Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Out With A (Big) Bang… And An Apology


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Somehow it is already the end of November. I looked forward to this month all year because it meant the return of Sci-Fi Month, co-hosted with some wonderful people – and it’s gone by in a flash. I’ve barely been able to take part and for that I want to apologise.

Life has been crazy. November has been one big whirlwind, the work has piled up and I’ve let myself be dragged into so many social occasions and neglected said work, therefore it has piled up even more. My life has pretty much been lectures, preparing for lectures, thesis reading and socialising. When I haven’t been in my flat working, I’ve been out with friends. And since I was basically a social recluse during my Bachelors, I’m trying to not repeat that mistake and grab every chance I can whilst I’m here. I’ve barely been making the time to read, let alone write blog posts!

As a result, Sci-Fi Month for me has not been what I expected. I’ve not managed all of my planned posts, some things have gone up late, I’ve not commented on everything – but I will get round to comments over the next month. On 13th December I am flying home to the UK, where I plan on relaxing for a little while before getting back to thesis work – and during that time I will be doing some major blogging and commenting!

So the main point of this post is just to say that I’m sorry for being such a neglectful host this year, and I’m especially grateful for the assistance of Kelley and Asti – especially Asti who single-handedly ran the Twitter account this year, as well as sending out newsletters, maintaining our sign-up spreadsheet and lots of other little but time-consuming jobs, all whilst working. Asti, I really need to take a leaf out of your book!

Thank you SO MUCH to Asti and Kelley, without whom I’m sure Sci-Fi Month just would not have happened!

Asti & Kelley deserve WAY more than one star, Bernard.
Asti & Kelley deserve WAY more than one star, Bernard.
Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Blogger Panel #4 – Favourite Alien


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Welcome to the final blogger panel for Sci-Fi Month! This is where we ask a group of bloggers a question relating to science fiction, and they are free to answer it in any way they wish. There has been four over the course of the event, alternating between my blog and Oh, the Books!. Today’s participants include myself, my co-hosts, and Cecily, who came up with our question! Today’s question is:

Who or what is your favourite alien, and why?


Asti @ Oh, the Books!


I have to admit, I don’t have a great knowledge of aliens to pull from. The only book I’ve actually ever read is The Host by Stephenie Meyer, and while it was okay I wouldn’t say the aliens were my favorite. No, I think I’m going to have to turn outside of books for this one.

I’ve loved my fair share of movies with aliens – Star Wars, E.T., District 9, Mars Attacks!, The Fifth Element, Transformers, Men in Black, Superman, etc. etc. (seriously, I could go on and on) – but there’s one that will always hold a special place in my heart. And I must warn you, it’s probably a bit unexpected, especially as it comes from a movie that’s a Rated R cult classic released in 1975.

My favorite aliens are the transvestites from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. Now, if you haven’t seen Rocky Horror Picture Show that may sound incredibly weird – and it is. That whole movie is weird! But it’s the most entertaining and memorable musical comedy horror film I’ve ever watched!

Why do I love these aliens so much? Because they’re so outlandish and have such simple desires! They’re not after world domination or anything like that. No, they just want to dress up, party, love, sing, and, in Dr. Frank N. Furter’s case, make themselves a man! Seriously, if these aliens were to show up at my door step I would not hesitate for a second to invite them in. I would have to keep Dave in my sight at all time sot ensure he doesn’t get up to any trouble, and I’m sure his parents would freak the heck out, but the mere thought of doing the Time Warp with them just excites me to no end.

So yes, my less-than-conventional answer is the aliens from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you haven’t seen it, you won’t quite get it and I’m not sure it’s a film I’d recommend to everyone. But I watched this film regularly with my friends as a teen and learned all the callbacks and saw it performed in theatre and just YES! There’s no other choice for me.

Asti blogs at Oh, the Books! with Kelley and Leanne, having previously blogged at A Bookish Heart before joining up with the other two to make a superblog! She is the awesome creator of the Bookish Games, and the Sci-Fi Month Social Media Maestro.


Kelley @ Oh, the Books!


It’s actually harder than I thought it would be, to choose a favorite alien! Naturally, I tend to ponder all of the various aliens from Star Trek, but since so many of them are humanoid it somehow doesn’t feel completely fair. Strangely, though, I don’t seem to be able to think of many alternatives! So… I think I’m going to say that my favorite alien is Odo from Star Trek Deep Space Nine. To me, his character is one with a lot of depth and introspection, and I think his arc was very well done. He’s a changeling, which means he can take the shape of anyone or anything he desires, but he’s spent most of his life trying to figure out who — and what — he is. He struggles with a lifelong identity crisis, trying so hard to fit in, find where he belongs, and just to DO GOOD in the universe. And even when he found out what he was and where his people came from, he didn’t forsake everything he’d grown to be up until that point, and I loved that too. 🙂

Kelley blogs at Oh, the Books! with Asti & Leanne, having previously blogged at A Novel Read before joining up with the other two to make a super blog! She also has a super adorable three-legged cat.


Cecily @ Manic Pixie Dream Worlds


I have two (three, really) favorite aliens from my reading this year, and I think both are illustrative of the different ways that science fiction can be used to delineate the human condition.

The first are the two alien civilizations in Mary Doria Russell’s theological science fiction novel The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God. What’s really poignant about these alien cultures is how sapient species would have developed if they were, rather than one omnivore species like humans, two that lived in uneasy harmony: one carnivore and one herbivore. Russell explores the conflicts between the individualistic and pluralistic, the competitive and cooperative, if they were taken to their extremes in two separate species rather than internally in one. The author builds these two civilizations’ cultures into their linguistic systems — the language and culture inform each other in a recursive sense — and the resultant gaps in understanding are what drives much of the story’s conflict between the human explorers and the two species. The author’s background as an anthropologist shows.

The second I love for the opposite reason, which is how very realistic and unremarkable the aliens are. Solaris Rising 3, an anthology edited by Ian Whates, has several stories about aliens, the most refreshing and interesting of which is Alex Dally MacFarlane’s Popular Images From the First Manned Mission to Enceladus. The aliens in this story — discovered on one of Saturn’s tiny water-covered moons, and realistically ones that could be discovered within my lifetime — are microsopically tiny… and unlike in any other story I’ve read dealing with tiny aliens, they aren’t a virus or dangerous bacteria or erstwhile plague. They just are; the conflict of the story is derived from the discovery of the aliens rather than from the aliens themselves: from the tensions between science and business interests; from the harsh environment the scientists are exploring. This story, narrated via descriptions of space exploration propaganda posters as signposts, is the only one about aliens I’ve ever read where the protagonists say — paraphrased with great liberties, as this story is engagingly lyrical — “Holy shit, y’all: multicellular organisms!” Which is, you know, exactly how us nerds would react!

Cecily blogs at Manic Pixie Dream Worlds.


Rinn @ Rinn Reads


My answer to this question comes not from books, but from video games (although was that really a surprise??). There’s no question about it – my absolute favourite alien is Garrus Vakarian from the Mass Effect series. Whenever I play the game, he is always my love interest (when available…), and the conversations between him and Commander Shepard are wonderful. He’s motivated, driven, intelligent and not afraid to stand up for a cause he believes in. He rebels and protects the people, deviating completely from his Citadel security job to look after the hungry masses. To be honest, the entire Mass Effect series is a wonderful example of a range of humanoid and non-humanoid alien species, like the Elcor or Hanar, Asari or Turian. It’s full of a LOT of loveable aliens.

Oh, and Garrus’ one flaw? He’s always busy doing those damn calibrations…

Rinn blogs at… well, um, this blog you’re looking at right now, funnily enough. She created Sci-Fi Month in 2013 and desperately wanted to run it again this year, although she’s not been *quite* as good at it as she’d hoped. Thank goodness for the ladies from OTB!

Who or what is YOUR favourite alien?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: YA to Adult SF Recommendations


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Science fiction can be a scary genre. The potential that it holds can be daunting, and it can be difficult to know where to start. I know many readers who are more than happy to delve into Young Adult science fiction, but are wary of going any further. So I thought I’d make some recommendations of ‘heavier’ science fiction, based on YA books. Let me know what you think, and feel free to share your ideas!

If you enjoyed Insignia by S.J. Kincaid…

YA to Adult Recs

… then try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

In both books, real life and online gaming become very entangled. So many of my fellow bloggers have read and loved both of these books! The 80s references only serve to make Ready Player One even more awesome.

If you enjoyed Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld…

YA to Adult Recs

… then try Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding.

Although one is an alternate history, and the other is a space western, they’re both steampunk books that really gave off the same sense of adventure to me. If you loved the steampunk inventions of Westerfeld’s series, as well as the fast pace of the story, you’ll enjoy Retribution Falls!

If you enjoyed All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill…

YA to Adult SF

… then try Hyperion by Dan Simmons.

Why? Because TIMEY WIMEY! Hyperion features a lot of (complicated but amazing) time travel, and is just a fantastic, fantastic book that I can’t recommend enough (seriously I’ve recommended it so many times over the past two and a bit years).

If you enjoyed Divergent by Veronica Roth…

YA to Adult SF

… then try Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

If you want the classic dystopia disguised as a utopia, as seen in Divergent, then give Brave New World a try. It’s a harrowing tale of good intentions gone horribly wrong.

If you enjoyed Cinder by Marissa Meyer…


… then try Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

If you enjoyed reading about cyborgs in Cinder, then you might enjoy PKD’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? Like the cyborgs in Cinder’s world, the androids of this book are so human-like that it is almost impossible to tell. Philip K. Dick was a master of science fiction, and this is one of my absolute favourite science fiction books.

If you enjoyed Beta by Rachel Cohn…


… then try House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds.

Now I have to admit that I haven’t actually read Beta, but I really wanted to recommend House of Suns as it is another of my favourites – and as both books are about the lives of clones, I thought it was a good match. Now to read some more Alastair Reynolds and see if he is favourite author material…

What recommendations would you make for someone wanting to move from YA sci-fi to the ‘heavier’ stuff?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Science Flixtion #1


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Science Flixtion is my new mini feature for Sci-Fi Month, where I try out science fiction shows available on Netflix, and then share my thoughts. Everyone is more than welcome to join in with this, and please feel free to use the header above!

The 100

The 100

Okay so I didn’t actually watch The 100 on Netflix, it started airing on E4 in the UK in July. But I wanted to discuss this one because UGHHH IT FRUSTRATED ME SO MUCH. First of all, the logic behind so many of the decisions was just non-existent. There was basically no real explanation for anything, and pretty much every character annoyed me except one, who was quickly killed off. It was predictable and the kids were JUST SO STUPID. The adults weren’t much better. I mean, if these are delinquent teenagers who were locked up for various crimes, why on earth do they expect them to follow orders once they’re on Earth (assuming they don’t immediately die from radiation)? Throw in an obvious and boring love interest and nope nope nope.

Will I continue? [icon name=”fa-thumbs-o-down”] Nope. Dropped after three episodes.



I’d had my eye on this series for a while – who doesn’t love a good apocalyptic drama? Plus, in comparison to a lot of the other series I’m considering, Jericho doesn’t have a crazy amount of episodes at only 29 over two seasons. I was expecting a more dramatic disaster and was disappointed (in that morbid way of human nature) at how slowly the disaster seemed to affect the town. However, this does mean it seemed a lot more realistic than many apocalyptic shows/movies (here’s looking at you, Roland Emmerich…), and the relationships were well-built. People turn on each other in desperate times, even on family and friends, and the show recognised that. It was a creepy ending to the end of the first episode which left me wanting more!

Will I continue? [icon name=”fa-thumbs-o-up”] Yes, although it won’t be my highest priority.

Orphan Black

Orphan Black

I actually started watching Orphan Black on BBC iPlayer, but I only got as far as the third episode before I fell behind and then was unable to catch up. So I was delighted when it appeared on Netflix – and OH MY GOSH THIS SHOW IS AMAZING. It’s clever, witty, funny but also emotional. Tatian Maslany is amazing, playing so many different characters at once – and they really are different. Each clone has a distinct personality and style, and she switches between characters with ease. I’ve just finished season one and I can’t wait to watch another one. It’s one of those shows that leaves you hanging at the end of every episode, screaming at the screen because you NEED to know what’s about to happen, or you need an explanation. I HIGHLY recommend this show to anyone and everyone.

Will I continue? [icon name=”fa-thumbs-o-up”] OF COURSE. Well I technically already did…

Have you watched any of these shows or are you thinking about it? What are your thoughts on them?

Guest Post, Review, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Guest Review of Sirius by Olaf Stapledon


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Today is a special occasion – I’m hosting one of my best friends, Kleo, on the blog! She’s written a review especially for Sci-Fi Month.



Hi everyone! I’m Kleo and I’ve been friends with Rinn since we were 9 years old. Rinn and I share a love for sci-fi and when she asked if I would like to write on her blog as part of Sci-Fi Month, I couldn’t wait to pick a book and get reading.

Whoever thought a story based in rural Wales could be the basis for a really good science fiction book? I never would have, until I read the story of Sirius. The story follows Thomas Trelone’s scientific experiment (a Super Sheep Dog named Sirius) as he grows up. The book examines his relationship with the Trelone family and the many ups and downs of being an oddity.

From the book, I really enjoyed the idea of an animal of smarter intelligence. I remember being really interested in Planet of the Apes as a child, and the idea of an animal that humans often treat as inferior to them being in a place of power. Another thing that was really great about this book, was the amount of detail Stapledon went into about Sirius. I work in Mental Health so I found Sirius’ way of thinking incredibly interesting. At points the details led to me feeling really tearful, not something that I can say has happened often! My favourite part of the story was the telling of Sirius as a sheep dog. I will leave it there as I don’t want to spoil it for you!

On the flip side, I found certain parts of the book somewhat unbelievable. As this story seems to be based in reality of the time some of people’s responses to Sirius left me feeling somewhat confused. Without giving too much away I found one scene gave the complete opposite reaction to what I would have expected. He was accepted as a curiosity, whereas I would have thought people would have reacted in horror. I also found Plaxy the other main character’s attitude to Sirius really annoying and at times where I wish I could have shouted at her. I’m guessing it’s what Stapledon wanted the character to be but at the same time it was definitely a disadvantage to the book for me.

I feel this book would suit anyone who enjoys psychology of animals and people who like science fiction based in the real world. From start to finish I was absolutely fascinated by Sirius’ story and related to his struggles of being misunderstood growing up. On Goodreads I gave Sirius five stars because it really surprised me. I just wasn’t expecting the book to be this good. If you ever have chance to read it please do. I will be giving Rinn my copy to borrow once she is home for Christmas.

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Blogger Panel #2 – Scientific Knowledge


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Welcome to the second of the blogger panels for Sci-Fi Month! This is where we ask a group of bloggers a question relating to science fiction, and they are free to answer it in any way they wish. There will be four over the course of the event, alternating between my blog and Oh, the Books!. The first panel was held last week, and it’s already time for the second! Today’s question is:

Do you need to know a lot about science to read/enjoy sci fi? Or, on the flip side, do you think reading sci fi helps you learn about science?


Angie @ Angela’s Anxious Life

Angela's Anxious Life

I don’t actually think you need to know a lot about science to read science fiction. I don’t know a lot about science and am able to read sci-fi and understand what is going on. Usually the author provides enough information so that the reader is not left in the dark and can follow the plot. I really don’t think that reading sci-fi helps you learn science. Maybe in some books.. but when I think of science fiction I think of made up stories. Or stories with technology that doesn’t even exist yet. I think maybe I haven’t read a sci-fi book that is a story about science that exists today… it is about science that will exist in the future. It is one of the reasons I enjoy sci-fi, it takes me out of the world of today.

Angie blogs about books, films, comics and video games at Angela’s Anxious Life.


Ana @ Read Me Away

Read Me Away

No, I don’t think you need to be a science buff to read and enjoy science fiction. However, I think it helps. There this moment of “aha!” or “Eureka!” that I get when I’m reading sci-fi books because sometimes I’ll encounter something that I’ve learned about in my classes. “I know what that is!” I almost say aloud, feeling rather chuffed (and like a total nerd) when I find a topic I have some knowledge about.

I think reading is a learning experience, and if you don’t know a lot about science, science fiction can give you a great introduction to some of the more fascinating aspects about science. I didn’t like physics when I took it as a class, but I absolutely loved reading about astrophysics in sci-fi novels. I think sci-fi helped me appreciate science class more, because sci-fi gives me a glimpse of what science could possibly do, and what future technology could possibly look like.

People always talk about how the line between science fiction and science fact is getting really fuzzy, and I find that absolutely fascinating! And a little terrifying when you think about some of the dystopian sci-fi titles out there. That’s what I think, at least. You don’t need to know a lot about science to enjoy sci-fi, and I think that sci-fi is a great way to start off the science appreciation life. 😛

Thanks for letting me participate in this blogger panel, Rinn!

Ana blogs about books and also video games at Read Me Away.


Amy @ Ode to Jo and Katniss


Confession: I have never been into or been particular good at science. In high school when I had the chance to forgo chemistry for the joke class environmental science, I did it gladly. In college when I was required to take two semesters of science, I took geology and astronomy because I thought they would be easy. Turns out both were harder than I thought, especially astronomy because basically I was taking basic astrophysics! (Here I thought I was just going to learn about constellations and planets!) A look at a my ACT score (a standardized college acceptance exam sort of like the SAT) also showed my lack of scientific understanding as I scored 10 points lower in the science section than the English (a huge difference!).

But science fiction is different for me. I ignore the science babble and enjoy the wonder of the all the possibilities. I am certainly glad for people who understand space travel and all that good stuff so we can dream of the future, even if I will never understand these things!

Something else I appreciate about science fiction is when the SOCIAL sciences (history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.) are featured in the stories, “sciences” I can understand! I especially love when psychology plays a role in the story as a character struggles with what makes them human even though they are actually part android, or because of the acts they are willing to commit in time of intergalactic war, etc. Those are the types of stories that keep me coming back for more.

Does science fiction help me understand science any more? Eh, I don’t think too much. It’s possible it has a little bit and I just haven’t noticed, but let’s just say I’m not going to enroll in another astronomy class anytime soon. 🙂

Amy’s greatest sci-fi love is Star Trek, which her husband introduced to her (and that is true love). When she’s not watching Star Trek or doing boring adult things, she is probably writing or reading or, most likely, procrastinating everything via the Internet.


Lianne @ Caffeinated Life

I don’t think you need to know a lot about science to read and enjoy science fiction. I think that as long as you know some of the basics–how many planets there are in the solar system, that gravity works differently outside of the earth, that space travel at a particular speed is incredibly complicated and long by our standards (those are the only three that come to mind at present)–and that the logic of the world in which that story operates in makes sense or is consistent, then you an get by. Tying in to the next question, I love it that sci-fi novels have all of these ideas and theories at play in the story as sometimes the really interesting stuff compels me to look it up–via books, via the internet–and therefore learning a bit of science along the way 🙂 Sci-fi is a great medium to get people interested in science or to learn more/think about the possibilities out there.

Lianne blogs about books, as well as other topics such as films and TV, at Caffeinated Life.

What are your thoughts – do you think a knowledge of science is needed to enjoy science fiction? Have you ever read any books than assumed a more detailed scientific understanding?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Archaeology in Science Fiction


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Simply put, archaeology is one of the most amazing fields of study and career paths ever. And I am not at all biased here. Okay – well maybe a little bit. I am so happy that I made the decision to study it alongside ancient history, because I know that I’m definitely on the right track to the career that I want. Every time I read a book or watch a film that features archaeologists, I do a little cheer in my head for my fellow lovers of the ancient.

I love you, Doctor, but I do not appreciate your tone.

I love you, Doctor, but I do not appreciate your tone.

One thing I have noticed is that archaeology seems to crop up a lot in science fiction. Whether it is used as a form of exposition to explain the history of a planet or civilisation, or forms a major plot point such as the uncovering of an ancient terror, I love to read about it. Sometimes it makes me cringe and want to throw the book/TV/whatever across the room because UGH SO INCORRECT (one time I saw a series where they wanted to do dendrochronology on a bone, it’s used for TREE RINGS), and other times I wish I had access to all that crazy future archaeological technology. Within science fiction it is often referred to as ‘xenoarchaeology’.

So, where have I spotted archaeology in science fiction?

Archaeology in books

Revelation Space Rendezvous with Rama

Alastair Reynold’s Revelation Space opens with the excavation of a 900,000 year old civilisation on the planet Resurgam. The evidence discovered reveals a lot more than was previously known, and the archaeologist directing the excavation soon becomes involved in a rather complicated and dangerous plot. I haven’t read this particular Reynolds book so cannot comment on the archaeology, but since I loved House of Suns so much, it’s definitely on my radar.

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke is another prominent example of archaeology in science fiction. Set in 2130s, it follows a group of explorers who must intercept a spaceship (nicknamed ‘Rama’) hurtling through the solar system towards Earth. I actually managed to pick up a copy of this one at an archaeological book sale a few weeks ago.

Archaeology in film


Prometheus is one of my favourite films, despite being rather silly, because SPACE ARCHAEOLOGY AND AWESOME TECHNOLOGY (and Michael Fassbender doesn’t hurt either…). It follows two archaeologists who are following a pattern they have discovered: the same images, of what they believe to be extraterrestrial life, reoccurring in many ancient cultures, thousands of years and miles apart. Together with their crew, they follow the ‘star map’ and discover a planet – with obvious signs of civilisation.

Archaeology in Prometheus is mostly just used to get the plot rolling, and give the crew a reason to start their mission. Their treatment of artefacts is questionable (shoving extra-terrestrial remains into a bag without any care) and techniques lacking (no apparent planning), but the technology is pretty amazing. A tool that allows you to instantly date something, without having to wait an age for carbon 14 results to come back? Yes please.

Archaeology on TV

river song gif

UGH RIVER I LOVE YOU. I think the most obvious example of an archaeologist in a science fiction TV show is River Song from Doctor Who. We never get to see her showing off her Professor of Archaeology skills, but she got into archaeology so she could track the Doctor through time and studied at Luna University. Unfortunately, the Doctor doesn’t care much for archaeologists, which makes me sad. I just love that she is such a badass: smart, witty, quick on her feet and also a pretty damn good shot. I’m going to put that all down to her being an archaeologist, and having nothing to do with her being a child of the TARDIS. Definitely.

Archaeology in video games

Liara gif

Oh would you look at that, my favourite video game series ever also features archaeology. Mass Effect centres around the discovery of ancient Prothean civilisation and artefacts, and Liara T’Soni is an Asari archaeologist with expert knowledge on the subject. She joins your crew in the first game, where you can speak to her in her super high tech laboratory aboard the Normandy. There is also a mission set on an archaeological excavation. AND THE GAME ADDRESSES THIS SUPER ANNOYING COMMON OCCURRENCE:

Garrus: So Liara, ever dug up – what do humans call it – a dinosaur?
Liara: No. Dinosaurs and other fossils would be paleontology. I’m an archaeologist. I study artifacts left by sapient species. The two fields are completely different. And… you were joking…?
Garrus: A bit. But at least you’re catching on these days.


Archaeology appears in so many more areas of science fiction, but I just wanted to discuss a few. Sometimes it’s accurate, sometimes the author/writer obviously has no idea how archaeology even BEGINS to work, and occasionally you find a future fictional archaeological development that you hope will become fact one day. It’s a field that can lend a lot to science fiction, allowing the history of past alien cultures to be set out easily.

What do I like most about archaeology in science fiction? The fact that it is still a thriving area of research and work in these future civilisations. There will always be more history for us to dig up, especially if we are able to do it on other planets – and that’s an exciting thought.

Have you ever encountered archaeology in science fiction? What did you think of how it was presented – did it seem plausible to you?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Top SF Novels Of The Year


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Today I want to share with you my top SF novels of the year – by this I mean read this year, not necessarily published this year.

1. The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #4) by Dan Simmons

The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons

It took me a while, but I FINALLY finished The Hyperion Cantos! Dan Simmons’ epic series ends with The Rise of Endymion, and what a finish it was. The series is huge, complex and very much timey wimey but a DEFINITE recommendation to all science fiction fans out there.

2. Lexicon by Max Barry

Lexicon by Max Barry

Lexicon by Max Barry proved to be one of my surprise hits of the year. I was sent a copy of the book by Hodder & Stoughton, and I’d not actually heard of it beforehand. I’m so glad I made the time to read it before going off to university, because it’s so damn clever and unique and I cannot emphasise how much you should read this if you’re looking for something a little bit different in your sci-fi. You can also read my review of Lexicon.

3. Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay #1) by Chris Wooding

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Fan of Firefly? Distraught by the fact that it only got one season? (IT’S NOT FAIR OKAY THERE ARE SO MANY SHOWS THAT SHOULD BE CANCELLED BUT NO THEY CARRY ON) Then give Retribution Falls a try, I can guarantee it has everything you miss from Mal and co.

4. Insignia (Insignia #1) by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia reminded me of a mix of Ender’s Game and Ready Player One, for young teens. Considering that these are two books I love, of course I was going to fall in love with this one! I really need to get my hands on the rest of the series. Any book involving gaming and online communities is pretty much going to grab my attention.

5. & 6. Behemoth & Goliath (Leviathan #2 & #3) by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth and Goliath, wow WOW. Actually, the whole series, but I read the first book last year. One of my absolute favourite young adult series, this steampunk retelling of the First World War is just SENSATIONAL. Perfect story, amazing steampunk inventions, wonderful characters – plus it’s beautifully illustrated. Yes, yes and yes. You can also read my review of Behemoth.

7. Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes is the first book in a new ‘epic’ sci-fi series that shows a LOT of potential. I’m so glad this one was chosen by my book group because it meant I got round to it sooner. I recommended it to my dad, who is a big sci-fi fan, and he took it on holiday with him earlier this year. He texted me whilst he was away to ask if I had the second book – definitely a hit with him too! You can also read my review of Leviathan Wakes.

8. Lockstep by Karl Schroeder

Lockstep by Karl Schroeder

Lockstep was a wonderful Netgalley find, and is one of the few standalone books on this list. For a relatively short science fiction novel (350 pages or so) it packs a lot in, and it felt huge. Definitely worth a look if you don’t want to delve into another new series at the moment and don’t know where to start!

What are your top science fiction reads of the year? Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think?

Review, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Review of TimeBomb (TimeBomb Trilogy #1) by Scott K. Andrews


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.


3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

TimeBomb was certainly a fun read. Throwing the reader into this crazy revelation of time travel along with the characters meant it got straight into the action, no holds barred. And despite its super speedy pace, I was given a strong impression of each of the three protagonists almost right away.

Dora is naive and sweet, but stubborn. As a girl from the sixteenth century who is suddenly thrown into the twenty-first, she obviously has a lot of questions, but she learns fast. She’s sharp and witty, and was definitely my favourite of the three. Kaz is kind-hearted despite his difficult past, and although he lacks confidence he seems to grow throughout the book. Finally, Jana, the girl from the future, oozes confidence but was quite frankly a little annoying and blunt.

For a fairly short book, the story seems to cram in several genres: science fiction, historical fiction, adventure and thriller. It was pretty exciting how the three protagonists occasionally encountered their future selves in a variety of situations, allowing the reader to take a guess at what might come next. I also really appreciated one of the characters pointing out that they shouldn’t leave future objects in the past, to avoid confusing archaeologists!

However, the concept behind the time travel seemed like a really lazy explanation, and the way the three actually travelled through time just struck me as… odd. At times, the fact that they could time travel was a very overused deus ex machina. And despite the fact that you’d imagine a world in which you can time travel would feel huge, it actually felt strangely small.

Whilst I enjoyed the book, the conclusion was frustrating and I didn’t much care for the time travel explanation. Regardless, I think I would pick up the second book in the series when it comes out, just to see how Dora copes, although it won’t be my highest priority!

Review, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Review of The Martian by Andy Weir


This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.


3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

This was chosen as Sci-Fi Book of the Month for my Goodreads book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, back in August. I went into it expecting great things – so many positive reviews from friends, such high praise – and I’m sad to say that I was pretty disappointed.

The premise is terrifying. Mark Watney is now the only person on Mars, after a freak storm that led his crewmates to believe he was dead. The Martian is Watney’s account of survival in the bleak landscape of the Red Planet, told through a series of mission logs, interspersed with third person perspective chapters from NASA. Whilst his self-deprecating sense of humour and dry wit was brilliant, especially in the face of such peril, there were so many chapters where it just felt like lists and lists of what he was doing. Understandably, there’s not actually much to do on Mars, but still…

Whilst I was gripped by the story and rooting for Mark, who was a really likable guy, at times I felt a little bored. I felt that the pace and my enjoyment of the book picked up a lot more towards the end, however, and Andy Weir managed to conjure up many moments where things could go very, very wrong, and I was on the edge of my seat hoping that Mark would be okay.

I can see why the book has such high praise. It’s a unique account and Mark is amazingly brave, considering that he is pretty much staring death right in the face at all times. But I’m sad to say that overall, it just didn’t work for me.