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Review: The Beguiler by Suzanne Jackson

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This is not my normal type of book, which is probably why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Change, as they say, is as good as a rest.

If I may take a moment to say, and it is not often that I like to fall into this pit, after all you cannot judge a book by the cover, the cover does pay a large part in whether a book should be read or not. And this cover does both the book and author a disservice.

As far as the art goes, it is a beautiful piece, but it recalls the...

Space News: Moons galore! Toxic, noisy, & oddball

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Our Moon made a couple of stories this week - with others following after:

1. How dangerous is Moondust?

That's what the European Space Agency (ESA) wants to find out, as unlike the weathered and rounded dust of Earth, Moondust is effectively tiny shards of volcanic glass that has caused breathing problems for every astronaut who walked the lunar surface: The toxic side of the Moon

2...

Review: The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Adrian Tchaikovsky's The Tiger and the Wolf is a fantasy novel, the first in a series, published 2016 by Pan Macmillan. 590 pages in large (5" x 7¾") paperback.

Maniye belongs to the Wolf, which means that, like the rest of her father's Winter Runner tribe, she can instantly Step into a wolf's form, taking on all the animal's attributes. But she also belongs to the Tiger, for she is the product of rape -- her mother was captured in battle, forced to...

How to write romance in science fiction?

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DISCLAIMER: I am not looking for a detailed discussion of a romance scene, as this is almost surely outside of what is permitted on a family friendly forum.

I am looking for some examples of exceptionally well done romantic relationships in a SF context. My problem is, I have a really high standard for this. Stories where the protagonist and the love interest meet each other, fall in love, culminating in a romance scene are not adequate in my mind, nor is the...

Review: Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

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First let’s get the translation straight; Wikipedia states there is only one English translation, by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox, and that this is actually a translation of the French translation and, further, that Lem himself, who read English fluently, repeatedly voiced his disappointed in this translation. It further states that an improved translation seems unlikely due to rights issues. However my edition states ‘This is the first English translation...

Review: The Doll Who Ate His Mother by Ramsey Campbell

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Following the death of her brother in a bizarre car accident, Claire Frayne is contacted by a muck-raking writer, who claims that he once went to school with the man who caused the collision. With the help of others whose lives have been damaged by the mysterious killer, Claire determines to track the man down and see justice done.

If I had to describe this book in a word, it would be “bleak”. Its setting, 1970s Liverpool, is grim and run-down, full of...

Is Lord of the Rings just an expanded version of The Hobbit?

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Having just read both, it's really stands out how similar the basic story elements are in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. For example, both have the following - and in the same order:

- Start out with a carefree Hobbit in the Shire
- Given a Call to Adventure by Gandalf
- Waylaid after leaving the Shire
- Visiting Elrond in Rivendell
- Trying to go around the Misty Mountains, only to be forced back by a storm
- End up crossing through...

Star Trek: Discovery - Revisiting Season One

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I've just watched Season One a second time.

Knowing now how it all turned out. I can appreciate how very we'll planned/written this season was! Absolutely excellent! I now understand a nagging "why that perplexed me: "Why, except for a role necessity. did Lorca ever decide to add Michael to the crew? It made no contextual sense at the time.
Knowing now that he had been her father-figure and later lover, it is obvious why.

There are similar questions answered, and...

Review: Anomaly by Peter Cawdron

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David Teller is an elementary school teacher but when an alien anomaly appears outside the United Nations in New York he unexpectedly finds himself recruited into the team investigating it. This is a good, solid first contact story with all the hard science being softened by presenting it through the scientifically naïve eyes of David Teller. And that almost justifies the utterly implausible inclusion of such an unqualified person in the investigation team of...

Review: Dark Matter by Crouch Blake

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Jason Dessen has given up a promising future as a top research physicist in favour of a quiet life as a college lecturer with his loving family. Does he regret that choice? Not really but sometimes it does haunt him a little. It’s only when it’s all abruptly taken away that he really realises how important that life and family is to him. Stepping out of the family home to join an old colleague for a quick drink he is abducted and eventually finds himself in a...

Review: Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds

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Bella Lind and her crew of the Rockhopper push ice; that is they attach crude drives to icy comets and send them on their way to the inner solar system. But when Janus, one of Saturn’s moons, proves itself to be something very different by abruptly heading out of the solar system at high speed, the Rockhopper is the only ship in the system capable of catching it for a brief window of investigation before it gets too far away, that is assuming it doesn’t increase...

Space News: Uranus rocked, planets smashed

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I know it's only been a few days since the last roundup, but there have been too many exciting news stories to ignore:

1. Uranus was struck by planet

Uranus spins at an odd angle compared to the rest of the planets in the solar system, suggesting a major collision in the past. Now a study suggests that Uranus was struck a glancing blow by a planet twice the mass of Earth...

July 2018 75-word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO THEDUSTYZEBRA!

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RULES:

Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words, not including the title

ONE entry per person

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own

WHEN WRITING YOUR STORY, PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FAMILY-FRIENDLY FORUM

All...

Space News: Space surgery, galactic grease

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Surgery in space

It's one thing to be healthy in space - but what if an astronaut falls ill? What are the challenges in medical care and even surgery? One study decided to look at exactly that: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/bjs.10908

The above article is also valuable for exploring general effects of zero gravity on the human body and worth a look for that alone.

Our greasy galaxy

We all know that the Milky Way is...

Review: The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston

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Here are a few things of my favourite things.

High Magic Fantasy where the magic use truly shapes and distorts the world and its cultures. Fantasy Noir with its beautiful juxtaposition of wonder and cynicism, miracles and seaminess. Older Protagonists with pasts that would make a good book in its own right. Actual Gods with their alien-yet-familiar blend of grandeur and hubris. And Murder Mysteries. Always Murder Mysteries.

Disclaimer - I know Cameron a bit...

July 2018: Reading Thread

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I've just finished reading Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, which I really enjoyed and will put a review up for soon. Though I thought the first novel in the omnibus - Shards of Honor - was interesting, but lacking in something, this was easily address in the second one - Barrayar. I especially love the way it's a familiar story told from an unfamiliar angle, and the reading experience is very rewarding for it.

I thought I'd try...

July 2018 Photo Challenge

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This month's theme is...: Green
Usual rules apply:
- Only two photographs per participant
- All photographs entered must be owned and have been taken by the member posting
- Do not use photographs already posted around the site
- The Challenge will close during the 27., whereafter the POLL will be up for 3 days.
- The winner must post a new challenge within a couple of days
- All Chrons members...

300-word Writing Challenge #30 (July 2018) -- VICTORY TO THE JUDGE!

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THE CHALLENGE:

To write a story in 300 words or fewer
INSPIRED by the image provided below, in the genre of
Science Fiction, Fantasy, or other Speculative Fiction

THE RULES:...​

History News: Human sacrifices, hidden colours

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Ceiltic human sacrifice

What's missing from the above image? That's right, the sacrificial bodies.

The image is of a reconstructed henge, discovered near the village of Pömmelte, Germany. Dated to around 2,000 BC, archaeological excavations have only taken place since its discovery in 1991 - but one of the more recent finds is of a number of bodies, apparently sacrificial victims...

Joe Abercrombie: A Little Hatred coming September 2019

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Joe Abercrombie has posted an update to his blog in which he announces a likely release date for his new trilogy, along with the book titles.

According to him, the new trilogy:

has 7 point of view characters, 4 men and 3 women, as well as a host of walk-on extras, many of them well known to readers of the First Law, and features at least one duel to the death, three major pitched battles and an awful lot of hangings. It...

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