Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: Paradox Resolution by K. A. Bedford

Paradox Resolution (published by Canadian publisher Edge ) is the sequel to Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait (my review of it is here).

Aloysius "Spider" Webb and his artist ex-wife, Molly, (at least she will be his ex-wife as soon as he signs the divorce papers) are back from the horrors of End of Time. Free of the influence and manipulations of his previous (and now vanished) boss, Dickhead McMahon, Spider's life is back to normal. He is still working at Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, now taken over by an Indian company, where the new state of the art equipment might have made going to work pleasant if he didn't hate time machines and the stupidity of the average time traveller. To make things worse, the time machine repair business is declining as time machines evolve and the world descends into economic chaos.

In his private life little has changed. He and police inspector Iris Street remain friends. He is still living in a capsule hotel and performing household tasks for Molly, while at work, when not otherwise occupied, he tinkers with training the coffee droid (a much higher functioning one than that in the previous book) in search of the perfect cup of coffee.That is until he opens the break room fridge one morning and makes an horrific discovery. This is soon the least of his worries as he finds his new boss has plans for him that are way beyond his job description.

Paradox Resolution is somewhat more bleak than Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait although the author's light touch leavens the darker elements. While there's plenty of action - time travel tends to make things very complicated and fast moving - this book is more about Spider's personal journey and what he learns about himself. He has a lot to resolve in both his personal life and his work situation and his experiences at the End of Time have left deep scars. This means there's introspection as well as action and the author has succeeded in maintaining what can be a tricky balance with the introspective sections often a welcome relief. Before the end Spider has had to question many of his beliefs and make some very hard decisions.

Along with those like Iris and Molly from the first book, Spider finds himself enmeshed with a number of new, equally well-rounded, characters who have their own stories. Even the bad guys tend to be more flawed than outright evil, with their motivations making them human and so believable. Spider is not the only one who has to come to terms with his future and past. Others have their own lessons to learn too.

The unexplained science may not appeal to those who like hard science fiction but, set as it is in a future world with inevitable and believable advances in technology, Paradox Resolution, like Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, is a suspenseful story, full of twists and with an unexpected and satisfying conclusion to Spider's story.

Paradox Resolution is available as an e-book as well as in print.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

AWWC 2013: Prickle Moon - a story collection by Juliet Marillier

Prickle Moon (published by Ticonderoga Publications and released on April 4, 2013) is Juliet Marillier's first short story collection and it did not disappoint.

Oddly, although I have read all her novels and have never failed to be delighted by them, I had only ever read one of her short stories before. This is Twixt Firelight and Water, one of the stories in the collection. Especially interesting to those who have followed her Sevenwaters series, Twixt Firelight and Water fills in more of the story of the family of that world.

But Prickle Moon is not all set in the Sevenwaters world. This is a collection where the stories range widely. There is darkness but there is also romance, fairytales and humour.

Among the darker stories is the title story, Prickle Moon, which sees a woman asked to betray an unusual trust. Full of layers, at one point I had to put this story down because of the horror of the situation. It's one of the stand outs for me. Equally chilling are Angel of Death, where the reader is confronted with what happens as the RSPCA and volunteers raid a puppy farm and The Otherling, which deals with beliefs and consequences.

Retelling of fairy tales figures in much of Juliet Marillier's work and there's a fair sample of that here. I loved Poppy Seeds, and how it turns a traditional story on its head and while Let Down Your Hair may seem familiar as it starts out it certainly doesn't end that way. The traditional format of these two stories makes the contrast of By Bone Light more chilling. Although it has a modern, urban setting, its fairy tale roots are clear and its ending is very satisfying.

Among the romances in the collection are the historical Gift of Hope and, also historical but certainly less traditional, Letters From Robert, while there is a modern but different take on romance in Far Horizons.

There are other stories too - the funny Tough Love 3001 about a very unusual writers' workshop, Back and Beyond and Jack's Day, both about loss, Wraith, Level One, where a young wraith gets his first job, Juggling Silver, a sweet story of a community, and In Coed Celyddon, with its take on the Arthurian legend.

I thoroughly enjoyed Prickle Moon. Beautifully written, it should appeal to those who like their fantasy and romance rooted in reality.

Juliet Marillier's website is at where you will find details of her next books and she is on Facebook at

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Tin Ducks Awards

Yet another award list. The Tin Ducks are annual Western Australian awards for achievements in SF presented at the annual Perth SwanCon . It's always good to see those in the SF field being acknowledged and all the more when it's friends and people whose work I personally admire as it is this year.

The link to the award winners and the short list is here and I'm delighted that it includes three of my fellow Egoboo WA members - Joanna Fay, Satima Flavell and Sarah Parker.

Congratulations to all winners and finalists.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Of Ditmars, Hugos, Stellas and Other Things.

Actually it's more awards than other things. They just keep coming - shortlists, winner lists and more.

These are the ones I've come across today - although I freely admit that some have been around for a while and I just haven't got to blogging about them. I'm linking to them on account of being too overwhelmed by other stuff right now to do much more.

The Australian Indie Book of the Year 2013 - winners were announced on 25 March.

The Stella Prize - shortlist out.

Ditmar Awards - shortlist open for voting.

Hugo Awards - shortlist out.

It's especially nice to see my Clarion South tutor, Margo Lanagan featuring in numerous places as well as yet another tutor, fellow Western Australian Lee Battersby, appearing on the Ditmar shortlist.

There are a pleasing number of other Western Australians on the various lists including editors Liz Grzyb, Alisa Krasnostein and Jonathan Strahan and publishers, Ticonderoga Publications and Twelfth Planet Press.

Congratulations to all winners and finalists.