By: Mark Weir
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
This book has been on my radar since I heard of it. When it hit big last year, I ended up a bit on the fence whether or not to pick it up because I had read some mixed reviews on it; or, at the very least, I wasn’t in any rush to pick it up. It was only after I saw the trailer to the upcoming movie adaptation starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastin that I got excited again and decided to read it.
This post is part of:
Huzzah, it’s November, and you know what that means…It’s Sci-Fi Month! I’m so happy to be participating in it for a third year; this month is hosted by the awesome Rinn @ Rinn Reads and Lisa @ Over the Effing Rainbow 🙂
Just Briefly About Me
So for those who don’t know me, I was a sci-fi fan growing up. I was more into sci-fi television shows than books, but in recent years I’ve made headways in rectifying that 😉 Favourite sci-fi shows include Babylon 5, Star Trek (especially DS9), Quantum Leap, Doctor Who, and Orphan Black. My favourite sci-fi novels include Frank Herbert’s Dune (review) and Kevin J. Anderson’s Saga of the Seven Suns (see author tag). Movies off the top of my head: The Fountain, Moon (why aren’t people talking about this movie more?!).
Schedule for This Month’s Event
The following is my schedule of posts that will be going live for this month:
- Sunday, November 1st — Introductions
- Monday, November 2nd — My book review of Andy Weir’s The Martian
- Friday, November 6th — My book review of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War
- Monday, November 9th — My book review of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword
- Friday, November 13th — My book review of Adam Christopher’s Made to Kill (eARC)
- Monday, November 16th — My book review of Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Fractal Prince
- Monday, November 23rd — My thoughts on the movie Upside Down (2012)
- Tuesday, November 24th — Top Ten Tuesdays: 10 Sci-Fi Books/Shows I Am Thankful For
- Thursday, November 26th — My thoughts on Doctor Who (Series 9, Episodes 1 – 6)
- Friday, November 27th — My thoughts on the movie Interstellar (2014)
- Monday, November 30th — Wrap-Up Post
Quite a sci-fi filled month to look forward to! I hope you all enjoy this month’s posts and events 🙂 How about you, are you participating in Sci-Fi Month? Are you a fan of science fiction? If so, what’s your favourite book/movie/television show?
Gosh, where has the month gone? This past November I had been participating in Sci-Fi Month, hosted by Rinn Reads & the lovely bloggers from Oh, The Books!
along with NaNoWriMo, but that’s a different post altogether 🙂
- Saturday, November 1st — Introductions (post)
- Monday, November 3th — My book review of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (post)
- Monday, November 10th — My thoughts on episodes 10 – 12 of series 8 of Doctor Who (post)
- Wednesday, November 12th — My book review of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice (post)
- Monday, November 17th — My book review of Rachel Bach’s Fortune’s Pawn (post)
- Friday, November 21st — Some thoughts on recent sci-fi short stories & novellas I’ve read (post)
- Monday, November 24th — My book review of Gary Gibson’s Stealing Light (post)
- Sunday, November 30th — Wrap-Up Post
Unfortunately I was not able to participate as much as I would have liked this month because of everything else that was happening offline, but I hope you found some new interesting books to check out and stuff from my participating posts 🙂
Thank you again to the wonderful organisers for hosting such a great online event, bringing awareness and celebrating everything sci-fi! To everyone who participated, how did you find it? Were there any posts that you enjoyed reading or that you had fun putting together? Anything in articular you want me to check out ASAP? 😉
Stealing Light (Shoal Sequence #1)
By: Gary Gibson
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
For a quarter of a million years, an alien race has been hiding a vast and terrible secret In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes. Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible. Now piloting a civilian cargo ship, she is currently ferrying an exploration team to a star system containing a derelict starship. From its wreckage, her passengers hope to salvage a functioning FTL drive of mysteriously non-Shoal origin. But the Shoal are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly over a technology they acquired through ancient genocide.
During one of my many browsing sessions on GoodReads, I stumbled across Gary Gibson’s books. They sounded like terrific space opera, and promptly added a number of his titles on my want-to-read list. This book ended up bumped up into my to-read list when I saw it recently for a good price for my eReader; seemed timely that I ended up picking it up with Sci-Fi Month just around the corner 🙂
Today I’m going to be talking a little bit about sci-fi short stories and novellas. In recent years I’ve become quite a fan of short stories and novellas–not only because they’re shorter, but they help when you’re in the middle of a reading slump, they help provide backstory to worlds and larger stories and work as standalone adventures in the same universe, and from a writer’s perspective you learn a lot about telling a very concise and tight story. I talked a bit more about the medium in this post.
But moving along, I’ve come across some fantastic short stories and novellas in the sci-fi genre that I think are worth checking out if you’re interested. In no particular order:
- Brandon Sanderson’s Legion — I love Brandon Sanderson’s stories, period. The concept of this novella is very interesting: the ability to converse with other avatars within one person and whom you can gather skills and information from (like Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, maybe?). Like almost all of his other stories, the pacing is fast and the storytelling pretty effective. I think there’s a sequel story coming? (which makes sense because I think this story was left open-ended)
- James S.A. Corey’s short stories set in the Expanse series/universe — I love that these guys have been releasing short stories in between Expanse novels. I’ve only read two of them so far, The Butcher of Anderson Station and Gods of Risk, and I think they do a lovely job of fleshing out secondary characters that have appeared in previous novels but who are interesting in their own right. If you’re a fan of the Expanse novels, you need to check these out, they are fantastic.
- Kevin J. Anderson’s Island of a Sea of Stars — I loved Anderson’s Seven Suns series, so I was pretty excited to find out that he is writing a sequel trilogy set in the same world. This novella is actually a prequel to events in this new trilogy, and gives the readers a sense of what’s changed in the universe since the events of the last series, introducing new characters and mysteries, but also gives a glimpse of some old characters 😉 I’m looking forward to checking out the new trilogy at some point.
- Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut of Mars — I read her first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey (review) last year, but this is the first story I’ve read by her in the sci-fi genre. What’s really lovely about this story is that it’s more of character-driven story than a plot/sci-fi driven story. Very well worth checking out.
- Aliette de Bodard’s The Waiting Stars — This short story was nominated for the Hugo this past year, which was where I first heard of it. It may be short, but it does cover a lot of ideas about imperialism and culturalism, all within a story frame of space opera. Fans of the subgenre will want to check it out (it certainly let me wanting to read more from that world!).
That’s obviously just a taste, but there are plenty of excellent sci-fi short stories out there to check out. Just log on to Tor.com for instance and every few weeks there’s a short story featured there 🙂
So I turn it over to you now: What are some of your favourite sci-fi short stories and novellas you’ve read–either recently or all-time?