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Brenda Cooper

Brenda is a technology professional, a science fiction writer and a futurist. As a writer, Brenda has worked extensively with the well-known science fiction author Larry Niven. She and Larry’s collaborative fiction has appeared in Analog and Asimov’s science fiction. Her solo fiction has appeared in Nature, Analog, Strange Horizons, The Salal Review, and multiple anthologies. She is the author of the Endeavor award winner for 2008: THE SILVER SHIP AND THE SEA, and of the sequel, READING THE WIND. By day, she is the City of Kirkland’s CIO. Learn more at Brenda Cooper’s website.

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Ruby’s Song

Ruby’s Song — (2012-2013) Publisher: Character-driven, social science fiction inspired by the life of Evita Peron. Nothing can match the power of a single voice… Ruby Martin expects to spend her days repairing robots while avoiding the dangerous peacekeeping forces that roam the corridors of the generation ship the Creative Fire. The social structure of the ship is rigidly divided, with Ruby and her friends on the bottom. Then a ship-wide accident gives Ruby a chance to fight for the freedom she craves. Her enemies are numerous, well armed, and knowledgeable. Her weapons are a fabulous voice, a quick mind, and a deep stubbornness. Complicating it all — an unreliable AI and an enigmatic man she met — and kissed — exactly once — who may hold the key to her success. If Ruby can’t transform from a rebellious teen to the leader of a revolution, she and all her friends will lose all say in their future. Like the historical Evita Peron, Ruby rises from the dregs of society to hold incredible popularity and power. Her story is about love and lust and need and a thirst for knowledge and influence so deep that it burns.

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The Creative Fire: Only partially successful

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The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper

The Creative Fire is the first book in Brenda Cooper’s series RUBY’S SONG, a sociological YA science fiction story set on the generation ship The Creative Fire. Ruby Martin lives in the outer/lower levels of the ship, repairing robots. She is a “gray,” one of those who maintain the machines, cleanse the water, grow the food and keep the ship clean. The grays (the color refers to their clothes or uniforms) are brutally oppressed by the reds, who allegedly keep the peace. In other parts of the ship, the blues are responsible for logistics, and the greens command.

Ruby is a gifted singer. She has a compelling voice and writes her own songs, but they are not heard outside of her circle of friends. During an accident on the ship, Ruby meets and rescues Fox, a man from the blue level... Read More

The Glittering Edge

The Glittering Edge (2015- ) Publisher: What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way? The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber. In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body….

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Edge of Dark: Humanity vs. the natural and the unnatural

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Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper

In Edge of Dark, Brenda Cooper comes back to the world she created in her RUBY'S SONG duology. In it, humanity has driven AI robots to the edge of the galaxy — to the titular “Edge of Dark” — and maintained their own perimeter of ships and space stations, called The Glittering, around habitable planets, keeping warmth and life to themselves. However, the robots (called, ominously, The Next) have come back, invading a lone scientific space station, killing most of the crew, and uploading the consciousnesses of a chosen few into “soulbot” bodies. As a result of this, human and robot denizens of the three worlds — the planets, the Glittering, and the Edge — are thrown together in a tense political, environmental, and metaphysical drama tha... Read More

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction: Packed full of excellent SF stories

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Twenty-First Century Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction is packed full of excellent science fiction stories. I've been reading anthologies lately, partly to improve my own short story writing, and this is the best I've found so far. It contains stories by authors such as Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow, Catherynne M. ValenteJohn Scalzi, Jo Walton, Charles Stross, Read More

More books by Brenda Cooper

Silver Ship — (2007-2009) Publisher: The colony planet Fremont is joyous, riotous, and very wild. Its grasses can cut your arms and legs to ribbons, the rinds of its precious fruit can skewer your thumbs, and some of the predators are bigger than humans. Meteors fall from the sky and volcanoes erupt. Fremont is verdant, rich, beautiful, and dangerous. Fremont’s single town, Artistos, perches on a cliff below rugged mountains. Below Artistos lie the Grass Plains, which lead down to the sea.  And in the middle of the Grass Plains, a single silver spaceship lies quiet and motionless. The seasons do not dull it, nor do the winds scratch it — and the fearful citizens of Artistos won’t go near it. Chelo Lee, her brother Joseph, and four other young children have been abandoned on the colony planet. Unfortunate events have left them orphaned in a human colony that abhors genetic engineering — and these six young people are genetically enhanced. With no one to turn to, Chelo and the others must now learn how to use their distinct skills to make this unwelcome planet home, or find a way off it. They have few tools — an old crazy woman who wonders the edges of town, spouting out cryptic messages; their appreciation and affection for each other; a good dose of curiosity; and that abandoned silver space ship that sits locked and alone in the middle of the vast grass plain…

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsA Lingering Scent of Bacon — (2009) Publisher:Elise is hungry and tired. A fat old man just tried to talk her into bad sex and dumped her by the side of the road for telling him no. And that’s just the first thing that’s happened since she woke up. The next thing starts with the deliciously evil smell of bacon frying behind a berry bush. Originally published in the anthology Maiden, Matron, Crone, edited by Kerrie Hughes and Martin Greenberg.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSavant Songs — (2009) Publisher: What if an autistic scientist was the only person who knew how to travel between dimensions? Read Brenda Cooper’s award winning Science Fiction story about a tortured, brilliant woman who struggles to understand the tortured and beautiful universe in hopes that she can find freedom in knowledge.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Licit Zone — (2009) Publisher: Ever feel like we’re moving to a world where everything bad needs to be hidden? A sweet with transfats? A cigarette? And then there’s beer and hard liquor and…. Maybe everything bad in every city has been pushed out of normal life, and hidden in The Licit Zone.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMayan December — (2011) Publisher: Dr. Alice Cameron is a famous scientist — an archeoastronomer — devoted to studying ancient Mayan culture. The era driving her career has always been the end of the Mayan baktun, so she’s on the Yucatan Peninsula in December 2012 with her daughter Nixie… and so are fellow serious scholars, plenty of end-of-the-world crazies, and – at an international summit — the President of the United States and other heads of state. When Nixie disappears into the past in the Mayan jungle, rationality and mysticism, the present and the past start merging. Meanwhile, Alice is drawn into the machinations of statecraft by an old friend. A savvy scientist, a handsome dreadlocked time-traveler, an ancient shaman, a noble Mayan couple, a computer nerd, and an 11-year old traverse the past and present in a search for the meaning of life and a way to save two worlds.


By Larry Niven & Brenda Cooper

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsBuilding Harlequin’s Moon — (2005) By Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. Publisher: The first interstellar starship, John Glenn, fled a Solar System populated by rogue AIs and machine/human hybrids, threatened by too much nanotechnology and rife with political dangers. The John Glenn’s crew intended to terraform the nearly pristine planet Ymir, in hopes of creating a utopian society that will limit intelligent technology. But by some miscalculation they have landed in another solar system, and extremely low on the antimatter needed to continue to Ymir, they must shape the nearby planet Harlequin’s moon, Selene, into a new, temporary home. Their only hope of ever reaching Ymir is to rebuild their store of antimatter through decades of terraforming the moon. Gabriel, the head terraformer, must lead this nearly impossible task, with all the wrong materials. His primary tools are the uneducated and nearly illiterate children of the original colonists, born and bred to build Harlequin’s moon into a virtual antimatter factory. With no concept of the future and with life defined as duty, one girl, Rachel Vanowen, begins to ask herself the question: what will become of the children of Selene once the terraforming is complete.