The newest science fiction books at the Field take readers on a series of bizarre and fascinating adventures, sometimes digging up a questionable past, sometimes shaking up the past and possibly the future as well.
Let’s start with a new entry in the long-running and much-loved Miles Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, this one called Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. For those who are fans of the series, there’s nothing more I need say about the book: knowing there’s another Vorkosigan book is enough. For those who aren’t (yet) fans of Bujold’s series, this is a late book in the series and you might want to start at the beginning (a book called Falling Free) and come to this in turn. If you’re a fan, this book looks at Miles’ mother, Cordelia, after his father’s death, and her plans to start a new family and how those plans may unseat and confuse all the political alliances of her home planet. Miles himself gets into the act, investigating what has been going on with his mother and what she’s doing now, and he discovers that not only is the future in dispute, but the past as well.
A little weirder, if your tastes run to short stories in the speculative fiction world, is Carlos Hernandez’ collection, An Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria. Pause here and just contemplate that title. Wouldn’t you want to read a book with that name? Of course you would, if only to see what quantum santeria is and how it would fit in a story. But there are other delights and strangenesses waiting for you in this collection: a pianist who uploads his soul into his piano, a character whose punishment for having an affair is a giant horn growing out of his forehead which he refuses to remove, a border patrol agent trying to figure out how to deal with undocumented aliens from another galaxy, just to name a few. Never boring and always unexpected, this group of stories should hold the interest of anyone who enjoys the wilder side of speculative fiction.
And then there’s the unsettling Version Control, by Dexter Palmer. Rebecca Wright is a woman who thinks she’s gotten past the tragedy in her history. She’s a successful employee at an online dating service, happy with her job, happy with her husband, a physicist, and yet, there are some things going on that just bother her a little, things that aren’t quite what they should be, what she expects them to be: she enters rooms without knowing what she wanted to do there, she sees the President on television and feels he’s not the right president, and she has dreams, disturbing dreams which might have something to do with her husband’s causality violation device (he refuses to call it a time machine). Her husband might be working on something that’s going to change the past and maybe undo reality altogether. Is there anything Rebecca can do to save the world?
Step out of your comfort zone and try our new science fiction at the Field!