Monday, 30 May 2011

The Edge of The World by Kevin J. Anderson

This is the opening volume of a new fantasy series by the author of the excellent Seven Suns saga. We have a world split North and South between two blocs  each claiming to hold the only true faith. The war between them is based on a misunderstanding but that is irrelevant now as atrocity leads to atrocity. To Anderson's credit he doesn't paint the sides in black and white although I am pretty sure we are supposed to empathise with the more "European" bloc. The King of this Northern region has a spiritual goal to send an expedition westward to the edge of the world where monsters and maybe even Gods live but the squabbles of the ongoing war interfere.

Being the first book of a new series it spends more time on character development than on plot but the stage is set for some interesting adventures ahead. I am looking forward to reading them.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Behemoth by Peter Watts

Behemoth follows on from Starfish and Maelstrom concluding this saga of a future world threatened by a bug from the deep oceans.

This is a more conventional adventure story than the first two books with heroes and villains and an epic final confrontation. Watts does keep us guessing for quite some time as to who is hero and who is villain however. This is facilitated by one of Watts major themes: the conflict between the greater good and personal sentiment.

The most powerful humans in Watts world are the Law breakers. Vastly powerful controllers who are subject to no law other than a genetically manipulated conscience. They will kill a thousand in order to save a million.

A bit confusing at times and the end when it does come feels a bit rushed. Nevertheless has to be recommended as the closing chapter of an excellent sci fi trilogy.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Nova War by Gary Gibson

It took me a while to get into this the second novel of Gary Gibson's Shoal Sequence because it is a long time since I read the first novel "Stealing Light". Nevertheless I enjoyed the story once I got up to speed. An ancient race called the Shoal rigidly control all access to faster than light travel which enables them to act as benevolent overlords to all other "client" species. As sequence unfolds we discover all is not quite as it seems and that the Shoal's motives may not be quite as altruistic as it first appears.  Complicated Space Opera but good stuff none the less.