Sailing to the Stars – the long way to a small, angry planet (Becky Chambers)

scifirocketplanet

Ahoy there me mateys!  I discovered this here space opera when perusing the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke shortlist.  It sounded awesome.  And it was.

The novel is the story of a ship called the Wayfarer and its crew.  The ship is a tunneler that helps create the wormholes through space for other ships so that it doesn’t take light years to get from point A to point B.  Luckily for this physics hater, the book only had basic introductions to the principals behind space travel and focused more on the plot and the world building.

The crew is certainly the heart of the story and they are its highlight.  They are a multi-species crew and I frickin’ adore ’em.  There are a variety of genders, nationalities, sexes, and personalities.  The introduction to the world is told at the beginning through the viewpoint of a human from Mars named Rosemary but soon branches out to include the other crew members.

This is not a space opera with an overall massive scope or crazy inter-species politics.  Politics exist and have ramifications for the crew but are not the primary plot point.  Also while the world is as large as the universe, the viewpoint we receive is that of a single crew mostly inside their ship.  Their forays onto other planets serve as spice and flavor.

In general, it’s a book that promotes tolerance.  It is about creating a family that might not be the one ye are born in.  It is about how life can shape personality and how even yer bad choices can be overcome.  It is about self-discovery.  It’s about secrets.  It’s about seeing aliens through the eyes of different aliens.  It’s about loss, grief, and choices.  It’s about love.

I highly recommend me crew to pick up this novel and fall in love with the Wayfarer and her crew like I did.  I would be glad to have any of them aboard me ship.  Arrrr!!!

Side note: read a interview with the author here!

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.

But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Becky Chambers – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

the long way to a small, angry planet – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Sailing to the Stars – these broken stars (Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner)

galaxies

Ahoy there me mateys!

these broken stars (Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner)

I wish I could remember which blogger talked about this novel so that I could thank them because I really enjoyed this young adult space adventure.  But I suck.  I will try to be better about remembering in the future.

The two main characters, Tarver and Lilac, are pretty cool.  Well, Lilac kinda starts out as a snot.  Though major improvement happens, and I like how she turns out by the end of the novel.  Tarver, I pretty much liked from the very beginning.

The premise of the story is that the spaceship that two characters are on crashes into a planet.  And they seem to be the only survivors.  The relationship developing between the two characters was what kept me interested.  Both characters have strengths and weaknesses and both characters are necessary to their survival.

However this story has multiple plot twists I did not see coming.  Very enjoyable ones which I will not ruin for ye.  Super fun though.  I rather enjoyed all the discoveries made on this planet.  While some seemed a little silly at first, I find meself ignoring the usual things that might annoy me and just enjoyed.  I find I sometimes have a hard time not picking apart novels for flaws.  This may have some but none come to me at the moment and I just don’t care.

Oh and the other two books in the trilogy are already out.  Bonus!

The authors’ websites have this to say about the novel:

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

To visit the authors’ webpages go to:

Amie Kaufman – Author

Meagan Spooner – Author

To buy the novel visit:

these broken stars – Book

Sailing to the Stars – starflight (Melissa Landers)

space pirates

Ahoy there me mateys!

starflight (Melissa Landers)

This was a fun little space romp with romance.  I loved the main character of Solara.  The love interest, Doran, was the perfect jerk guy who comes around to be not so bad.  The eccentric crew is fun.  The ship’s mascot rocks.  The plot did not lead me to deep pondering or philosophical thinking but it was entertaining.  The whole crew is full of banter and snarkiness that was right up my alley.  And there are space pirates (Arrrrr!).  Basically there is one major disaster after the other.  I thought the ending’s plot twist was a little strange but I thought “Fluff book.  Go with it.”  The world building was light, the actual science was light, and it is cheesy.  If you just want quick fast entertainment with silliness then this book might be for you.

Side Note: There is going to be a companion novel, starfall, that I will pick up when it eventually comes out.

Amazon’s website has this to say about the novel:

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but it’s not like the law has ever been on her side.

Still, off-world travel doesn’t come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.

The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara’s heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Melissa Landers – Author

To buy the book go to:

starflight – Book

Sailing to the Stars – illuminae (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)

scifirocketplanet

Ahoy there me mateys!

illuminae (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)

I couldn’t sleep so I starting reading this in my bunk at 8 Bells (4:00 a.m. for you landlubbers) until I felt tired enough to go back and catch a little bit more shut eye until I had to be on deck.

So this novel was recommended by several of my fellow bloggers as one of the best books of 2015.  I am sadly going to have to disagree.  Now don’t get me wrong, the book certainly had its fun moments.  I certainly enjoyed the character of Kady Grant.  As usual a smart intelligent feisty girl – who happens to be a kickass hacker.  Ezra, her love interest, not so much.  I couldn’t help it.  He was just too immature sounding for me and really seemingly had little to do with the plot overall.  While their relationship is sweet in parts, I have to admit that overall they just seemed not to work for each other.  As a side note the AI in the book is crazy and fun.

The interesting part of the book is that it is full of illustrations and “hacked” documents like interviews, computer logs and other quirky things in odd formatting to make things more interesting.  Too bad that I read it on my kindle because I was in my bunk in the dark.  I had a hard time seeing the details in my digital copy because I couldn’t enlarge the illustrations.  I suggest if you read a copy, get one in paper format.  My favorite illustration showed what happened to Kady in the airlock.  For the formatting, layouts, and illustrations this book is worth a read.

However, be forewarned that the plot in parts is slow.  This book is also the first in a series.  While I enjoyed the ending of the novel overall, I have to admit that I have no urge to read additional books in the series.  While it is not a best book of 2015 for me, it was an enjoyable way to spend the wee hours of the morning.  But give it a shot . . . it might just work perfectly for you.

The authors’ websites have this to say about the novel:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again!

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

To visit the authors’ websites go to:

Amie Kaufman – Author

Jay Kristoff – Author

To buy the novel go to:

illuminae – Book

Sailing to the Stars – saturn run (John Sandford and Ctein)

engraving-of-rocket-ship-blasting-off-a-moon-of-saturn

Ahoy there me mateys!

saturn run (John Sandford and Ctein)

This was one of the ports I wanted to plunder and my oh my how wonderful and amazing it was to explore this part of our solar system. I adored this sci-fi novel. A good old fashioned space yarn. I love the politics, the characters, the science, the suspense, the writing, the ships (Arrrr!), and even the physics. Upon my life! I know I am known in these waters for my hatred of physics . . . but this book did a wonderful job of making the physics accessible to a salty sea dog like myself. Why the novel even ended with an “Author’s Note: The Science Behind the Story.” And it was awesome. I mean actually fun to read. And funny. The authors’ put in a lot of thought behind the novel which they detail in part in that section. My favorite characters were Crow and Sandy (both men) but the novel was populated with a nice combination of strong and intelligent male and female characters. There was only a small amount of romance thrown in which was fun and did add something to the plot and was not for gratuitous sex in space scenes . . . though there was sex happening in space. The only con was that the Americans were mostly the heroes and the Chinese mostly were not. But that was a small issue for me overall and did not stop my enjoyment of the book. I have never read any of Mr. Sandford’s other novels before but he does have a couple of young adult ones. Hmmmm . . .

Mr. Sandford’s website has this to say about the novel:

An extraordinary new thriller of the future from #1 New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Sandford and internationally known photo-artist and science fiction aficionado Ctein . . .

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope — something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins — an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond. What happens is nothing like you expect — and everything you could want from one of the world’s greatest masters of suspense.

REAL SPACE REAL SCIENCE REAL ADVENTURE

To go to the authors’ websites visit:

John Sanford – Author

Ctein – Author

To buy this novel (and you should) go to:

saturn run – Book

Sailing to the Stars – inherit the stars (Tessa Elwood)

galaxies

Ahoy there mateys!

inherit the stars (Tessa Elwood)

This is a debut novel which is currently planned as a duology. It was a random pick of mine based on the title and the fact that it has been a while since I have read a space related book, so I thought it was time for a change. This is the story of Asa who switches places with her sister to become the bride in an arranged marriage to help save her family and home planets. While I loved the main character Asa and her husband, Eagle, the rest of the characters seemed rather two dimensional. Every choice Asa makes seems to have unintended consequences which was rather fun. But overall the plot didn’t really do it for me. The action seemed a little impulsive and choppy. The most interesting aspect of the book was the relationship between Asa and Eagle but that did not get explored nearly enough. Because it was rather short at 304 pages with rather large font, it did not take a lot of time to read and was a pleasant way to pass time. But I would not say that I loved it or even liked it all that much. I didn’t dislike it. Though I am not even sure I would read the second novel in the set. The novel does not have to walk the plank because it was enjoyable and I did not hate it but I do not believe I would actively recommend it.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

LOVE AND LOYALTY. As the youngest daughter of the House of Fane, Asa lives every day of her life in honor of both, for herself and her people. But as her kingdom’s food and energy crisis peaks, Asa must find more to fuel Fane’s survival.

Taking the place of her older sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the prosperous House of Westlet, seems like a straightforward solution. Forging an unforeseen bond, however, leads to an unavoidable division of loyalties. One simple truth lies at the heart of the matter, and only Asa can decide which one to tell.

Romance, politics, and space adventure intersect in this first book of Tessa Elwood’s addictive debut duology.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Tessa Elwood – Author

To buy the book visit:

inherit the stars – Book

Sailing to the Stars – the pilots of borealis (David Nabhan)

space pirates

Ahoy there mateys.  A story of space, mystical objects, and flying . . .

the pilots of borealis (David Nabhan)

I picked up this novel because it involves human flying and racing with artificial wings on the Moon – otherwise known as piloting. I had recently re-read a favorite, Windhaven by George R. R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle which involves piloting. The idea of humans flying has always appealed to me and here we have a book that involves humans flying in space. Super cool, so I gave it a shot.

This novel was hard to get into at first. In addition to the piloting, the main storyline involves the concept of “energy, and the things people will do to have it and to keep it for themselves.” The beginning dealt with not only the history of how humans got to the current political situation but also some philosophical discussions of the differences between the peoples living on the Earth, the Terra Ring, and the Moon. The story also somewhat disjointedly switches from the past to the present. While it did add flavor and set the stage for the novel’s current events, I couldn’t help but want to get back to the story of the main character, Clinton Rittener.

Clinton Rittener is a space pirate, rogue, killer, hardened man, hero, and above all an intelligent opportunist. He is the heart of the novel and much of its appeal. Frankly, I wish there had been more of Clinton in it. The novel quickly became fascinating once the “real action” with him commences.

Some of the fascination for me was the author’s use of historical facts and phrases. I love when new words and ideas lead me to researching items on the interwebs. Here are two of my favorites from this novel:

amanuensis [uh-man-yoo-en-sis] – a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary. Word Origin – “one who takes dictation,” 1610s, from Latin amanuensis “adjective used as a noun,” from servus a manu “secretary,” literally “servant from the hand,” from a “from” + manu, ablative of manus “hand.” source

auto-de-fé – An auto-da-fé or auto-de-fé (from Portuguese auto da fé, meaning “act of faith”) was the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition, Portuguese Inquisition or the Mexican Inquisition had decided their punishment, followed by the execution by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed. source

Regular readers may remember my dislike of physics. Chemistry on the other hand is another story. I loved it and voluntarily took Chem II back in high school as an elective. Chemistry makes sense. However, since those long ago days, I have not been up to date in chemistry news. Several days ago I happened upon a picture of the first period table while doing art research for the blog:

periodic table

This picture made me delightfully happy. Then yesterday this novel lead me to two more chemistry facts of delight that either Chem II didn’t cover or I blatantly forgot. So I will share:

Transuranium elements (also known as transuranic elements) are the chemical elements with atomic numbers greater than 92 (the atomic number of uranium). All of these elements are unstable and decay radioactively into other elements. source

Mysterious Periodic Element 137 – Feynmanium is the fabricated name of a theoretical element with the symbol Fy and atomic number 137. This element is known in the scientific literature as untriseptium (Uts), or simply element 137. source. There is some question about this element spelling the end of the periodic table. For discussion of this concept visit Column: The crucible. source

Not only did I get new facts and a great protagonist, this novel ended with a bang. Let’s just say the ending was so unexpected I had to stop, blink, and reread passages at the end in a kind of disbelief. This novel is definitely worth reading but may make you angry by its ending.

From The Big Idea on author John Scalzi’s blog with “Authors explaining the the big ideas behind their latest works, in their own words,”  Mr. Nabhan has this to say about the book:

The Pilots of Borealis doesn’t take up the story here though. It picks up after the horrific wreckage of four Petroleum Wars. It’s the twenty-fifth century, and gasoline is useless and primitive.  Humans haven’t changed much, even though their civilizations now stretch out to Titan. And instead of clashing arms over earth-bound material, the sabers are now rattling for a resource that is running low, one that feeds the countless fusion reactors that make everything go, from the Alliances on Earth, to the Jovian Colonies and further: Helium-3. Infused into the regolith of the Moon, this rare commodity now spawns a ruthless death struggle between the great powers, desperate to protect what they consider is their rightful share.

To read more of The Big Idea about the book visit:

The Big Idea – the pilots of borealis

For this author’s site and links to his twitter feed and facebook page visit:

David Nabhan – Author

To buy the book at Amazon visit:

the pilots of borealis – Book