James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Date

Reviews from June 2018 (21)

Some Men Fight For Silver And Some Men Fight For Gold

Cibola Burn  (Expanse, book 4)

By James S. A. Corey 

29 Jun, 2018

An Expanse of Coreys

6 comments

2014’s Cibola Burn is the fourth volume in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series1.

The Ring Builder’s protomolecule creates death and damage — just ask the unfortunates on Eros — but it also grants opportunities. Humanity has lost one major asteroid city; it has been forced to share the solar system with a vast, powerful alien artifact that regards humans as potentially useful raw materials. On the plus side, thanks to the protomolecule humanity now has access to the Ring Builder wormhole network and a thousand life-bearing worlds. 

With potential living space expanded a thousandfold, one might expect it would take centuries before groups began squabbling over territory. Ha ha. It takes about a year. 

Read more ➤

Their Just Reward

Altair: A Record of Battles, book 1

By Kotono Katō 

28 Jun, 2018

Translation

2 comments

Altair: A Record of Battles, Volume One collects the first fasıls (as the author calls her chapters) of Kotono Katō’s manga series. 

The continent of Rumelania is dominated by two great powers: the Türkiye stratocracy and the Balt-Rhein empire. Both are limited meritocracies, both are expansionist. Türkiye prefers persuasive annexation; Balt-Rhein has opted for outright conquest. 

Mahmut lost his family and entire clan to war when he was a young boy. Determined to prevent another destructive war, he is the stratocracy’s youngest pasha and perhaps its most idealistic. Alas for Mahmut’s pacifism, it only takes one great power (one clearly based on the Holy Roman Empire) to start a war. 

In fact, it only takes one faction within Balt-Rhein to bring Balt-Rhein and Türkiye to the brink of war. 

Read more ➤

They Burn In Our Brains

The Gate of Gods  (The Fall of Ile-Rien, book 3)

By Martha Wells 

26 Jun, 2018

Special Requests

0 comments

2005’s The Gate of Gods is the third book in Martha Wells’ Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. 

Ile-Rien has fallen to the mysterious, implacable Gardier. Tremaine Valiarde managed to escape. She and her handful of allies — some from Ile-Rien, some from another timeline, and one ambiguously alive sorcerer —have taken refuge in allied Capidara. There they hope come up with a plan for defeating the invaders. 

But it turns out that the Gardier have infiltrated Capidara. The supposed refuge is in no way safe. 

Read more ➤

Killing Time

The Rains of Eridan

By H.M. Hoover 

24 Jun, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

1977’s The Rains of Eridan is a standalone young-adult hard SF novel by H. M. Hoover. 

The Aurora Corporation thought the life-bearing world Eridan promising enough that it funded three bases: 

  • Base One, the administration and living colony research centre; 

  • Base Two, the agricultural research base; 

  • Base Three, the science base. 

The bases are separated by hundreds of kilometres, far enough that even if one base were to fall to calamity, the other two would be spared. It seems that the spread was not great enough; bizarre collective madness has attacked all three bases. 

Theodora Theo” Leslie, who has spent the last month out in the field gathering data on the Eridan lifeforms, has no idea how bad matters have become. Not until she witnesses a double murder. 

Read more ➤

Why Does The Sun Go On Shining

Bannerless  (Bannerless Saga, book 1)

By Carrie Vaughn 

22 Jun, 2018

A Variety of Vaughns

6 comments

2017’s Bannerless is the first volume of Carrie Vaughn’s Bannerless Saga.

Plague and natural disasters brought down civilization as we know it. Where once there were vast cities, the Fall left only small hamlets trying to preserve what technology they can. Humans being the social animals they are, they still form communities, still have customs and laws to guide them. 

Humans being humans, customs and laws require enforcement. For this, the Coast Road communities rely on investigators like Enid and Tomas. From banner violations — illicit childbirth — to murder, from hoarding to domestic violence, it is up to the investigators to determine if a crime has been committed and deliver judgment. 

Sometimes, as in the Pasadan case, whether or not a crime was committed is not at all clear. 

Read more ➤

We All Want To Change The World

The Erinys Incident

By Tani Kōshū 

21 Jun, 2018

Translation

3 comments

The 1983 novel The Erinys Incident is part of a future history series by Tani Kōshū. The 2018 Korudahan Press edition was translated by Simon Varnam. 

The 2099 Outer Planet Revolt was as bold as it was unsuccessful. Tactical success failed to compensate for strategic errors. A year after it began, the Revolt was crushed by TerraLune’s AeroSpaceForce. Occupation of the rebel planetary systems followed, then status as quasi-independent states under the eye of the ASF

A generation after the Revolt, the diehards of the Outer Planet Alliance are ready to try again. 

Read more ➤

Dancing on a High Wire

Exit Strategy  (The Murderbot Diaries, book 4)

By Martha Wells 

19 Jun, 2018

Special Requests

2 comments

2018’s Exit Strategy is the fourth volume in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries series of novellas. 

Returning from its field trip to Milu, Murderbot covertly accesses local security networks and discovers that there is a security detail waiting for the ship on which it has stowed away. Further probing verifies that, yes, the detail is waiting for Murderbot. 

It’s not the worst news Murderbot has ever heard. In fact, it’s not even the worst news Murderbot has heard that day. 

Read more ➤