October 20, 2017

Review: The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley.

On Sale Now!

By now, we should have given you, the curious reader, a firm grounding in the sub-Sci-Fi genre of all that is Steampunk. From The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack to Mike Resnick’s The Buntline Special to the Society of Steam series of books, there are copious alternate history timelines to explore with a snifter of brandy by the e-reader cyber-light…

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Review: A Red Sun Also Rises by Mark Hodder.

Available for pre-order now!

It’s interesting what can inspire a story sometimes. Asimov said his Foundation series sprung from looking at a coffee table book with an image of a dancing soldier; The “OZ” of Wizard of Oz fame came from a second volume filing cabinet marked “O-Z.”

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Review: Blowback by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Audible Edition on sale now!

Technology is a Pandora’s Box. Once you put something out there into the universe, you never can predict the manner in which people or (other sentient species) will use it. Or in the case of this week’s review, how it’ll come back to haunt you. This week, we look at Blowback by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, the 9th book in the Retrieval Artist series out in December from WMG Publishing. Fans of this space will recall our reviews of Rusch’s excellent Diving universe series, including Diving into the Wreck, City of Ruins and Boneyards. Rusch is an excellent world builder, and we especially enjoy the refreshing new universes she utilizes along with the engaging characters that populate them.

Blowback deals with the fallout and the aftermath of the Anniversary Day attacks on Earth’s Moon. We thought it elegant and fitting that the Earth Alliance has a Port named Armstrong on the Moon; hopefully it’ll be in or near the real series of craters named after the Apollo 11 astronauts. The book takes a fascinating turn into an alien underworld as Retrieval Artist extraordinaire Miles Flint returns along with his daughter Talia to uncover a plot that may dwarf the initial Anniversary Day attacks. This is juxtaposed against interplanetary politics and efforts by the Moon’s Chief Security officer Noelle DeRicci to hold an uneasy United Domes government coalition together. We always like our intergalactic politics as truly alien, and Rusch delivers the goods. Its one thing to depict members of a Federation whining about treaties, quite another to depict motivations that are truly, well, alien.

And speaking of which, there’s another excellent twist to think about as depicted in the book; the psychology of alien criminals. While it’s easy to depict their motivations as similar to our own (in fact, science fiction serves as a sort of “modern day mythos” in this fashion), Blowback offers another tier of realism by giving alien criminals often inscrutable goals and motives. Which raises the question; what is a crime? While it’s arguable that an alien civilization will by necessity be subject to the same crucible of evolution and have to come up with laws against murder, stealing, etc in order to co-exist, how those might apply to outsiders and differ in more sophisticated concepts is less clear. While Blowback and the Retrieval Artist series touches on these issues, perhaps there’s healthy fodder for Law & Order: Alpha Centauri out there in the sci-fi universe?

But as usual, we digress. Do give Blowback a read. We’d like to point out that the author has an excerpt of the book up on her site for the month of November, and puts featured chapters of her work up every month. We have to admit that we’re a newcomer to the series, but may have to dig in to the earlier books. Blowback does stand on its own as a great read!

Note: A complete listing of Tales of the Retrieval Artist universe can be found here.

Review: The Doctor & the Rough Rider by Mike Resnick.

Available for pre-order!

The West has never been wilder… as a veteran of the 2011 & 2012 NecronomiCon, we’ve noticed the enduring fascination with fans in all that is Steampunk. Strange, in that said genre really doesn’t have a flagship franchise such as a Trek or Star Wars. Or at least, not yet. [Read more...]

Review: London Eye: Toxic City Book One by Tim Lebbon.

On sale in October!

Pssst! Ever wanted to see the city of London laid in ruin? Have we got a book for you. It seems that as of late, post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction is all the rage. One has to wonder; is this a result of a global air pessimism and disillusionment in our modern world culture? [Read more...]

Review: Be My Enemy by Ian McDonald.

On sale in September from Pyr Books!

Ya gotta be careful with that whole multiverses and/or parallel universes thing… just ask Homer Simpson; playing with a time-travelling toaster can have dire consequences.  Which brings us to this week’s review, Be My Enemy: Everness Book Two by Ian McDonald. Out in early September from Pyr Books, Be My Enemy traces the further dimension-splitting adventures of Everett Singh.  Fans of this space will remember our action-packed review of Everness Book One entitled Planesrunner as well as Mr. McDonald’s Turkish dystopian future world of The Dervish House. Mr. McDonald has a knack of taking a dimension-spanning adventure and putting it down in a realm as familiar as your own backyard.

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Review: The Doctor & the Kid by Mike Resnick.

On Sale Now!

The West has never been weirder… This week, we look at the Steampunk sequel to The Buntline Special with The Doctor & the Kid by Mike Resnick out from Pyr Books. [Read more...]

Review: Planesrunner by Ian McDonald.

Out this December from Pyr Books!

Ever wonder why this existence of ours just doesn’t seem to make since most of the time?  Believe me, the thought has crossed our minds here at Astroguyz HQ as we see the likes of the Kardashians and what not trending. Perhaps there’s a multitude of universal possibilities out there, branching off from our own bizarre existence… [Read more...]

Review: The Restoration Game by Ken MacLeod

Out this month from Pyr Books!

Be wary of that video game you’ve just been called in to code… the fate of your alternate reality motherland might just depend on it. This week, we review The Restoration Game, the new cyber-science fiction thriller by Ken MacLeod out from Pyr Books. This smart, fast-paced read pits Lucy Stone, a young savvy programmer against the political whims that have shaped her native and fictional (well, in THIS reality!) homeland of Krasnia. Plop the Krassian Republic down on a map and it would be right at home amongst Soviet Georgia and the like. [Read more...]

Review: The Ghosts of War by George Mann.

Out in July from Pyr Books!

Looking for a Steampunk comic book thriller for the summer? This week we look at George Mann’s Ghosts of War out from Pyr Books next month. Fans of this space will remember our review of the first book in the series by Mr. Mann, entitled the Ghosts of Manhattan. [Read more...]

Review: City of Ruins by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Out in May from Pyr Books!

Sometimes, the greatest science fiction adventures above take place in the realms below. This week, we’ll give you a sneak peek at Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s City of Ruins out from Pyr Books next month. Fans of this space will remember the first book in the series, Diving into the Wreck reviewed last year. In this much anticipated sequel, we follow Boss and team as they explore what may be their biggest find yet; a labyrinth of ancient caverns beneath the surface of the planet Vaycehn that hint at the vaunted Stealth Technology of the ancient Dignity Vessels. Boss, a loner at heart, has expanded her team out of necessity and, as in the first novel, runs perilously close in balancing her love of exploring ancient Dignity Vessels with not attracting the attention of the Empire, who would love to exploit Stealth Technology to their own ends. Such a discovery would, of course, tip the precarious political balance that is in place, allowing one side to dominate.

Ruins places Boss and crew both in and out of their element at the same time; if Diving into the Wreck was deep-sea diving placed in deep space, then City of Ruins is science fiction spelunking with a high tech twist. Boss is familiar with the ancient technology of the Dignity Vessels but the subterranean environment is as bizarre and strange to her as it is to us as we explore it along with her. The natives of Vaycehn are less than helpful to her cause and apathetic at best, but of course the caverns and the malfunctioning technology play no small part in the mysterious “death holes” that are tearing their world asunder.

I won’t add any spoilers to the book; (read it; it’s that good!) But let’s just say that Stealth Tech and the Dignity Vessels aren’t what they appear to be, as Boss and crew are about to get a cosmic history lesson up close and personal. The Diving universe is along the lines of a future Diaspora-style tale, a universe thousands of years in the future were humanity has populated the cosmos and Earth is but a distant memory. Frank Herbert’s Dune series and Mike Resnick’s Starship saga also fit the bill.

The book fits well as a second act of a trilogy, as the ending leaves several unanswered questions and sets the scene for a sequel. Is history always what we’re told? City of Ruins frames this question well…with engaging characters to boot. Boss maybe one of the most enduring science fiction heroines of recent memory, a Han Solo-type that’s down to business (her ship is named Nobody’s Business, in fact!) and a reluctant player on the galactic scene of building political intrigue…onward to book three!

Can’t get enough of Boss and crew? In addition to the two full length books, tales of the Diving Universe have also graced the pages of Asimov’s December 2005, April/May 2008, April/May 2009, and October/November 2010 respectively. A new tale, Becalmed, is set to appear in Asimov’s this year.      

Review: The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder.

Out from Pyr Books!

Sir Richard Burton is becoming quite the steam-punk action adventure hero. This week, we review The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, the ongoing adventures of Burton & Swinburne, written by Mark Hodder and out from Pyr Books . Fans of this space will remember our review of the first book in the saga, The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack last summer. [Read more...]

Review: Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley.

The siren song of alternative timelines is a tempting one. Are there other realities blossoming constantly from our own? Is there a reality out there where Brittany Spears is president, or World War II never happened? Or are things finitely probable but largely impossible? This week, we take a look at Paul McAuley’s new book, the Cowboy Angels out from Pyr Books.

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