Tag Archives: Sci-fi

Perdido Street Station – China Miéville – [Book Review]

He certainly has an imagination, does Mr Miéville. And no more evident and unworldly is it than here, in Perdido Street Station. This bonkers fantasy science fiction is the first of a trilogy set in the world of Bas-Lag, a planet home to a vast array of sentient races, from proud, dangerous cactus folk, to the aquatic, water-sculpting frog people.

The reader is not led gently into this other world. Far from it. We are welcomed initially with the illicit inter-species love affair between fat, eccentric scientist human Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin and his Khepri lover, Lin. The Khepri, we learn promptly, are a sub-species of human-to-the-neck, scarab-for-a-head people. Continue reading Perdido Street Station – China Miéville – [Book Review]

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The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – [Book Review]

The Lost World - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost World (& Other Stories) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I initially picked up this collection of stories because it had a dinosaur on the cover. That wouldn’t usually tantalise, but we have recently adopted the habit of humming the Jurassic Park anthem whenever sailing around the mountainous islands in southern Thailand, so it was with excitement that I began this prelude to the greatest film ever made. Continue reading The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – [Book Review]

Kraken – China Miéville – [Book Review]

Kraken by China Miéville
The book I brought out with me, Kraken, by China Miéville.

I first came across China Miéville last year, during a sci-fi binge that I had hoped would bring me up to date with the genre. Despite enjoying science fiction, my sample of it was rather antiquated – Shelley, Verne, Wells – being mostly from Literature classes.

Some cursory research (Top 100s and the like) led me to The City & The City (2009), an immensely rewarding fusion of science fiction and crime noir by Miéville. The concept is elegant: a city inhabits the exact same geographical space as another entirely foreign city, with denizens of both forced to ignore, avoid and “unsee” the existence of the other. The penalty of interacting, or even noticing, the opposite plane is named Breach and is swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with by an ethereal force of the same name.

It’s ruddy ace, it is. The plot follows a detective as he investigates a murder that appears to have involved some form of Breach from the neighbouring city, but a conspiracy is afoot and dark forces attempt to pervert the course of justice. Read it. It’s brilliant.

However, there’s something of a hangover from The City that lingers in Kraken, Miéville’s subsequent novel, like one rum too many. Continue reading Kraken – China Miéville – [Book Review]

The Fall of Hyperion – Dan Simmons – [Book Review]

The Fall of Hyperion (1990) is the second instalment in Dan Simmons’ epic science fiction series, the Hyperion Cantos. The first, Hyperion (1989), is a glorious cacophony of ideas structured as a sci-fi Canterbury Tales-style pilgrimage, following seven men and women (and one newborn) on their Chaucerian voyage to the Time Tombs on the eponymous planet.

But the first book ends with no resolution. None. Our pilgrims arrive at their destination – the temple complex of the murderous Shrike monster – with each character’s motivations achingly clear, but alas, utterly unfulfilled. Continue reading The Fall of Hyperion – Dan Simmons – [Book Review]