4 Mini Reviews: Science Fiction

Title / A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet 
Author / Becky Chambers
Publication Date / 2014 (first published)
Star Rating / 
‘Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own’. (Part of the Goodreads synopsis). First off, if you are looking for an action packed, fast paced science-fiction book, this is not the book for you. However if you are looking for a character driven story with thoughtful commentary on life/existence than I think you will enjoy this book. For the most part I enjoyed this book, but I did not love it. I can’t really say why – it is an interesting book and I don’t mind slow pacing but something about it just didn’t quite work for me I guess. I did find the detail in this book a pleasure to read – we learn alot about the characters, as well as different cultures and species. The interactions between the characters are a pleasure to read about as well, however I felt that there was no real growth of the characters. Overall I enjoyed it but I wasn’t quite blown away. Currently I am thinking I will check out the sequel (I think it’s a companion novel) when it is released but we’ll see. 



Title / Fuzzy Nation 
Author / John Scalzi
Publication Date / 2011
Star Rating / ★★
This is a re-imagining (or at least inspired) of H. Beam Piper 1962 book Little Fuzzy, which I have not read. Jack Holloway works alone as an independent contractor, but when he finds a small furry biped in his home he must decide whether to save them from the encroaching corporation, ZaraCorps. I think this would make a great introduction to science fiction if you are trying to get into the genre, or a great place to start if you are new to Scalzi. The dialogue is witty and sharp, and the main character Jack Holloway is a smart, funny protagonist – I also love his dog. The world created is an interesting one and the fuzzies are not sickeningly sweet. It is a funny, moving, sad and clever story that is really enjoyable throughout. I am definitely interested to read the original to see where the inspiration came from. I highly recommend this book, as well as the author in general.



Title / The Martian
Author / Andy Weir
Publication Date / 2011 (first published)
Star Rating / 
After a dust storm nearly kills Mark Watney and forces his team to evacuate the planet – they think he is dead. He must now survive on his own in an unforgiving environment, with only damaged equipment to help him.  This is an extremely popular book, which was now been made into a film staring Matt Damon. I am in the minority of not loving this book. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed it but it didn’t blow me away. It was good, not great. Although there were funny moments, I didn’t find it hilarious and sometimes I found it dragged abit. The main issue that I had was that there was no suspense, no worry about how it all ends up – I knew right from the start how it was going to end, which kind of detracts a little from the enjoyment of the story. I did enjoy it though and I would recommend, especially if you are a science-fiction fan. The film was also pretty good.



Title / The Midwich Cuckoos
Author / John Wyndham
Publication Date / 1957 (first published)
Star Rating / 
In the sleepy town of Midwich, one day all of its inhabitants fall unconscious. When they wake seemingly unharmed, it is discover that all of the women are pregnant. I really enjoy Wyndham’s storytelling and writing, however the build up in this book is really quite slow considering it is quite a short book. It wasn’t too much of an issue for me but it is maybe something to be aware of going in. I found the concept an interesting one and the characters are well written. This book touches on many topics/issues but does it in a light way and in around 200 pages without bogging down the storyline. My one issue is the neglect of female characters, but this is probably partly due to the time period it was written in. Overall I highly recommend this book and the author.


See you next time




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