Pile by the Bed reviews Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson – a cautionary tale that tackles climate change and corporatisation
Pile by the Bed reviews The Farm by Joanne Ramos, a day-after-tomorrow look a the gap between rich and poor.
Pile by the Bed reviews Last Ones Left Alive, a debut zombie tale set in the emerald hills of Irelance, by Sarah Davis-Groff
Pile by the Bed reviews The Rosewater Insurrection by Tade Thompson (Wormwood #2).
Pile by the Bed reviews Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald (Luna #3). A lunar thrill ride of action, political manoeuvring and violence.
Pile by the Bed reviews Tiamat’s Wrath by JAmes SA Corey (The Expanse #8) – another top entry in a great space opera series
Pile by the Bed reviews A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – a strong modern space opera debut.
Pile by the Bed reviews Ben Smith’s debut novel Doggerland, a dystopian novel with echoes of Beckett and Cormac McCarthy.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Test by Sylvain Neuvel a timely, Black Mirror-style look at citizenship tests.
Pile by the Bed reviews the new British dystopian novel, The Wall by John Lanchester.
Pile by the Bed reviews City of Ash and Red by Korean author Hwe-Young Pyun
Alex White opens the second volume of his Salvagers trilogy, A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy with an action scene. The crew of the Capricious, not content with their galaxy saving adventures in A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, are tracking down the people behind that plot. But it is a tangled plot that runs deep into the galaxy’s elite and they need to do it one bad guy at a time. When the book opens they are following the money, trying to apprehend a man who might be able to start leading them to the ultimate mastermind. That opening scene is a statement of intent: well constructed action, peppered with a bit of banter and a battle involving different magical powers. And it works. There is very little table setting or revisiting the past in this book. White assumes that readers are across the basics, including the fact that most characters have some magical ability. Once again, the focus is on two point of view characters – former grand prix racer and mechanic Nilah and former salvager and crewmember of the Capricious Boots Elsworth. But every member of the crew gets an opportunity to shine…
Pile by the Bed reviews Shadow Captain the second book in Alastair Reynolds’ space pirate Revenger series
Pile by the Bed reviews the Golden State by Ben H Winters – a dystopia with noir crime undertones.
Pile by the Bed reviews Foe by Iain Reid
Pile by the Bed reviews Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar
Pile by the Bed reviews Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
Pile by the Bed Top 5 Science Fiction picks (and 3 honourable mentions) for 2018
The final book of Corey J White’s Voidwitch trilogy (which started with Killing Gravity) opens in the same vein as the previous two – with an action sequence as protagonist and voidwitch Mariam ‘Mars’ Wu pursues someone through the crowded hallways of a space station. She is trying to find a cure for Pale, the boy who had been turned into a living weapon and who she rescued at the end of the previous book – Void Black Shadow. Once again, before too long her enemies are at the door and she has to dip into her prodigious power set (this is a woman who managed to pull a moon out of the sky in a previous volume) to escape. Static Ruin follows many of the same plot beats as the earlier two books – Mariam searches for something, find bits of the puzzle, then the bad guys arrive and she has to flee, usually leaving behind a large amount of carnage. In this book her quest is to find her father and creator both as a last hope for curing Pale but also to understand her own origins. It allows White to briefly consider issues of family, loyalty and…
Catherynne M Valente did her own unique take on fantasy in her Fairyland series and produced the wildly original science fictional movie industry homage Radiance a couple of years ago. Now she takes on the Eurovision Song Contest in a Douglas Adams-inspired galactic romp. For Australians, who have embraced Eurovision and its stars, the idea of a bunch of countries getting together in a competition of glitz, glamour and pop music as opposed to, say fighting each other, is probably not all that out there. Americans, whose diplomacy has tended to be a bit more po-faced might find this concept a little harder to swallow. One day every person on Earth is contacted by an alien race. They are told not only that they are not alone in the universe but that in order to join the club of sentient races, humanity has to compete and not come last in Megagalactic Grand Prix. The Grand Prix was instituted as a way of resolving the long running and destructive Sentience Wars. For Australians, now competing at Eurovision but constantly having to put up with the accusation that Australia is not in Europe, this plot line has more than a little resonance….