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In the tradition of Dune and Norstrilia, Tiamat: grumpy natives, secret of immortality

The Snow Queen  (Snow Queen Cycle, volume 1)

By Joan D. Vinge 

2 Nov, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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Due to injuries and poor health, Joan D. Vinge has not been prolific as of late; her most recent non-tie-in novel was 2000’s Tangled Up in Blue . In the 1970s her body of work was not so large as some but that series of novellas was enough to establish Vinge as an author of note. 1980’s The Snow Queen was only her second novel, after 1978’s Outcasts of Heaven’s Belt and it earned Vinge the 1981 Hugo for Best Novel. For good reason.

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A Boy and His Space Suit

Have Space Suit — Will Travel

By Robert A. Heinlein 

1 Nov, 2014

The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread

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1958’s Have Space Suit — Will Travel brings us to the end of the Scribner Heinlein juveniles — universally recognized [0] as the only true Heinlein juveniles — and leaves us perched on the abyss that contains the Heinlein juveniles written without the firm hand of editor Alice Dalgliesh to moderate Heinlein’s various quirks (or alternatively, to insist he play to hers). While it isn’t quite up to Citizen of the Galaxy , it’s an interesting example of how much Heinlein could milk out of a very straightforward plot.

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Death is no friend to man, not ever.” 

Malevil

By Robert Merle (Translated by Derek Coltman)

29 Oct, 2014

Translation

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Today’s translated work is Robert Merle’s Malevil , first published in French in 1972 and translated into English by Derek Coltman in 1973. I remember it being pretty popular in the 1970s, enough that it got a movie adaptation in 1981, but as far as I can tell it has almost entirely fallen into obscurity1 and out of print. That’s a pity, because Merle has some interesting angles on well-tested tropes.

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Once, women had lived with men; the thought was appalling.

The Shore of Women

By Pamela Sargent 

29 Oct, 2014

Rediscovery Tuesday

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1986’s The Shore of Women takes us to a time in the distant future after nuclear war has nearly destroyed civilization. Just as it happened in Suzy McKee Charnas’ novel Walk to the End of the World , those in charge after the war decided to lay all of the blame on one sex. This time round, the people in charge are women and the ones assigned scapegoat status are the men. 

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Within this car, a family is burning alive.”

The War Game

By Peter Watkins 

27 Oct, 2014

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There’s a cognitive deficit that shows up in my family on my father’s side frequently enough that I have wondered from time to time if it’s an example of nature or of nurture. It is an inability to tell if, when an opinion on a matter is solicited, the person or organization asking is actually only interested in a positive answer1. I myself am entirely free of this deficit but I know it when I see it in others. Peter Watkins seems to have at least a touch of it because I would wager that at no point did BBC say to him please produce a short piece on the subject of nuclear war for The Wednesday Play that both the BBC and the government will conclude is too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting,” and yet that is exactly what he did.

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When the Cities Ended

The Long Tomorrow

By Leigh Brackett 

26 Oct, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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The great war between the American-led allies and their enemies killed untold millions as cities burned across the planet. In the aftermath, victorious America resolved that the means to preventing another nuclear war was to prevent great concentrations of people. Accordingly, the 30th Amendment forbids communities of more than a thousand people and limits density to no more than two hundred buildings to the square mile. 

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The best of the Heinlein juveniles

Citizen of the Galaxy

By Robert A. Heinlein 

24 Oct, 2014

The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread

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Some of this will come across as negative so I’d like to begin with Citizen of the Galaxy is in many ways the most ambitious of the juveniles and it was that ambition that put Heinlein’s blind-spots out where I could see them.” This could easily have been a much more straightforward, much less interesting space adventure book.

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