Scifi book recommendations from my summer list: Reynolds, Hamilton and Weber’s Safehold

Currently, I am finishing off  House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds. I am fascinated by Reynolds’ universe. Let me quote the beginning of the book:

I was born in a house with a million rooms, built on a small, airless world on the edge of an empire of light and commerce that the adults called the Golden Hour, for a reason that I did yet grasp. I was a girl then, a single individual called Abigail Gentian.

Abigail is not making any figure of speech. Why she lives in a house with a million rooms, why her empire was called the Golden Hour, why she points out that she once was a single individual, and a girl, each one of these questions has an intriguing answer.

Here are some science-fictions books that I liked this summer.

  • I began the summer with Pandora’s Star (Commonwealth Saga, Book 1) by Peter F. Hamilton. What I found fascinating is the universe painted by Hamilton. A future where human beings live forever, travel between stars instantaneously, transform their bodies at will, extend their minds, and so on. If it sounds like utopia, it is! Except that a small group of terrorists are creating trouble, claiming that unseen aliens are manipulating us. Clearly these terrorists are madmen. Or are they? After the conclusion of the three books of the Commonwealth Saga, the story continues with the Void Trilogy, 1,200 years later. I will be waiting for the conclusion in The Evolutionary Void with high expectations. The quality of the writing is exceptional, the characters are compelling. Even the aliens are original, and that’s quite a feat.
  • I am not a big fan of David Weber. He is a good writer, but his stories are full of holes and shallow. Yet, his Safehold series is engaging. I had great fun with Off Armageddon Reef (Book 1 of the series). The fancy and unbelievable science-fiction plot is an excuse to relive through the construction of the British Empire. If you like to think about how technological innovations come about and you like military history, this is a great series. Do not expect spaceships or laser cannons.

Daniel Lemire, "Scifi book recommendations from my summer list: Reynolds, Hamilton and Weber’s Safehold," in Daniel Lemire's blog, August 24, 2009.

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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