Grand Central Arena (Grand Central Arena I) – Ryk E. Spoor

Pilot Ariane Austin joins the crew of the first manned ship to attempt to break the lightspeed barrier. The first “jump” takes them to a large enclosed space containing a model of the solar system. The characters are bland and too quickly introduced. They are all great at their jobs except for the one who […]

The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle IV) – Ursula K. LeGuin

The Left Hand of Darkness is part of the Hainish Cycle, but very much as a standalone novel. Humanity is scattered among dozens of worlds. The planet Gethen, also known as Winter, was colonized by humanity many thousands of years previously. Contact was then lost and has only recently been re-established, with the Ekumen, a […]

The Quantum Thief (Jean Le Flambeur I) – Hannu Rajaniemi

Notorious thief Jean de Flambeur is broken out of prison by someone who wants to hire him. It is the future and everything is desperately cool with awesomely cool monikers. I didn’t get very far in this one. It is hopelessly mired in cool-sounding invented words and concepts, to the point of being almost impenetrable. Mr. […]

Sun of Suns (Virga I) – Karl Schroeder

This novel certainly has a very cool and well imagined setting. A hollow sphere the size of a small planet, filled with air. In the center is Candesce, a fusion powered artificial sun. Dotted around the place are lesser artificial suns. Around the suns low G human civilizations cluster for warmth, building giant wooden wheels […]

The Gripping Hand – Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

While The Mote in God’s Eye is easily one of the best Science Fiction novels of all time, this sequel is barely worth slogging through. All the epic elements are lost, the few good ideas aren’t developed properly and it is just plain boring. Shame. Note: In the United Kingdom it was released with the […]