Sci-Fi Month 2015 Read Along: Week 4



the long way to a small, angry planet


| Week 4 |

Welcome to the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Ahhh the read along is finally at an end and I’m only a few days out! I was certain I would catch up in time but alas! It was not meant to be. I thoroughly enjoyed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and its episodic nature meant it was a perfect book for reading in chunks! And though Sci-Fi Month is at an end I fully expect to continue with the theme (and actually get all those neglected posts up!) by participating in the Sci-Fi Experience hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings, which runs for two months from December 01st, and Vintage Sci-Fi, hosted by The Little Red Reviewer which runs throughout January. Now to round up Sci-Fi Month, here are my answers to Week 4’s questions:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th):

“Transit” to “Port Coriol” – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Friday, November 13th):

“Port Coriol” to “The Last War” – hosted by Chris @ Galleywampus

Week 3 (Friday, November 20th):

“The Last War” to “Heresy” – hosted by Claire Rousseau

Week 4 (Friday, November 27th):

“Heresy” to the end – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow


| The Questions |

| 1. |

Let’s start with the Toremi, since we’ve waited this long to get to them! As we’ve been discussing for a while, we do get to learn more about the Toremi, about their culture and how they think and behave. In light of what happens when the Wayfarer reaches Hedra Ka, what’s your take on the Toremi now? Are the GC right to abandon their negotiations or could there have been a chance to make something of it?

My, they are a volatile lot aren’t they? The snapshot we have of the Toremi show them to be completely alien in both species, culture and morality. I only wish more time had been devoted to mapping out their personal and political motivations in order to get a better understanding of their race as a whole. The introduction of the Toremi seemed to come a little late in the storyline so we never really got to feel the full force of their wilfully destructive nature. I do, however, believe the GC came to the right conclusion in abandoning the negotiations. I would have been very disappointed had they decided to go ahead with their materialistic endeavours.

| 2. |


A visit to a Solitary Sianat colony in “Heresy” provides a potential cure for Ohan’s illness, but they make it fairly clear they don’t want it – though there may be some debate about whether or not Ohan is in their right mind… Corbin takes matters into his own hands in that respect, and he does it in a crucial moment following the attack on the Wayfarer. Do you think Corbin did the right thing?

I love Corbin for this – Yes he did it in his own grumpy and crotchety way and he took the decision away from Ohan (which should be a big no-no) but he did it for the right reasons and I can’t help but be thankful for it! Whether Ohan was mentally impaired by the Whisperer or not remains a mystery but the fact that Corbin showed even a (somewhat selfish) smidge of compassion for his fellow crew members turned out to be a disproportionately heart-warming moment. And who would want to see Ohan die anyway?!

| 3. |


Ohan survives the attack on the ship, but Lovey (as we know her) doesn’t. Were you at all prepared for what happened to the AI? And in light of all that, do you think Pepper’s offered solution was the right one?

Oh this really did break my heart. I loved Lovey! And poor Jenks is left to continue on without her! A very sad moment which I really wasn’t expecting at all. However, as heartbroken as I was for Lovey, I also felt for the reset Lovelace who finds herself in a world she cannot fully understand with people who cannot and will not interact with her normally. She isn’t Lovey and would never evolve become her so she’s essentially a completely different ‘person’. Pepper’s offered solution seemed to me like the right one and was both fair for Jenks, who is allowed to grieve, and for Lovelace, who is allowed to make her own way in the world without a past she cannot remember holding her back.

| 4. |


This one is less of a “thinky” question and more of a “wrap up” one, but I’m curious for your answers – now that we’ve finished the story, what scenes/moments do you remember best as your favourites, if any?

I really enjoyed this book and though I would have loved it to go on for a hundred more pages, all good things must come to an end!  The biggest highlight for me was the the characterisation and the dynamic on board the Wayfarer – the relationships between the crew members and the myriad of alien races really made it for me. My undisputed favourite character would have to be Sissix (closely followed by Dr Chef) and I particularly loved the introduction to the Aandrisk culture (though we were spoilt for choice!).  I’m so glad I picked up this book and joined in with the read along! Thank you Lisa for hosting – this really has been a brilliant read!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards |

Nothing makes a good book like a good bastard which is why, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’m choosing ten of the most greedy, selfish and devious bastards to grace my bookshelves. And I’m thankful for every single one. These are the pirates, felons and twisted torturers; the characters who do the wrong thing at every opportunity, who lie and cheat and steal yet somehow always manage to come out sunny side up. In no particular order, give thanks for these magnificent bastards:

| 1. |

Sand dan Glokta

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

Crippled war hero. Torturer. Complete bastard. Glokta is an Inquisitor in the Union’s House of Questions who uses his cunning and intelligence to extract more than just fingernails from his guests, and he does it all with a good dose of cynicism. He is one man you do not want on the other end of the thumb screws… unless, of course, he is on your side.

heart

| 2. |

acok

Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Littlefinger is a sly manipulator. Cunning and ruthless, he has worked his way up from nothing to become a master of coin and court intrigue. Unfortunately for those who either cross or underestimate him, Petyr Baelish is at his best when he’s dancing his puppets on their strings… take care that you’re not one of them.

heart

| 3. |

DM

‘Gentleman’ Johnny Marcone

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Johnny Marcone, the crime lord of Chicago and ruler of its dark and (almost) human underworld is not a man you cross lightly… unless your name is Harry Dresden. Marcone is a skilful and ruthless ‘business’ man who’ll stop at nothing to get his own way. Only be careful who you cross, he might just have something which resembles a heart beneath his slick, suited and deceptively ordinary exterior.

heart

| 4. |

Nicomo Cosca

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

Nicomo Cosca – soldier of fortune, womaniser, drunk. Beneath the flamboyant exterior, flaking scalp and drooping moustaches lies a treacherous snake who would sell his own mother for an extra coin. With damn good luck and a surprising talent for warfare, this repulsively lovable rogue always seems to find himself on top… with  a bottle of Styria’s finest in hand, of course.
heart

| 5. |

Victor Vale

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Victor Vale is not just a bastard, he’s a super-human, pain-wielding, morally deficient bastard. Sure, he might just keep you alive… if it suits him… but he’s the best of a bad-bunch-of-evil-bastards and needs must. Or so they say.

heart

| 6. |

Locke Lamora

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

And you certainly can’t have a list of Bastards without including at least one Gentleman Bastard. Locke Lamora is a thief and a con-artist, a cunning liar skilled in the art of deception, and a man who could have Camorr, Tel Verarr and Karthain in his pocket if he wasn’t far better at losing all his gold than he was at making it.

heart

| 7. |

Thalric

Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Aggressive, driven and unflinchingly loyal to his ideals, Major Thalric of the Rekef Outlander will stop at nothing to paint The Lowlands in stripes of black and gold. With an impressive résumé which includes back-alley murders, political assassinations and a penchant for torture, this is one (of many) Wasps you don’t want in your path.

heart

| 8. |

Jerek Mace

Morningstar by David Gemmell

Jerek Mace is the Morningstar – a legendary hero whose defeat of evil has long been prophesised. Except Jerek Mace is a liar, a thief and a complete bastard. When avoiding his heroic duties you may find him womanising, pilfering, murdering and shamelessly running away after committing wanton acts of banditry. Behold! The hero of old!

heart

| 9. |

rf

Darian Frey

Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Womaniser. Morally bankrupt. Thief. Bastard. Captain Darian Frey is rogue and a pirate who would quite literally steal candy from a baby… with the deepest of sympathy, of course. But be warned, accuse him of the one crime he didn’t commit and you’re going to have a whole heap of trouble on your hands.

heart

| 10. |

Mulch Diggums

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

And bastards aren’t just limited to books for adults either. Mulch Diggums is a kleptomaniac dwarf who comes in handy in a tight spot but not without making you pay for it again… and again… and again. Under a myriad of aliases Diggums, his repulsive body odour and what can only be called a ‘bum-flap’ take breaking and entering to a whole new level. Easy-Breezy.

heart

Who is your favourite literary bastard? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: November 24


Sci Fi Teaser TuesdaysWelcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Expect a new teaser every week! Psst… November is Sci-Fi Month!


| Teaser Tuesdays: November 24 |

Superposition

by David Walton

Science Fiction | 303 Pages | Published by Pyr in 2015


“His joints bent a bit too easily and in the wrong ways, as if someone who wasn’t quite sure how a human was supposed to work had put one together from spare parts. He didn’t bother to walk around objects; the tables and wires and equipment seemed to bend around him instead, like light through a lens.”

~ p. 64, Superposition by David Walton


| Synopsis |

Jacob Kelley’s family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night before he appeared at Jacob’s house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves. 

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Review: Down Station by Simon Morden


Sci Fi Month 2015



Down Station

by Simon Morden

Science Fantasy | 323 Pages | To be published by Gollancz in February 2016


| Rating |


This book was received from Netgalley in return for an honest review

Initially I requested this book because.. well.. it has a pretty cover! However, after attending the Gollancz Book Festival in Manchester and seeing a very funny Simon Morden on the panel, I couldn’t wait to crack this book open. Down Station is a novel about fresh starts and new beginnings, about bravery and loyalty and the nightmares that haunt us, and the determination of the human spirit. This is a sweeping science fantasy which harks back to genre traditions and takes the reader into a world of strange magics and even stranger creatures.

A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through…and find themselves on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. The way back is blocked. Making their way inland they meet a man dressed in a wolf’s cloak and with wolves by his side. He speaks English and has heard of a place called London – other people have arrived here down the ages – all escaping from a London that is burning. None of them have returned. Except one – who travels between the two worlds at will. The group begin a quest to find this one survivor; the one who holds the key to their return and to the safety of London.

And as they travel this world, meeting mythical and legendary creatures, split between North and South by a mighty river and bordered by The White City and The Crystal Palace they realise they are in a world defined by all the London’s there have ever been.

Reminiscent of Michael Moorcock and Julian May this is a grand and sweeping science fantasy built on the ideas, the legends, the memories of every London there has ever been.

Down Station follows the tale of a group of multi-ethnic Londoners who find themselves transported to another world – Down – following a fiery encounter whilst working on the London Underground. For some, Down provides a chance for them to escape their pasts, escape the expectations of others and give them a new start in a land where anything may just be possible. For others, Down is hell and they will do anything they can to get back to London and the world that they know.

From the opening pages, Down Station sets a pace which is maintained throughout the novel. With barely a dull moment and an open ending which seems to yell sequel, this novel is a refreshing  and somewhat whimsical read. However, there were elements of the narrative which could have used a little more depth and explanation. The overriding danger which quite literally exploded into the opening chapters dissipated upon our company’s arrival in Down. Though there were plenty of dangers present in this strange new world – eaten by a monstrous fish? Sure! Carried off by a hungry eagle? Why not! – the narrative lacked the urgency and desperation that perhaps it should have had.

The world of Down, however, is certainly a captivating place which is portrayed in beautiful short passages of description. The similarities to an Earth of the past are quite apparent and though strange beasts and plants were hinted at if not described outright, I would have preferred Down’s otherworldliness to have been more apparent. Having said that, this is a world which is accessed by a portal from our own so perhaps a sense of familiarity was the intention all along.

The magic system Morden has created certainly makes up for any similarities to our own world but, again, the danger could have been turned up a notch. This is a world where, if you have the ability, anything is possible – you can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do – but not without paying a price. Either you take control of your powers or they will certainly take control of you. The times when our protagonists were confronted by this strange magic certainly made for interesting reading.

The most intriguing aspect of this magic system, however, has to be its worldbuilding element. This is a world powered by magic, a magic which runs along lines of power which connect one portal to another. It is at these intersections that Down starts to respond to its inhabitants and the magic truly happens. Castles, fortresses, towns and villages spring up in righteous glory from the earth or fall into rot and ruin until they disappear into decay. Simon Morden has created something that sits well in the fantasy genre but has a distinctly unique feel to it which I only hope will continue to grow in future novels.

Down Station also has a whole host of characters to sink our teeth into too (if you so wish). Our main protagonists are Mary and Dalip, who are both incredibly likeable but in completely contrasting ways. Even Mary’s verbal diarrhoea when it came to f-bombing only serves to make her a more believable character.  Morden manages to depict their personalities incredibly well by including their thoughts and beliefs throughout the narrative and both these characters have something very distinctive and unique in their portrayal.

The secondary characters could perhaps have done with a little more attention as, though they featured heavily throughout the novel, it felt like we never got to learn much about their lives or motivations. Their snapshot depictions were enough to keep me reading but these intriguing hints only left me wanting more! The villains of the piece also suffered from the ‘lack of danger’ present in parts of the plot and, even though they were ruthless and dangerous, they almost felt devoid of both ruthlessness and danger. This, however, did not stop it from being an absorbing read. All the right elements were there, I just wanted more!

Down Station is a fun and interesting read which I zipped through in no time at all! Though there were elements of the novel which I felt could have used a bit more depth, this didn’t spoil my enjoyment and I’m sure fans of both science fiction and fantasy will find enough to keep them happy! I’ll certainly be on the look out for more books by Simon Morden… and perhaps next time I can get one I can get signed!

What are your feelings for science fantasy? Do you enjoy the crossover between genres?

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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Sci-Fi Month 2015 Read Along: Week 3



the long way to a small, angry planet


| Week 3 |

Welcome back to the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow. Hurrah! I’ve almost caught up! I finished reading this section late last night so there wasn’t much time to write a post… but a day out isn’t so bad! Here’s the schedule:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th):

“Transit” to “Port Coriol” – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Friday, November 13th):

“Port Coriol” to “The Last War” – hosted by Chris @ Galleywampus

Week 3 (Friday, November 20th):

“The Last War” to “Heresy” – hosted by Claire Rousseau

Week 4 (Friday, November 27th):

“Heresy” to the end – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow


| The Questions |

| 1. |

There is a lot of focus on some of the different alien races in this section, from Dr Chef recounting the story of his people’s decline and Sissix introducing Rosemary to her families, to the surprise visit from the Aeluons and the much less welcome search by the Quelin. What are your thoughts on the various beliefs systems we encounter? Does anything specific pique your interest more than the rest?

As I’ve said before, I absolutely love all the different alien races; they bring such vibrancy to the storyline and a cultural backdrop which lends weight and depth to the universe Chambers has created. This is a novel which is driven by its characters and the character developments within this section made for an enjoyable read and showcased what ‘family’ really means to each of them.

Dr Chef is such a lovely character and displays a great deal of strength and morality through his tale of his people’s past and the inevitable extinction they face, and the choices this has consequently led him to make. He has chosen to be something other than what was expected of him and become someone who can do good and help people who are not lost in hopeless war. However, he brings such comfort to those on board the Wayfarer that I can’t help but feel sad for the demise of his people.

Sissix is still one of my favourite characters and I absolutely love the detail Becky Chambers has put into the Aandrisk culture. The Aandrisk are completely open with their emotions and their interactions with one other, and their concept of family is completely different to that which we know that it all makes for fascinating reading. The Aandrisk are so completely different to humanity and so uninhibited that they make humans look stuffy and prudish by comparison!

Getting to know more alien races is always an interesting, if not always good, thing – The Aeluons are an intriguing race who appear on one hand to be fragile and beautiful and on the other silent and deadly. I already think Pei is a fantastic character and shows herself to be more than just the sterotype of an Aeluon, and her crew also seem to prove that she’s not just a one off. But the Quelin… oh dear, they’re not very likeable are they? Poor Corbin.

| 2. |

Ashby gets the chance to give Pei a tour of his ship and introduce her to his crew, meanwhile Jenks and Lovey decide not to risk transferring the AI into a body just yet, and Rosemary initiates a relationship of sorts with Sissix. Were you happy to see any of these developments, or not so fussed?

I loved all these developments and thought they contributed well to the storyline. It was great to see more Aeluons and how they interact with both their own species and others, and it was also good to see Pei as worried for Ashby’s wellbeing after the run in with the Akarak pirates as he constantly is for her. Kizzy also had the opportunity to show off her impressive skills to quite literally defuse the situation.

The Jenks and Lovey storyline has developed in a very sweet way after Lovey admitted that she had been lying when she said her desire for a body was for herself; she had wanted it to please him. Jenks also tells Lovey that he doesn’t think having a body is worth the risk of losing her altogether. This interaction was lovely but it also highlighted the great unfairness with which intelligent AIs are denied a body. When compared to some of the other violent and dangerous alien races, how is an AI within a body any more of a risk?

I also love the developments with Rosemary and Sissix. Rosemary has found herself running away from her family and their reputation on Mars (and throughout the Universe!) and has found a new family on the Wayfarer. This corresponds with what Sissix tells us about the Aandrisk beliefs about what family really is and her Feather Family aboard ship. Their relationship is written well and is something both the characters seem to need at this point in the storyline. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes!

| 3. |

Cloning technology exists and is used in many sci-fi universes, but the GC does not look kindly on it and it is abomination to the Quelin. Did the reveal of Corbin’s nature change your view of the character?

In some ways it does yes. He is still an insufferable and mean character but the section where he speaks to his father really shows how his upbringing has contributed to this. Even if I don’t particularly like him, I understand him a lot better now. I felt very sorry for him both for the way he was treated by the Quelin and by the expectations his father had for him. As always, we are our own worst enemies and poor Corbin is a perfect example of this. His father, knowing Corbin was essentially himself, probably expected far more from him than he would have expected from his natural child had it survived.

| 4. |

Each chapter told a different and fairly self-contained story, without any big cliffhangers from one to the next. How did you feel about the pacing of the story so far? Are you satisfied with how long the long journey is taking or are you impatient for the crew to finally get to their destination and do some tunnelling?

I think it’s really the character development that drives the plot of this novel and I’m perfectly happy with the pacing and the form in which it takes. It’s through the characters that we learn about the universe and all the alien races it contains and it is mostly through the clash of these races that the conflict within the storyline is found. I think I would be happy reading about their long journey every week even if it took a whole Earth year to get there!

Sci-Fi Month 2015 Read Along: Week 2 Catch-Up



the long way to a small, angry planet


| Week 2 Catch-Up |

Welcome back to the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow. Here is my Week 2 catch-up to warm you up for the Week 3 post tomorrow! This book has really surprised me, combining both fantastic character dynamics with an absorbing plot.  I can’t wait to find out what happens next! The schedule is as follows:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th):

“Transit” to “Port Coriol” – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Friday, November 13th):

“Port Coriol” to “The Last War” – hosted by Chris @ Galleywampus

Week 3 (Friday, November 20th):

“The Last War” to “Heresy” – hosted by Claire Rousseau

Week 4 (Friday, November 27th):

“Heresy” to the end – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow


| The Questions |

| 1. |

There has been significant conversation about AI, what it means to be alive, whether or not AI should have rights, whether or not a person can fall in love with a specific instance of AI, etc. This is a bit of a sticky situation. After the discussion between Pepper and Jenks, how do you feel about Lovey’s and Jenks’ relationship? Should they move forward with their plan?

Ahh, the ultimate question – what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be alive? To think, to feel and to grow. If a machine is capable of such thoughts and feelings, if their experiences shape them and make them something more than just a replicable program, should they be denied the rights that humans (and other sapient kind) claim as their own? Lovey learns from her experiences and they make her who she is – there is not another Lovey and, unless an AI was exposed to the exact same ‘life’ as her, there never would be.

I’m really intrigued by Lovey as an individual character alongside her relationship with Jenks. I love the interchange of ideas and thoughts between them, and how Lovey has already been thinking the decision through alone and has been weighing up the pros and cons. Despite the dangers associated with acquiring a body, I really want to see Lovey continue to grow as something more than just the ship’s AI. And damnit! If she wants a body, she should be allowed to have one!

| 2. |

In the chapter “Intro to Harmagian Colonial History,” we see Dr. Chef’s perspective of having been a mother, though he is currently male, and Sissix’s perspective that children aren’t people yet. Ohan is referred to as they/them. The Akarak are referred to as xyr/xe. These perspectives and preferences are perspectives actually held by different groups of humans in our own world. Do you think assigning these perspectives to aliens rather than humans make them easier or harder to sympathize with?

I love the diversity displayed in this novel, I love the myriad of alien species and their unique and vibrant cultures. I love how the history of humanity has developed and how each of the new divisions of humanity views its own past. This is a great novel for contrasting the disharmony of human and alien history and politics with the comradeship shown between crew members of the Wayfarer and those they meet on their journey.

With regards to the question, I imagine on the whole it is easier to sympathise with the alien perspective. It is much easier to look at something that is entirely different to us and expect it to be so, and even excuse it for being so. If we see something of ourselves reflected in someone whose lifestyle, belief system or culture is completely opposed to our own, it is much harder for us to understand even if we do sympathise. But, to link this back to the first question, it is our differences as much as anything that make us who we are, that make us human. Otherwise we might as well be replicable programs to be uploaded into new and entirely manufactured bodies.

| 3. |

How might the ship robbery have been different if the Wayfarer were armed?

The robbery aboard ship allowed Rosemary to display her courage, her resourcefulness and her intelligence which, had the crew been armed, she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to show. Though the crew were already fond of her, Rosemary’s actions definitely establish her as a valuable asset to the crew of the Wayfarer. If the crew had been armed, this novel may have taken a much shorter (and messier) way to the end after all! And we also got to meet another weird and wonderful alien species. A win, win really!

| 4. |

As I finished the fourth chapter in my section, “Cricket,” I thought it might be a good place to stop and talk about some of our favorite humorous moments so far. What scenes really tickled your funny bone? Who makes you laugh the most and why?

This novel is definitely one which remains lightly humorous throughout, perhaps not laugh out loud funny, but definitely one which continually makes me smile. I particularly like Rosemary’s interactions with her pixel plant….

‘Aw, it’s not so bad!’ chirped the pixel plant. ‘Give yourself a hug!’

‘Oh, shut up,’ Rosemary said.

Tough Travelling: Tricksters


Tough TravellingJoin me each Thursday for some Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide, hosted by Fantasy Review Barn. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, we will set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.


| Tricksters |

A great prank is always amusing.  Many an adventure start with a well placed trick.  They are even more amusing when performed by those with god like powers.

Apologies for the sporadic posting, I’ve just started a new job so I’m still settling into the routine! This week’s Tough Travelling is looking at the conmen, pranksters and cardsharks who make a habit of turning up at opportune moments to deplete you of your possessions, your sanity and, more often than not, your dignity. In no particular order, here are this week’s five (or seven) troublemakers:

| 1. |

lotr
Merry & Pippin

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

| 2. |

Fred & George Weasley

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

| 3. | 

Mat Cauthon

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

| 4. |

Wit (or Hoid)

The Stormlight Archive (or the Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson

| 5. |

Locke Lamora

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

Who are your favourite Tricksters? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the Fantasy Review Barn and sign up!

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Sci-Fi Month 2015 Read Along: Week 1 Catch-Up



the long way to a small, angry planet


| Week 1 Catch-Up |

Welcome to the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow. I’m joining in several weeks late so I’ll be posting up the first two rounds of questions as I read – hopefully I’ll be up to speed by the time we get to Week 3! Here’s the schedule… assuming I’d joined in on time!:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th):

“Transit” to “Port Coriol” – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Friday, November 13th):

“Port Coriol” to “The Last War” – hosted by Chris @ Galleywampus

Week 3 (Friday, November 20th):

“The Last War” to “Heresy” – hosted by Claire Rousseau

Week 4 (Friday, November 27th):

“Heresy” to the end – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow


| The Questions |

| 1. |

First things first, we get to meet the central cast – the crew of the Wayfarer. What are your first impressions of this crew? Which members, if any, stand out the most to you and why?

I love this crew! And I love the writing style. This is definitely one of those books that completely absorbs you into the lives of the protagonists and gives you an automatic connection to them. Everyone aboard ship is relevant for the job, all are unique in some way and all are, without a doubt, fascinating. Here is a run through of my impressions so far:

Rosemary – Rosemary is a pleasant character who seems a little lost and is still finding her feet aboard the Wayfarer. The not-veiled-at-all references to her mysterious past, which she seems determined to keep secret, are incredibly intriguing. I can’t wait to find out more!

Sissix – Sissix is definitely one of my favourite characters so far and the descriptions of her species, both physically and culturally, are fascinating. Despite her ongoing conflict with Corbin, she is instantly likeable and seems to have a genuine rapport with most of the crew.

Corbin – Corbin is clearly the antagonist of the crew and, aside from his introductory tour with Rosemary, hasn’t featured much so far. He seems to rub everyone up the wrong way, frequently puts his foot in it and makes no attempt to disguise his contempt for others. But at least he has a meaningful relationship with his algae.

Ashby – Ahh, the cap’n o’ the ship! Ashby is an excellent combination of firm and in control – a man who runs a tight ship and doesn’t baulk at giving orders – yet friendly, getting on well with the rest of the crew. The references to his family back home and his forbidden relationship with the Aeluon, Pei, are very intriguing hints.

Kizzy – The Wayfarer’s resident oddball lights up every scene with her wit and personality. She’s the mech tech aboard ship and brings as much flare to the science descriptions as she does to her wardrobe. Fun, interesting and crazy all rolled into one.

Jenks – Jenks clearly makes a pair with Kizzy and these two together spells trouble! The references to body modifications and genetweaks are interesting and I can’t wait to see how things play out with his romantic interest, Lovelace.

Lovelace – Lovelace is the Wayfarer’s AI. Moulded by her life aboard ship, she seems human… almost. I love Rosemary’s initial reaction to her – treating her as she would a human so as not to offend her – and I love her conversation with Jenks where she weighs up the pros and cons of having a body, if it were legal.

Dr Chef – Dr Chef is another instant favourite and is definitely the mother-hen aboard ship, tending the Hydroponic gardens, cooking all the meals and working in the med-bay. He is also one of the most delightfully depicted characters on board the Wayfarer – I’d love to learn more about his species!

Ohan – Ohan is a Sianat Pair, the Navigator aboard ship and is definitely an interesting species. The neurovirus – the Whisperer – which gives them their ‘abilities’ is a fascinating addition and gives another wonderful alien dimension to the crew.

| 2. |

Rosemary gets a rather entertaining physics lesson regarding space tunnelling from Kizzy, upon her first full day as a crew member. What are your thoughts on the science part of the fiction?

I love the science! I already love this book! Kizzy’s lesson involving the porridge was a perfect way to explain the physics to both Rosemary and the reader, and it was pretty damn funny too. The science definitely adds to the story and keeps the momentum going; there are no information dumps, no zone out moments, the explanations are just effortlessly woven into the plot and the dialogue. 

| 3. |

We go into the story aware that Rosemary is hiding something from the rest of the crew, and that she’s gone to great lengths to do so. Any ideas/suspicions/speculation you’d like to share on what her secret might be?

I love the intrigue surrounding Rosemary’s past but I’m unsure what it could be! It seems like she comes from a privileged background at home on Mars, and that something has occurred in her past – some sort of disaster or mess – which both worries and embarrasses her. Rosemary’s worried that the crew will find out about whatever she’s hiding and think differently of her but I for one can’t wait to uncover her secrets! 

| 4. |

Ashby scores a huge job – and a huge potential payout – for the Wayfarer, but it means possibly having to get mixed up in a violent civil war. What do you make of what we know so far about the Toremi?

The Toremi seem like a warlike race and there’s obviously something other than just empty territory that they’re contesting, though they remain a relative mystery. Their proximity to the galactic core, which no one else has been able to venture near due to the conflict, and their activity around it prior to the civil war, is highly suspicious. The deal Ashby has made with the GC Transportation Board is probably too good to be true and will likely involve a great deal of danger, a high risk of death and, of course, a very long way to a small angry planet. 

Sci-Fi Month: November 2015


Sci Fi Month 2015


| Welcome to Sci-Fi Month – November 2015 |

Welcome to Sci-Fi Month here at Books by Proxy, hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow! Yes the month is already under way but I’m bending space and time to bring a whole host of fabulously futuristic science fiction goodness before November draws to a close! Expect lists and reviews aplenty as I plunder my shelves for books, movies and games of apocalyptic proportions – I only wish I’d hopped on board sooner!

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| Sci-Fi Month Reads |

Only a few to get started with but if I I have time this list is likely to expand!

SciFi Month Reads

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham | Permutation City by Greg Egan | Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow | Down Station by Simon Morden

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| Sci-Fi Reviews to Get You Going |

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

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Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Armada by Ernest Cline

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Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

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| Soundtracks to Science Fiction |

Taken from the Bookish Beats feature here at Books by Proxy

Inception by Hans Zimmer

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elysium

Elysium by Ryan Amon

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The Inevitable End by Röyksopp

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The Machine by Tom Raybould

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Have you got anything exciting planned for Sci-Fi Month? If you want to join in, hop on over to Rinn Reads or Over the Effing Rainbow and add yourself to the list!