20 March 2016

BOOK TEASER: Night Without Stars by Peter F. Hamilton

Here are details for Night Without Stars which is Peter F. Hamilton's next book in his series The Chronicle of the Fallers. This two-book series is a return to Hamilton's Commonwealth Universe, set in the same time-frame as the Void Trilogy, and tells the story of Nigel Sheldon and what happened when he broke into the Void.

I was particularly impressed with the first book The Abyss Beyond Dreams, giving it a solid five stars on Goodreads (read my review HERE), thus I'm positively drooling at he thought of following the story through to it's conclusion. It's to be released later this year on September 27th, and is available for pre-order in hardcover from the usual retailers. Presumably the ebook edition will follow soon after.

In the meantime, we'll need to be content with the synopsis and a glimpse at the cover art...

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Night Without Stars (The Chronicle of the Fallers #2)
by Peter F. Hamilton

The planet is isolated from the rest of the universe, unable to seek help as it's targeted by hostile aliens. Bienvenido's ruling authorities have slowly responded to this gradual infiltration. But they have no idea that a highly organized invasion is now underway, designed to wipe out all human life on the planet. All factions must work together to survive. But due to prejudice against enhanced 'Eliter' humans, and crippling technophobia, the parochial government won't collaborate. Kysandra, known as the Warrior Angel, heads up the Eliter resistance. With their enhanced capabilities and technological know-how, they could avert disaster. But only if the authorities stop hunting them at every turn. Then, as both resistance and government are caught in a desperate race to save lives, the planet receives an unexpected visitor. As events escalate, petty power-plays, politics and age-old prejudices may prove fatal. And as the more sophisticated hostiles can hijack a human body, humanity is undermined by spies within - wearing the faces of family and friends. Death will also fall from the skies, once the full invasion begins. Desperate times call for desperate measures or humanity on Bienvenido will not survive.

Visit Peter F. Hamilton's Goodreads page HERE for information about the author and his books.

06 March 2016

FREE STUFF: Read and download the entire run of If magazine

If magazine was a monthly science fiction magazine that was first published in 1952, and ran through 1974, before it was merged with its sister publication, Galaxy Science Fiction.

The magazine was moderately successful, though it was never regarded as one of the top tier of science fiction magazines and didn't meet with the same success as that of other magazines such as Astounding Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction or Galaxy Science Fiction.

It achieved its greatest success under editor Frederik Pohl, winning the Hugo Award for best professional magazine three years running from 1966 to 1968. Under Pohl If took on its own identity. Initially it had played second fiddle to Galaxy, but whereas Pohl kept the more select stories for that magazine, he turned If into a magazine for more adventurous and exciting sci-fi. Before long it was If that proved the more popular.

If was merged into Galaxy Science Fiction after the December 1974 issue, which was its 175th issue overall.

Now you can read online and download the entire run of If HERE thanks to the people over at Internet Archive.

Very cool.

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04 March 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Kings of Eternity by Eric Brown

The Kings of EternityThe Kings of Eternity by Eric Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

1999, on the threshold of a new millennium, the novelist Daniel Langham lives a reclusive life on an idyllic Greek island, hiding away from humanity and the events of the past. All that changes, however, when he meets artist Caroline Platt and finds himself falling in love. But what is his secret, and what are the horrors that haunt him? 

1935. Writer Jonathon Langham and Edward Vaughan are summoned from London by their editor friend Jasper Carnegie to help investigate strange goings on in Hopton Wood. What they discover there – no less than a strange creature from another world – will change their lives for ever. What they become, and their link to the novelist of the future, is the subject of Eric Brown’s most ambitious novel to date.

Almost ten years in the writing, The Kings of Eternity is a novel of vast scope and depth, full of the staple tropes of the genre and yet imbued with humanity and characters you’ll come to love.

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This is one of those book reviews that I find a little difficult to write, which may seem strange for a book to which I've given five stars. But as I begin to write I'm struggling to put down in words how much enjoyment I got from this.

I've not read a book quite like it up to this point, and while this is a great sci-fi book written by one of today's finest authors, it actually starts out quite different and it's not until a little way into the book that the sci-fi elements appear. But when they do, it's in a great way, in stark contrast to the 1930's England in which a portion of the story is set, and this is one of the things that makes this book so wonderful.

The story is told from two "different" viewpoints, one a first person account, the other a third person narrative and they combine along the way into a solid story of joy, pain, wonder and intrigue. To say much more would probably introduce spoilers, so hopefully it is sufficient to say that the story is told in a lovely fashion that left me very satisfied at it's conclusion.

If I was forced to make comparisons, some books that I've read that are similar are some of Eric Brown other works, namely Kethani and The Serene Invasion. All three of these stories have at their core some sort of benevolent alien species that can bestow wonderful yet ominous gifts upon their human recipients. Like those other titles, this book presents the human aspect of such wonders, how one might begin to adjust to a life of no disease or sickness and even immortality when we're bred and conditioned to expect finite time with sickness as a fact of life. I very much wanted to be one of the characters in this book, I connected with it on such a level.

To avoid simply rambling on about how good this book is and how much enjoyment that Brown has again given me, I'm going to close with my usual appraisal of his work, once again Eric Brown fails to disappoint. A must-read for any lover of story.

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BOOK REVIEW: Cosmopath by Eric Brown

Cosmopath (Bengal Station, #3)Cosmopath by Eric Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Necropath Jeff Vaughan is sent to investigate the disappearance of a crew on Canopus VII, where he discovers an underground city and a new alien race. 

Having been sent to Canopus VII to find out what happened to a lost crew, Necropath Jeff Vaughan finds himself drawn into a deepening mystery not only as to the fate of the crew but also the intentions of his benefactor.

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This is the final installment in Brown's Bengal Station series and it's a fine and fitting finale to what was, for me, one of the better "low-key" sci-fi series that I've read. I say low key because, as with much of Brown's other work, the story reads easily and is reminiscent of a fun pulp-style story from the sci-fi golden age. I mean this as a compliment, because there is a huge amount of enjoyment packed in there.

Cosmopath continues the story of Jeff Vaughan who is a telepathic investigator stationed on an orbital station above the Bay of Bengal. He's a likeable character and sticks with Brown's standard modus operandi of main characters who have no shortage of personal battles and vices that lend validity to and enrich the story. I guess it's because I can relate to Vaughan's internalizing and can see myself reacting in similar ways.

Also of huge enjoyment are the alien species and interplanetary space opera elements that are right up my alley, and we spend a large portion of this book enjoying the wonders of a planet light years away from Earth and home to a fantastic ecosystem and marvelous creatures.

It's all here, the elements that make up fun and enjoyable science fiction adventure. In most other reviews that I've written of Brown's work I've made the statement "Brown fails to disappoint", and I unashamedly say it again. I'm not sure how to put it any other way, but simply said, Brown is one of the best authors in the science fiction field today, and should go down as one of the greats, in my humble opinion.

Highly recommended, and definitely a series that I'd suggest for either a newcomer to science fiction or a seasoned fan who appreciates fun and easy to read stories.

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