August2016 Booklist 49 www.booklistonline.com
The New Space Opera. Ed. by Gardner
space opera resurrects Arthur C. Clarke’s
cyborg pilot Howard Falcon, introduced
in the 1971 novella A Meeting with
Medusa. Over some 800 years, Falcon’s
quest for “bold new challenges” positions
him at the center of a systemic shift in
evolution, as humanity’s creation—
machines—become self-aware and first
seek independence, then domination.
Dozois and Jonathan Strahan. 2007. Eos,
Veteran anthologist Dozois and coeditor Strahan present boundary-stretching
variations on the category’s many themes.
In breathtaking, mind-expanding scope,
this collection of some of the finest tale-spinning the subgenre has to offer delivers
hours of exhilarating reading.
The Quiet War. By Paul McAuley. 2009.
PYR, $16 (9781591027812).
McAuley has created a fascinating
space opera in a totally realized setting.
In the twenty-third century, earth has
been ravaged by cataclysmic climate
change, and power is held by a few
powerful families. The rest of the solar
system is populated by refugees from the
problems on earth. Harbinger of things
Redshirts. By John Scalzi. 2012. Tor,
Ensign Andrew Dahl, assigned to the
spaceship Intrepid, begins to notice that
The Dark between the Stars. By
Kevin J. Anderson. 2014. Tor, $26.99
Anderson (also famous for his many
series titles) hits it out of the galaxy
again: space opera doesn’t get much
more exciting, or much more richly
populated with alien races, technologies,
and cultures, than it does in this sprawling, engrossing epic. A joint exploratory
mission to the edge of the galaxy reveals
an alien presence, one so powerful that
it could conceivably wipe out all life in
Earth Unaware. By Orson Scott Card
and Aaron Johnston. 2012. Tor, $24.99
The beginning of this prequel series to
the ever-popular Ender’s Game (1985) finds
young Victor Delgado risking his life to
warn earth of the impending invasion.
Live Free or Die. By John Ringo. 2010.
Baen, $26 (9781439133323).
This irresistible action-sf tale launched
another series (seeing a theme here?), as
humanity enjoys (or suffers from) first
contact with an entire galactic federation, one of whose unfriendly races goes
to war with earth for our heavy metals.
The Medusa Chronicles. By Stephen
Baxter and Alastair Reynolds. 2016. Saga,
A collaboration between two well-
Time Siege. By Wesley Chu. 2016. Tor,
known hard-sf authors, this introspective
things are a bit weird. His shipmates
frequently behave in an unpredictable or
unmotivated manner, and problems are
often resolved by the use of the Box, a
mysterious vessel that, when you input
a seemingly unsolvable problem, spits
out a resolution after a suitably dramatic
pause. As he tries to figure out what the
heck is going on around him, Andy dis-
covers a truth so staggering that he has
no choice but to believe it.
Renegade chronman and alcoholic
James Griffin-Mars attempts to fight
the combined might of his own former
employers and their sinister megacorpo-ration allies. Chu’s world continues to be
an engaging exploration of a burnt-out
future preying on the various sf settings
of its past, with the heroes relying on
trips back into both giant space conflicts
and earthly dystopias.
Transcendental. By James Gunn. 2013.
Tor, $25.99 (9780765335012).
Very loosely structured like a far-future
Canterbury Tales (the ship is named after
Chaucer, and individual chapters recount
the stories of some of the key characters),
with loads of literary allusions, this novel
offers a thoughtful and thought-provoking
examination of the delicate nature of
personal faith and the power of human
(and nonhuman) relationships.