Carrying on with this new canon series penned by sci-fi heavyweight Timothy Zahn, Thrawn: Alliances continues painting on the revised Star Wars canvas, feeling both familiar and completely new at the same time. There are a number of familiar characters [including the excellent and ever-present R2-D2] and places as well as many that we’ve not come across before. The storyline idea is familiar enough yet it is drifting gently and tangentially away from the traditional Expanded Universe ideas.
I’ve been seeing this title [the first of a planned trilogy] pop up on a few book blogs that I keep an eye on, the synopsis immediately catching my attention, sounding like an interesting far-flung space colony story set on a planet with weird and wonderful ecology which is resisting human attempts to plunder resources from their home. The colony is on the planet Donovan which is thirty light-years away and the colonization and mining operations are being overseen by a ruthless profit-driven corporation based back in our Solar System. The strange thing is that the last half-dozen Corporation ships that have attempted to make the journey to Donovan have all disappeared, leaving the colonists stranded and left to their own devices. That is until the ship Turalon, which carries a high-level member of The Corporation board, finally makes orbit. Its crew prepares to head planetside to find out what’s been going on over the last few years.
Okay, how about a fresh new anthology of forty short stories telling the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope story from a multitude of different perspectives, written by some of the biggest names in contemporary sci-fi literature? Yep, bring it to me! The idea of this simply demanded that I give it a second look. Also, it is written to sit within the new Disney “canon” structure, which is another reason why I wanted to give it a try, that is to see how the new ideas people treated this grass-roots Star Wars plot (which kicked off one of the biggest entertainment franchises of all time) and how it stacked up against the traditional story and ideas that I grew up with. So how does it rate? Quite okay as it turns out.
Somewhere within every review that I write of Eric Brown’s work usually appears a statement that he has [yet again] failed to disappoint me and this collection of eight interlinked short works is yet another superb example of this. This book showcases an author who writes consistently good science fiction and the stories overflow with so many of the ingredients which make up supremely entertaining yarns.
Project 77 is a collaboration between extremely talented professional artist Martin Deschambault and the publishing division of ArtStation, a showcase platform for games, film, media and entertainment artists. The quality of the artwork is second to none, to say the very least, the pieces merging together superbly giving the reader a tantalizing glimpse into a supremely fascinating universe.
English author Ian Whates has been around for a while now as a publisher, editor and author and I’ve been meaning to give one of his offerings a crack for some time, especially since he has been responsible for publishing stories from a few of my firm favourite sci-fi writers like Peter F. Hamilton & Eric Brown. Based on this, I naturally assumed that maybe Whates has the same good taste as me (IMHO) and finally sought out some of his own work. What caught my eye first was Pelquin’s Comet, a shortish novel and the first in a (so far) two-part series called The Dark Angels. It turns out that it’s a bloody good story, spinning my wheels up pretty good and arousing my imagination wonderfully because it’s brimming with many solid sci-fi tropes and elements.
Alien “invasion”, while not a new concept, has been a tried and true science fiction trope since the genre came to be. Many sci-fi authors have had a go at it at some stage because the arrival to Earth of a spectacular fleet of starships carrying more advanced beings will always be a cracking foundation for a story. In Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke applies his great mind to the idea and the result is a thoughtful tale, academic and philosophical, offering a possible outcome to the evolutionary journey of mankind.