In this post I am going to do a couple of things. Of course I will talk about SciFiMonth. I am going to share what happened in the blogosphere and which books I read. Next to that, I will give an update of The Literary Grand Tour of the World.
First I want to thank Imyril from One More and Lisa of Dear Geek for organizing SciFiMonth! It inspired me to write five science fiction-themed posts:
– Top four most realistic dystopias
– Venturing into space: Books set on spaceships
– What can possibly go wrong: Top three disaster movies
– Top four kickass heroines in SciFi books
– Alternate history: Steampunk & Dieselpunk TBR-list
Other bloggers also wrote great posts. I loved to read the 9 Favourite Themes & Features in SF from Avery on RedRocketPanda. On her blog Exploring by Starlight Louise talked about SF Tropes and Themes she loves and hates. Jess from Jessticulates shared her Time Travel TBR. I also enjoyed reading her discussion post exploring the question ‘Is Frankenstein the first AI novel?‘ And Caitlin from Realms of My Mind wrote an interesting post about her Favourite AI in Books.
Books I read for SciFiMonth
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers, #1) – 5 stars
This book was so comforting to read! It regularly put a big smile on my face. The story is set in the Wayfarer, a spaceship used to make tunnels between different parts of the galaxy. The crew has five humans and four non-human characters. Especially the non-human characters were interesting. Becky Chambers often surprised me with the many details about other species. I truly admire how well she wrote the characters. All of them, even the side characters who are just in a few sentences, felt real. It was beautiful to read that, despite the many differences, the crew members accept each other for who they are. They put genuine effort in understanding each other. Although the book does have a good plot, it isn’t very important. It’s a character-driven story that emphasises love and friendship. This made it a true feel-good story!
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers, #2) – 4 stars
This sequel is about two characters who played a minor role in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I won’t spoil which characters, but I can tell that the characters are just as well-written as in the first part! This book actually has two stories. One of them is set after the events in the first part and is told from the perspective of one of the characters. The other story line tells about the childhood of the other character. The story lines complement each other very well and I liked both. Because the focus is on the two main characters, I think there is a little less attention to world-building. A Closed and Common Orbit is still a really good book!
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor – 3,5 stars
This book actually felt more like fantasy than science fiction. I knew it is set in post-apocalyptic Africa, but it didn’t really feel like the future. Furthermore, magic plays a big role. I enjoyed reading how Onyesonwu learned it. But the story also deals with heavier topics like rape, slavery and genocide. Years ago the Okeke village of Oyesonwu’s mother was attacked by Nurus. During this attack a Nuru raped her mother. In the story Onyesonwu has to come to terms with the fact that she is a child of rape. She grows up in a village far from the genocide against the oppressed Okeke. She and her friends still feel the need to go on a journey to stop the genocide. Because the heavy parts alternate with lighter parts, the book was not too difficult to read. I even think the subplots got a bit too much attention on some points. Most of the book was quite good, but I had a problem with the ending. It felt rushed, because it was resolved in just twenty pages. On top of that, the ending was confusing and just too easy. What Nnedi Okorafor attempted to do was interesting, but for me she succeeded only partly.
This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada – 4 stars
This book is set in a future when people are able to recode their DNA and change their bodies. This idea was fascinating. It’s realistic and totally believable. It did make some parts of the book a bit technical. To be honest, I didn’t entirely understand how the technology worked. I’m not sure if the writer did this on purpose or it was just me. Fortunately the plot was strong enough that this didn’t bother me too much. The main character, Catarina, is the daughter of a legendary geneticist. He may be the last hope to defeat a terrible plague that causes people to literally explode in toxic clouds. The problem is that Cat’s father was kidnapped by a shadowy organization. Cat survived two years on her own hoping that he is still alive. Until a soldier brings the news that her father is dead… From there the story keeps going. It is fast paced and exciting. And those plot twists! One of them was totally unexpected and truly astonished me!
The Literary Grand Tour of the World – November update
Some books I read this month also count for The Literary Grand Tour of the World. Not all of them are set on Earth, though. But I do get some diversity points and two books get me points for setting:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Setting: In space, mainly LGBT+cast (wlw-relationship, non-binary character & trans character) = 1 point
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Setting: Sudan = 5 points, non-white cast = 1 point
This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
Setting: United States = 1 point
With these 8 points I now have a total of 28 points for The Literary Grand Tour of the World. December will be the last month of this reading challenge. I am looking forward to reading The Seven Sisters and Gods of Jade and Shadow.