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Science Fiction Round 70: A Brief History of Time Travel

2017/04/16 Leave a comment

I recently read Time Travel: A History by James Gleick.

It’s not a science fiction story by itself.  Instead, it’s a wide-ranging analysis of time travel in fiction and popular thought — and well worth a read.

It’s probably just as well that they decided to go for mostly text on the cover. Time-travel diagrams can get messy.

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Fantasy Round 54: Nuclear Powered Airships

2017/04/09 Leave a comment

Everfair, by Nisi Shawl, is a steampunk alternate history of how things might have been better.

Specifically, it examines the Belgian Congo (which in the modern day is the Democratic Republic of the Congo).  It asks “what if” — what if a group of idealistic colonists, former American slaves, and many groups of indigenous people fought against the brutalities of Belgian King Leopold’s government, and formed their own country?  What if there was a little more technology and a little more magic?

The book is a bit closer to an anthology than a novel, with the action spread across continents and decades.  The contents are a well-researched alternate history, from the limb-chopping atrocities of the Belgian forces to the wealth of natural resources they came for.

The lamp shown here is an important centerpiece for much of the story.  The brass left hand is a consequence of both tyranny and invention…

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Fantasy Round 53: A Meditation on Theme

2017/03/26 Leave a comment

I’ve been playing the video game The Witness recently, and I’m only categorizing it as fantasy because I don’t really know where else to put it.

It’s an atmospheric puzzle game with plenty of soothing music.  It doesn’t really have any plot or characters — just an island that you can explore at your leisure.

For those of you looking for a distraction from reality with food for thought but no need for fast reflexes or shooting monsters, this is a great game to try.

This is pretty much what the game looks like — lots of things on a pretty little island.

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Science Fiction Round 69: I Don’t Know What This Is, But It Made A Squelching Sound

2017/02/24 1 comment

Biology is not my thing.  I mean, I studied physics because it was basically the not-biology major, so I could avoid all the living, growing, squishy, gooey things.

I recently read Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion, and the biopunk aspects were fascinating all by themselves.  For… multiple definitions of fascinating.  A content warning for various flavors of bio-horror is in order.

I will now discuss the book, and also apply cold, hard physics to the scary, squishy stuff.  Wish me luck.

This cover seems accurate, although I really imagined the spaceships as looking... different. Like cylopean slugs crossed with space motorcycles. If you happen to see it, the alternate title and jacket of "Lesbians in Space" is also accurate.

This cover seems accurate, although I really imagined the spaceships as looking… different. Like cylopean slugs crossed with space motorcycles.
If you happen to see it, the alternate title and jacket of “Lesbians in Space” is also accurate.

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Fantasy Round 52: The Crooked Way

2017/02/12 Leave a comment

This is the sequel to Blood of Ambrose, and much like the first book, it’s a wild ride.  It explores many different applications of the setting’s magic, as well as questions about death and mortality.

I have a few (mostly spoiler-free) thoughts about the tale.

I'm not sure when this part happens in the story. The main dragon-slaying part that I recall involved an elderly dragon who wasn't doing a lot of flying.

I’m not sure when this part happens in the story. The main dragon-slaying part that I recall involved an elderly dragon who wasn’t doing a lot of flying.

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