific disciplines and applied them to a contemporary landscape… He paints a complete portrait of a blind teenage girl, and imagines in detail – from scratch – the inside of a new being.” You can read a big chunk of it here.”

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

“The Windup Girl is a “New Person” – a being engineered to service the pleasures of sex tourists in a future version of Bangkok where bio-terrorism has become a tool for corporate profit – and wealth is measured in calories. The extracts here suggest that Bacigalupi doesn’t flinch from the brutal implications of either side of this premise. It sounds disturbing and profound.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/apr/06/hugo-awards-2010-shortlist

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2010 Hugo Award Winners

Yes, you read correctly, winners in the plural.  For the third time in its 57 years the Hugo Best Novel Award is tied between two winners.

The winners for the 2010 Hugo Best Novel Award are:

China Mieville for The City and The City

Paolo Bacigalupi for The Windup Girl

 

The Guardian had this to say about the winning novels:

With Miéville’s novel a fantastical twist on a crime story, and Bacigalupi’s a futuristic tale about an engineered girl grown for sex tourists, this year’s winning titles show the range of science fiction today. Set in Thailand, The Windup Girl tells the story of the beautiful Emiko, grown in a creche for a Kyoto businessman but now abandoned in Bangkok, and her encounter with AgriGen’s “Calorie Man” Anderson Lake, whose job is to look for “extinct” foodstuffs to help his company “reap the bounty of history’s lost calories”. It has been compared to William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer in the Washington Post, which also cited Margaret Atwood, JG Ballard and Philip K Dick as influences. The book also carried off this year’s Nebula award for best novel.

Bacigalupi pronounced himself “blown away and so pleased with this huge honour”, describing his fellow winner’s novel as “excellent”. The City and the City, which has already won Miéville the UK’s top two science fiction prizes, the Arthur C Clarke and British Science Fiction Association awards, is very different to Bacigalupi’s novel. The story of a murder investigation in the decaying city of Besźel, it quickly emerges that things aren’t quite as they seem: Besźel exists in the same physical space as another city, Ul Qoma, and Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad must travel there to solve the mystery. “Miéville thickens his plot with exceptional mastery,” wrote Michael Moorcock in the Guardian.

“Keeping his grip firmly on an idea which would quickly slip from the hands of a less skilled writer, Miéville again proves himself as intelligent as he is original”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/sep/06/china-mieville-paolo-bacigalupi-hugo-award?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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2010 Nebula Award Winner

The 2010 Nebula Awards were announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet held at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Ocean front on 15 May 2010.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Guardian had this to say of Bacigalupi’s novel:

“Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl was voted winner of the Nebula by the 1,500 author members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, ahead of novels including China Miéville’s fantastical crime novel The City and the City, which won prestigious UK science fiction prize the Arthur C Clarke late last month, Jeff VanderMeer’s Finch and Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker.

Nominated for a Hugo award and named one of the 10 best novels of last year by Time magazine, The Windup Girl is the story of Emiko, an engineered being grown in a creche to satisfy the sexual whims of a Japanese businessman and abandoned to roam the streets of Bangkok. Set in a world where the global economy is built on calories, Emiko meets Anderson Lake, who is searching Bangkok for “extinct” foodstuffs for his company AgriGen.”

For more category winners follow the link: http://www.nebulaawards.com/index.php/guest_blogs/sfwa_announces_2010_nebula_awards_winners/

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2010 Hugo Award Nominees

The World Science Fiction Convention has announced the ballot for the 2010 Hugo Awards.

The 2010 Hugo Award Winners will be announced in Melbourne, Australia during Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention.  The Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday 5 September 2010.

Best Novel

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The City & The City by China Miéville

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente

Wake by Robert J. Sawyer

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Best Novella

“Act One” by Nancy Kress

The God Engines by John Scalzi

“Palimpsest” by Charles Stross

Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow

“Vishnu at the Cat Circus” by Ian McDonald

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker

www.thehugoawards.com

www.aussiecon4.org.au