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Also, I liked the cover

The Way into Chaos  (The Great Way, volume 1)

By Harry Connolly 

5 Jan, 2015

Special Requests

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2014’s The Way In to Chaos had the working title Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts. That’s a goal ambitious enough to make this the first new book that I have read in 2015. The sunniness of my outlook and the degree of malice I will bear toward the hundreds of books by hundreds of authors I will read over the next twelve months may well be affected by my reaction to this book. But no pressure! 

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Man versus Motie

The Mote in God’s Eye  (Moties, volume 1)

By Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle 

4 Jan, 2015

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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1974’s Mote in God’s Eye was the first collaboration between Niven, by then a winner of multiple Hugo Awards, and Pournelle, the winner of the 1973 Campbell for Best New Writer. Readers could be excused for expecting a lot from this novel given who wrote it. They must have liked what they found, because this earned nominations for both the Best Novel Hugo (losing to Le Guin’s The Dispossessed) and the Best Novel Nebula (losing to Haldeman’s The Forever War). Forty-one years later, does it still stand up?

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Before the fall

Star Guard  (Central Control, volume 2)

By Andre Norton 

2 Jan, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

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1955’s Star Guard is a prequel to Star Rangers. Although this book is set thousands of years before Star Rangers, Star Guards galaxy is ruled by the same Central Control that is in the process of falling apart in Star Rangers. The difference is that Star Guards Central Control is dominated by the galaxy’s elder races and humans are an ill-regarded junior race. Humans struggling for freedom in a galaxy set against them is a familiar story, but Norton provides a fascinating, if very dark, twist by placing this in the same universe as Star Rangers.

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A rare utopian future America

Imperial Earth

By Arthur C. Clarke 

28 Dec, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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1976’s Imperial Earth was published the year of the United State’s bicentennial. This wasn’t one of the USA’s better periods; oil shocks, stagflation, and political scandal had marred the first half of the decade. Other SF authors might have decided to revel in the doom and gloom of the era — and they did—but Clarke instead chose to take the reader on a tour of what is likely as close to a utopian US as any SF writer has ever imagined.

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Introducing the Solar Queen

Sargasso of Space  (Solar Queen, volume 1)

By Andre Norton 

27 Dec, 2014

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

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1955’s Sargasso of Space, which Norton originally published under the pen name Andrew North, is memorable because it is the first of the Solar Queen novels. These form a seven-book series1 about Dale Thorson and his fellow Free Traders, who ply their trade between the stars and scrabble for a living despite the fact the game is rigged against them. 

The book is notable for me because it just so happens that I caused the text of the 2003 omnibus to be very slightly amended, a story I will tell later on. 

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Interstellar Raconteur

Trafalgar

By Angélica Gorodischer 

24 Dec, 2014

Translation

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Translated by Amalia Gladhart.

Angélica Gorodischer’s Trafalgar: A Novel was first published in 1979 but in Argentina and in Spanish, which is why I missed it. The subtitle is a lie; this isn’t a novel but a collection of short stories. That the subtitle is a lie is foreshadowing; Medrano Trafalgar is a charming raconteur who entertains his friends with amusing tales of his adventures trading on alien worlds, rambling accounts told over endless cups of coffee, and he does not come across as a man much inhibited by the truth. 

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In a galaxy not so far away

The Price of the Stars  (Mageworld, volume 1)

By Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald 

23 Dec, 2014

Special Requests

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Back when I had my store, 1992’s The Price of Stars was pitched to me as the sort of book people who like Star Wars would like. It happens I don’t particularly care for Star Wars myself, although I am not hostile to the source material Lucas was — inspired by” won’t attract lawsuits, right? Let’s say inspired by” — but since my personal preferences have played almost no role in what I’ve read in the last thirteen and a half years, I have read many Star Wars novels. So. Very. Many. Stars Wars novels. Against my will, I am something of an expert in this field and so I can say with some authority that this should appeal to fans of Star Wars. Early Star Wars, that is. Not the current stuff.

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The Ur-Space Colony Popularization

Islands in Space: The Challenge of the Planetoids

By Dandridge M. Cole & Donald W Cox 

21 Dec, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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In memoriam: Roy Scarfo, whose art appears in this work, died of pancreatic cancer on December 8th of this year.

1964’s Islands in Space: The Challenge of the Planetoids, by Dandridge M. Cole and Donald W. Cox, does not seem to have had many editions; I can only find references to two. However, even if you never saw a copy of Islands, if you were ever a space colonization fan you are very likely to have read books by people who were strongly influenced by Cole and Cox’s work. 

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