Adrian Barnes, Nod, Titan Books, 2016 (reprint).
Audio version available on Audible.
When I will begin to talk about Nod, people who are old hands at apocalypse novels will watch me with a raised eyebrow: "But C, why are you reviewing it? It sounds like so many others of the same apart from the concept." Very true, but bear with me, because it has redeeming qualities.
"Why two covers?" are you asking, "You never put two covers even if it's a series." Thank you for being so observant a regular reader (or if it's the first time you come here, welcome). Planetfall and After Atlas are both set in the same universe. They are both tied by one event: a ship called Atlas leaving Earth with humans aboard. But they can both be read as stand alone novels, you could even read just one and not the other. On the other hand, reading both as a diptych will certainly illuminate the stories more...
Chris Beckett, Eden,
Chris Beckett's Eden trilogy is something quite unique to say the least and it had been a while since I had read such a well written scifi novel...
Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.
Phoenix is an abomination. This is how she defines herself. She was born three years ago but looks like she's 40. The Big Eye scientists who created her have her under lock inside Tower 7, among other abominations, in New-York. She reads a lot. She falls in love with Saeed. She has a friend, Mmuo. But she also finds out why she's called Phoenix and which strange abilities the scientists have put inside her DNA...
M. R. Carey, The Girl with all the gifts, Orbit, 2014.
I really really really don't like zombies. Not at all. So no, I've never watched and will never watch The Walking Dead, 28 Days later, Shaun of the Dead nor any of Romero's films. But I didn't know when I picked the book that it would be a zombie story. And by the time I realised it, I was already gripped by the story...
Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children of Time, Tor, 2015.
In the future, humanity is divided because of projects that aim to terraform uninhabitable planets, and then to introduce animal species whose evolution will be guided by a nanovirus. Dr Avrana Kern is about to finalise one of these projects with a population of apes. But right when she's about to press the button for the final launch, one of her team, who secretely adheres to the faction opposing the projects, destroys the orbital station in which they all are. It's only the first terrorist action of a war that will decimate humanity...
Illustration by TravisTheGeek.
There was the GamerGate, then the ridiculous drama that the Hugo were. 2015 really contributed to make everyone think that science-fiction was a conservative genre, not to mention sexist, fascist, racist and homophobic, despite the history of the genre itself.
So here is a short collection of SFF novels that could all pass the Bechdel test. This list comprises only ten books (and it was bleeding hard to keep it to only ten books!) with completely personal choices and by chronological order...
Emily St John Mandel, Station Eleven, Picador, 2014.
It all begins an evening in Toronto. A man goes to see King Lear with his girlfriend. A famous actor plays Lear but during the madness scene he collapses on stage. The man, who has medical training rushes to the stage to help but the famous actor dies. He goes out of the theatre. It's night, everyone is gone, his girlfriend didn't wait for him. He starts walking back home when he receives a call on his mobile from one of his friend who works in a hospital. He tells him to stock on food and to lock himself in his flat: a pandemic is spreading...
Jane Rogers, The testament of Jessie Lamb, Cannongate Books, 2012.
Reading The testament of Jessie Lamb was quite an experience: the teenager I was and who still exists in a corner of my head and the adult that I am were spending their time arguing about the book.
All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
Comments are moderated. I may be slow in approving them, but please, feel free to go ahead.