Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Galileo’s Dream”

Galileo's Dream

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but since every contact I make with anyone in publishing bounces me back a “see you in the new year” response, it’s to be expected that we’re all operating at a slower and less frequent pace this time of year.  Though I promise to start it all rolling come the new year.

For the moment I just wanted to make the following comment:

I love science fiction!

The reason I’m making this comment is because I’m about a hundred pages into Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest book, Galileo’s Dream (which comes out today) and am loving it so far.

The story begins with Galileo, in his time, doing his thing: making incredible inventions, discovering incredible things, and changing the world.  With the development of what comes to be the telescope (and the help of a stranger) he sees the moon in a clear form that has never been witnessed before, and then turns his sights to Jupiter and its moons.  The Stranger then whisks him away to the moon Europa in the year 3020.

That’s all I’m going to say for now, as I don’t want to give too much of the story away, at least not until the review.  As I plan to interview Robinson for BookBanter, I look forward to finding out how he came up with this book, what it was that made him want to write it in such a way.  Because only in science fiction can you have a wonderful story of Galileo from the seventeenth century, and then be transported away in the matter of a second to a moon of Jupiter in the fourth millennium, over a thousand years from our time.

It does remind me a little of Dan Simmons’s Ilium and Olympos, which was another incredible science fiction epic set in our distant future.

Suffice to say, I look forward to what the rest of the book shall bring.  But if you can’t read for the review, and have to get the book right now, then just click here.

The Importance of Voice

Mage of None Magic

I’m currently working my way through A Mage of None Magic by A. Christopher Drown and enjoying it in certain ways, and it gives me the chance to talk a little about voice.

While the story of A Mage of None Magic isn’t incredibly compelling or fascinating to begin with, and at the moment is an ordinary fantasy tale with a cast of familiar characters — magicians, apprentices, sailors, inn keepers, the usual — the voice of the book is thoroughly entertaining and interesting.  If it weren’t for the voice, I probably would give this book another fifty pages and then stop reading; give up on it.  But the voice of A Mage of None Magic keeps me interested and enthralled enough to wonder what’s going to happen next.

Voice is important in making a story stand out and separating books from being like all the other similar stories out there in the same genre.  A good voice will be unique and immediately capture the reader’s attention.  It may be something the reader latches onto and enjoys reading; or a strange voice that the reader may not love at first, but want to keep reading due to curiosity.  In some cases the voice may be too unusual or jarring to turn a reader off the book, but at least the writer has done their job of making their story stand out.

The voice in A. Christopher Drown’s book is keeping me reading and entertained, not too slow to make me bored, or too fast to make me confused, or using a complicated vocabulary or sentence structure that I might find jarring.  Much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, at the moment the voice is just right.

12/22 On the Bookshelf . . .

Today my copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s new book, Galileo’s Dream, arrived which looks to be an interesting one.  After reviewing it I also hope to see about interviewing him for BookBanter, hopefully an in-person interview since he lives in Davis and is close by.  Also managed to snag a copy of Freedom by Daniel Suarez, which I’m looking forward to after his enjoying first novel, Daemon, Freedom being the sequel and all.

Galileo's Dream Freedom

12/17 On the Bookshelf . . .

After being promised by the publicist it was on the way, today I received James Rollins’ new book Altar of Eden due out December 29th, which is Rollins’ first foray into animals and addressing his former career of veterinary medicine.  Altar of Eden is no just about animal trafficking gone bad, but mix that with genetic testing and engineering and you have yourself one whopper of a thriller.

Altar of Eden

12/16 On the Bookshelf . . .

While visiting my old store yesterday, Copperfield’s, to see some old friends (and delighted to discover my name lives on in perpetuity!), I finally picked up a copy of Let the Right One in by Swedish author John Adjvide Lindqvist.  The movie is supposed to be good, and the book is supposed to be fantastic.  So now that it’s staring at me on my floating “to read” bookshelf, I might start it pretty soon.  Also picked up a used copy of Peter & Max by Bill Willingham, a spin-off novel from the brilliant Fables comic book series.  And today I received a review copy of Stephen King’s The Stand, Volume 1: Captain Trips, which is the graphic adaptation of the epic book, after the success of the Dark Tower series graphic adaptation.  Read it in about half hour and thoroughly enjoyed it, so a review for that will be coming soon.

Captain Trips Let the Right One In Peter & Max

BookBanter Episode 22 with Jeff VanderMeer

Play Episode

In Episode 22 of BookBanter you will hear my third interview live from the World Fantasy Convention with author Jeff VanderMeer. VanderMeer writes his own books, edits anthologies, and even does writer workshops. His books include City of Saints and Madmen and Shriek: An Afterword, while some of the anthologies he has edited include Fast Ships Black Sails and The New Weird. He has two new books out: Finch, a work of fiction, and Booklife, a fantastic book on writing and how to become a successful writer no matter what level you are.

Featured in the episode are my reviews for Booklife, Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving, The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins; to purchase any of these books, click on the covers below :

Canticle Lamentation Depraved Leviathan

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I would once again like to thank Cheryl Morgan for getting me all set up at the World Fantasy Convention.

After enjoying this episode, why not check out the new BookBanter Blog, where you can find out about everything related to BookBanter, books, writing, and whatever else I feel like writing about .

I’ll see you next time, on January 1st, 2010, where I’ll be interviewing author Guy Gavriel Kay, who’s new book Under Heaven, is due out April 27th.

Until then, keep reading!

Alex C. Telander.

“Breathers” by S. G. Browne

Just confirmed the interview with S. G. Browne, author of Breathers, for this coming Saturday.  So the episode with that interview is planned to go up January 15th.

Breathers is an entertaining, tongue-in-cheek, funny novel about what if you discovered that you were a zombie and didn’t die as you’d expected to.  How would your life change with your family and friends, how would people view you, and what would your social life be like?