Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: Horizons by Mary Rosenblum, SF epic or SF romance?

Rosenblum presents a future of humanity as intricately nuanced as Margaret Atwood, with a bit more of the hard SF readability of Asimov and Bova. The story is at once a mystery, with rich, futuristic characterization; a tale of political changes and intrigues, betrayals and loyalties, and blossoming love.

What will the trade and politics of Earth with its colony space stations be like? What will the colonials be like? If man can adapt to live in space, what will the adaptations be and how rapidly will they occur? Can non-Darwinian evolution occur with simple changes in phenotype being environmentally produced? Why are the newts in the caves of New Mexico blind today? These are some of the questions implicit to the themes in Rosenblum's adventure.

When Ahni visits a space habitat to search for her brother's killer, she finds a family of "new humans" that are hidden away for fear that their discovery will mean instant annihilation. They are just too different. Ahni befriends them and their protectors; thus getting involved in all sorts of power plays between the forces that wish independence for the space colonies with citizenship for this new race of humans, and a cult of racists that wish to destroy the habitats for their own reasons of power in governing all Earth's peoples.

It is an exciting read from an author that is skilled in world-crafting and characterization. You can decide which aspect of this novel appealed to you more, the romance or the sweeping epic. Either way, the book will make you think about where humanity is headed in its ethical treatment of those of us who are different.

Other books by Mary Rosenblum are The Drylands (1993), Chimera (1993), The Stone Garden (1994)and Water Rites (2007); four books I will now add to my list of books to read soon. I am always excited to find another author whose works I can expect to enjoy!


There was a touch of illegitimacy, lesbianism, and a scene of almost explicit sexual activity. Hence, as a teacher, I do not recommend the book to the normal YA audience. There is very little violence, though.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Reviews on SF found at the Dollar General

The Ethos EffectEnemies (Roc Science Fiction)The Hidden Worlds[I cannot get Rebel Moon on Amazon today. I did get it at the Dollar General a few years back.]

Above are the books from Amazon. Some must be purchased as ebooks.

I went into the Dollar General to get that inexpensive $1.00 box of Milk Duds to satisfy my sweet tooth on the drive to the house. I decided to check out the books while there. Lo and Behold, there were 4 science fiction paperbacks that looked interesting (I am soooo pickey). I did not buy the Ethos Effect, since I had already read that one by Modesitt.

What I did buy for $1.25 were The Hidden Worlds, Cosmonaut Keep, and Horizons.

Yes, these are all older books which are mostly sold as used books today. But then, in order to read the vast amounts of SF that I desire, I must shop at the used book stores and at the local library where used paperbacks are sold for a quarter and few SF fans release their copies. So I was thrilled to find 3 books I wanted to read at the Dollar General!

Of the set I have mentioned here, Enemies by Lee Hogan is on of my favorites; Rogue Moon is very like the movie Moon; and The Ethos Effect is the most thought- provoking. I recommend each to other SF fans as books that explore politics and alien relationships in multicultural futures. Rogue Moon's "alien" is a human clone, but...

Of the set I just bought, The Hidden Worlds is the only one I have had time to read yet. It could be called an SF Romance, but should appeal to men as well as women since it is not a bodice-ripper. It deals with some gritty references to aberrations that influence the story, so I, as a teacher, would not recommend it to YA readers; however the aberrations are not described or named, just implied, so maybe a mature YA reader could handle the content. Homosexuality and bisexuality is considered the norm on one of the planets and these relationships are handled as normal by the author. It is the cruelty of one psychotic, drug-addicted character, Rafael, that is the source of the aberrant behaviors.

In this future world, the Earth is a conquered planet and humanity has migrated to planets hidden from the enemy Cold Minds. The many new worlds of man are held together by a fleet of Master Pilots who can navigate the interstellar ships needed for trade and political cohesion. Author Kristin Landon deftly builds 3 distinct cultures spread between 3 worlds and an alien enemy in this page-turner that posts a mystery early on and explores family, traditional, and political relationships in uniques ways. What do you do when your whole life is built on a lie? Would you forfeit power and wealth to save others? Would you destroy a world so other worlds can survive? I rate the book a 5 and hope to read the other 2 that follow in this trilogy.
The Cold Minds (Ace Science Fiction)The Dark Reaches

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Book List of YA Science Fiction by Women Authors

In the Broad Universe Organization's science fiction catalog are numerous novels marked as YA suitable. Almost all authors listed are members of the organization. Also, there is a catalog of fantasy works and children's literature.

Visit the webpage for ISBN, publisher, pub. date, and also awards and award nominations.

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Allen, Jeanne
ORPHILION DREAMS

Bush, Emilie P
CHENDA AND THE AIRSHIP BROFMAN

Chng, Joyce
ENVISIONING: A COLLECTION OF SPECULATIVE FICTION

Chng, Joyce
WINGED: A NOVELLA OF TWO GIRLS

Clark, Pushman, writing with Heidi Lampietti
THE ADVENTURES OF DAMION KOEHKH, MD: SPACE DOCTOR

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Clegg, Jaleta
NEXUS POINT

Collins, Helen
MUTAGENESIS

Cooper, Brenda
THE SILVER SHIP AND THE SEA

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Engdahl, Sylvia
ENCHANTRESS FROM THE STARS

Engdahl, Sylvia
THE FAR SIDE OF EVIL

Engdahl, Sylvia
JOURNEY BETWEEN WORLDS

Finch, Sheila
READING THE BONES

Graykin, M. Justine
AWAKE CHIMERA

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Harris, Anne
INVENTING MEMORY


Jones, Pauline Baird
GIRL GONE NOVA

Kress, Nancy
YANKED!

Lee, Sharon and Steve Miller
BALANCE OF TRADE


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Lee, Sharon and Steve Miller
SWORD OF ORION

Maines, Rebecca
EX CATHEDRA

Marley, Louise
ABSALOM'S MOTHER & OTHER STORIES

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Marley, Louise
SINGER IN THE SNOW

Marley, Louise
THE CHILD GODDESS

Marley, Louise
THE MAQUISARDE

Mitchell, Syne
MURPHY'S GAMBIT

Moffett, Judith
TIME, LIKE AN EVER-ROLLING STREAM

Murphy, Pat
THERE AND BACK AGAIN

North, Pearl
LIBYRINTH


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Norton, Andre
CATSEYE

Norton, Andre
DAY OF THE NESS

Norton, Andre
DAYBREAK, 2250 (Original title STAR MAN'S SON)
[Norton, Andre
DARKNESS AND DAWN
ISBN: 0743435958
Baen, 2003
Previously published in parts as STAR MAN'S SON and NO NIGHT WITHOUT STARS.
]


Norton, Andre
DREAD COMPANION

Norton, Andre and Dorothy Madlee
STAR KA'AT

Norton, Andre and Dorothy Madlee
STAR KA'AT WORLD

Norton, Andre and Dorothy Madlee
STAR KA'ATS AND THE PLANT PEOPLE

Norton, Andre and Dorothy Madlee
STAR KA'ATS AND THE WINGED WARRIORS

Norton, Andre
STAR MAN'S SON, 2250 A. D.
*see Daybreak 2250 as listed above for newly published title.

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Prell, Lettie
DRAGON RING

Rowe, Rebecca K.
FORBIDDEN CARGO

Scarborough, Elizabeth Ann and Anne McCaffrey
ACORNA'S CHILDREN: THIRD WATCH

Smith, Belle
LUCIAN'S PLACE

Wells, Martha Martha Wilson
STARGATE ATLANTIS: ENTANGLEMENT



Wilkes, Ann
AWESOME LAVRATT

Williams, Lynda
GUIDE TO THE OKAL REL UNIVERSE

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Williams, Lynda
PRETENDERS

Wray, Phoebe
JEMMA7729

Some of these are romances, some are coming of age novels. Many are 41/2 and 5 star reads. Enjoy, whether you are an adult who is young at heart or young adult discovering the many worlds of sci fi.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Have you read The Courtesan Prince by Lynda Williams? Let me review this book for you.

In a society with legal prostitution, courtesans are used openly by society's elite. This is the story of how one such man becomes a popular lover, a valued friend, a protector of children, and a spaceship pilot. It is the story of a society in chaos and of its promise of better days with a new leader. It is a story of how contact between planetary societies is reestablished after centuries of mutual avoidance following a destructive war. And, finally, it is the story of the relationships that are possible when society sets artificial taboos on who is allowed to love and what types of sex are permissible.

It is not a story rife with explicit descriptions of sexual acts, but there are numerous sexual encounters and the development of a few romantic-love relationships. There is an underlying theme of the consequences of abuse and the victim's emotional growth needed to cope with an abusive past and present. The book has numerous characters allowing for a variety of stories to be told and relationships to be examined, from both homosexual and heterosexual perspectives; from the ugliness of abuse to the passivity of prostitution, to the passion of infatuation, to the caring of friendship and the love of mates.

Lynda Williams builds a cohesive universe populated with real people in real, slightly dysfunctional societies, with believable interactions and adventures. It is an action-packed adventure with sword fights, politics, murder, spaceship battles, justice and betrayals.

I enjoyed it and plan to read the others in the series. The Okal Rel series spans about 15 books to date, including some written by proteges of Lynda Williams. They can be purchased through Amazon.com; but to get the list of all books available, visit the Okal Rel Universe website.


Avim's Oath, by Lynda Williams, is said to be suitable for young adults. I have read and reviewed another book in the Okal Rel Saga that is suitable for young adults: Misfit Leaves Home, by Krysia Anderson.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Romantic Science Fiction

Read any good love stories lately? Buzzing about the blogosphere are comments about science fiction romances. Many have been published over the years, but the movement to identify books of the subgenre is afoot. There is even mention of an Amazon tag party. Part of the excitement is the possibility of ebooks expanding the library.

Amazon books tagged as science fiction romance by romance fans
And not all of the books are out-of-this-world bodice-rippers! I added my favorites to the list: the Liaden Universe books by the team of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller--a dozen in the series and still growing; and the Esmay Suiza and Vatta's War books by Elizabeth Moon top the list. There are others. I have added these to the Dirt Poor Book Shop: Obscure Gems, with a list to many others. Here are a few samples. Enjoy!



A blog on Amazon is well worth viewing, and here is a forum on the topic.