Quick reviews of two books:
Ken MacLeod – The Night Sessions. A sci-fi detective novel, based in a time after the upheavals of the religious wars. Essentially, fundamentalists became so vociferous that various religions went to war. The Mideast is still a nuclear slag zone, it sounds like, and most of the world aggressively rejects religion because of this.
- The police in Britain are still obtrusive by American standards – a cool tech they use are nano-bots called mosquitoes that can sniff for bomb-making materials, drugs, etc.
- In the war, robots became companions for soldiers, and as such attained sentience. This wasn’t a big deal, although humans try to remain vigilant about Matrixy type violence…thus the plot of this novel, as a robot has become murderous, and is copying itself.
- Arthur C. Clarke’s space ladders for the win!
- Part of the plot is fueled by how the robots seek salvation.
Karen Russell – St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.
- She obviously reads a lot of sci-fi and fantasy – her ability to create worlds that linger just on the edge of what we think of as real is stunning.
- Too many stories to talk about coherently, but the protagonists are mostly pre-adolescent, and often boys.
- As soon I write that, I realize that one of the stories is about a retirement community set in a lagoon, on decrepit boats. Of course, there is still an adolescent character who figures prominently.
- There are odd connections between the stories, with some similar or linked characters…
- Lots of odd spirituality and worries about odd conditions – one story features a camp for folks who suffer from sleep disorders, another features a girl who is a member of an alligator-wrestling group.
- The title story features nuns trying to raise the human children of werewolves.
A big thumbs-up to both.