Tag Archives: science fiction

Young Flandry by Poul Anderson: a short review

Three more or less picaresque novels: Ensign Flandry, A Circus of Hells, and The Rebel Worlds. The first two are pretty dull, but The Rebel Worlds is excellent.

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David Falkayn by Poul Anderson: a review

These tales are pure space opera, and neither van Rijn nor Falkayn are particularly sympathetic characters. They’re also a platform for Anderson to build worlds, something no science fiction author has done as well; he takes a set of premises about the planet, and builds an appropriate environment and interesting characters–not aliens, characters–to populate it. That part is wonderful.

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Conspirator by CJ Cherryh: a short review

Action packed, and funny.

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To the Stars by Robert Heinlein: a review

All four novels are Heinlein juveniles, with the strengths and weaknesses of all juvies. If you can to set aside the improbable competence Heinlein sometimes gives to youngsters, you can enjoy the rich environment he’s created for the characters to act in. All four are strong stories; the fourth is exceptional.

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The Reaches by David Drake: a review

This is a marvelous work of imagination. The author has developed plausible and internally-consistent reasons for starships to have similar properties to age-of-sail warships, and similar vulnerabilities. Moveover, he’s created a political universe enough like that of Elizabeth’s reign to use it as a framework for a Drake-like career. Finally, he’s told the story through the eyes of sympathetic, albeit very brutal, characters who are certainly real enough to be credible; they worry about each other, brood about the impacts of their activities, and–most interestingly–they grow as we watch them.

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The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman: a short review

Silly, but lots of fun. Leaves a surprising number of loose ends unresolved, but that’s probably harmless.

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Other Dimensions by Robert Silverberg: a review

Some authors write long sequences of related novels; even Silverberg began doing that with Lord Valentine’s Castle. But when he was young he took pride in variety–no two stories in the same voice, none with similar plots, each with its own style. That he chose to do this was ambitious. That he succeeded so well was genius.

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The Morgaine Saga by CJ Cherryh: a review

Morgaine’s mission is to close the Gates which permit folks to travel from world to world and time to time. She’s assisted by Vanye, her ilin (sort of vassal, often a body-guard, on what starts out as an accidental one-year contract). In the third book, the relationship changes; they’re still not equals, but Vanye’s more a partner than an underling. On most worlds, Morgaine’s treated as a mythical, dangerous figure. She’s done a lot of damage on many worlds over many centuries; most of that was unintended side effects of her main mission.

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Torch of Freedom by David Weber: a review

At heart, this is the tale of a Mesan (think: slavers) attack on Torch (think: former slave colony) using the remnants of the Peep (read: Soviet Union hardcore) fleet as a proxy. There’s a story thread with Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki (two of my favorite characters in this–or any–story) doing some (effective and decidedly brutal) field work, and a family rescued from a dismal-but-interesting life on a largely abandoned space station/resort. This leaves out a host of complications we’ve been watching since co-author Eric Flint joined the party; we can see a bigger war developing, but perhaps Cachat and Zilwicki have set it back a bit.

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Agent of Vega and Other Stories by James Schmidt: a review

Most of the stories in this book involve law enforcement/secret agent types working for the Overgovernment (the government’s name actually varies from story to story, but OG is one of those names and seems like a good description). The main characters are ends-justify-the-means sorts, often with superpowers (telepathy, usually, and sometimes other advantages). On the whole, the stories read like mysteries, but rather exotic mysteries. One story’s an unabashed traditional horror story, which seems a bit odd in this context.

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