Aug 21, 2018

Hugo Award 2018 Winners and Finalists.



The winner of the 2018 Hugo Awards has been announced and it's as follows:

Best Novel

THE STONE SKY

by N.K. Jemisin
The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed

Best Novella

ALL SYSTEMS RED

by Martha Wells

"As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure."

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid ― a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.


Other Categories

There were plenty of other categories both book and film related like, Best Short Story, Best Series, Best Graphic Story and Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (movie) which you can see on the Hugo Awards Website.

For those new to Science Fiction the Hugo Awards have been termed as "among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing". They are a set of awards given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and were officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards until 1992.

Some Thoughts

The six titles which made the finalists of Best Novel follow below, all but one, I was familiar with. The unfamiliar one being Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty. I've read The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi. The winner, The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin, is book three in The Broken Earth series. I have the first book, The Fifth Season in my To Be Read (TBR) pile, so may have to raise that one to the top of the pile.

All Systems Red, by Martha Wells, the winner of the Best Novella is part of the Murderbot Diaries. It's worth looking into as the robotic protagonist, who has named themselves, Murderbot is used to examine the human condition and it's foibles and reflects them back to us from a different perspective.

Take a look through the list below and see if there are that pique your interest. If so click on the book cover or link to purchase from Amazon. I'd appreciate you using the link as these links are affiliate links and doing so will help me buy more books so it should be a win-win for us both.

The Stone Sky

by N.K. Jemisin
The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.
For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The Collapsing Empire

by John Scalzi
Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible -- until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war -- and a system of control for the rulers of the empire. The Flow is eternal -- but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it's discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals -- a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency -- are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.


New York 2140

by Kim Stanley Robinson
The waters rose, submerging New York City.
But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever.
Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island.
Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building, Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides.
And how we too will change.

Provenance

by Ann Leckie
A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artefacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned.
Ingray and her charge will return to their home world to find their planet in political turmoil at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray's future, her family and her world, before they are lost to her for good.

Raven Stratagem

by Yoon Ha Lee
War. Heresy. Madness.
Shuos Jedao is unleashed. The long-dead general, preserved with exotic technologies as a weapon, has possessed the body of gifted young captain Kel Cheris.
Now, General Kel Khiruev’s fleet, racing to the Severed March to stop a fresh enemy incursion, has fallen under Jedao’s sway. Only Khiruev’s aide, Lieutenant Colonel Kel Brezan, is able to shake off the influence of the brilliant but psychotic Jedao.
The rogue general seems intent on defending the hexarchate, but can Khiruev—or Brezan—trust him? For that matter, can they trust Kel Command, or will their own rulers wipe out the whole swarm to destroy one man?


Six Wakes

by Mur Lafferty
Maria Arena awakens in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. She has no memory of how she died. This is new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.
Maria's vat is one of seven, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it can awaken. And Maria isn't the only one to die recently..


All Systems Red

by Martha Wells
A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.
"As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure."
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid ― a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


The above links will be affiliate links, so if you going to make a purchase any of these books from Amazon I'd appreciate you using the link. Doing so will help me buy more books so it should be a win-win for us both.

Enjoy reading more and thinking more... with your favourite beverage!

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Aug 4, 2018

Arthur C. Clarke Award 2018



The Arthur C. Clarke Award winner was announced last month from a short-list of six. This award was originally established by a generous grant from Sir Arthur C. Clarke with the aim of promoting science fiction in Britain.

The annual award is presented for the best science fiction novel of the year, and selected from a list of novels whose UK first edition was published in the previous calendar year.

The winner is Dreams Before the Start of Time by author Anne Charnock

May 14, 2018

Cycling In The Dark - A Technique For Writing Fiction.


I’ve been reading a lot of ‘how-to’ books on writing novels recently, the majority of them talk about creating an outline even before writing the first draft. For those of us who have attempted this sort of thing it does make sense.


  • Step 1: Create and outline of your story, know where and when everything will happen.
  • Step 2: Write your first draft, don’t worry about spelling mistakes or typo’s just let your creative voice have free reign so you can get the story out there. As Joanna Penn says ‘splurge on words and ideas’ in this first draft.
  • Step 3: Spent time editing. That is using your critical voice, correcting the spelling mistakes and typo’s, rewriting and polishing the story.


The problem is that we spend a lot of time on step 1 and never seem to be able to finish.

May 1, 2018

Unfinished Tales | Shadow Worlds | Part Three

Perched upon a mountain ridge, an ancient castle sat brooding. It dominated the skyline for miles around. 


Standing on the banqueting level of this castle you could just see a shimmering rainbow coloured column that was reputed to be not only the centre of the World but of the known universe. It was known as The Void, a place that gave power to the wizards and other magical inhabitants of the World.

Mar 24, 2018

Weekend Reads - 180324



Welcome to the weekend, first up a question, what are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page, The BistroMath, I'm interested in knowing.

I'm just about to finish off Legacy (First Colony Book 3) by Ken Lozito, which has been an interesting military science fiction series, I've really enjoyed it. I have a classic The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett  lined up next and am slowly working my way through another classic The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis.

In the article first up this week, Nature asked six prominent sci-fi writers to reflect on what the genre has to offer at the end of an extraordinary year (2017). It's an interesting read.

We also look at the possibility of getting a Star Trek replicator, or at least it's forerunner, in the near future plus some more book, movie and space related stuff. So when it's time to relax this weekend, grab your favourite beverage and have a read of the following articles.

Mar 16, 2018

Weekend Reads - 180316


Welcome once again, this week there are two articles on writing science fiction. Both Angus McIntyre (author of The Warrior Within) and Richard Morgan (author of Altered Carbon) share where they got inspiration for their stories.

There's also an update on a real life space station nation in the making and some discussion about e-Readers and Amazon reviews. Some interesting sfuff if you're interested in reading.

So when it's time to relax this weekend, grab your favourite beverage and have a read of the following articles.

Mar 2, 2018

Old, Timeless, Yet Still Relevant Today - Caves of Steel


An Old Story

Set a thousand years into the future, Issac Asimov imagines an overcrowded Earth where humanity is packed like sardines into large domed mega-cities with a ridged social structures. The huge population has created a strain on Earths remaining resources and in order to allievate that we set out to colonize the galaxy but this only created a bigger problem. Humanity has now split into two factions, those who stayed behind, Earthmen, and those who ventured out into the galaxy, Spacers.

Spacers have what Earthmen need, resources and Earthmen have what Spacers need, a large population needed for a work force. After utilising the positronic brain to create Robots and fulfil the need for a larger workforce, Spacers believe themselves to be far superior to the timid stay-at-home Earthmen. When Spacers return to Earth, 'take control' and release Robots into Earths workforce their already strained relations fray even further. Robots are cheap labour and are taking over the jobs of Earthmen putting them out of a job, but worse than that, if you have no job you have no social standing. And in a ridged class system like Earth this is intolerable. Robots become discriminated against and objects of violence.