the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Timothy Zahn’ Category

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Thanks to the amazing organization skills of Rinn over at Rinn Reads, we’re right in the heart of  Science Fiction Month. And I’ve noticed something. Something wonderful: lots of folks who are participating in SciFi Month are completely new to science fiction.

This is fantastic!  That so many people who have never picked up a science  fiction book are interested in giving some weird stuff a try, it warms my heart.  Getting into science fiction isn’t always easy.   Strange names, alien planets, technobabble, far future technologies. . .  it can be a bit much.  Luckily, there are plenty (countless, actually) of “gate way” books, books that take place right now, or maybe a few years in the future, or even a few years in past. Books that don’t leave the solar system, maybe don’t even leave the Earth. You don’t need to be fluent in technobabble or have a degree in astronomy to enjoy these. You just need to turn the first page. . .

to help you on your journey into scifi, I’ve linked the titles to my reviews.  If you have any suggestions for other gateway books, let everyone know in the comments!

American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett – After her parent’s death, Mona inherits her Mom’s old house in a sleepy town in the southwest. It’s one of those old fashioned towns, where everyone knows everyone else, and the oldsters remember all the family secrets. there are family secrets, and then there are Family Secrets. How will Mona react when she learns her own?

In the Garden of Iden, by Kage Baker. I love Kage Baker, it’s as simple as that. This novel is the first of her Company Series. Don’t worry, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, you won’t feel sucked into reading another long series. Mendoza is an operative with a company that collects historical artifacts, and they’ve turned her into an immortal cyborg, of sorts. She spies on people, but can’t tell anyone who or what she is. Really sucks, when she falls in love with someone on her first mission. This book is as heartbreaking as it is funny. By the way, I’ve got a review of some Kage Baker Company short stories that’ll be posting in a few days.

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200px-HeirToTheEmpireHeir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn

published in 1991

where I got it: that bookshelf where my hubby’s favorite books are

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Taking place 5 years after Episode 6, Heir to the Empire follows Luke, Leia and Han while they try to pry themselves away from the developing government of the New Republic. Leia and Han have married, and Leia is expecting twins. As Luke works with Leia to train her Jedi powers, they learn the unborn twins are strong with the force as well. As much as the three of them would prefer to spend their time together, the demands of the New Republic often have them at opposite ends of the sector, with Leia handling diplomatic concerns, Han trying to get his old smuggling friends to do legit shipping for the New Republic and Luke investigating rumors of other Jedi.

Meanwhile, the dying Empire is pulling itself back together, mostly with the help of Grand Admiral Thrawn. He’s not a Sith, and he doesn’t really care about the Force. Grand Admiral Thrawn is cold, calculating, and intensely intimidating. He studies his enemies and his victims, waiting until he’s sure of their reaction before attacking. Thrawn puts two and two together to manipulate the ultimate stealth weapon against Luke Skywalker and the future of the New Republic. I’m not going to tell you what his weapon is, but it’s brilliant, and truly stealthy.

Another important plot line involves Mara Jade, a conflicted woman who was once close to the Emperor, and now works for a smuggler. She dabbles in the force and has a burning hatred for Luke Skywalker.  Thrawn may prefer to take Skywalker alive, but Jade would rather kill him. Why does she hate him so much? Luke has no recollection of ever meeting her ,what could have he possibly done to her?
While reading Heir to the Empire, I felt like I was reading the novelization of an unmade Star Wars movie. Characters say and do things that you’d expect from them. Han is snarky but sometimes nervous, Luke sees the good in everyone will little regard for his own personal safety, Leia is slow to trust but quick on her feet.  There are action sequences with the Millenium Falcon outrunning a Star Destroyer and Tie Fighters firing on X-Wings.  The action flies along at a fast clip and we never spend too much time, or too little, with any one character. There’s even the situational humor we’ve come to appreciate when no one but Han can understand Chewbacca or C3P-0 doesn’t understand some idiom. A few dialog lines are actually cribbed directly from the movies, and slyly referred to as inside jokes between the characters. The first in Timothy Zahn’s trilogy, Heir to the Empire is the book every Star Wars fan should read.

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2014 Hugo Awards

I reviewed some Hugo nominated stuff. Click here for the list.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.