Novel

Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer

The novel “Far-Seer” by Robert J. Sawyer was published for the first time in 1992. It’s the first of the Quintaglio Ascension trilogy. It won the Homer Award as best novel of the year.

Afsan is an apprentice of the Imperial Court astrologer Tak-Saleed. He has reached the age appropriate to go through the coming-of-age rituals, participating in a hunt and a pilgrimage. He remains hurt during the hunt but his contribution to the killing of a big animal brings him honors.

On the ship carrying him on a pilgrimage, Afsan has the opportunity to talk to Captain Var-Keenir, who uses a far-seer, a new invention that allows him to see far away objects. His master refused to use that instrument but Afsan is too curious and asks the captain to lend him the instrument. His observations lead him to study the motion of celestial bodies but his conclusions go against religious precepts.

The novel “Project Jupiter”, also known as “The Lights in the Sky are Stars”, by Fredric Brown was published for the first time in 1953.

Max Andrews has a past as an astronaut past but had to fall back on a rocket mechanics years earlier after losing a leg in an accident. Space remains his passion but there are doubts about the continuation of the American space program. In spite of this, Ellen Gallagher is running for a seat in the Senate supporting a mission to Jupiter.

When he discovers Ellen Gallagher’s program, Max Andrews decides to contact her to offer his help in exchange for a place in the mission to Jupiter’s organization. He understands little about politics but is very competent in rocket science and is ready to adapt to the new situation to get a place in the Project Jupiter at all costs.

Effendi by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

The novel “Effendi” by Jon Courtenay Grimwood was published for the first time in 2002. It’s the second novel in the Arabesk trilogy and is the sequel to “Pashazade”.

Ashraf (Raf) al-Mansur was named Chief of Detectives of the Police in El Iskandryia (Alexandria of Egypt) in the Ottoman Empire but his first case quickly turns out to be a big headache. An investigation leads to the discovery of the past of Hamzah Effendi, the richest man in the city and the father of the girl Raf was supposed to marry.

Hamzah Effendi ends up being charged with war crimes in a case that goes far beyond the borders of the Ottoman Empire and draws the attention of both European powers and the USA. International political clashes start provoking chaos in El Iskandryia when various nations start using a number of means to increase their influence in North Africa.

Something in the Water by Trevor Baxendale

The novel “Something in the Water” by Trevor Baxendale was published for the first time in 2008.

Captain Jack Harkness’s team is looking for who or what has been able to brutally kill a Weevil but an old friend of Jack’s warns him through Gwen Cooper and Toshiko Sato that something big is happening. The investigation leads to what seem to folklore stories but those who work for Torchwood know that the strangest stories can hide obscure truths.

Dr. Bob Strong is treating a growing number of patients with flu-like symptoms but their origin isn’t clear. Meanwhile, his concerns go to Saskia Harden, a patient with a past of suicide attempts who troubles him and hides something strange.

The Jagged Orbit by John Brunner (Italian edition)

The novel “The Jagged Orbit” by John Brunner was published for the first time in 1969. It won the BSFA prize as best novel of the year.

At the beginning of the 21st century, racial segregation in the USA became a total separation but it only exacerbated the tension between black and white with increasingly violent clashes. The Gottschalks, a mix between a lobby and a racket, take advantage of that selling weapons to anyone but leveraging the their clients’s fears they make the situation even worse.

The predictions of the future can be entrusted to sophisticated computers or to people such as Lyla Clay, a pythoness who during a drug-induced trance has visions of the future. For journalist Matthew Flamen, investigating the relationship between the Gottschalks and political power seems a good idea to keep his job.