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Reviews from March 2015 (29)

The Cover is Misleading

The Sioux Spaceman

By Andre Norton  

20 Mar, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks


1960’s The Sioux Spaceman is another one of Norton’s standalone novels, although fans will recognize elements common to other Norton series. As I contemplated the book before reading, the cover didn’t fill me with enthusiasm, particularly given how badly I was served by Voodoo Planet, but … it turned out that, while this isn’t one of Norton’s more memorable books, it has points of interest.

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Castaway on Mars

The Martian

By Andy Weir  

19 Mar, 2015

Special Requests


Andy Weir’s The Martian was self-published in 2011 and then published through more conventional routes in 2014 . I got sent an MS in late 2013 and … heck, I will just quote from the review I wrote for the Science Fiction Book Club:

I started reading this at about 8 PM last night, intending to knock off a few chapters and then stop. I ended up reading it cover to cover over the next few hours. More like this, please. 

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Good luck with that coming apocalypse!

The Traitor’s Daughter  (Veiled Isles, volume 1)

By Paula Volsky  

17 Mar, 2015



2011’s The Traitor’s Daughter is the first book of the Veiled Islands Trilogy. Readers may know author Paula Brandon better as Paula Volsky. It’s a nice example of a specific subgenre of secondary world fantasy, a variation on castle opera — or, depending how the coming apocalypse works out, The End of the World. Since I was reviewing for the Science Fiction Book Club at the time this was published, I am surprised that this sponsored review is the first time I have encountered this book.

Of course, this book may also be an example of yet another kind of book: poorly marketed books consigned to undeserving obscurity This may explain why I never saw it when it first came out and why, so far as I can tell, it didn’t sell particularly well.

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I still have never seen Sagan’s Cosmos

The Cosmic Connection: an Extraterrestrial Perspective

By Carl Sagan  

15 Mar, 2015

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


For persons of a certain time and place, to think of Carl Sagan is to remember his popular TV series Cosmos [link] (recently rebooted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. As it happens, I’ve never seen Sagan’s Cosmos. I know him as an author of science popularizations (and one mediocre SF novel), and as a sort of a lesser Asimov or Ley.

The book I’m reviewing today is the first Sagan book I ever read. 

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Return to the Asteroid Belt

Freedom at Feronia  (Asteroid Police, volume 2)

By Richard Penn  

12 Mar, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews


2014’s Freedom at Feronia is a follow-up to Penn’s Dark Colony. Having exposed and broken up an illegal secret colony, young cop Lisa Johansen is now faced with new opportunities, not the least of which is legitimate and legal possession of the core materials needed for a nuclear-powered spacecraft. The new opportunities also come with new challenges, one of which is considerably more complex than the one featured in the first book (the illegal colony set up by a criminal cabal). What this challenge is, and how Lisa handles it, reminded me a lot of the Canadian TV show Flashpoint, except, of course, IN SPACE! 

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Lumikki’s quiet holiday in Prague

As White as Snow  (The Snow White Trilogy, volume 2)

By Salla Simukka  

11 Mar, 2015



As White as Snow, the second volume in Salla Simukka’s Snow White trilogy, was originally released in fall 2013 under the title Valkea kuin lumi; the English translation hit virtual bookshelves on March 3rd of this year (2015). It is a great compliment to the first book in the trilogy, As Red as Blood, that I hurried to buy the second book as soon as it was available.

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Peace isn’t just the absence of war

Water Logic  (Elemental Logic, volume 3)

By Laurie J Marks  

10 Mar, 2015



2007’s Water Logic is the third volume in Marks’ Elemental Logic quartet. It is also, somewhat to the distress of Marks fans, the most recently published volume in Marks Elemental Logic quartet. To quote the series’ publisher, Small Beer Press:

March 2014: We don’t have any update yet on Air Logic. But, we have seen a very early draft of the manuscript. Once it is finished and actually delivered to us, there will be at least one round of editing and then we’ll get the book out as fast as we can. We love these books and are so glad that there are so many readers out there, just like us, waiting 

I have heard that there are others who have seen early drafts; I myself am not among those people. Until then, fans of the series will just have to be satisfied with the three books that do exist. 


The problem with negotiating an end to a bitter war is 

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