SciFiMonth 2021: wrap-up

It’s unbelievable that November already ended. I wanted to read so many more science fiction books! But I really enjoyed participating in SciFiMonth again. So thanks to Imyril from One More and Lisa from Dear Geek Place for organizing it!

During the month I made three science fiction themed posts:

I ended up reading three of the four books from my TBR. Here are the mini-reviews of those books:

The galaxy, and the ground within (Wayfarers, #4) by Becky Chambers4 stars
In four words: wonderful, character-driven, tranquil story
What I liked: This is a quiet feel-good story. Plotwise little happens, but the book is full of beautiful conversations and meaningful moments between the characters. Just like the other parts in the Wayfarers series, the plot of this book is actually not important. It’s all about the four protagonists. These strangers are stuck together on the planet Gora due to a technical error. None of them are human, they are all from a different alien species. I really enjoyed reading how the characters try to help and understand each other, even though they are completely different.
What I disliked: It was sometimes hard to imagine how the characters look like. I solved this problem by looking up fan art of the characters on internet.

Heart of Brass (The Antipodean Queen, #1) by Felicity Banks3,5 stars
In four words: enjoyable, light-hearted Australian steampunk
What I liked: This was an enjoyable and adventurous book. I loved that a part of the story is based on real colonial Australian history. The steampunk elements naturally fit in. Especially the steam-powered heart of Emmeline is central in the book. It’s a secret that’s hard to hide, since the heart regularly needs maintenance and sometimes malfunctions. I found it an intriguing idea! Emmeline starts out as a well-bred English lady who is ready to marry. She is easy to like, resourceful and at times humorous. It was interesting to see her character develop throughout the book.
What I disliked: The storyline felt sometimes overhasty and a bit illogical too me. That’s why I didn’t feel totally emerged in the book. I really enjoyed this story, but I think the writer didn’t get the most out of it. For example, in the world of the book each metal has its own personality and even some kind of magical ability. It’s a pity that this unique idea isn’t really developed.

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan4 stars
In four words: engaging, unexpected, heart-warming, heart-breaking
What I liked: This book was unexpectedly good. Our main characters, Carys and Max, are floating through space. They only have ninety minutes of air left. This situation is engaging on itself. Yet there is more. In this future young people aren’t supposed to settle. Only when they are older, they are allowed to have long-term relationships. This curious world is seen in flashbacks. Meanwhile Carys and Max are trying to save themselves, but the minutes tick away. Their love story was surprisingly realistic. It was beautiful, messy, heart-warming and heart-breaking. The ending was definitively remarkable too.
What I disliked: In the flashbacks we get sneak peaks of a future version of the Earth. It was interesting to read about, but for me this future didn’t really come alive. It felt like a far away place I didn’t really get to know. On the other hand, the parts set in space felt very real. I could easily imagine being there with Carys and Max.
Trigger warning for death of a loved one

More good stuff in November
  • I discovered the podcast Flash Forward. This is a show about possible (and not so possible) future scenarios. It’s the perfect podcast for SciFiMonth! The bad news is that the podcast stops for a while, but the good news is that there are many episodes for me to catch up with. So far my favourites are Bot for Teacher and Wast Not Want Not.
  • My boyfriend and I started watching Locke & Key season 2. It’s so good!
  • I loved the latest episode Cli-fi and catastrophe on the podcast Breaking the Glass Slipper. This is partly a discussion and partly an interview with writing duo Calder Szewczak about climate fiction.
  • I always like lists with science fiction or fantasy authors from around the world. So I enjoyed reading the post Five (non-American) Authors I Want to Read on Alligators and Aneurisms. I also found a list with 25 YA Books Featuring A Non-European Influenced Fantasy World on Epic Reads.

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