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review 2019-02-20 14:14
Review of Way Station by Clifford Simak
Way Station (A Collier Nucleus Science Fiction Classics) - Clifford D. Simak

This was a Hugo Award winner and a book I would never have looked for but it was on sale as an ebook recently and I thought I would give it a shot. I am glad I did as it was an enjoyable read. It was a slow burn type of story that has a main character acting as the gate keeper of a way station on earth that aliens use as a stop on their travels through space. The main human character is the only person on earth who knows about this and much of the story revolves around his thoughts on his role in the universe and alien cultures. Worth the quick read.

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review 2018-11-06 16:29
Shoddy SF: "Why Call Them Back from Heaven?" by Clifford D. Simak
Why Call Them Back From Heaven? - Clifford D. Simak


(Original Review, 1980-11-28)


In response to a SF fan query about computers that can interpret law, I just finished "Why Call Them Back from Heaven" by Clifford Simak. Although a minor feature of the story, the law of the land dictates the use of jury trials in which the jury is a machine. A couple of paragraphs is devoted to a discussion of how the use of machines has caused lawyers to stick strictly to the letter of the law and objective facts instead of the "sympathy tricks" and other appeals to emotion that are often used in modern day jury trials.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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text 2018-06-17 18:32
Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 507 pages.
Rattle - Fiona Cummins

got tons of this done, in one big gulp this morning; it’s riveting, I like it, but the killer is vile and some of this book is disturbing. I make a point to get to this kind of Crime Thriller only every now and then.

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text 2018-06-16 20:58
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 507 pages.
Rattle - Fiona Cummins

one story from the Lansdales’ book next, and then...let’s see I want a long scary-looking Crime novel by a woman and not one from any of my recommended-reading Lists but rather it’s time to make time for something I bought while browsing and have since been putting off...ah, this will do!

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text 2018-05-25 23:57
Fantasy Flights May Meeting - Nebulas
Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss
A Stranger in Olondria - Sofia Samatar
Who Fears Death - Nnedi Okorafor
China Mountain Zhang - Maureen F. McHugh
Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny
All Flesh is Grass - Clifford D. Simak

Every month, I go to a book club that meets at a local taproom. Rather than reading a specific book, each month has a theme. May's theme was the Nebula Awards because, well, they are awarded in May. The Nebulas are one of those awards I've always been vaguely aware of from stickers on books, though I do enjoy Ceridwen's Blogging the Nebulas posts. I was a bit surprised to see how many previous nominees I'd read. I had to cull down to just a handful of recommendations. 

 

Here's what I ended up bringing from this year's ballot:

 

Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty. I wanted to read something on topic for the month, so I compared this year's Nebula and Hugo nominees. The overlap included Six Wakes, which I hadn't read yet, and is published by Orbit. The Hugo voter packet includes whatever publishers provide, and Orbit has traditionally included excerpts of nominees, not full books. Strategery! Turns out, I liked it quite a bit. 

 

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss. I read this one last year, and abso-fucking-lutly loved it. Great characters in an interesting concept, and there's a sequel out really soon. I was so happy to see it on an awards ballot. I won an auction for a signed copy that arrived a day before our May meeting.

 

I also decided, like I had when our theme was the Hugos, to bring some of my favorite losers. The awards hadn't been announced when we met, so I didn't even know my first two picks had lost. I would have brought Stone Sky, but I've rec'd to this group before. But here are some real losers:

 

A Stranger in Olondria - Sofia Samatar.  I adored this beautifully written fantasy novel about a book nerd's misadventures. The not-sequel is also amazing. Samatar's prose is just wonderful. My copy of this was signed here in Alabama, at a lecture she was giving MFA students in Tuscaloosa. Because if a master of the genre is going to make an appearance in my state, I can be a little late to work the next morning. Oh, since I'm late posting this, I can link to her recent AMA. This book lost to Ancillary Justice in 2014. But it did win a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, and a Crawford Award. Samatar also won the Campbell Award for best new writer. Her blog has since become private, so I can't link to her post about the WFA, but more on that in the next book.

 

Who Fears Death - Nnedi Okorafor. My copy of this is technically a gift for my niece. I got it signed at Worldcon in Chicago. She's almost old enough to read  it. This is a different indictment/celebration of fantasy than Samatar's, but no less powerful or wonderfully written. It lost to Blackout/All Clear in 2011, and I can't even. It did win a Kindred, and a World Fantasy Award that year, sparking an essay that eventually resulted in a redesign of the award statue 5 years later.

 

China Mountain Zhang - Maureen F. McHugh. I read this so long ago I don't have a review for it. It combines a vast scope with a well done character study. McHugh has done a lot of outstanding work, and this is no exception. This lost to Doomsday Book in 1993, but won a Lambda, Locus, and Tiptree.

 

Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny. This is one of those books that starts off firmly a fantasy, but reveals itself as science fiction, and the author is a poet. One of my favorite books. My current not for load copy is the leather bound Eaton Press edition. In addition to being a piece of goddamned art, this book was the cheesy sci-fi novel used as cover for the Canadian Caper, aka, the CIA operation in Argo. It lost to The Einstein Intersection in 1968, but won a Hugo that year.

 

All Flesh is Grass - Clifford D. Simak. Simak wrote at least three versions of alien invasions that followed roughly the same plot. This is the best one. A small town finds itself cut off from the outside world and some purple flowers are revealed to be extraterrestrials. Creepy and weird, it's worth a read if you're visiting that era of scifi. It lost to Dune in 1966, making it one of the first losers.

 

Next month's theme is Urban Fantasy.

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