Time for the Stars (1956) by Robert A. Heinlein

 

“I don’t like to be around twins, they make me think I’m seeing double.”


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Time for the Stars
is one of the twelve ‘Heinlein Juveniles’ series of books the author wrote between 1947 and 1958. Wikipedia states that “their intended readership was teenage boys”. They would probably fall under the YA category today. After a bit of research on the web, it would seem that these YA books by Heinlein are still rated and respected by a number of readers. But it should be remembered that these were written over sixty years ago and will obviously show some signs of their age. Continue reading

The Separation (2002) by Christopher Priest


In my mind I saw or heard or remembered the deafening sound of the engines, brilliant flashes of light in the dark sky around us, a large bang that was repeated whenever I moved my head, a shock of cold as the windscreen in front of my face was shattered […], voices on the intercom, the huge and terrifying surge of the sea, the cold, the terror.


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This alternate history tale of identical twin brothers won the BSFA Best Novel award in 2002. It is set before, during and after WWII, with most of the narrative focusing on the twins’ experiences during the extensive bombing carried out by both countries. One twin, Jack, is an RAF bomber pilot and the other, Joe, is a conscientious objector who drives an ambulance for the Red Cross. Both twins share the same initials, J.L. Sawyer.
Continue reading

Starship Troopers (1959) by Robert A. Heinlein

“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.”

“The bugs are not like us. The Pseudo-Arachnids aren’t even like spiders. They are arthropods who happen to look like a madman’s conception of a giant intelligent spider, but their organization, psychological and economic, is more like that of ants or termites; they are communal entities, the ultimate dictatorship of the hive.”

-Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers


I’ve picked two random quotes from this book to open with. I think most people reading this review will already be aware of this novel and what it’s about; also the controversy that still surrounds it. It is only my third Heinlein book after
Stranger in a Strange Land and The Door into Summer. I’m not very familiar with his work, but I know he is considered to be one of the Big SF writers of the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction. This book won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960. Continue reading

Titus Groan (1946) by Mervyn Peake

“Gormenghast, […] the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.”  -One of Peake’s descriptions of Gormenghast Castle

Art by Mark Robertson

 

 

Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan is the first novel in the Gormenghast series. It was published in 1946. It tells the story of the Groan family and their servants, and it is set in the sprawling Gormenghast castle. The head of the family is Lord Sepulchrave, the 76th Earl of Groan. His wife, the Countess Gertrude, lives in a different part of the castle with a large collection of cats and birds. They have a teenage daughter, Fuchsia, and Titus is their newborn son. Continue reading