#SciFi Worth Reading: A Memory Called Empire #BookReview

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine was a rich and wonderful read. The galaxy it’s set in is awe-inspiring and full of novelty, yet it is also very familiar, which makes it an easy read.

The plot follows a young diplomat from a small mining station, Mahit Dzmare, on her assignment to the sprawling, consuming empire.

The empire has conquered and ‘civilized’ many worlds and Mahit fell in love with their culture as a child. She’s thrilled to get to experience it and dreams of becoming part of the empire.

Her mining colony uses technology that records memories. The technology embedded into her brain allowing her to share the experiences of the former ambassador malfunctions. Not only that, the former ambassador is dead under mysterious circumstances.

This novel has political intrigue, mystery, and a simmering tension about to break out into civil war.

The impression of the empire is beautiful and also not something I’d want to become a part of. There was aching longing intertwined with ugly reality. I eagerly returned to this novel every day, and would read more by this author. I recommend it.

Winner of the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident―or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion―all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret―one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life―or rescue it from annihilation.

 

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: The Sol Majestic #BookReview It’s Inevitable!

What an enjoyable feast of a read! The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz was a treat I came back for every night with a voracious appetite for more.

Wonderful characters, a fascinating setting, and an original plot that had me wondering about my own place in the fate of my fellow humans.  I love quirky characters, and The Sol Majestic had a good number. Not only were they full of character, they were also endearing.

The world on which the story unfolded, a space station, was rich, exotic, and yet familiar. The main character, a sixteen-year-old boy named Kenna, is struggling to survive, and then struggles to save himself and the restaurant that took him in like family.

It was a satisfying story with a beautiful ending that became inevitable. Yes, I highly recommend this book. I’ve got another book on order from this author, which I’m looking forward to.

Kenna, an aspirational teen guru, wanders destitute across the stars as he tries to achieve his parents’ ambition to advise the celestial elite.

Everything changes when Kenna wins a free dinner at The Sol Majestic, the galaxy’s most renowned restaurant, giving him access to the cosmos’s one-percent. His dream is jeopardized, however, when he learns his highly-publicized “free meal” risks putting The Sol Majestic into financial ruin. Kenna and a motley gang of newfound friends—including a teleporting celebrity chef, a trust-fund adrenaline junkie, an inept apprentice, and a brilliant mistress of disguise—must concoct an extravagant scheme to save everything they cherish. In doing so, Kenna may sacrifice his ideals—or learn even greater lessons about wisdom, friendship, and love.

 

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: Transmission #BookReview

An emotional and gripping read, Transmission by Morgan Rice was a page turner. Kevin is dying of a rare brain disease, but he has a lasting gift to offer humankind. He’s the only one who can understand a message being sent by an alien race. What’s the message? Who are the aliens?

These questions kept me reading. Hope for Kevin kept me reading. Hope for a momentous discovery kept me reading.

Kevin and the scientists who go on this journey with him were great characters. There were some good twists and turns as this mystery unraveled. If you’re a fan of Earth meeting aliens, you won’t be disappointed by this book. There are more books in the series, which I need to acquire. I need to know what happens next.

When SETI finally receives a signal from an alien civilization, what will happen next?

A 13 year old boy, dying of a rare brain disease, is the only one able to hear and decode signals from outer space. SETI confirms it is a real signal.

What is the message? How will the world react?

And most of all: are the aliens coming?

 

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: To be Taught, if Fortunate #BookReview

What’s out there? To be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers explores four worlds. Exploring other worlds is one of my favorite parts of science fiction, and this story certainly delivered.

The worlds are experienced by the four crew members of a ship launched at the turn of the 22nd century. Ariadne O’Neill is physically and mentally transformed with the exploration of each planet.

Wanting to know what would be found next, I eagerly kept returning to this book. Very well written, it was easy to immerse myself in the story and see the worlds as Ariadne did. How she and the others reacted to their novel experiences seemed real. It was emotional and enjoyable to travel the galaxy with Ariadne and her three crewmates. I highly recommend this book.

 

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in subzero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to journey to neighboring exoplanets long known to harbor life.

A team of these explorers, Ariadne O’Neill and her three crewmates, are hard at work in a planetary system fifteen light-years from Sol, on a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds. But as Ariadne shifts through both form and time, the culture back on Earth has also been transformed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the story of the wonders and dangers of her mission, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.

 

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: The Outside #BookReview

What is real? The Outside by Ada Hoffman explores this question in a story that is often beautiful and haunting.

The main character is a scientist and not very good with gods. Yasira Shien invents a new type of reactor, andshe has a bad feeling about turning it on; feelings in tune with ‘Outside’.

Outside enters her life, and in order to fight the heretic invasion, she must work with the gods. The person manifesting the Outside is Yasira’s mentor from grad school.  Yasira may be the only one who can find and stop her mentor from unraveling reality.

The story isn’t scary, but I found the way it was written often haunting. There was an ache and a need underlying the story, and I kept reading to find out more about Yasira’s universe and outside. The characters and plot were easy to fall into, and there was much to discover and learn. The characters were often in conflict, and yet each had endearing qualities. I wondered if they could all succeed, so kept turning the pages. Returning to the world Hoffman created each day was such a treat.

The setting was fantastic and the descriptions of ‘Outside’ were marvelous. I would definitely ready more by this author. I highly recommend this book.

 

Humanity’s super-intelligent AI Gods brutally punish breaches in reality, as one young scientist discovers, in this intense and brilliant space opera.

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world inside out.