I seem to have written several posts about fantasy books in the last few months. This month I’m going back to science fiction.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.
Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.
Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
This book doesn’t offer much of the epic space battles that come to mind when talking about Space Operas. What it does offer is a glimpse into how living in space among aliens isn’t always that much different from living on Earth in the present. I really enjoyed this book. It has a large cast of characters, but they all get their chance to shine, and they all are well developed. The action is episodic, but all ties together into a coherent whole. I recommend this book if you are looking for a lighter science fiction book that still satisfies.
If you enjoyed this book, there is a sequel called A Closed and Common Orbit
In the depths of space the greatest assassin has been created! Spawned from a horrible monster, Showman Killer was raised to be cruel and to love only gold. Now, as the universe’s greatest assassin, he travels space doing work for the highest bidder.
“European sci-fi comics always seems to push different buttons than their North American counterparts. Showman Killer creates a world filled with ugly, depraved and rotten characters. Fructus’ art is beautiful with traces of horror splashed throughout. The more of this world I see, the more I want to read.” -Drew
Alejandro Jodorowsky is a Chilean-French film and theatre director, screenwriter, playwright, actor, author, poet, producer, composer, musician, comics writer, and spiritual guru. Nicolas Fructus studied at the Émile Cohl school. He is the author of Thorinth series won the Special Jury Prize at the festival in 2011 at The Imaginales Festival.
I seem to have focused on Fantasy for the last couple of posts, so lets go back to Science Fiction.
I recently ordered a new book for the collection that I would like to read.
Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen.
A historian who speaks with the dead is ensnared by the past. A child who feels no pain and who should not exist sees the future. Between them are truths that will shake worlds. In a distant future, no remnants of human beings remain, but their successors thrive throughout the galaxy. These are the offspring of humanity’s genius–animals uplifted into walking, talking, sentient beings. The Fant are one such species: anthropomorphic elephants ostracized by other races, and long ago exiled to the rainy ghetto world of Barsk. There, they develop medicines upon which all species now depend. The most coveted of these drugs is koph, which allows a small number of users to interact with the recently deceased and learn their secrets. To break the Fant’s control of koph, an offworld shadow group attempts to force the Fant to surrender their knowledge. Jorl, a Fant Speaker with the dead, is compelled to question his deceased best friend, who years ago mysteriously committed suicide. In so doing, Jorl unearths a secret the powers that be would prefer to keep buried forever. Meanwhile, his dead friend’s son, a physically challenged young Fant named Pizlo, is driven by disturbing visions to take his first unsteady steps toward an uncertain future.
Alone at the end of the world, Aria is a woman on a mission. As she travels through an overgrown city with a cat named Jelly Beans, Aria searches for an ancient relic with immeasurable power. But Aria is not as alone as she first thought, and a tribe of savages may be the key for Aria to complete her mission. This is the world of ApocalyptiGirl by Andrew MacLean.
“I always have had a fascination for the ruins of civilization in post-apocalypse worlds. ApocalyptiGirl builds a beautiful world, albeit filled with terrible dangers. MacLean’s art style can’t be ignored. His cartooning quickly shift from between quiet and loud moments seamlessly, thanks to beautiful colouring and inking. ” -Drew
Andrew MacLean is an illustrator and comics artist from Salem, Massachusetts. MacLean’s biggest claim to fame has been the self-published Head Lopper.
The world of Pluto is full of robots, and it has become harder and harder to tell some of them apart from humans. Could the human mind ever recreate itself in an artificial body? Starting with the murder investigation of Mont Blanc, one of the seven greatest robots on Earth, the story weaves its way through many lives and tries to answer the question: What makes something human?
“Urasawa has remixed a legendary Osamu Tezuka story and re-positioned it as a murder mystery. He’s able to create beautiful characters, that sometimes don’t last more than 20 pages in the story, that move us through loss and joy in a spectacular way. His drawing is above reproach. Characters look distinct and are able emote with a clarity that any illustrator would want.” -Drew
Naoki Urasawa is a Japanese manga artist. He has been called one of the artists that changed the history of manga, and has received the Shogakukan Manga Award three times, the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize twice, and the Kodansha Manga Award once.