Sci Fi Monday, What I Did On My Vacation
I read an arseload of books, for one thing. Here are the two that stood out:
Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace, first in the Sirantha Jax series. How much do I like starting a new space opera series? Way too much. Sirantha Jax carries a rare gene that allows her to navigate ships through interstellar space. Her ability makes her highly prized in the Corps, but a terrible accident and Jax’s own faulty memory soon put paid to that job. Languishing in a Corps prison, increasingly uncertain if she can trust herself and her recollection of events, she is sprung by a group of rebels with their own agenda. Jax will have all her wits and abilities put to the test as she evades recapture and discovers what her new masters want from her.
Like all good space operas, there’s a little something for everyone in this story. The science fiction aspect is not as well developed as I would like, although this is a first book so some things may be explained in subsequent novels. The characters are interesting, their motives are understandable, and there’s a nice romantic element that is not overdone. I don’t recall any humanoid aliens, and there seems to be a bit of speciesism in how Aguirre handles the alien characters. Other than that, Grimspace is a really fun read that managed to be both escapist and unexpectedly profound.
The Family Trade, by Charles Stross. I have to blame SeraphinaLina for this one. On one of my earlier Sci Fi Sundays, she recommended Stross’s The Atrocity Archives, which begins his Laundry Files series. I read The Atrocity Archives and enjoyed them, but felt bogged down a bit by all the IT slang (what I know about the Internet would fit into a thimble). So when I was browsing at Barnes and Noble, looking for books for my trip, this paperback caught my eye and the synopsis seemed right up my alley. I read it in an afternoon and was pulled right into the series.
Miriam Beckstein is a reporter who stumbles across a hot story, one afternoon at work. Before she knows it, she has been dismissed from her job and is getting threatening phone calls. She has unwittingly stumbled across a hot mess of drugs, hierarchy and greed, all tracking back to one big cartel….The Family. By the time the day is over, Miriam has received a locket from the mother she never knew and used it to transport herself to another world. Who Miriam really is, where she comes from and how The Family ties into her story makes for a delightful read. Part of the fun is reading about a modern woman who isn’t afraid to use her business skills and practical acumen to fight back against fantasy villains. Miriam is a likable heroine who manages to kick butt without being a ninja or having magical powers. I’ve already read the second book, The Hidden Family and enjoyed that one as well.
For anyone who came here for the sewing, sewing has indeed been taking place. More on that tomorrow!