To be blunt, I’m not a big reader of short story collections. It’s something that has been a sore spot in my reading history, and something I’ve wanted to amend—at some point. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t found the right collection, or there’s a part of me that connects much more deeply with a novel. But, when I was presented with the opportunity to read and review Janelle Monáe’s new sci-fi collection, The Memory Librarian and Other Stories of Dirty Computer, I was able to slip past whatever mental hurdle I had and dove right in. As a fan of Monáe’s music and amazing concept albums, it came as no surprise that the world and atmosphere of these five stories (which are actually more like novelette length) bleed off the page. While not all of the stories succeed, the interconnected nature of this rich world and its poignant themes makes this collection a worthwhile investment.
Join FanFiAddict’s Adrian M. Gibson and author Nia “N. E.” Davenport for a chat about her debut novel The Blood Trials, breaking into the SFF market, incorporating geopolitics, race and magic into her fictional world, writing an ass-kicking female protagonist, delivering tense, powerful action scenes and much more.
I loved N. E. Davenport’s The Blood Trials. I went into this book without any expectations and turned the final page both surprised and satisfied. It offers up a complex world, rife with geopolitical conflicts, futuristic technologies and awesome fight scenes. But it also introduces a dark, supernatural magic system that plays into the racial and social dynamics of its corrupt society. All of this combines for a solid debut and a wondrous world that I can’t wait to read more of.
Activation Degradation is well-known author Marina J. Lostetter’s latest published novel, and I found it to be a really interesting story. Dubbed as “The Murderbot Diaries makes first contact…”, I only found a tertiary connection to the famous cyborg. Honestly, though, it does not need the comparison, as the story is able to stand on its own two feet.
(Terminator anyone?), you’re left alone to take care of an eight-year-old kid as his parents were both executed by a robot-nanny-turned-evil. But wait, there’s one more thing, you are a robot too. That is the premise of Day One by Robert C. Cargill. A dystopian story of survival and the relationship between an eight-year-old kid and his best friend who turns out to be a cyber-plush-tiger.
Day Zero is a prequel to Cargill’s 2017 release Sea of Rust (which I did not know until my cohort Justin pointed it out in his review). Though not a perfect read, I found this to be worthwhile: definitely entertaining and a little thought-provoking.
Day Zero, as the name suggests, starts at the beginning — well, the beginning of the end — of the human race. See, technology has advanced to the point of true AI, with androids serving most basic functions in society, with the exception of a few that are solely left to the realm of man. For instance, teachers are still human, as are the military, which brings us to the laws of robotics.