Review: …And the Stars Will Sing

...And the Stars Will Sing
…And the Stars Will Sing by Michelle Browne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful book, smooth writing, strong characters, compelling science fiction landscape.

I think this book is a 4/5 rating in my bookshelf, but my subjectivity played a trick on me. I wanted to pick it up thanks to an impressive review, that excitedly recommended it for originality. As a science-fiction addict, I always have this nagging question in the back of my head: how much more can be said, in a book on wormholes, and with starships, and traveling faster than light? That is, the field has so many yet another of the same, that it’s hard to find your new “aaah wow”. This proved among the best reading I had for a while.

The novella puts a unique spin on a space story. Written as a journal of Glass, in her first mission to open a wormhole, it draws us directly in the reality of the main character, and in the world she lives in. It treats technology, alien relations, science theories, like common sense reality. The far future world is believable, and sound, and damn fun.

While the story is compelling, I had some issues believing the plot and characters. I didn’t quite buy the little romance between Glass and Jai, when he’s coldly letting her go in a reconnaissance mission. We’re told he’s scared, but he didn’t sound to me like he’s scared for her. I kept waiting to find out he has some agenda of his own aboard the ship, although that’s probably just me. I also was confused at some point on who is talking, in a dialogue between Kial and Ruzzan. With no consequence to the story, though. A few of the characters are very well sketched, a few others less so. I can easily identify with Glass, and Annamar has a recognizable presence, Kelna less so.

The girl gossip scene felt a little rushed. That is, the four girls eagerly meet during launch break, and take all the long way to the quarters, and once there, they exchange a few replies, then one of them gives the signal to go back. I was amused, not bothered, it just felt like something’s missing.

I’ve read the ebook version, and towards the end, I found a few editing issues, but they were very few and trivial.

The novella is an easy, fast and pleasant read. I loved the writing style, it’s flowing beautifully, and that makes it a very enjoyable experience. I found myself so drawn in, and at the end I agreed with the originality, and that’s the charm of it! This is Michelle Browne’s debut novella, and a fine debut it is. I will be looking for her next books.

Note: I have received a copy for free, for an honest review.

A closing remark, on the copy I read. In the introductory acknowledgments, there’s a misuse of the term copyright: original photo cannot be both public domain and copyrighted by an organization. Public domain is outside copyright of someone, it’s either one or the other. If the photo is public domain, the proper term is “public domain and credit to STSci”.

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Review: The Secret Lab

The Secret Lab
The Secret Lab by Steven M. Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will disclose this: I picked up The Secret Lab because of Mr. Paws, the intelligent cat. Yes, I could not resist the temptation to read the adventure of a sentient, mathematics inclined cat, told by Steven M. Moore. It exceeded my expectations.

Mr. Paws is the result of a genetics experiment aboard a facility orbiting Earth in 2147. The cat and his newly found friends, a group of four smart teenagers, find themselves in an intrigue with corporate agendas, young curiosity, dangerous and ethically problematic research, relationships and their difficulties when coming of age. The complexity is enthralling, but the author also makes it easy to follow, using a light, natural style to tell us their story.

This is what Mr. Moore does at his best. Tell us a story, a cozy story, a story that makes me smile and enjoy comfortably the cat-like analysis on those humans, as it unfolds. Along with their obvious, though understandable, limitations.

At its core a young adult fantasy, the story takes place in a science fiction context, extrapolated from the physics and genetics of our time. The artificial intelligence dubbed “the AI” is very advanced, but you still know it’s a programmed entity, bound to its programming. The formation of mathematician and physicist of the writer shows in his brilliant and understandable description of the life in a space station.

All in one, the book is a very enjoyable read, appealing to all ages.

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Science Fiction reviews

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