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Dom Mooney's Website... Cybergoths no more.

The Year of Our War & Pushing Ice

Link to The Year of Our War on Amazon
I recent read a refreshingly different fantasy novel. It was 'The Year of Our War' by Steph Swainston. This could – very easily – have been traditional fantasy fodder. A multi-racial empire with an eternal emperor supported by 50 immortals of 'the circle', who are the best of the best, is threatened by the Insects. These are large, ant-like hive creatures that have appeared in the north and are trying to turn the world into a large paper hive. There is no communication, and no hope of a peace.

The story is written from the perspective of 'Comet, the Messenger', one of the Immortals who is also hooked on drugs. Something changes, that shifts the balance between the Insects and the Empire, and all hell breaks loose, compounded by politicking between the Immortals. There is also a hint of Lovecraft's 'Dreamlands'. Very different, very nice and I'l be looking for some more books by Swainston in the future.

This is definitely one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a while.

Link to Pushing Ice on Amazon
"Pushing Ice" is excellent - it was harder to put down than Alastair Reynold's previous book, "Century Rain", as the plot kept on jumping forward in time. It's a good read – I'm not sure if it is as good as "Chasm City" or "Revelation Space" but very enjoyable. It's also the third different world that he's set novels in.

The basic premise is that a corporate ice-comet mining ship (in 2057) is directed to enter a first contact situation when one of Saturn's moons (Janus) suddenly starts accelerating out, revealing that it is really an artifact. The ship (Rockhopper) pursues to try and find out more, co-opted as an agent of the equivalent to the UN. Trouble ensues!

It's good, hard SF space opera.