Reading: Science Fiction

Trader – Charles deLint

When Freaky Friday meets Native American mythology, two different people must face their own lives through the eyes of a stranger.

This was my first book by Charles deLint. And while it started a little slow, and had the characters a bit too much in their own heads, it turned out to be an enjoyable experience. The most accurate description of this book would be urban life — including to my surprise a lesbian couple — colliding with a world of fantasy. Both live in this book as two sides of the same coin.

Revelation Space – Revelation Space 01 – Alastair Reynolds (226/334)

I know I complained before that the book was dense. It is. Once you get far enough into it — around page 50 or so — some of the gibberish terms it has been throwing at you begin to be explained though and it finally settles down to the actual story.

Mankind has spread out into the universe. With almost-fast-than-light drives (which still move at relativistic speeds), groups of people have become near immortal. Spending year after year in flight while the galaxy ages around them, the group on the ship Nostalgia for Infinity searches out the one man that can save their Captain: a man named Calvin Sylveste. Unfortunately, Calvin is dead. Has been for many years. As luck would have it, there is a solution: his son, Dan.

Dan Sylveste has had his own problems. Having tried to enter an alien technology cache years before and failed, Dan has spent his life on an archeological dig on Resurgam, a backwater planet he controls. After a coup though, Dan ends up in the custody of rebels who, at gun point, turn him over to the ship that wants him. He returns to help their Captain if they meet his price. Dan wants to explore the seemingly dead planet orbiting a local star. The dead planet though is not at all what it seems.

Children of the Mind – Ender’s Saga 04 – Orson Scott Card (188/370)

There is a disease that creeps its way into sci-fi epics. The authors feel that after they have had a great initial book, like Dune and now Ender’s Game, they can go on to write more in that series. Each book grows more and more fantastical though. The authors seemingly try to out sci-fi themselves with each new volume. Children of the Mind suffers a bit from this.

Ender has had one hell of a life. Having come a hair’s breadth away from obliterating the only other sentient species in the galaxy when he was a child, he has spent his remaining days in constant near-light-speed travel, leapfrogging in time the rest of humanity in the process. Thousands of years later, he comes face to face with two more sentient species who need his help. One, a computer program named Jane and the second, an entire life-cycle a planet.

In the process of giving Ender the ability to travel out of spacetime — thus allowing him to move across the galaxy instantaneously — Jane accidentally allows Ender to create echoes of his sister and brother from his subconscious self. When he sends these other parts of himself out into the galaxy to bring back help, he learns that his body — and soul — cannot continue to exist this way. With Jane being killed off by the shutting down of millions of computers and Ender fading out of existence, decisions must be made on how to save both of them, without killing others in the process.