Reviews: Leviathan Wakes, The Lifecycle of Software Objects, The Vespertine

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, was recently nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and it’s appearance there was a bit of an outlier: Jo Walton’s Among Others and China MiĆ©ville’s Embassy Town both received earlier nominations for this year’s Nebula Award, and George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragon’s wasn’t much of a surprise. But Corey’s is the only first novel—first, at least, for the collaboration of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck who publish under the Corey pen name—to appear on the list, but the nomination is, I think, well deserved.

The novel is written from the alternating perspectives of two different characters, each narrative overlapping somewhat in its description of events while also retaining something of its own character: Holden is the XO of an ice mining vessel, fiercely independent but with a heart of gold; Miller is a hard-bitten detective for a private security agency, cynical and a bit past his prime. The former’s story reads as swashbuckling space adventure, the latter a noir-inflected police mystery, and both quickly intersect with elements of alien encounter, zombie horror, and epic space battles. Continue reading Reviews: Leviathan Wakes, The Lifecycle of Software Objects, The Vespertine

Review: Bitter Seeds

Bitter Seeds

Bitter Seeds
Ian Tregillis
Tor, 2010

Pretty much anything Cory Doctorow recommends ends up sooner or later on my to-read list. He doesn’t often steer me wrong, and this book was no different: Bitter Seeds is a novel about an alternate World War II, in which a Nazi project to endow its agents with X-men-like superpowers is pitted against a secret division of the British military comprising a cabal of British warlocks. The premise sounds like something that, in less skillful hands, could end up cringeworthily silly, but Tregillis delivers an engaging, moving story of humanity and sacrifice amid the moral ambiguities of war.

Continue reading Review: Bitter Seeds