The Cygnet and the Firebird by Patricia A. McKillip
Review Summary: This second novel in the sorceress series did a much better job of living up to my expectations, and the only regret is that so much of it took place outside of Ro Holding, which seems to have a storied history well worth exploring.
Chill by Elizabeth Bear
2010, Bantam Spectra
Review Summary: In Chill, Bear is unearthing a different story than I was anticipating, placing the expected main protagonist into a kind of secondary role and promoting members of the supporting cast from the previous novel, Dust, into more primary figures, as the story sidetracks from the ship’s regained momentum to delve into a somewhat bizarre and twisted set of revelations, historical notes and acts of vengeance.
Chasing the Dragon by Justina Robson (Quantum Gravity Book Four)
Review Summary: Chasing the Dragon kicks up the frenetic pace that has continued to build throughout the series, but the feeling is like someone trying to race across a rickety rope bridge before the entire thing collapses. Not the best book in the series so far, but we’ll see how the next turns out.
Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley
Review Summary: Brian Ruckley’s Winterbirth is solid, and occasionally excellent writing. Unfortunately, the novel fails to really illustrate anything particularly fascinating, endearing, or even particularly human about any of the characters and they come off as rather staid, static archetypes, rather than as real people that one would be compelled to continue following.
By Schism Rent Asunder by David Weber
Review Summary: Weber’s By Schism Rent Asunder was more enjoyable than the first in the series, Off Armageddon Reef, if only because the author has started introducing more of a female perspective into the novel, though I would have to say that its still not enough, and not soon enough.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
1974, Ballantine Books
Review Summary: Haldeman’s The Forever War isn’t bad reading, and brings up some interesting ideas about waging an interstellar war where one would spend the majority of one’s time travelling at near light-speed just to reach relevant warp points. A decent short novel, though I’m at a loss as to why one finds it referenced in so many places – surely it has some historical significance in the progression of the genre, but overall its not that great of a novel.
StarBridge by A.C. Crispin
Review Summary: StarBridge is a fair sff Juvenile/Young Adult novel, actually written from the perspective of a young teenage girl, complete with diary entries and first love. Not bad, though there doesn’t seem to be much here for the adult reader.
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
1993, Bantam Spectra
Review Summary: An okay book, well reviewed by another site whose opinion I respect, but not one of the best stories I have read. The author needs to let go of some of the science and detail and make the fight to establish a new colony and culture worth reading.
Hellspark by Janet Kagan
Review Summary: Hellspark‘s characters are what I’ve come to expect from Kagan (Uhura’s Song and Mirabelle) – strong, unique, and embedded in a culture (or in this case cultures) which are real and interesting, and which give more life to the characters than what one would usually expect.
Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein
Review Summary: If nothing else, Space Cadet is interesting for its place in history – Heinlein’s treatment of Venus in 1948, as merely a swampy planet with a breathable atmosphere makes one realize just how little we really knew about the other planets even as little as 60 years ago.