The Tranquillity Alternative – Allen Steele

The premise of this alternate history novel is that the USA established a permanent presence on the Moon in the 1960s, even basing nuclear missiles there. History has caught up, though, and an expedition is sent to hand over the moon base to a European corporation, as well as deactivate the missiles. A mini technothriller […]

The Face of the Waters – Robert Silberberg

A remnant human colony survives on the ocean world of Hydros. Humans live on artificial islands built by creatures called Gillies. On one such island, one of the humans offends the Gillies. Humans are ordered to leave. They begin an odyssey on the planet-spanning ocean to find the mythical “Face of the Waters”, a patch […]

Boundary (Boundary I) – Eric Flint & Ryk E. Spoor

The title “Boundary” refers to the K-T Boundary, an event 65 million years ago in which a large number of species, most famously including the dinosaurs, became extinct, probably due to the impact of a meteor. A group of paleontologists find a very strange fossil grouping, with bizarre anomalies including what look like bullets. The […]

Kris Longknife – Training Daze (Kris Longknife III½) – Mike Shepherd

This novella fills in some of the events following Kris Longknife – Defiant. Kris and her cohorts are tasked to set up a training command for foreign navies buying Wardhaven’s fast attack boats. It’s a cute little piece with plenty of banter between the now familiar main characters, in particular Kris and Jack. How the […]

Triplanetary – E.E. “Doc” Smith

The Lensman series is considered the mother of all space opera, and it all begins with Triplanetary, which is a series of three vaguely related novelettes, the first one concerning the fall of Atlantis. In the second one, a spaceliner is attached by a pirate. The pirate in turn is attacked by aliens intent on […]

Train to Pakistan – Khushwant Singh

The story set in a small village in Northwestern India in 1947, during the division of India into India and Pakistan. The village is on the border with Pakistan, with both Sikh and Muslim inhabitants. The two ethnic groups have been living together in the village for centuries, but events in the wider world around […]

Kris Longknife – Undaunted (Kris Longknife VII) – Mike Shepherd

The seventh book in the Kris Longknife series has Kris still in charge of the exploratory ship Wasp. She blunders into an encounter with an Iteechee vessel. The Iteechee are a race with which humanity had a war 80 years previously. They are so mysterious that the causes of the war are still essentially unknown. […]

Kris Longknife – Intrepid (Kris Longknife VI) – Mike Shepherd

In Intrepid, Kris finally has her own ship command. She is on a mission to explore the outer rim and show the flag of Wardhaven/United Sentients. She discovers a plot against her arch enemies, the Peterwalds, and also a plundering expedition launched on an agrarian colony. Lots of ground pounding action anchors this book, with […]

Kris Longknife – Audacious (Kris Longknife V) – Mike Shepherd

In Audacious, Kris is sent to Eden, an old and conservative colony world where her native and cosmopolitan Wardhaven is thought of as very much a backwater. The plot seems absent at the start, apart from the by now de rigeur repeated attempts on Kris’ life. As usual, the Peterwalds are trying to take over. […]

Kris Longknife – Resolute (Kris Longknife IV) – Mike Shepherd

In Resolute, Kris is put in charge of an out of the way naval district assignment on the frontier. In a sub-plot, she finds ancient alien ruins. But the real action is a “fleet visit” from the Greenfeld navy commanded by her old nemesis Hank Smythe Peterwald. In short, the Greenfeld fleet is trying to […]

Kris Longknife – Defiant (Kris Longknife III) – Mike Shepherd

In Defiant, Kris must face an imminent threat to her planet. Betrayed by incompetent politicians, she skirts the law to organize the archetypal rag-tag flotilla in defense of Wardhaven as a massive force of hostile warships approaches. Defiant is a further improvement over the first two books. From the viewpoint of Defiant the first two […]

Kris Longknife – Deserter (Kris Longknife II) – Mike Shepherd

A marked improvement over Mutineer, Deserter has Kris Longknife run to the rescue of her best friend Tom. The story is a bit hazy, with an “evil dude” trying to kill Kris. Mayhem ensues. As a little side note, the title is only vaguely descriptive. I guess they had to come up with something in […]

Kris Longknife – Mutineer (Kris Longknife I) – Mike Shepherd

Ensign Longknife is the scion of a great family. Her father is the Prime Minister of an important world. Her grandparents and great grandparents are equally exalted. She tries to defy family tradition, only to find that she is following it in her own way. Most of the book sets up her character for the […]

Manhattan in Reverse – Peter F. Hamilton

This short story collection contains mostly previously published material, among others the stellar “Watching Trees Grow“, which it was a pleasure to re-read. There are three more standalones, one of which is a very short vignette. The last three stories are set in the Confederation Universe, with the two longer ones featuring investigator extraordinaire Paula […]