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: Consider Phlebas

Consider Phlebas

Consider Phlebas
Iain M. Banks
Orbit Books, 2008

Last year, during a game of Diaspora, Banks’ Culture novels came up during the evening’s proceedings, and Consider Phlebas, the first of the Culture novels, has been languishing on my “to read” list ever since. Originally published in 1987, Consider Phlebas was re-released in 2008 by Orbit books when Banks revived the Culture series with Matter after an eight-year hiatus.

Consider Phlebas takes place amid a war between the alien Idiran empire, a war-like monotheistic race, and the vaguely human Culture, a post-scarcity sort of utopia-gone-wrong, an anarchic civilization driven to interfere in “lesser” cultures in order to maintain its own sense of moral purpose.

Continue reading Review: Consider Phlebas