Books read in May 2012

Alastair Reynolds: Terminal World.

A steampunk novel set in the far future on what I did not realise but now has got from the author himself is Mars, equipped with strange cities surrounding hollow spires used in the past for space travel. Interesting persons in a thrilling story with lots of sf ideas in addition to the zeppelins and angels, but the style is too word-rich to be satisfying.

Nnedi Okorafor: Akata Witch.

Easily read and gripping YA fantasy set in Nigeria, with interesting use of African mythology in a story about four youths with different backgrounds who are engaged in the search and elimination of a child murderer. The book also contains some sketches and extracts from an invented handbook for ”Free Agents”, e g explaining the use of ”chittim”, a kind of money that just appears when you have succeded with some task. Highly recommended.

Darko Macan, ed.: Kontakt. An Anthology of Croatian SF.

Milena Benini’s ”Bloodhound” is an enteraining, thrilling and SoW-ish story about a missing boy and boosted rats and wolves. In Dalibor Perkovic’s ”High-Tech Sex Lib” a time-machine is used to duplicate the man and/or woman in a relationship to have sex in new constellations, and in Tatjana Jambrisak’s ”Give Me the Shuttle Key” an expanded couple finds themselves alone on a planet when earth suddenly disappears. Darko Macan’s ”The Corridor” is a gripping story of a soldier in an underground corridor who has brief contacts with ”the enemy”. I ususally dislike zombies but Aleksandar Ziljak manages to use them in ”The Dead” to illustrate the horrors and hopes in a concentration camp. Nor am I especially fond of stories where nature comes to life, but Ivana Delac’s ”River Fairy” told a poetic and riveting story of protests against war and pollution. I had more problems enjoying ”De Cadenza” by Danijel Bogdanovic with its endless variations on how to get orgasms in space and vacuum. Goran Konvicni’s ”Time Enough, and Space” where an invention made it possible to travel anywhere, and Danilo Brozovic’s ”Fingers”, where fingers started to grow on the body of the narrator, are good examples of surrealistic sf. Finally, ”The Executor” by Zoran Krusvar, was not fantasy or sf but a realistic and thrilling horror story about a witch hunt.

Svend Åge Madsen: Se dagens lys.

Good dystopic Danish sf from 1980, where the community is run by a computer that gives you a new family, home and job each day thus reducing the reasons for envy. The story is not entirely convincing but I liked the characters, and will definitely read more of this author.

A. E. Van Vogt: Away and Beyond.

Nine short stories from the 40s, which not only demand suspension of disbelief but also suspension of any sensitivity to style and logic. But then they are actually quite fun. Additionally, in the 40s there was life both on Mars and Venus.

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