Space Opera and Sci-Fi Potpourri

Name: Christine Muir
Genre: Sci Fi Potpourri
Title: All the Birds in the Sky
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Appeal Factors: magic and science fiction, good level of scientific detail without being overwhelming, great character development, literary style
Read Alikes: Alice in Wonderland, The Fault in Our Stars
Summary/Thoughts: We first meet the two main characters, a boy and a girl, when they are 8 years old and attend the same elementary school. Neither fits in with the other kids and they form a friendship based on their outsider status. The boy builds a time travel watch that moves just 2 seconds, while the girl can talk with birds. This is a great mix of magic and science fiction within one story. The book follows their lives as they age, and drift in and out of each others’ paths. This book is really well-written, the characters are interesting and unusual, and the story defies expectations.


Name: Karen Perkins
Genre: Space Opera Science Fiction
Title: The Dangerous Type: In the Wake of the Templars, Book One
Author: Loren Rhoades
Appeal Factors: Strong female characters, well developed characters, quick paced, family betrayals, clones, aliens, romance, explicet sex, intergalatic.
Read Alikes: Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo. Shadow of the scorpion : a novel of the polity by Neal Asher. Hidden Empire series by Jaine Fenn.
Summary/Thoughts: Sentenced to life in an enclosed Templar tomb by the Emperor for war crimes, Raena Zacari seeks revenge against the bossman Jonan Thallian. Twenty years in the tomb have kept Raena malnourished and barely alive but unaged when she is found in the there by grave robber Gavin Sloan. Sloan, a former lover of hers, takes her to a resort world in the universe to regain her strength. While there Raena plots her revenge against Thallian.
Place is not important in The Dangerous Type as the characters act as the main focus. Reana has a complicated past, was a slave until adopted by the the parents of her “sister” Ariel, stolen by the villain Thallian, sentenced to the tomb by the Emperor, found by her a former lover Sloan Gavin. The book moves back and forth from her past life and present as well as the life of Thallian. These intertwining lives provide much intrigue to the story line. Characters are well developed and the ending is tidy.
Not much as an intergalactic war book as a love story full of domineering sex and slavery. Reana’s goal is to break free from her past and the present, to become an independent woman, owing no one and owned by no one.
Verdict: Except for the many times Raena uses her sexuality to fight for freedom the novel is well written and pro feminist.


Name:  Pam Aghababian
Genre: Space Opera Science Fiction
Title:  Leviathan Wakes
Author:  James S.A. Corey
Appeal Factors: World building, political intrigue, fast-paced, sweeping
Read Alikes:  John Scalzi, Orson Scott Card, Alastair Reynolds
Summary/Thoughts: Set in a future where the richer Earthers and Mars Navy are at odds with the Belters (lower class residents of outer planets), the stories of a cop investigating a missing woman and the crew of a spaceship that’s been destroyed entwine. The authors (two writing together under a pen name) started with world building and worked outwards from there, so this feels like a very authentic, lived-in world, with political implications that could change everything. There is also a tv show (pretty closely) based on these books, and I would recommend the books to viewers, even if they already know what’s going to happen.