Blogs about novels and literature in general

Authority by Jeff VanderMeer

The novel “Authority” by Jeff VanderMeer was published for the first time in 2014. It’s the second book of the Southern Reach trilogy and follows “Annihilation”.

John Rodriguez was appointed director of the Southern Reach agency with the task of bringing some clarity in its activities and what’s happening in Area X. Being called Control is the simplest thing for him because the staff seems unwilling to cooperate with him and his deputy is openly hostile.

For Control the difficulty in conducting his work comes not only from the staff but also from the state of the archives of the expedition into Area X and in the situation left by the previous director. The survivors of the last expedition must be questioned and Control focuses on the biologist, who now wants to be called Ghost Bird.

The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley (Italian edition)

The novel “The Stars Are Legion” by Kameron Hurley was published for the first time in 2017.

Zan wakes up without any memory and has to trust what she’s told by the women of the Katazyrna family, who claim to be her sisters. One of them in particular, Jayd, explains what’s supposed to be her destiny, how she faced the Mokshi, unique among the various worlds of the Legion. Her journey will be long and full of dangers but to accomplish it she must first of all avoid getting recycled.

Jayd wants to help Zan but gets involved in power struggles within the Katazyrna family and in clashes with their rivals, the Bhavaja family. An arranged marriage for strategic reasons makes her switch one danger for another, especially when personal relationships intertwine in twisted ways with loyalties with her family of origin.

Ecce and Old Earth by Jack Vance (Italian edition)

The novel “Ecce and Old Earth” by Jack Vance was published for the first time in 1991. It’s the second book of the Cadwal Chronicles and follows “Araminta Station”.

The information obtained by Glawen Clattuc lead him to begin a rescue expedition to the continent of the planet Cadwal known as Ecce. It’s a particularly dangerous place because it’s the wildest with its jungles and swamps inhabited by animals, however they’re not the most deadly predators ready to kill those who come unprepared.

After discovering the danger hanging over the Conservation created by the Naturalist Society of Earth to preserve the resources of Cadwal, Wayness Tamm went to the Old Earth to try to save it. She has to rely on all her wit and resourcefulness to find the lead and at the same time avoid the dangers coming from the intrigue that have as their stakes the control of Cadwal’s Conservation.

The Hercules Text by Jack McDevitt

The novel “The Hercules Text” by Jack McDevitt was published for the first time in 1986.

Abnormal cosmic signals from a pulsar are detected by the Hercules project’s radio telescope, causing considerable excitement among NASA scientists. Harry Carmichael works at the agency’s administration and needs to get the details explained by the scientists, who tell him that the signals’ characteristics point to an artificial nature.

The signals cease for some time and then restart with the sending of a considerable amount of data. Their decipherment reveals a great variety of information with mathematical formulas and other scientific data but with the passage of time also what seem philosophical texts and poems arrive, whose translation turns out much more complex and ambiguous.

The short story “The Smog Society” by Chen Qiufan was published for the first time in 2010.

Lao Sun is a retired man who collaborates with what’s commonly called “The Smog Society”, an environmental non-governmental organization that among other things takes car of collecting data on the city’s smog. The analysis of the data collected leads to the conclusion that there’s a correlation between smog and the inhabitants’ happiness but the terms of that correlation are surprising.