The long-awaited 7th chapter of the Star Wars saga brings old characters and new together in an epic adventure sure to excite fans a lot more than the prequels of ten, fifteen years ago. We went into this movie expecting a lot and, for the most part, the movie delivered. But what about the book?
I’ve been a fan of Alan Dean Foster ever since reading his novelisation of Alien 3 back in the day. With a dramatic change of pace, the film proved to be divisive among fans of that series and yet Foser seemed to relish the chance to commit its somewhat muted story to print, lending characters such as Charles Dance’s Clemens more definition than even the movie offered. And that should be the job of the novelist – to breathe even more life into those characters onscreen, to offer fans a greater insight to their actions and motivations, their hopes and fears. And here, in The Force Awakens, Foster does it brilliantly.
Listed as Book 1.5 in the Expanse series, the bestselling space opera by James S.A. Corey, The Butcher Of Anderson Station gives us the backstory of one of the most enigmatic characters from Leviathan Awakes (book 1 of the series). Depending on who you talk to, Fred Johnson of the Outer Planets Alliance is either a hero or a mass-murderer, freedom fighter or terrorist, and that sentence alone highlights some of the complexities around the man. This short e-novella (around 10 K words long) details Fred’s backstory and leaves us, as readers, to make up our own minds.
Written in the same engaging style as other Corey books, TBOAS will no doubt delight fans of the series and, being something of a self-contained story, might even serve as a good taster for newbies. Either way, with The Expanse TV series due to hit Netflix soon, there’s no better time to get onboard with the books.
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Military sci-fi is not a sub-genre I’ve been naturally drawn to – or so I’ve thought. Renowned for its emphasis on tech and less on character development than your standard space opera, it’s been something I’ve tended to shy away from. But then again, when I think about it, some of my favourite sci-fi stories have been military-based – and none of them could be accused of half-assing it when it comes to the characters. Case in point: Battlestar Galactica, its reboot being one of the most character-rich sci-fi series out there.
I always meant to pick up something by Eric Brown after he said some very nice things about my sci-fi thriller, Plastic Jesus, in his review for The Guardian. He’s something of a veteran author within sci-fi, having released a wealth of material, both short and long form, since the late 80s so there’s quite the list to choose from. But for some reason, his 2007 release, Helix, always stood out to me.
Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti tells the story of a young girl off to the Oomza University, basically the galaxy’s finest place to play out the ol’ stoodent life. Being Himba, Binti hasn’t exactly had it easy and she’s the first of her race to win a place at Oomza. But as she makes her way out there, her ship is infiltrated by the Meduse, a bloodthirsty scourge absolutely intent on killing everyone onboard.