Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Science Fiction and Fantasy Day? Count me in

I got this from Florinda last week who said she probably wasn't going to participate since she doesn't read a whole lot of Science Fiction or Fantasy. So, I thought I'd help her out and write a post and link back to her, you know, to pinch-hit for her. Well, she went and wrote her own post; that's the last time I try to help her out. I'm kidding (mostly). But since I started planning this post I figured I should write it up anyway. Plus, you get a break from my vacation talk. I'm almost done with that, I promise!

This idea came from Sharon Lee:

In my Official Capacity as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I hereby proclaim June 23 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day! A day of celebration and wonder! A day for all of us readers of science fiction and fantasy to reach out and say thank you to our favorite writers. A day, perhaps, to blog about our favorite sf/f writers. A day to reflect upon how written science fiction and fantasy has changed your life.

I figured the best thing to write about is the series I'm currently in the middle of at this time. It's the Coyote series from Allen Steele, and I'm really liking it. See, I have a problem starting with authors I've never read before. I'm always afraid I'm going to buy a book by a new (to me) author, get halfway through it, then give up because I can't read it for one reason or another. But, sometime last year I took a chance. I happened to see Allen Steele's Spindrift in my usual SF/F aisle of the store and the back cover copy grabbed me:

June 1, 2288-Europe's first starship, the EASS Galileo, launches on its maiden voyage to investigate an unidentified object, code-named Spindrift, which is traveling outside our solar system. An object that may be alien in origin. The Galileo disappears soon after...

February 1, 2344-The Galileo's shuttle returns to Earth carrying three surviving expedition members, who still appear to be the same age they were when they departed. They report that they have, indeed, made contact with an extraterrestrial race-and become enmeshed in a conflict that brought them face to face with the most apocalyptic force in the galaxy.

It is up to Director General John Shillinglaw to piece together the puzzle created by these events- for the survivors tell their stories from their own conflicting perspectives. And the truth is more difficult to glean than it appears.

Now, this is the kind of stuff I like. It had it all, space exploration, possible alien technology, a minor mystery on top of it. It was perfect. So, I bought it and read it, and loved it. It gave me the sense of awe and wonder I used to get when reading Isaac Asimov books as a kid.

Now this book wasn't technically part of the Coyote series, this was, as they say, only in the Coyote universe. Actually the planet itself, actually a moon, wasn't in it until the end, so I knew I had to start from the beginning.

The next time out to the bookstore I bought Coyote, and was not let down. Again, it had all my favorite elements in it. This time we had a ship ready to go on the first mission to place a colony on another planet. Again, like I said, it's actually a moon of a gas giant, but you know what I mean. But, things don't go quite as planned, at least for the government. Unbeknownst to them, the crew, including the captain, plan to steal the ship and fill it with their own people who want to get away from the overpowering government. They succeed, but it's not as easy as they thought.

I won't go into the details, but imagine trying to build a town from scratch. On a planet were the seasons are three times longer than on Earth, and you get there as fall is approaching. No, it is not easy. Especially when there are giant, vicious birds, and not much in the way of tools and supplies.

The book was great, as was the second, Coyote Rising. In Rising, 3 more ships show up only a few years later, each carrying approximately 1000 new settlers. However, the plan to rule the planet their way. The original settlers leave their city and hide in a relatively unexplored part of the planet, knowing that if they stayed, it would be just like being back on Earth all over again. They are right of course. Fortunately, they eventually win over the planet as theirs, unfortunately many die in the process.

I'm currently in the beginning of the latest in the series, Coyote Frontier, so I can't say much about it yet. Maybe I'll let you know when I'm done.

I guess what I'm saying is, yes, I recommend these books. If you like SF, I think you will like these. Even if you don't, you might, too. Quite a bit of the books are just about surviving against the odds.

You can read about all the books in the series, and universe, here.

There is my contribution to SF/F day. I hope I didn't bore you.


Florinda said...

If I recall correctly, you OFFERED to cover for me. I'm glad you decided to go ahead with the post anyway, though!

Mike said...

Florinda: Hee. I know. It just made it more fun to start out that way. :) I wasn't really going to not post just because you did. That would only happen due to laziness, which is always possible.