Tag Archives: Science Fiction

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power Naomi AldermanOne of the books which kept cropping up frequently in lots of end-of-year book lists last month was ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman and so it got bumped up my TBR list as one of my not-very-festive Christmas holiday reads. The main concept of Alderman’s fourth novel explores what would or could happen in a world where women become more powerful than men in every sense. Due to a mutation caused by a nerve agent used during the Second World War, teenage girls develop the ability to release electrical jolts through their fingertips which can be either harmless or strong enough to kill people. The “power” eventually spreads and although it is initially used by women as a deterrent against violent and abusive men who have oppressed them, it has far-reaching implications beyond that. Continue reading

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The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver

The Mandibles Lionel ShriverSet in near-future America, ‘The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047’ by Lionel Shriver follows four generations of an American family who had been waiting to inherit the fortune of 97-year-old patriarch Douglas Mandible. However, a total fiscal meltdown in the form of a cyber attack has wiped out the economy along with the Mandible’s wealth and all communications including the Internet. After the “Great Renunciation” when the President of the United States defaults on the country’s massive debt obligations, the Mandibles are all forced to live together under one roof in order to survive. Continue reading

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel is a post-apocalyptic novel which opens with the sudden death of Arthur Leander, a Hollywood actor starring in a theatre production of ‘King Lear’. He collapses on stage and succumbs to the Georgia Flu, a pandemic which virtually wipes out the human race in a matter of days. The survivors form the Travelling Symphony, a troupe of actors and musicians moving across territories performing classical theatre and concerts, including Kirsten, a child actress who was with Arthur when he died. Continue reading

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The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New ThingsI was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy of Michel Faber’s new novel ‘The Book of Strange New Things’ which is due to be published in the UK this month. It tells the story of Peter Leigh, a Christian minister who is chosen by a mysterious corporation called USIC to embark on an out-of-this-world mission to a planet called Oasis in a far-away galaxy. Expecting a hostile reception from the native population, Peter is surprised to find the Oasans are keen to learn from the Bible which they refer to as The Book of Strange New Things and discovers that he isn’t the first pastor to visit them. However, Peter’s pregnant wife, Bea, is struggling to survive as various apocalyptic events unfold back on Earth which is putting a strain on their extremely long-distance relationship. Continue reading

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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I tried.  I really did.  But I just couldn’t finish ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell.  The whole concept/plot was just too damn weird.

I’m quite proud of the fact that there are very few books which I have never finished but this one definitely defeated me.  ‘Cloud Atlas’ interweaves six different stories which include the 19th century Pacific journal of Adam Ewing, the letters of Robert Frobisher living in Belgium in the 1930s, a thriller set in the 1970s, a comic story about someone who gets trapped in a nursing home, a futuristic  dystopian world… and this is the point where I gave up after nearly 200 pages.  Each of the first five stories are interrupted half-way through and are then resolved in reverse chronological order (although I didn’t get far enough to read these conclusions).     Continue reading

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11.22.63 by Stephen King

11.22.63What a book to start the year.  I loved it.  I was particularly intrigued by the original concept of the novel – travelling back in time to try and stop John F. Kennedy being assassinated in Dallas on 22nd November 1963 – and I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, I would go as far as saying ‘11.22.63’ was probably the most enjoyable and imaginative book I’ve read for a very very long time. Continue reading

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451The premise of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ is the stuff of nightmares for bibliophiles everywhere.  Ray Bradbury’s portrayal of a dystopian society in which books are  outlawed would be like hell for all book-lovers: as we are told on the first page, Fahrenheit 451 is “the temperature at which book-paper catches fire and burns”.  The book tells the story of a fireman called Guy Montag, except he is not the sort of fireman we would normally imagine –  instead of putting fires out, firemen in Bradbury’s not too distant future deliberately start fires in places where books are found. From the moment when his seventeen year old neighbour Clarisse McClellan asks him if he is happy, Montag starts to question everything around him especially when Clarisse disappears and his wife, Mildred, attempts suicide.   Continue reading

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