Blogs about novels and literature in general

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The novel “Children of Time” by Adrian Tchaikovsky was published for the first time in 2015. It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The starship Gilgamesh carries a group of human beings fleeing the dying Earth, perhaps the last survivors of humanity. In their long journey among the stars looking for a new home, they head for a planet that, according to their information, was terraformed but when they get near it they are warned that they’re not welcome not to stop if they don’t want to face the consequences.

A scientific experiment was aimed at modifying the DNA of a group of monkeys to increase their intelligence but the plans are upset and the nanovirus released on the planet ends up modifying the DNA of various species of arthropods. Over the course of centuries, a species of spider emerges as the most intelligent and starts developing a civilization while influencing its surrounding environment.

The short story “The Night Train” by Lavie Tidhar was published for the first time in 2010.

Mulan Rouge – but that’s only an old stage name that got stuck to her – is a former mercenary and now bodyguard of the Old Man, also known as Boss Gui, the head and bigfalla bos of the Kunming Toads. The Old Man has to leave for a train journey and Mulan must check that no other passenger is a danger to him. Being the Old Man’s bodyguard is a dangerous job but for Mulan there’s not only the risk in her life and she thinks of Darwin’s Choice, an Other she had a relationship with.

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein (Italian edition)

The novel “Saturn Run” by John Sandford and Ctein was published for the first time in 2015.

At Caltech everyone has little consideration for Sandy because they think he was hired only because his family is very rich but when he’s the one who realizes that in astronomical observations an object that is approaching Saturn and is slowing down has appeared, he ends up involved in the investigation on it. There’s no doubt that this is an artificial object and the American authorities want to send a mission hoping to contact anyone who’s traveling on that starship and at the same time to keep their discovery secret.

China has been organizing for years a manned mission to Mars but the Chinese also end up discovering the presence of an alien starship in the solar system. The Chinese plans get changed in a hurry to send their mission to Saturn with the goal of arriving there before the Americans. Between the two nations a new phase of their rivalry begins and the prize for the winner could consist in obtaining from the aliens technologies that are much more advanced than those developed by humans.

The Fortress in Orion by Mike Resnick

The novel “The Fortress in Orion” by Mike Resnick was published for the first time in 2014. It’s the first novel in the Dead Enders series.

Colonel Nathan Pretorius is entrusted with the most difficult secret missions behind enemy lines and at the end of the last one he died for a few minutes before the doctors managed to bring him back to life. For this reason, he no longer wants to be involved in more missions on behalf of the Democracy but General Cooper finds a way to convince him to lead a very important mission for the fate of the war against the Transkei Coalition.

The Democracy has managed to grow a clone of Michkag, a key General in the Transkei Coalition: being able to replace the real one would mean allowing him to influence their enemies to positions more oriented towards a peace treaty. Michkag is constantly under protection and Nathan Pretorius chooses a group of unlikely heroes to infiltrate the fortress on Orion to proceed with the replacement.

The Purple Cloud by M.P. Shiel (Famous Fantastic Mysteries. All-Fiction Field, Inc. / Lawrence Sterne Stevens)

The novel “The Purple Cloud” by M.P. Shiel was published for the first time in 1901. It’s freely available on Project Gutenberg’s website.

An expedition is set up to reach for the first time the North Pole and win the huge prize left in his will by a millionaire for the one who succeeded in accomplishing such a feat. Adam Jeffson finds a place in the expedition thanks to his fiancée, who resorts to poisoning her own cousin to prevent him from taking part to it instead of her fiancé.

Over the course of his journey, Adam Jeffson starts having a growing sense of forces guiding him. Through vicissitudes, he manages to be the first to reach the North Pole but when he begins his return journey he finds only corpses and only a purple cloud of unknown nature as a possible cause.