a few months ago

The SF stories of Arthur C. Clarke aren’t great

Over the course of more than six decades of writing science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) published twenty-two novels and twelve collections of short stories as well as fifteen nonfiction books of what is typically called “popular science.” His last novel appeared in 1997 and was followed in 2001 by The Collected Stories of Arthur […]

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a few months ago

Was George Washington truly the indispensable man?

I admit it. The real reason I read alternate history is that I’m fascinated by what-if speculation about the twists and turns of history. What keeps me reading are the imagined consequences that flow from events that didn’t happen or decisions that were never made. To my disappointment, this was not the case with Charles […]

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a few months ago

Chaos theory triggers an interplanetary adventure

Here’s a series starter that introduces a clever, universe-spanning concept in the context of a novel First Contact story. About seventy years ago Isaac Asimov published his Foundation Trilogy (which belatedly won the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series in 1966). Asimov’s conceit was that a far-future “psychohistorian” named Hari Seldon developed a methodology to […]

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a few months ago

Extraterrestrial contact changes everything in this SF novel

Anomaly is the first in a series of standalone science fiction novels about First Contact with an extraterrestial intelligence by the gifted Australian author Peter Cawdron. It’s a thought-provoking look at how the public might react to the news of First Contact. Suffice it to say that the picture is not pretty. As a tagline […]

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a few months ago

A compelling portrait of Indian society today

Nearly a decade ago, just five months after this novel was published, a brilliant nonfiction book entitled Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity illuminated the drama of life in one of the teeming slums that cluster together near the Mumbai international airport. It could be the very same slum […]

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a few months ago

In a clever novella, a future of endless war

Rule out climate change or catastrophic events like a supervolcano eruption or a meteor collision. Then try to imagine a dystopian future caused entirely by human agency, taking current trends to their logical conclusion. Including radical change in the climate, of course. You might then end up with something along the lines of Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s […]

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a few months ago

Space opera comes home in this charming Vorkosigan Saga novella

Strong female characters have always been one of the attractions of this award-winning sci-fi series. One of the most intriguing of them comes to the fore in this charming Vorkosigan Saga novella. Well into his thirties, Lord Miles Vorkosigan fell in love off-planet with the wife of a corrupt and feckless Barrayaran consular official after […]

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a few months ago

First Contact is old news in this sc-fi thriller

For nearly three-quarters of a century, reports have repeatedly surfaced in news media of UFOs and alien abductions in the United States. The names Roswell and Area 51 have become shorthand for conspiracy theories about “the government’s” ongoing suppression of information about all this proof of extraterrestrial visitations. Of course, there is no such proof, […]

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