Second Contact by Mike Resnick

Second Contact by Mike Resnick has a fascinating premise: A space captain on trial for murdering his own crewmen because he believed they were aliens. After that’s set up, the rest of the novel reads more like a contemporary political thriller than science fiction, as Becker, the officer assigned to defend the Captain, runs into dead ends with disappearing witnesses. Pursuing every lead with the help of a computer whiz, Becker incurs the wrath of a conspiracy that seems to involve aliens, like something you’d see on the X-Files or The Invaders. The computer technology described probably seemed futuristic when this was written, but seems ordinary now, though the story is still set about 50 years in the future from now. The suspense kept the pages turning. In the end everything is explained and mostly wrapped up.

Second Contact on GoodReads

Second Contact at Amazon



Who Still Reads 1950s Science Fiction?

I do! Heinlein’s my favorite!

Auxiliary Memory

By James Wallace Harris, Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why are people still reading science fiction from the 1950s? I’m always leery to read science books more than a few years old, but crave science fiction written before NASA was created. I’m not alone in preferring moldy, aged SF, but I have no idea how many other fans are like me. I belong to an online book club, Classic Science Fiction, and many of the members prefer 1950s-1970s science fiction. But then, most of us collect social security too, so it might be nostalgia. There are a few younger members, and I’ve wondered how they got hooked on reading SF meant for their parents and grandparents. I’ve been updating “The Defining Science Fiction of the 1950s” with links to Amazon. Most of the books listed are still in print, although many are only available for the Kindle, or…

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Sarah Hoyt’s “Through Fire” – Darkship Book 4

The Substrate Wars

Through Fire - Darkship Book 4 by Sarah Hoyt - photo Baen Books Through Fire – Darkship Book 4 by Sarah Hoyt – photo Baen Books

Through Fire, Book 4 in Sarah Hoyt’s Darkship series, came out last month and I bought it immediately, but despite its can’t-put-it-down action, I had to put it down until this week.

It’s a fine entry in the series, plunging us into action on the Seacity Liberté, which unlike the last book in the series I read, A Few Good Men (review here) is dominated by French cultural influences, with the rebellion set in motion in the first scene modeled on the French Revolution and its Terror.

The book is set on Earth hundreds of years from now, after war and nanoplagues have devastated continental civilization. Genetically-engineered Good Men run the world as a feudal dictatorship from Seacities established as refuges. Simon St. Cyr, the Good Man of his Seacity Liberté, is hosting visitor Zen…

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The Martian and Mad Max

Brad R. Torgersen

Two spectacular movies were released in 2015. Both of them were set in the future. Both of them focused on a single man desperately trying to survive in the face of overwhelmingly negative odds. One of these futures was depressingly bleak, populated with violent, deranged maniacs. The other future was incredibly positive, where human beings worked together, and put substantial amounts of hardware — not to mention astronauts — on another planet.

One of these futures would be a delight to live in — the conquering of the solar system, by a planet Earth which has somehow managed to overcome its problems, enough to reach for the stars.

The other future would be a literal hell — civilization has fallen, tribal war is the new normal, and human beings have regressed to a state of endlessly cruel barbarity.

Guess which future the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) voted as…

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The City Machine

City MachineCity Machine by Louis Trimble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The City Machine by Louis Trimble is well-written science fiction, suspenseful, tight, with fairly well-drawn characters and understandable motives. It doesn’t present any brilliant new ideas, but an original plot combining such ideas as multi-generation star ships to colonize planets, protagonists trying to escape a future city (sort of like Logan’s run), a colony comprised of a three-level city, and classes of people corresponding to their level, with rebels in the lower level (slaves, like in Metropolis), plotting a mass escape. The hero may have the key to secrets the rebels need, but while he’s recruited and discovers what it’s like outdoors, his girlfriend is still in the mid level of the city. Suspense and intrigue ensue.
The blurb on the cover makes it sound a little fantastic, but the author thought through the science; it took the colonists generations to arrive and they chose to live exclusively in a city because they had grown so unaccustomed to the dangers of nature. Not exactly an impossible to put down page-turner, it was nevertheless easy and enjoyable to read straight through.

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