Oct 28, 2018

Union Station Series Review | Recommended Reading

Remember when science fiction was about a future you wouldn't be terrified to live in? Well, the series we're looking at in this video is a light hearted and fun science fiction series which shows such a future.

So if you're after a science fiction novel that doesn't take itself seriously, but one that's not as ridiculous as hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. This could be the series for you.

Watch the video review here. 

The EarthCent Ambassador series by E.M Foner

 Click to view video review.I've only read first two in the series but can say that I'm impressed. The first novel, Date Night on Union Station which is a sweet, romantic comedy that revolves around a mystery to be solved, the next one Alien Night on Union Station which revolves around a sort of political thriller which of course, there is a mystery to be solved.

So what is it all about?

Humanity has finally reached the stars, thanks to some help from an ancient race of AI beings, but there is a catch, these being, called the Stryx, will only allow Earth to use the interstellar flight lanes if they can show a united front, basically a planet-wide government.

This is where Earth Central comes in, or EarthCent., which is the autonomous pseudo-government set up by the Stryx. However the ambassadors and diplomats were not given any directions by the Stryx as how the organisation needs to run, along with the competing interesting of the various nations of Earth and it ends up being quite an anarchic place to work. Which brings its own comedy.
The author says that the goal of writing this series was

‘to cheer myself up and to find out if there is still an audience for a science fiction comedy that gets its laughs from dialogue and funny situations rather than from gross-outs and shocks.”

Each book is a self-contained story so there are no cliff-hangers. My main interest in the Union Station universe, aside from the relations between people, aliens and AI, is imagining what happens with species who have had access to high-tech for, in some cases, tens of millions of years. Do they continue to work? Do they continue to care? Do they die out, go back to nature, try to elevate themselves to gods? How do the nearly omniscient AI deal with issues like monetary policy and rental agreements?’

We see this and more, the situational comedy that we get from the interactions between alien and human culture is on point, the writing is well paced, funny and well done. There is also some good character development over the course of the book and the series as a whole.

Each of the books in the series picks up some time after the last one, for an example there is like, five years between Date Night and Alien Night but the main characters return and newer ones are added.

All up it’s a fun series to read and I think a perfect synopsis would be …it is about characters trying to make a living and find some joy in life.

So if you need a break between the more intense writers like Peter F Hamilton or Alistar Reynold, then the Union Station series may be what you’re looking for.

Have you read the series? Let me know what you thought, or if you’ve read some light hearted fun science fiction let me know in the comments section below what it is.

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Oct 9, 2018

The Connection Between Reading Science Fiction and Productivity.

I want to share with you a simple productivity tip that can help anyone get ahead in our ever changing world. If you follow my advice, you’ll be more agile at work and in your personal life.

[Would you rather watch the video edition of this post? - releasing soon.]

There are plenty of articles and books about productivity and how to get ahead in the life and business.

I’ve read quite a few and could probably write a book on productivity even though I’m no CEO or motivational speaker.

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


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


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

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.