the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Tom Kolega’ Category

clarkesworld4Curious about the original fiction published by Clarkesworld?  This series of posts, reviewing every story published in Year Four should give you an idea of their flavor of speculative fiction. these stories are strange, unexpected, sometimes humorous, sometimes melancholy. Every single one of them will get some kind of reaction out of you.   Check out the Clarkesworld website to get more. Like what you see? Become a citizen of Clarkesworld, get a subscription, spread the world. Speculative Fiction ‘zines like this are a rare beast.

I’m going through Year Four in no particular order. Click to read the first, second, and third posts in this series.  In the stories in today’s post, we have virtual reality gone wrong (or maybe very, very right), reincarnations who kill their originals with the best intentions, the downside of discovering a new intelligent species, and Cat Valente has fun with creation myths.

ready? let’s go!

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Spacetime by Catherynne M. Valente – I recently had the pleasure of reading this in Valente’s latest collection, The Melancholy of Mechagirl. In that review, I didn’t go into much detail of Thirteen Ways, so I’m thrilled to have received another chance to talk about this wonderfully odd tale.

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Contra Alliance, by Tom Kolega

Published: 2010

Where I got it: Received review copy from the author

Why I read it:  I don’t read much military SF, and this was an opportunity to read something outside of my usual comfort zone.


In the late 1800’s, a space-faring race called the Nerrial discovered Earth and made it their mission to secretly help us find a peaceful way into the future. They had already seen what warfare can do to a civilization, and they wanted to save Earth from that fate. Able to pass as humans, Nerrial emissaries raised their children and passed their secrets down. As the years went by, and warfare on Earth evolved from dangerous to brutal to nuclear, the Nerrial philosophy became one of influence, rather than observation. The emissaries worked their way high into the militaries of the Earth superpowers, and stopped educating their children about who and what they were. One day, soon, the time will be right for the Emissaries to reveal their secret.

Jump ahead a few more generations, and it’s Earth, during the 2030’s. Embittered America is no longer the superpower she once was, and International peacekeeping missions have their hands full dealing with South American drug cartels, the Russian mafia, and corrupt dictators on a handful of continents.  A worldwide anti-civilization, anti-establishment terrorist organization known as The Revolution has started funding criminal organizations and providing high tech weapons to anyone willing to ally with  them.   NATO knows it’s time to bring in their three teams of the most skilled and most talented soldiers, the strike force known as CONTRA.

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FTC Stuff

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.