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Simon Morden

Dr. Simon Morden, B.Sc. (Hons., Sheffield) Ph.D (Newcastle) is a bona fide rocket scientist, having degrees in geology and planetary geophysics. Unfortunately, that sort of thing doesn’t exactly prepare a person for the big wide world of work: he’s been a school caretaker, admin assistant, and PA to a financial advisor. He’s now employed as a part-time teaching assistant at a Gateshead primary school, which he combines with his duties as a house-husband, attempting to keep a crumbling pile of Edwardian masonry upright, wrangling his two children and providing warm places to sleep for the family cats. His not-so-secret identity as journeyman writer started when he sold the short story Bell, Book and Candle to an anthology, and a chaotic mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror followed. Heart came out to critical acclaim, and Another War was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award, but with The Lost Art, things suddenly got serious. Contracts. Agents. Deadlines. Responsibility. Scary stuff. The Lost Art was subsequently a finalist for the Catalyst Award for best teen fiction. As well as a writer, he’s been the editor of the British Science Fiction Association’s writers’ magazine Focus, a judge for the Arthur C Clarke awards, and is a regular speaker at the Greenbelt Arts Festival on matters of faith and fiction. In 2009, he was in the winning team for the Rolls Royce Science Prize.

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Samuil Petrovitch (Metrozone)

Samuil Petrovitch — (2011-2013) Publisher: Winner of the 2012 Philip K. Dick Award. Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor. He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone — the last city in England. He’s lived this long because he’s a man of rules and logic. For example, getting involved = a bad idea. But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he’s saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London. And clearly saving the girl = getting involved. Now, the equation of Petrovitch’s life is looking increasingly complex. Russian mobsters + Yakuza + something called the New Machine Jihad = one dead Petrovitch. But Petrovitch has a plan — he always has a plan — he’s just not sure it’s a good one.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews     fantasy and science fiction book reviews

Equations of Life: A reheated mish-mash

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Equations of Life by Simon Morden

I picked up Equations of Life, the first novel in Simon Morden’s SAMUIL PETROVITCH series, after receiving a copy of his latest novel The Curve of the Earth for review. The new novel is the fourth one set in the series, but it came billed as a good point to get started if you missed the first three books, which form a trilogy of sorts. Still, being somewhat obsessive about these things, I decided to go back and read the first book rather than jump in at The Curve of the Earth.

Alas. After reading Equations of Life, I’m not sure if I’m interested in reading the rest. It’s not that this is a bad book per se. It’s just that it didn’t really offer me anything I haven’t seen elsewhere before.

The best part of Equations of Life is its main character Samuil P... Read More

The Curve of the Earth: A pulse-pounding adventure

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The Curve of the Earth by Simon Morden

Simon Morden’s The Curve of the Earth is a book that flew below the radar. It’s set in a sort of futuristic Earth. Politics and the whole “the earth is flat” thing have effected how people live, communicate, work and understand each other. The world is a different place. Some areas, like America, are ultra conservative, while others are downtrodden and rather terrifying, ruled by crime bosses. It’s a world where crossing the Atlantic takes a fraction of the time it takes now. In a world like that, the proverbial ripple of a butterfly’s wing can cause massive, sprawling political and ecological impacts worldwide in a matter of minutes. It makes today’s digital, satellite, and almost instantaneous world look like a snail’s pace in com... Read More

Arcanum: Interesting historical fantasy

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Arcanum by Simon Morden

Alternative history stories usually either thrive or fail for me depending on plausibility. The writer can’t just tell me a good yarn, (s)he also needs to be able to fit this yarn into a world I recognize, and make me buy the history. That’s not an easy thing to do. When you take a well-known, often romanticized period of time, and infuse it with magic, that task is even harder.

Thankfully, that’s not a problem that Morden has. I often face the issue of the Middle Ages being a bit too romanticized. There is no mention in many books of people with no teeth, dead teeth, dying teeth (sorry for my tooth obsession), body odor (seriously, can you imagine how bad people must have smelled back then?), horrible illnesses, and limbs being cut off from infection. These are details that many authors leave out. The brutal truth is, this period of time is dirty, dusty, in... Read More