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Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Space Detectives by Mark Powers, illus. Dapo Adeola. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2021.

April 8, 2021 Comments off

This is a short easy to read chapter book for newly confidant readers and reluctant boy readers. It is introductory Sc/Fi with a load of laughs and lots of weird creatures.

Ten year old Ethan and Mark are good friends and they run an ice cream parlour on the manmade planet of Starville. It is a glass bubble in space with all the elements of Planet Earth except that it is populated by both humans and creatures from other planets.

Both boys are detectives and want to start an agency up on Starville but there is a lack of work. The boys witness a crime in which a Tufted Grotsnobbler from Venus steals the handbag off the daughter of the Supreme Governor of Starville. They attempt to get the handbag back and are invited to a party at the Governors house for their efforts.

Then things get worse as Starvillians learn that their planet is heading for a collision with the moon. Can Ethan and Mark find out who is behind this dastardly scheme? Read it and find out.

In the Black Spiral Trilogy. Bk1. Violet Black by Eileen Merriman. Pub. Penguin Books, 2021.

February 16, 2021 Comments off

NOT RELEASED UNTIL 11 MAY 2021

The function of the first novel in a trilogy is to establish the scenario, introduce the characters and set the second novel up so that the reader wants to read that. This novel does all of that and more. You will be compelled to read the next one.

Set in the near future when a measles like pandemic(M-Fever) has struck giving victims a form of encephalitis from which few survive. Those that do develop a brain that can absorb everything and give strength that is at the super power level. Such people can be very useful for many things and also dangerous at the same time.

Violet Black is 17 years, is a survivor of M Fever. Her father is a scientist who has worked on a vaccine to stop the fever. Ethan Wright is also 17 years and his family think Violet’s father is a crook. Ethan and Violet develop ESP and can communicate with Think-say. They talk to each other with thoughts. Think-say is shown with writing in Italics.

A Mysterious and possibly sinister group called the Spiral Foundation led by Noel Marlow isolate Ethan and Violet along with four other survivors of M Fever, with similar powers and name them VORTEX. This survival group are shifted to Australia secretly where their powers can be developed in strict secrecy. They have a role to play in espionage to detect anti vax terrorists and other organisations. But they are being groomed for a role they never asked for.

For me the most appealing aspect is the ability of VORTEX members to separate the soul from the body and to travel widely in a dreamlike flow. Once again Elaine Merriman’s experience in medicine comes to the fore and makes this side of the story believable.

The action plays out with a mission to infiltrate a terrorist group in Berlin with consequences that will leave you breathless and wanting more. Don’t miss this trilogy. Book 2 Black Wolf will be out later this year.

The Rise of the Remarkables Bk1. Brasswitch and Bot by Gareth Ward.

August 7, 2020 Comments off

brasswitchThe Rise of the Remarkables Bk1. Brasswitch and Bot by Gareth Ward. Pub. Walker Books, 2020.

This is a steam punk novel for intermediate and High school readers of science fiction and fantasy, that will blow your mind. If you have read Gareth Wards other novels you will know what I mean. Highly imaginative, full of weird creatures and situations and full of action that will leave you breathless. AND it is only part 1.

Wrench is a teenage girl who feels responsible for her parents death in a train accident. She lives in York and is an apprentice machine operator. She believes in machines, the laws of Physics and the science of engineering but she doesn’t realise that she is a Brasswitch. A Brasswitch is someone who has the power touch a machine, get inside it and knows how it works and if anything is wrong with it. She also needs to get to grips with magic.

Then she is held captive by a regulator called Flemmington, who hunts weird creatures in this weird world including brasswitches. He puts her to the test in which she either reveals her powers or dies.

Bot, a robotic Automaton comes to her rescue. He is powerful, has swagger and tends to wade into any situation with guns blazing. He needs a Brasswitch to help him fight Aberrations or weird and dangerous creatures from other dimensions who have entered the World through a Rupture over the city of York. The Rupture has been sealed or has it?

It is a dangerous World and their are some stupendous battles. At the heart of this first part is for Wrench to find out who and what she is and find out the truth behind her parents death. Fortunately she has an ally in Bot but also a tentacle ridden woman with soothing powers called Octavia and a boy with magic called Plum.

This novel won the sir Julius Vogel Award for children’s literature in NZ this year. You would be mad to miss this one.

The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King.

March 7, 2020 Comments off

InkbergThe Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King. Pub. Gecko Press, 2020.

This is one of the best graphic novels for readers 8-14 years that i have ever read and it is by New Zealand film maker and comic book writer Jonathan King.

Miro  is a smart lad with a green hat and glasses who is a reader. He loves books. Zia his friend is a photographer and between them they unravel a mystery that affects all the people who live in the small fishing town of Aurora.

The origin of the mystery that enabled Aurora to become a wealthy fishing town is the Antarctic adventures akin to those of Shackleton of a man called Danforth who built a castle on the cliffs across the water from the town.

As his men hauled a lifeboat across the ice that crushed their ship they come across a dark ink coloured ice peak sticking up from the sea through the pack ice. They discover  an abundance of sea life beneath the black peak and have an encounter with a huge squid like creature. Danforth keeps a diary written in the ink from the dark peak and discovers it has a power that is very dark indeed. Read it and see what it is.

Comic book styled images and believable characters make this a sound reading gem for readers who are visual. It would make a wonderful film.

Don’t miss this you will kick yourself.

Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder.

January 14, 2020 Comments off

chasing ShadowsChasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder. Pub. HQ. Young Adult, 2019.

This is set on a Planet called Yulin on the outer area of the Galaxy. On this Planet is a human force preparing it for civilisation and carrying out archaelogical digs which are mysterious.

All over other Planets in the Galaxy are Pits containing Terracotta Army warriors like those in modern day China. The Warriors have magical marks on them and have hearts made from a substance not known on Earth. It is suspected that the Warriors have some power that can give supremacy to anyone who can crack the unknown markings on the Terracotta Warriors.

It is suspected that alien symbols on the warriors prove the Aliens believed in demons and used the warriors to protect themselves perhaps using an as yet unknown dimension.

On Yulin, Ara who is about 18 years old and was killed in the last book Navigating the Stars by a Looter named Jarren. She is  secretly revived and learns security on Yulin while her parents work on the Warriors. But why was she killed and why was she secretly revived? Ara works on the giant Internet system called Q-Net and is able to go places no-one else can, even more so since she was brought back to life. She discovers that all communications between Yulin and DES or home base have been secretly stopped for some months probably by arch villain Jarren.

To lure Jarren out those on Yulin decide to open an as yet undisturbed pit full of Warriors to see what will happen. In the meantime Ara is having a first love affair with Niall and trying to break through the barriers on Q-Net that link Yulin to home base.

Lots of Internet type talk which is relevant to today’s world. It you are a techie you will love this Science fiction novel. I found it compelling and there is probably going to be another.

The Book of Dust. vol 2. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman.

October 27, 2019 Comments off

DustThe Book of Dust. vol 2. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

This is a superb novel for lovers of fantasy, of philosophy, of mystery, of adventure and those interested in the meaning and origin of life.

It has been ten years since Lyra returned from the land of the dead in The Subtle Knife from the His Dark Materials series. She is 20 and is in a melancholic disposition because she and her daemon Pan have fallen out and there is no trust between them. They are capable of traveling apart from each other and do so regularly. This was once thought impossible but their parting is an essential ingredient in this story. Read it and find out why.

Lyra still uses that mysterious instrument, the alethiometer, to find out information and has started to use a new and radical way of manipulating it. The bankruptcy of her friend’s father who is in the rose trade is a warning of major trouble and the murder of a botanist Rodderick Hassall has the world in an uproar.

Hassall has just returned from the desert of Karamakan in Central Asia where a certain rose can only be grown whose oil has been contaminated with that magical particle Dust from which all life emanates. How? The origin of this rose oil is a building in the middle of the desert that can be entered only by those who can separate from their daemons.

Where has Pan gone? Can he really believe that someone has stolen Lyra’s imagination?

I will leave it at that. Find out for yourself in this novel of nearly 700 pages that is totally compelling. I read it over 6 days reading and savouring about 150 pages per day. It is outstanding and even the deepest philosophical points are made easy to read.

The real skill of the author is to organise the plot so that the connections between the host of characters is made apparent, otherwise it could be confusing.

If you miss this you will kick yourself. Lyra Silvertongue is not only growing up and learns much about herself, she is on the run again in the land of fairies and ghosts, the secret commonwealth.

 

The End and Other Beginnings. Stories from the future by Veronica Roth.

October 22, 2019 Comments off

end beginningsThe End and Other Beginnings. Stories from the future by Veronica Roth. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

There are 6 stories in this collection, all are set in the future, all are about survival in which the characters come to a crisis or turning point in their lives akin to death, then have a renewed assurance and confidence about continuing their lives.

In all stories which are set on an Earth like setting there are alien cultures living in with the native population and the characters have a skill or a talent that can help them in their plight.

They are not simple stories. All have strong development of plot and character from which further stories can be made from the reader thus they are very useful at encouraging writing.

INERTIA has a dying teenage boy linking mentally by medical science with a girl with whom he had a past relationship. They share memories of the earlier relationship of which the other was not fully aware as a way of saying goodbye before death. With a twist.

THE SPINNERS. Has a bounty hunter chasing the killer of her mother. The killer is an alien symbiotic leech that attaches itself to the neck of a human and takes over their mind and body. Stunning ending with a twist.

HEARKEN. A girl with a strong musical talent is to become a Hearker who is able to read the life and death songs of humans based on String Theory. Everybody is living and dying at the same time. A lovely twist to this story too.

VIM AND VIGOR. Is a story of girls who are mad about super heroes. read it to find out what happens.

ARMOURED ONES. is a story of a boy who is considered week by his peers and choses to take on an Armoured beast that is feared by all in order to prove his worth.

THE TRANSFORMATIONIST. looks at religious belief and refusal to defend oneself in an alien culture.

Check these superior stories out, the human problems are so real yet so different. Senior secondary and young adult in appeal.

 

 

 

HERO by Michael Grant.

October 10, 2019 Comments off

heroHERO by Michael Grant. Pub. Electric Monkey, Imprint HarperCollins, 2019.

This work is like a Marvel or XMen comic written as a novel, and that is a good thing because it allows the reader to use his or her own imagination to view what is going on not someone else’s.

It is the third and final part of a spin off series of the GONE series, some of the characters are in there, so is the gore and mind blowing action.

Eight years ago a meteor hit Perdido Beach and everybody disappeared except those that lived within a dome created by an alien virus. The rock that the meteor was made of contained a virus that turned people into monsters.

The dome helped create the Rockborn gang – Dekka, Shade, Cruz, Malik and Armo. They are mutants, have special powers and can morph and demorph into super heroes at will. They kept the world from disintegrating in the last book, live in Las Vegas, and now they have a new challenge.

Another asteroid with the same virus is orbiting the Earth and is projected to hit New York. They Nuke the thing but large rocks and dust still crash into the city. Those hit by the dust are isolated, taken out into the country and slaughtered at the behest of the Federal Government in case they turn into monsters like Perdido. This clashes with the will of New York City.

Four people allegedly survive and one is newly infected Bob Markovic whose invisibility is covered with stinging bees and insects. A new kind of monster. As a human he was a capitalist whose philosophy is “morality and profit do not walk hand in hand”. See how he handles being a monster.

The Rockborn gang are brought in to sort it out and they are having doubts as to who they really are and what type of world are they living in. Are they living in an AI sim as comic book super heroes or is it the real world?

Check it out for yourself. I thought it was brilliant but not for everybody. The gore and the action hits you in waves.

Secondary and young adult but adults who like horror and sci/fi will devour it. Superbly written in short chapters to keep you up with the pace.

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

October 2, 2019 Comments off

fowl twinsThe Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

The Artemis Fowl novels are some of the most inventive fantasy/adventure novels ever written for children and now they are back with younger 11 year old twin brothers, Myles and Beckett.

Myles is ultra clever and the schemer of the two but Beckett has the capacity while seeming simple. to drive enemies to distraction.

Behind every Artemis Fowl novel is the Fairy world, with it’s gold and superior weaponry, living underground out of the ways of humans. Artemis shook this world to the core and now they are back but why?

When a troll burrows his way to the surface near the Fowl fortress on Dalkey Island he is followed by a fairy and shot by a scurrilous 150 year old rogue called Lord teddy Bleedham-Drye. Invisibility filaments were used in this escapade and detected by a fairy fearing group called ACRONYM led by a Spanish speaking nun called Sister Jeromina.

Sister Jeromina captures the Fowl twins for their own safety but wants to learn what if anything they know about how Dalkey Island suddenly became invisible. Is it the fairies?

Probably but you will have to read the book yourself to find out.

Ultra clever, hugely imaginative, highly inventive, totally tongue in cheek, with action and adventure in abundance. Don’t miss this one.

For primary intermediate and junior secondary readers. The font size is large and this is so essential when reading technical stuff that Eoin Colfer throws at you in a totally believeable way. Go on enjoy yourself.

Skulduggery Pleasant Bk12. Bedlam by Derek Landy

June 15, 2019 Comments off

skulduggerySkulduggery Pleasant Bk12. Bedlam by Derek Landy. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are Arbiters who are not answerable to anybody. It is their purpose in life to walk the wire in several worlds of mortals and magic.

There are bad girls and guys out their jockeying for power such as Abyssinia who sees herself as princess of the Darklands and China who wants the Magical world under her control.

When Bertram Wilkes an adviser to Martin Flanery, a Trump like President of the mortal world, goes missing, the Arbiters are called in to find out why.

This is a complicated plot but totally thrilling with the banter between the characters a highlight. For me the most fascinating part was a visit by Skulduggery and Valkyrie to the airbourne asylum of Greymire. Valkyrie is sorely tested but Skulduggery is in his element. As he says “my mind is in a permanent state of finely tuned chaos”

Fans of this series will be happy for this new part and new fans will be bemused at first but it will grab you once you are into it.

First class adventure/ action/ fantasy. Brilliant cover.