threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
For reading material while travelling or waiting at terminals I tend to choose slim volumes of short stories because in more ways than one they are easy to manage in a hostile environment. First cab off the rank this time around was Written in Blood by Chris Lawson. I'm not entirely sure how I ended up owning this book but I suspect it was on the recommendation of somebody at a dealers table at a con. Whoever did the sell job must have been persuasive because I get a lot of recommendations and ignore the majority simply for logistical reasons. This time I would like to find out who that person was and thank them because I really enjoyed Written in Blood. I'm tempted to say "bloody brilliant writing" but that might be a bit silly even if accurate.

The stories in this book are mostly works of hard science fiction. That is to say, aspects of known (i.e. not imagined) science or technology are central to the stories. The stories are told as the impact of that science on people with a bit of philosophy thrown in. Although hard science fiction is most associated with cosmology and space science, in this case the science is more to the biological side. Lawson's interest seems wider than that, but biology seems to be at the core. The important thing which really distinguishes this work is not the science but the impact on people aspect. The characters seem real. As a reader, being able to identify with the characters means that I can also identify with the impact of the science. This is the way this type of writing should be done - science and people.

There are not many stories in this slim volume. Even less than you might at first think because the book is padded out with a variety of essays relating to science and society. The essays are every bit as good as the stories but it does mean one thing - there isn't enough. I want more.


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June 2015

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