R e i s s u e s
The pick of this month’s paperbacks is Kim Stanley Robinson’s AURORA ( , 7 April, Orbit). Following people living on a sub- light speed ship as they travel towards a distant star system – and their travails when they finally arrive – it’s told from the perspective of the ship’s AI. We said: “An accessible yet subtly experimental novel packed with big ideas, wonders, jeopardy and, at the end, a real emotional punch.” Meanwhile, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s CHILDREN OF TIME ( , 21 April, Pan) sees the survivors of a dying Earth leaving for a terraformed planet, only to discover it has new masters: a race of uplifted spiders. Quick! Deploy the giant rolled- up newspaper! We said: “Tchaikovsky favours a rather didactic style, which robs the narrative of a certain mystery, and the set- up requires some stretching of credibility. But overall this is a smart, involving story with a brilliantly imagined ‘ alien’ race.” Finally, there’s a long- overdue reissue for Vonda N McIntyre’s DREAMSNAKE ( 4 April, Jo Fletcher Books), which swept the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards when published in 1978. Set in a tribal, post- apocalyptic future, it follows a healer in search of a new “dreamsnake” – a serpent whose venom can ease suffering by inducing hallucinations. Somewhat rambly and languid, it’s an unusual book ( for its time) in many ways, featuring a compassionate feminine protagonist, a character whose gender is never specified, and a case of child sexual abuse.