The following Saturday, with the first week of school finally retreating into memory, Milo awoke to a very special day: his birthday. Having a birthday that fell around the start of school, Milo was used to it being overshadowed by one of a countless number of activities that fill the calendars of helpless school children, but this year was different.
Milo trudged through the doors of Bright Futures #127, knowing that today marked the start of a whole new year of not fitting in. He tried to remind himself that the move was necessary, but he had a hard time processing a big change like this. It was hard enough entering a room with people he didn’t know, let alone a whole school, so he already knew that this was going to be next to impossible.
Marvin watched the rain slide down the windshield of his vintage VW bus, its gentle patter providing a cadence to his deep thoughts. Absentmindedly he twisted his beard with one hand, while the other gripped the timeworn ring of the steering wheel. It had been almost a week since Milo’s birthday and Marvin still regretted not telling him the truth. It was such a special day that he felt it would have been cruel to interrupt the festivities, but now he felt very alone without Milo by his side.
After an inordinate period of preparation, Singular has launched! It is incredibly exciting that this story which has been locked away in my brain for all these years can finally leap out and bounce around in yours, hopefully to entertain and inspire.
A literary work of speculative fiction that falls squarely in the camp of dystopian, similar to 1984 though oriented around gender issues. Highly recommend it, especially in the present dystopia in which we live.
I read this book on a lazy Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the time spent. There is much to commend the book, Scalzi’s voice which includes the predictably snarky characters (especially Kiva), the premise of the Flow, a space empire, etc., but I ultimately felt that there wasn’t enough of an arc to the plot to really feel satisfied at the ending. I’ll buy the next one in the series when it comes out and hope for a stronger finish.
I know you want to hear how I died — that much is customary — but I suspect you might also want to hear me apologize. There will be none of that. I might have made a mistake or two, but the only thing that is truly important is the successful completion of the experiment.
One part Count of Monte Cristo, another part proto-cyberpunk, this groundbreaking novel is unusual, to say the least. Some of the literary devices will either drive you away or keep you intrigued. Not my cup of tea, per se, but I can understand why it's referenced so heavily.
While putting the finishing touches on Singular, I thought it would be nice to capture all the steps required to self-publish a novel, so that any reader thinking of doing likewise, or myself in a year or two, has a ready guide for the process.
I consider Banks to be one of the finest writers I've ever read, full stop. While I enjoyed this book, it had a number of confusing exchanges and the plot itself was more complicated than the majority of fiction I've read. An open mind comfortable holding many separate threads of activity in apparent orthogonality will be required to enjoy this book fully.
Novel is the word which comes to mind for this book and perhaps the series which follows. Not driven by a single character or plot, it's more like Foundation on Mars. The most in-depth book I've ever read on colonization in the future, the details on the progression of the Mars colony is simply stunning. Clarke said it should be required reading. I'd say it's a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, read for advanced sci-fi enthusiasts.
Another space opera, but completely different in almost every way. This book is well known for its unique choice of almost entirely female pronouns which initially sounded quirky but was executed quite purposefully. It also had the most dialog of probably any book I've read, which was quite the departure from the action heavy plots in recent reads. This book took home the triple crown of awards, so it's definitely worth the read.
The Paper Menagerie, Mono no aware, and The Litigation Master and the Monkey King are all very powerful stories, capable of evoking strong -- mostly sad -- emotions. I'm especially impressed with the titular story, very well done.
Reading Banks, Ken Liu, and Chiang at roughly the same time makes for an interesting foray into short fiction. Comparitively, Chiang tends to focus more on idea tales; developing a concept to a rational extreme and then arguing for an interpretation of the outcome.
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around short stories lately. Mostly, if not entirely, based in his Culture world, Banks tells several smaller tales and one larger one that range from really weird to quite good. Ultimately I was awed again by his writing skill and fascinated by his concept of the future as embodied in the Culture themselves. Since it builds on an existing world, it’s difficult to compare to other collections. It also struck me as very experimental in form, like Banks just had to do something different with each story.
This was an excellent space opera, fun to read, engaging and entertaining. That it's also the start of a series makes it even more exciting as I have more to look forward to in the future. Critically I have some points which I felt could have been improved, but that could be said of almost every book. If you're looking for a big story set in the context of the solar system, I think you'll enjoy this.