Wednesday, November 23, 2016

More Like a Day without Hope

Peter F Hamilton “A Night without Stars” (Del Rey, 2016)

I have to say that I would have read this differently 6 months ago.  

The world of Bienvenido is governed by an authoritarian government.  They are fundamentally conservative with a small “c”.  They actively restrict change.  Hamilton focuses on technology, but there would obviously be social indicators as well.

There’s a persecuted minority group, “Eliters”, who of course we as readers know would do a much better job of solving the very real problems confronting them.

Hamilton puts a layer of communist semiotics on top of his authoritarian, just in case anyone doubted his free market credentials.

So here we are in a time of rising fascism, and I’m trying to read this book where one of the major characters is in fact a member of the authoritarian police force.  We are shown torture and disregard even for the people who cooperate with the police.

So, yeah, it wasn’t a fun read for me.

It should have been a big fun time reading space opera with aliens and clones and androids.  With crazy advanced technologies.

Instead it was too much a vision of the repression of today and tomorrow.

What Child Is This?

Paul Cornell “The Lost Child of Lychford” (, 2016)

This is the sequel to Cornell’s earlier novella The Witches of Lychford.  If you haven’t read that one, just stop & immediately go & read it.  It’s a great fantasy set in the English midlands, where three women discover an unlikely friendship in the supernatural defense of their village.

The Lost Child is set at Christmas, but despite the fact that I kept waiting for a big Christmas message, there really isn’t one.  And I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.  Cornell can find that fine line where the sweetness of the holiday comes as relief to the story before.

In this case the titular child is a ghost who starts following one of our protagonists.  Once again, the village of Lychford is under attack.  Can they defend it from.. Who are these people anyway?

Once again, this is a very enjoyable novella.  It felt like there wasn’t quite as much present as in the first one, but was still tasty!  I’m looking forward to the next!