Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Turtledove and Galaxy's Edge reviewed at the SFFWorld Blog

Mark and I put up two new reviews over at the SFFWorld Blog this week.

Mark has been reviewing a lot more short fiction than I have, specifically, the first issue of the new zine Galaxy's Edge, take a look at his review

So it’s a brave move to try and publish a new magazine in such a climate and yet here we have one from Phoenix Pick. Whilst it is free to read online, and available in electronic format for computers, tablets and the like, my copy was a good-old-fashioned ‘tree-copy’. There are, however, links to the various sections online throughout this review.

And I enjoyed it a lot. Its size is a little unusual, being bigger than digest size, but 4-5 cm less tall than A4. The print is black and white throughout, apart from the matt finish cover. Pages are printed in two columns per page.


I also enjoyed the magazine’s serialisation of the first part of a rather forgotten classic, Daniel F. Galouye’s first novel, Dark Universe, from 1961. It was a Hugo nominee in 1962 (losing out to Robert A Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land), and is a post-apocalyptic tale of human survival below ground with no light. It has some interesting ideas which it examines through the story. ‘Darkness’ and ‘light’ have become mythic or even quasi-religious in stature, and the survivor’s senses have changed, with hearing more acute to accommodate for the absence of light. Taking up 24 pages of the magazine, the first five chapters are here, with the rest in Issue Two.

Meanwhile, the fine folks at Del Rey have reissued the first four books of Harry Turtledove's classic "crossover" fantasy series The Videssos Cycle in two omnibus volumes. I put up my review of the first novel* The Misplaced Legion:

This is a politically flavored novel for all of its focus on war and soldiers. Marcus must navigate the politics of the newly found world which are fraught with religious overtones as well racial/national biases the many characters have for and against each other.

Turtledove is inarguably, the most recognizable writer of Alternate History. He wouldn’t have been known as such if he weren’t a student of history and it shows very much in this crossover fantasy world. There is an authentic feel to the world and the Roman soldiers despite the novel taking place in an invented world with magic. I also thought Turtledove’s characterization of and the story-arc for Marcus in the novel were strong elements in the novel; Marcus was believable with his men, as well with the new people of Videssos who grew to respect him. I also though some of the religio-political discussion in which Marcus engaged with his newfound allies to be interesting and thought provoking.

*hint, I only reviewed the first of the four novels in these two books because it will be the only one of the four novels I will be reading.

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