May 232011
 

A Man and his dog and Fuzzies

When reading is good it bring you into a different world. The people step out of the pages and become close to you. Fuzzy Nation is such a book.

It is a book about a disbarred Lawyer who meets a family of cute little fuzzy aliens and saves them from the clutches of the Big Bad Mining Company ZaraCorp. Jack Holloway is the kind of unwilling hero you love to read about.  At first he blows up half a mountainside prospecting for the Company and hit the big one, gets fired for the destruction and rehired straight afterwards when his favorite enemy prospector liaison learns what he found. Relationships like that is something I like reading about. They drive one another crazy but there is respect between them. In the brief time Jack is unemployed he claims the find and bring in the ZaraCorp as his partner to help extract the find.

When he arrives home at his tree house (Yeah that’s right) he finds a fuzzy little animal inside his cabin. Carl ,his well-trained dog (well he can set of explosives) takes offence at the intruder and chases it up a bookshelf. Jack has never seen anything like the cute little catlike biped before so he put Carl outside and offers fruit to win its trust before it leaves for the jungle. That is basically first contact for you.

What follows is immersive and fun. Jack involves a former girlfriend who happens to be a biologist to look at the creatures. She has moved on to a new fiancé which makes for interesting chemistry, maybe not what you expect though. The Company is very excited about the new find but they are only allowed on the planet because it has no sentient specie. They would do anything to stop the Fuzzies from being declared sentient including exterminating them.

Jack is at first convinced they are just animals and I guess the money he would lose if ZaraCorp weren’t allowed to mine the find of rare jewels he made also helps. But he is also a lawyer and uses that to his advantage. His relationship with the former girlfriend continues to deteriorate as she is convinced they are. She is idealistic and he is self-serving.

There is action but most of the decisions in this novel take place in the court room. It is funny how enjoyable the whole experience is. Never in a thousand years would I have guessed I would enjoy a story about lawyers so much.

Fuzzy Nation is an homage to H. Beam Piper and his Hugo award-winning novel  Little Fuzzy.

Heineken doesn’t do science fiction, but if they did it would be something like Fuzzy Nation to paraphrase their promo. John Scalzi is a brilliant scoundrel and Fuzzy Nation is the most brilliant fan fiction I ever read. I so hope there will be more books in this universe.

Book Information

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi – Tor (2011) – Amazon US | UK

Excerpt: Chapter 1-4

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.

Mar 082011
 

This is my semi-regular series on the state of books in the making.

I wonder which book John Scalzi is referring to in todays post? Do you know anything about it? John is one of my favorite authors.

New novel?
Done.
Like, just this second.
When will you get to read it?
Sometime in 2012, I would guess.
So now you have a reason to live. Through 2012, anyway.
What’s it about?
Fate. And destiny. And free will.
And lasers! And explosions! And space ships!
Man, it’s got everything.
Just you wait.

We can also notice that Chris Wooding is still writing on this years Tales of the Ketty Jay novel The Iron Jackal scheduled for August. That will not leave much time for editing and publishing. We have also seen a rough draft of the cover art

But he is not the only one with a short time between finishing the first draft and release. David Weber’s fifth Safehold novel How Firm A Foundation will be released in September and he just turned it in. Tor usually takes a year.

Dec 032010
 

I am taking a look at the releases for next year in preparation for my pick for 2011 to be published later. You will see more posts now and then up to when I publish the list.

John Scalzi is one of my absolute favorite authors and now he has taken up a new series. It is a safe bet that anything by Scalzi would rank high on my expectations. He is witty and funny and his writing has an edge to it. To quote John: It’s a reboot of the Hugo-nominated 1962 science fiction novel Little Fuzzy, by H. Beam Piper. I took the original plot and characters of Little Fuzzy and wrote an entirely new story from and with them. The novel doesn’t follow on from the events of Little Fuzzy; it’s a new interpretation of that first story and a break from the continuity that H. Beam Piper established in Little Fuzzy and its sequels. Source: Whatever

The release date is May 10th which just happens to be John Scalzi’s birthday. Pretty cool.

I have not read the original but I expect this to be high on my picks for next year.

Title: Fuzzy Nation
Author: John Scalzi
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Tor (May 10 2011)

Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.

Related posts

Scalzi, John[profile]
– Agent to the Stars Free Online Book
– The Android’s Dream
Judge Sn Goes Golfing (novella)
– The God Engines (novella)
Old Man’s War Series
1. Old Man’s War
2. The Ghost Brigade

May 222010
 

Stargate Universe is one of my favorites and this episode proved me right. It’s setting the scene for the season finale. This episode goes back to the first episode and what happens here explains a lot of what we saw then. It is about treason/mind control and the Lucian Alliance (read about it on stargate.wikia.com). The Incursion Part One starts next week.

Worldbuilding

We learn something about the Lucian Alliance, they knew about Icarus and Destiny beforehand. Now they are trying to take it over again. According to Rush they are a human coalition made up of various Milky Way planets formed in the power vacuum left behind by the Goa’uld. They’re criminals, mostly… Street gangs with spaceships. But it seems that they might be something more, and they might even have some right in their complains that the Terrans take it all for themselves and don’t share, at least that is what Kiva says.

Plot

Dr Rush is disturbed by haunting dreams of handing secrets over to Lucian Alliance spies on Earth then he sees himself reflected in a window, he is Colonel Telford. He tells Young and convinces him to let him take the next stone to Earth to find out the truth. Young doesn’t trust Rush so he goes after and tells General O’Neal who sends Dr Jackson another old SG-1 member to follow him.

Rush sets up a meeting but is exposed almost immediately, captured and taken off Earth on a Lucian cargo ship and tortured by Commander Kira until he reveal his identity. He is then taken to a gate world similar to Icarus where they have setup operations to dial Destiny. Everyone on the Lucian side might not be on the same side, one guy behaves suspiciously. Rush is forced to help them.

While Rush is being tortured Telford goes straight to Camile Wray, Is she a Lucian spy too? That would explain a lot. Eventually Young confronts him, interrogate him and even fight him but he doesn’t get him to tell the truth until he brings General O’Neal aboard.

All this not knowing gets the civilians nervous and without information they seem to assume the worst and rumors fly around. The failed revolution is not forgotten. I wonder if there are more Lucian spies on Destiny? They knew about Icarus on forehand thanks to Colonel Telford, they might have slipped in a group of infiltrators. That would help to explain why they in my opinion overreact and try to take over the ship.

Characterization

TJ’s baby shower unites the crew. It is heart breaking how they craft little gifts for her child.TJ is still worried and Chloe tries to comfort her. Alaina Huffman continues to convince as pregnant medical officer.

Commander Kiva played by Rhona Mitra would be a wonderful addition to Destiny. She is hot and interesting and she believes she is doing the right thing. I am a reasonable person that only tries to do the best for my people she tells Rush while he is being tortured. You make a terrible first impression he replies. I am afraid it is most likely that she will only be on for a few episodes and then as the enemy but a man can always wish ( I know she has a role on The Gates this summer as a vampire housewife so she might not have the time anyway).

Master Sergeant Greer had some anger issues this episode too, when he almost beat Telford to death. That is a man about to explode.

Young continues to fight with his demons. The way he orders the others to stay out of it when he tortures Rush shows leadership. He doesn’t want to do it but he can’t see any other way. It is especially clear when he in the end tries to force the truth out of Telford by opening his cabin to space while he forces himself to watch.

I am starting to like more and more of the crew, Greer, Young and TJ especially. I can’t say I like Rush as a character but he is interesting and more understandable now and well played.

Trivia

They showed one of the best science fiction books ever as a tribute to the author John Scalzi there when Rush asked the escort if he was okay staying in the car and he showed him The Old Man’s War (read my review) . John Scalzi is a Creative consultant for the show. He also has an impressive blog with SGU discussions called whatever.

My View

Good episode with lots of interesting stuff happening that ties back even before the series started and it all starts to come together. We are getting more and more of the big picture. The Lucian Alliance are about to try to take over the Destiny. This can go in many ways, they might succeed (at least for a while) or they might fail or Stargate Command might even be able to use the gate to keep contact with Destiny. I love SGU and it keeps getting better and better.

Apr 212010
 

This is my totally biased list of the top military science fiction series of our time. These are the ones I found entertaining to read and reread. My focus is as always the characters and the wow moments. Thats why there is lots of space opera here. I have followed some of the authors here for decades others for just a few years. They are all good, the focus in there books lies on different things though.

I like binary counting it seems. Counting down from 10001 in seventeen steps.

Edit: I added RCN, which I love but forgot.

10010. RCN is about Captain Daniel Leary and his friend the formidable Adele Mundy and their military adventures aboard the Heavy Cruiser RCS Milton. David Drake rewrite historical battles and wars and make beautiful military science fiction out of it.The next Royal Cinnabar Navy book to come out is What Distant Deeps that will be out in September 2010. I read RCN 7: In the Stormy Red Sky about a year ago before I started doing reviews.

10001. Starfire Seriesis built on a board strategy wargame about interstellar conquest. A survey fleet travels trough a previously uncharted wormhole and run into a hive-like speice called the Bugs, all communications attempts fail and the Bugs ambush the fleet and launch an invasion against the Terran federation and nearby powers. In the center of the series is the arms race with the bugs. Later in the series there are other opponents. Solid political and military technology world building if somewhat weaker in character building by David Weber and Steve White. The fifth book Exodus is written by Steve White and Shirley Meier.

10000. Confederation of Valor – is about the futuristic career of a non commissioned officer fighting aliens for the elder races in the alliance. There is a secret behind the scenes that are gradually revealed. The Protagonist Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr keep her space marines and and superiors alive. Tanya Huff writes good characters and the dialog is to die for. My reviews of the first four books, there is a fifth book The Truth of Valor coming out in september 2010.

01111. Jenny Casey - used to be a former retired Canadian special forces living in the hellish streets of Hartford, Connecticut. Earth is in shambles from environmental disasters. Jenny becomes a pawn in game of world dominance between Canada and China over being the first to reach the stars. In Hammered Jenny tries to survive, in Scardown she has to fly and in Worldwired she has to teach the aliens to talk with each other. The world is a bit noir and gritty as Elizabeth Bear likes to write.

01110. Major Ariadne Kedrosis a woman with a dark military past working as a surveyor. Her past catches up with her, both from old enemies and old friends. The world is built on Greek culture with the dominating race being the Minoans called so because they share symbols with the Greek. Temporal buoy’s play a significant part in the story as well as their weaponization. Laura E. Reeve is the creator of this resourceful and guilt ridden heroine. The third book Pathfinder is out this summer.

01101. Aldenata universe – Posleen War | Cally’s War | Hedren War – takes place in a world where an ancient race, the Aldenata uplifted a number of races, screwing them up at the same time. The only race not uplifted is the humans. When the galactic society is attacked by the ferocious Posleen there is a need for someone that can fight so they turn to the humans, who they fear almost as much as the Posleen. The O’Neal clan unite the different series. The redheaded feisty warrior princess Cally stands out together with her war hero father Mike. It’s John Ringo’s universe and he cooperate with Tom Kratman, Mikael Z. Wiliamson and Julie Cochrane there. This is also another example of a series where other races taking advantage of the human race’s ability to fight.

01100. Stellar Marines Universe – Heritage Trilogy | Legacy Trilogy | Inheritage Trilogyis Ian Douglas Stellar Marines family saga. The Garroways fight in the sands of Mars to the Magellanic Cloud. Humanity is on the brink of extinction time after time as they fight the Xul, a galaxy spanning race of xenophobics. Built on ‘Hard science’. Ian Douglas is really a pseudonym for William H.Keith.

01011. Tour of the Merrimack – is about the  finest battleship in Earth’s fleet and its crew.The series’ arc about how to deal with the ravenous Hive, a race of space traveling insects that devour all life they come across. In The Myriad the Mack was out looking for the Hive’s Home world when they stumbled on the time traveling aliens who eventually caused the universe to throw them into an alternative reality to avoid paradox. In Wolf Star the war between Earth and the New Roman Empire is going at full blast and Merrimack is in a deep strike mission behind enemy lines when they meet the Hive again and the Romans have to bow down and admit they need help. In the Sagittarius Command they go after the cause. I love Rebeca M. Meluch’s characters.

01010. Dahak SeriesEarths Moon is in reality a gigantic camouflaged battleship who’s crew become the human race. This is discovered by a lone human astronaut that has to face the ancient ship’s computer Dahak. It’s not enough that he has to deal with mutineers that survived in Antarctica, he also has to do with an onslaught of hordes of genocidal aliens and traitors. David Weber is at his best in this awesome space opera

01001. Empire of ManPrince Roger is a failure and a brat when his starship is sabotaged and he and his company of marine bodyguards has to land on the other side of an hostile planet and walk all the way to the star port on the other side. Wonderful four armed aliens, an epic journey and a prince that becomes a man and the soldiers that fights with him. Nice technological progression from stone age to space age. Written by John Ringo and David Weber.

01000. Lost Fleet - The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century – and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who’s emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he had been heroically idealized beyond belief . Captain John ‘Black Jack’ Geary’s legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic ‘Black Jack’ legend. Victorious the final book in the series is out now in April. Written by Jack Campbell

00111. Seafort Saga - is built on C. S. Forester’s novels about Horatio Hornblower and written by David Feintush. The books are set in a future human society that is largely dominated by unified Christianity. The main protagonist is a naval officer who strives always to do his duty, both to the navy and to his God, at great personal cost. Beside the personal story there is an interesting race of fish like aliens central to the story.

00110. Kris Longknife – is about a formidable woman with a knack for getting in trouble and getting out. She is one of them Longknifes and if life wasn’t enough complicated being an officer in the navy, the society of humanity dissolve and her grandpa is named King making her a reluctant princess. The Peterwald family with their long standing grudge with the Longknife set up their own little pocket empire and starts to make life for Kris and her family difficult. Lots of humor, fantastic characters by Mike Shepherd. The next book Redoubtable will be out in November this year.

00101. The Vorkosigan Saga - is about Miles and his mother Cordelia Naismith. It begins with Cordelia’s military career and the unlikely love story between her and Miles father. Miles is crippled in vitro by an assassination attempt but grows up to a crippled formidable interstellar spy and mercenary admiral. Lois has modeled the series after Hortio Hornblower with a taste of Lord Peter Wimsey. The novels stand alone pretty well but benefit from each other. Another Miles novel, CryoBurn is coming later this year. Written by Lois McMaster Bujold.

00100. Safehold – is the world where humanity hides from extermination from the Gbaba, something went wrong thou, the leaders of the colony reprogrammed the colonists in cold sleep creating a medieval world ruled by the church and themselves as Angles. When a fraction tries to revive advanced technology they are ruthlessly exterminated by orbital strikes. 800 years later their second line of defense wakes up. Nimue Alban is an android with the mind and memories of a long dead starship captain. Her mission is to restore civilization and prepare Man for the inevitable re-encounter with the Gbaba. David Weber’s knowledge in history comes to life in this beautiful military saga. The latest novel A Mighty Fortress is out this April (it arrived April 20 for me).

00011. Family’s Regnant universe – Heris Serrano Trilogy | Esmay Suiza continuation | Suiza and Serrano - is about two formidable females Heris Serrano of an old navy family and Esmay Suiza of an old army family. Characters easy to love and formidable old ladies. Much of the driving force for conflict in this universe comes from longevity treatments. Those who get it and will live long life, those who fear the consequences or those who wont wait their turn. Elizabeth Moon is an amazing crafter of characters and worlds.

00010. Honor Harrington is about a competent man kind of military woman with an empath treecat called Nimitz that becomes the foremost military commander of her time battling expansionist empires and human slavers. She is called the Salamander because she thrives in the heat of battle. There are so far eleven books in the series that starts with On Basilisk Station and the next book Mission of Honor will be out this summer. The series is written by David Weber and the success so far have lead to two sub series Saganami and Wages of Sin. The first written together with Eric Flint.

00001. Old Man’s War start with protagonist John Perry joining the army on his seventy-fifth birthday and goes off to fight in The Colonial Defence Force where he meets the love of his life, fight aliens, become leader of a colony and in general make himself useful. I am afraid to tell you much about this series because I so enjoyed the surprise  I got as piece after piece fell in place. John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors, I love his characters and his humor.

And before you say how could he miss Hammer Slammers, I didn’t. I tried to read them a couple of times but never really fell for it. Bolo is another ‘series’ that I considered but I feel its less a series and more of a loose concept even if i love them. I have probably missed some, because I haven’t read them, so as usual give me a comment, I love to get to know more military science fiction series.