105 Comments

"something that isn't trying to send a message but just to tell a good story" is what I want, not just sometimes but ALWAYS. Never want the other kind.

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Written with intriguing details about this novel, enough to give prospective readers impetus. Thank you @John Carter

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author

Yes, the goal was to make it sound interesting enough to read, without spoiling it.

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Mission accomplished!

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Jun 12Liked by John Carter

I liked your reco of Theft of Fire by Eriksen so much I immediately tossed Pallas into my Kindle. Thank you for mining the barren rock of modern Sci Fi publishing for us.

I have also found Adrian Tchaikovsky's trilogies to be fun and free of modern politics. Children of Time was so imaginative, simultaneously terrifying and inspiring. While his Shards of Earth books are more of a police procedural and a great romp through the galaxy.

And of course, there's Stephenson's Seven Eves that breaks down the white heat of What is a Woman into a seven-segment spectrum, that has nothing to do with ROY G BIV.

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Jun 12·edited Jun 12Author

I actually checked out one of Tchaikovsky’s books. Dropped it like three pages in. The ship was named after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the galactic warrior heroes were all women because of course.

A decade ago I wouldn't have blinked at that. My tolerance is exhausted.

Seveneves however was very good. Didn't feel like a feminist screed at all.

I hope you enjoy Pallas!

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Jun 12Liked by John Carter

Agree with your take on Final Architecture (I'm guessing it was that series) but you've GOT to read Cage of Souls. It's one of Tchaikovsky's standalones. Really brilliant book, reminded me of Vance's Dying Earth but frankly a lot better.

Tchaikovsky seems to be one of those authors like Neal Stephenson whose talent is in tension with his politics. Give him a scenario with no obvious outlet for his politics, and he shines.

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Jun 12Liked by John Carter

I would recommend reading Children of Time. Some of his other books are definitely nauseatingly leftist but this one is more focused on speculative science than politics.

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Like other commenters here I would recommend Children of Time. And his other earlier books were great. I haven’t touched his stuff since he went crackers. But COT is genuinely one of the best sci-fi books I have read.

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Children of Time is great but there's a lot of feminist spider aliens

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"female spiders are stronger than male spiders and the male spiders are dumber and scared of them"

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Jun 13Liked by John Carter

I mean sure but like that is literally how actual spiders work and it wasn't presented in a way that was sympathetic to the females. Yeah I'm sure he is a feminist but that particular story element is just standard sci-fi alien stuff.

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Twenty years ago I would have shrugged at that. Now I've become hyperallergic to woke.

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Jun 13Liked by John Carter

I guess you must have really not liked The Expanse then lol since it had a female Marine who was way tougher than anybody else. Honestly for better or worse if abnormal gender behavior, even in aliens, is a dealbreaker for you then that is probably gonna eliminate most sci-fi nowadays and even a lot of classic sci-fi.

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It's definitely presented in a way sympathetic to the females

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Ok I see your point, I didn't remember it that well.

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"Up above, the male is looking down plaintively and, when Portia checks on him, he signals for permission to feed. She tells him to finish his work first.

A moment later he has dropped down practically on top of her, sending her leaping instinctively backwards, landing clumsily and flipping onto her back before righting herself angrily. Bianca has come within a whisker of killing the male, but he is stamping and signalling frantically: Danger coming! Danger! Spitters!

And he is right: here come her kind’s ancestral foes."

—Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children of Time

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Jun 13Liked by John Carter

Bought the paperback immediately.

Thanks for the recommendation, love these little book reviews!

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author

Awesome!

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I really enjoyed this one, it had that Star Trek away mission mixed with Twilight Zone horror that the best scifi tends to have. As you know, Lisa herself is awesome and she happened to be the second guest on my podcast. Based on Pallas and her interview with me I expect a lot of cool stuff from her in the future.

https://open.substack.com/pub/deceneus/p/episode-2-lisa-kuznak?r=l0taa&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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I just bought the book. I'll let you know what I think. 😉👉

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I hope you like it!

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Jun 18·edited Jun 18Liked by John Carter

WHAT AN AWESOME READ!

Alright, I ordered it on the 15th, and finished it on the 18th today (2024).

It was a great book. I loved it. The characters were very believable.

The tech described in the story was spot on, and not too "far out."

I didn't want to put it down. I like when things get weird fast, and keep going!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys GOOD Sci-Fi, not the boring goofy-ass overly technical stuff. Hell, I'm an engineer, but I don't want to have to reverse engineer the tech in a damn story, that's NOT why I'm interested in it. I like Star Trek, but I don't want to get in an argument about the structural integrity of transparent aluminum, It's fake, who cares.

Take the movie Goodfellas. I'm not big on all the mafia stuff to begin with, but some friends of mine tell me, "It's one of those movies you've got to see." I said, "Let me guess, it's slow and boring most of the movie right?"

Then we start watching it, and right off the bat I'm like, "Damn! OK, so its NOT slow to get started!" 😂🤣

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Thanks so much for reading and I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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I'm going to have my son read it now. He'll like it too. 😉👉

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I read this and loved it! Amazing writer. All those things you said. :)

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Fantastic!

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I'm gonna have to check this out! I don't usually read a ton of scifi (I don't like all the techno-babble) but I love supernatural/horror, and I love when stylistic exploration actually works.

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I think this will be right up your alley, then!

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You should write more recommendation articles like this.

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I should.

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You sum up my own frustrations at finding a good non lecturing sci-fi novel perfectly. So I’ll definitely give Pallas a go. Thanks.

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Just finished it! I plan to write a short post to give my thoughts about it, but your treatment here is very good and comprehensive, and I generally agree with it.

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Jun 13Liked by John Carter

"Don’t want to read about racialized pronoun people in space?"

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed how many post-Obama era science fiction books involve characters who change sex, or who's post-racial status must be explicitly stated in their introduction. I think it's an indication of the author's difficulty in separating themselves from the all consuming politics of our time, but it's deeply irritating to be hit with extremely contemporary culture war talking points in a story nominally about people, places and technology wildly removed from reality.

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The anachronistic feeling of contemporary gender politics infecting galactic empires in the eighth millennium is positively discombobulating.

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Jun 14Liked by John Carter

Don't forget the superfluous asides about the environmental catastrophe that came from late 20th century Anglo-American military industrial capitalism run amok!

The good news is that once we stamped out the sexual binary and executed our billionaires faster than light travel turned out to be child's play.

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Very intriguing!

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author

That was my reaction when I read the summary on the book cover.

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Jun 12Liked by John Carter

Oh yeah, it was you who recommended Theft of Fire! I enjoyed that. A few quibbles but overall a great story, and the science was top-notch. I'll try this one as well. I'm a sucker for anything to do with asteroid mining.

If you're looking for more SF to round out your TBR pile, may I recommend my own stuff? Given our shared tastes I think you might really enjoy this series.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BXQP1WVT/

Construction workers on the moon in the very near future. High-stakes survival challenges and raw interpersonal conflict. No politics (with one exception that I'll explain if you notice it).

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>945 reviews

Holy shit you're a celebrity!

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Jun 13Liked by John Carter

Thank you sir! Just trying to spread happiness in my own small niche, like we're all doing :-)

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Jun 12Liked by John Carter

I enjoyed Theft of Fire so much that I’ll try this.

After giving Theft of Fire to my electrical engineer brother I believe it’s being passed around like samizdat at TI to evade their stifling HR-dominated culture.

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I hope Pallas lives up. They're very different books (albeit, romance plays a role in both).

TI?

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Jun 12Liked by John Carter

Texas Instruments

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author

Ah hah.

Cool!

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Who knew they are still a thing. Wow.

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I understand the frustration, you desire authentic experiences via the writing you read, accept your fate and be the man you are ment to be, become the writer not the reader in its totality. Only in death will you find peace John.

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