Marie – H. Rider Haggard

Allan Quatermain #1 Allan Quatermain, an English teen growing up in what is now South Africa, falls in love with Marie Marais, a Boer neighbour girl. Her father is against the marriage, favoring instead his wealthy nephew. He and the nephew put one obstacle after another in the lovers’ way, with tragic consequences. I read H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines when I was very young, and eventually followed it with She and a few…

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Finches of Mars – Brian W. Aldiss

A set of six vaguely nationalist colonies have been established on Mars, reliant on precarious assistance from a coalition of universities on a fractious, threatened Earth. Despite extensive social planning, life on Mars is difficult. Reproduction has so far proven impossible. I’ve read a number of Brian Aldiss’ books over the years. While I’ve never really been taken with any of them, they’ve left behind a memory of intellectual musing – of a submerged quality…

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Fish Tails – Sheri S. Tepper

Plague of Angels #3 With the world slowly flooding, Abasio, his wife Xulai, and their two amphibian children travel the world promoting preparation for eventual submersion. They encounter both enemies and friends from unexpected places – including another Tepper series. Fish Tails comes with an Author’s Note, to be read after digesting the 600+ pages of the book. It’s a mildly interesting Note, in that it clearly delineates the sequence and links between the True…

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The Whispering Swarm – Michael Moorcock

Sanctuary of the White Friars #1 An unusual mix of straight autobiography and fantastic alternate universe/time travel in a secret section of London known as Alsacia. When I was young, I found a biography of Johnny Cash on my father’s shelves. He warned me not to read it, but I did anyway, to find that while Cash was a great singer, he was also pretty much an ass. This book provides the same experience with…

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The Dark Other – Stanley G. Weinbaum

Pat is a beautiful young woman with many admirers. Nick is a young man with a secret. When his dark side interferes with their burgeoning love, things turn grim, and psychologist Carl Horker has to intervene. Most people, including me, know of Stanly Weinbaum from his great debut story, “A Martian Odyssey”. He wrote a dozen other, mostly good, short storiesas well. I also recently read one of his novels, The New Adam, an effective…

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Survivor – Octavia Butler

Patternist #4 A one-way colony ship of religious missionaries lands on an Earth-like planet and find an immediate ally in a local tribe. Alanna, a once-wild young human woman, is captured by an enemy tribe. When she is released she must find a way to sort out prejudices and enmities among the three groups. Octavia Butler is said to have disowned this story, and to have called it her ‘Star Trek’ novel. It’s easy to…

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