Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Lazarus War: Artefact

Title: Lazarus War: Artefact
Author: Jamie Sawyer
Pages: 439
ISBN: 9780356505466
Series: The Lazarus War #1
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2015
Genre: Science Fiction/ Military SF
Source: Review copy from publisher

Buy it from:
The Book Depository

Mankind has spread to the stars, only to become locked in warfare with an insidious alien race. All that stands against the alien menace are the soldiers of the Simulant Operation Programme, an elite military team remotely operating avatars in the most dangerous theatres of war.

Captain Conrad Harris has died hundreds of times - running suicide missions in simulant bodies. Known as Lazarus, he is a man addicted to death. So when a secret research station deep in alien territory suddenly goes dark, there is no other man who could possibly lead a rescue mission.

But Harris hasn't been trained for what he's about to find. And this time, he may not be coming back . . .

Dying is just another part of the day job for Captain Conrad Harris the commander of an elite military team - Simulant Operations. Remotely piloting simulant bodies, combat enhanced clones of themselves tailored for war, they take on suicide missions battling the Krell, a terrifying bioengineered alien species that make the xenomorphs from Alien look like docile puppies. When the team are send on a mission deep inside enemy territory to investigate a mysterious artefact they are stranded on a hostile planet without the use of their simulant bodies or backup of any kind. Faced with the sudden fragility of their own flesh they need to not only find a way to survive, but also a way home. What is worse is that the greatest threat might not even be from their alien foe.

Lazarus War: Artefact is a tense, heart-pounding SF adventure that forges ahead at an unrelenting pace. There is a surprising depth to all the characters as they struggle with the psychological aftermath of once again having to face their own mortality. The ending is a tantalizing promise of a much larger adventure that is still to come. It will be interesting to see the repercussions of their actions as the greater mystery unravels in later novels.

The Verdict:
The Lazarus War: Artefact is a stunning debut novel; Jamie Sawyer shows that he is definitely an author to keep your eye on. If he continues on this trajectory Neal Asher might just need to watch his back. If you like gripping military SF filled with deadly tech, terrifying aliens and huge explosions then this is definitely the book for you. Now I just need to get my hands on the rest of the series. Recommended!

The Rating: 7/10 (Very Good)

Thanks to Charlene from Jonathan Ball Publishers for the review copy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Cover Conundrum

While I'm struggling to get some reviews written here's another devious little challenge for you. Can you identify these science fiction novels based on their covers? Well, parts of their them...









It seems the challenge might have been a tad too devious. Most people managed to identify two of the covers, but the rest remained a mystery. Now the time has finally come for the answers to be be revealed.
  1. Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein
  2. The Time Ships - Stephen Baxter
  3. 2001 A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke
  4. Nemesis - Isaac Asimov
  5. Use of Weapons - Iain M. Banks
  6. Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler
  7. Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Opening Lines: Forsaken Skies

Some novels have the ability to draw you in from the start. A single line or paragraph can grab your attention in such a way that the novel just demands to be read. Opening Lines is a feature where I'll share some of the best opening lines that hooked me.

Flying down a wormhole was like throwing yourself into the center of a tornado, one where if you brushed the walls you would be obliterated down to subatomic particles before you even knew it happened.

Order a copy from The Book Depository (Free international shipping)

After centuries of devastating interplanetary civil war, mankind has found a time of relative peace.

That peace is shattered when an unknown armada emerges from the depths of space, targeting an isolated colony planet. As the colonists plead for help, the politicians and bureaucrats look away.

But battle-scarred Commander Aleister Lanoe will not abandon thousands of innocents to their fate.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Before Mars

National Geographic is launching a new TV series which chronicles humanity's quest to make Mars home. If the brilliant backstory for two of the main characters is anything to go by, this is going to be an epic series I will absolutely have to watch. It's touching, inspirational and just plain beautiful. And that's before they even get to Mars!

Monday, November 7, 2016

On My Radar: Bridging Infinity

BRIDGING INFINITY edited by Jonathan Strahan
ISBN UK: 978-1781084182
ISBN US: 978-1781084182
Release date: October 2016
Order a copy

Sense of wonder is the lifeblood of science fiction. When we encounter something on a truly staggering scale - metal spheres wrapped around stars, planets rebuilt and repurposed, landscapes re-engineered, starships bigger than worlds - the only response we have is reverence, admiration, and possibly fear at something that is grand, sublime, and extremely powerful.

Bridging Infinity puts humanity at the heart of that experience, as builder, as engineer, as adventurer, reimagining and rebuilding the world, the solar system, the galaxy and possibly the entire universe in some of the best science fiction stories you will experience.

Bridging Infinity continues the award-winning Infinity Project series of anthologies with new stories from Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, Zachary Brown, Pat Cadigan, Kameron Hurley, Scott Lynch, Vonda N. McIntyre, Hannu Rajaniemi, Allan Steele, and others.


I'm a huge fan of the Infinity Project series of anthologies and this latest installment has definitely gone on my wishlist. I  just love the absolute sense of wonder the hard science fiction stories collected in these anthologies manage to portray. These are the futures I want to live in.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sci-fi Month 2016

It's that time of year again. No, I'm not talking about the time of year when Christmas suddenly starts to invade every nook and cranny. I'm talking about Sci-Fi Month - the glorious annual event where bloggers from all around the world get together to celebrate everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that is wonderful about the science fiction genre. You can find out what Sci-Fi Month is all about over here.

If memory serves this will be the 4th year I'm participating although this year it might be in a much subdued manner. Due to work commitments I'm not sure how many posts I'll be able to contribute, but at the very least I want to join in on all the fun. Hopefully the Blind Book Date Challenge will be able to make an appearance again. We'll have to see.

While I frantically brainstorm post ideas and fight off exhaustion you can amuse yourself with some posts from the past
Why I love science fiction
This is what science fiction is all about
Blind book challenge 2013, 2014, 2015

I hope your November will be filled with endless wonders. The realm of science fiction beckons with an infinity of worlds and voices waiting to be discovered. Make it so!