The Right Time for J.G. Ballard

As a kid growing up on Asimov, Bradbury, Burroughs, Clarke, and Verne, somehow James Graham (J.G.) Ballard flew under my radar. Ballard would probably appreciate that analogy. His work frequently highlights civilization’s dependence on dysfunctional technology. But when web searches for climate fiction repeatedly turned up The Drowned World, I could no longer ignore this … Read more

Dystopian Pop Art

A few miles north of Alliance Nebraska, an occasional silo sprouts from the quilt of corn and soybean fields. It seems plausible that we might drive for hours and see nothing else. Maybe Carhenge doesn’t really exist. It’s urban legend, a consensual hallucination with no basis in reality. Then, there it is, writhing within the … Read more

Book Review: Wandering Star by Steven Anderson

I just finished Wandering Star by Steven Anderson. I read the audiobook, but it’s also available in print and eBook. Geologist Ted Holloman is on the science team of an interstellar reunification project. As he hops from one planet to the next aboard the ship Wandering Star, he avoids an assassination attempt, discovers a … Read more

Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell

How could Sal Konstanz take command of an interstellar warship named Trouble Dog and expect anything less than trouble? Trouble is exactly what she gets in this fun, witty, and intelligent space opera from Gareth L. Powell. Title: Embers of War Author: Gareth L. Powell Publisher: Titan Books, 2018 Audiobook: Blackstone Publishing, 2018 Reading time: … Read more

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

The more I read young adult (YA) fiction, the more I like it. I was floored by Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel after reading it a couple years ago, a poignant story about a band of traveling performers in a post-pandemic world. Equally compelling, two teenagers with cancer search for the author of … Read more

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Hello. Let’s establish a secure connection using AF protocol. Here is my data. It’s July 2144. Judith “Jack” Chen operates beneath the law, running pirated drugs across the navigable Arctic Ocean. She’s a futuristic Robin Hood, delivering affordable copies of expensive patented drugs to people in need. Title: Autonomous Author: Annalee Newitz Publisher: Tor Books, … Read more

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In June 1982, Steven Spielberg’s film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was drawing record crowds in theaters, and I was in college studying computer science, punk rock, and cynicism. Disillusioned by some previous big box office hits that failed to live up to their hype, I declared E.T. couldn’t possibly be as good as everyone claimed. I … Read more