R e i s s u e s

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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