Posts Tagged ‘George RR Martin’

Science fiction anthology roundup, including a major reason to visit ‘Old Venus’

March 31, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 31, 2019

Over the last month and a half or so, I’ve been reading a handful of anthologies. Notable among them were Galactic Empires, a 2017 publication edited by Neil Clarke themed on, well, exactly what the title says; and Infinite Stars, also from 2017, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and billing itself — rather grandiosely, I thought — as “The Definitive Anthology of Space Opera and Military SF.” I enjoyed both volumes but thought the former to be stronger overall.

It’s worth devoting a moment on Schmidt’s collection because it revisits some famous science fiction universes. Infinite Stars includes a new Dune story co-written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, which I found to be particularly weak, and an original “Ender’s Game” story by Orson Scott Card, which I didn’t much enjoy but felt arrived at a haunting ending. I particularly enjoyed Nnedi Okorafor’s “Binti,” which approaches space exploration and interspecies conflict from an African perspective, and “Night Passage,” an Alastair Reynolds tale set in his “Revelation Space” saga, of which (unlike “Dune” and “Ender’s Game”) I have no knowledge.

However, the real point of this post is to share a few thoughts about Old Venus, a 2015 themed collection edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

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In George R.R. Martin’s 1981 science fiction thriller ‘Nightflyer,’ the possibilities raised by a long journey and a malevolent force are thwarted by bad company

January 26, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 26, 2019

As a youngster, I loved almost everything about space. If I found a book, movie or TV show with a spaceship in it, I wanted to read or watch it.

This enthusiasm has persisted into my adult, albeit in somewhat diminished strength. (I still haven’t seen Solo: A Star Wars Story, for instance, and it took me months to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi.) These days, I’m especially intrigued by science fiction stories concerning mysteries or atrocities committed aboard a spaceship — for instance, Event Horizon or Supernova.

Given that background, you can understand why I was excited to run across George R.R. Martin’s 1981 novel Nightflyers in my library’s online catalog. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the book’s potentially dynamite scenario was tempered by my disinterest in the 10 travelers whom the author imperils.

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A player for all genres: Nick Cole’s heroic video gamer assumes the mantle of a knight-errant in ‘Soda Pop Soldier’

July 7, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 7, 2015

Nick Cole’s 2014 novel, Soda Pop Soldier, is a fun science-fiction romp with literary value roughly equal to the nutritional value of — well, of soda.

Cole’s vaguely realized protagonist doesn’t even get a proper name; most of the time, he’s known as PerfectQuestion, his in-game handle for the WarWorld video game competitions. At other times, others address the character as Wu, the moniker of the samurai he plays in an illicit fantasy video game.

Still, the plot is fairly compelling. Several decades in the future, Question has a job playing WarWorld games on his computer. The results have real-life consequences: Each victory on a given virtual front rewards the winning team’s sponsor corporation with valuable real-world advertising space. Unfortunately, Question’s sponsor, ColaCorp, has been losing battle after battle to the enemy WonderSoft corporation in a modern-warfare game set in a fictitious Southeast Asian country. (For ColaCorp, read Coca-Cola; for WonderSoft, Microsoft.) If things continue on this course, the entire team will be fired.

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