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Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
Editor of all fiction genres.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Galericulate: JD's Review of 'And the Stars Will Sing'

Hello hello!

Just another short update, before I return to book land. I will have publicity stuff for you, such as THE COVER OF THE NEW BOOK, but I need to finish the damn thing first.

Here we have a glorious review of And the Stars Will Sing by John Dolan, talented author of Everyone Burns. His unsolicited review completely made my weekend. *UPDATE* I'm also going to copy-paste some of my Amazon reviews, which have also blown me away.

Sci-fi novels written in the first person have an additional challenge inasmuch as the technologies and worlds described by the narrator would be familiar to them while being unfamiliar to us. This presents the writer with a technical difficulty of conveying to the reader what is different to them without undermining the narrator’s credibility. Imagine the situation of a current-day narrator describing a journey by train. Exactly HOW fascinated would that person be with how the carriage was laid out or the technology of railway tracks? The answer is not very, particularly if they’d already travelled by train hundreds of times before.

I am pleased to say that Michelle Browne handles these structural issues with apparent ease while engaging her readers in a compelling narrative along the way. The descriptions of the future are handled almost as asides (which is as it should be) without getting in the way of the story.

Ms Browne’s narrator, Crystal Weiss – a copper-haired Martian - is a delightfully snarky creation. “Glass” as she is known to her workmates is difficult, argumentative and with an offbeat sense of humour. By way of a diary, Weiss records her experiences as a mapper on a deep space project to create a wormhole for interstellar travel.

Without getting into spoiler territory, I will say there is plenty going on to engage the reader’s attention. The only nit-pick I had with the storyline was a credibility issue as to why internal transporters would be left operational in a particular circumstance (I’m not going into detail on this, as it would give too much away).

The writing style is sparse and spiky, as befits the storyteller herself.

Well done, Michelle Browne. “And the Stars Will Sing” gets my vote for novella of the year, regardless of genre."

More praise from Amazon!

"I met the author Michelle Browne in my social media ramblings. She's a snarky, interesting girl, which pretty much describes her writing.I have read A LOT of sci-fi novels and short stories. I subscribe to Analog magazine and enjoy every issue of it. This novella could easily have been a miniseries in Analog. It's top notch sci-fi. She has an easy-flowing narrative style in first person, essentially a woman's diary of her unusual work assignment aboard a wormhole mapping space vessel.
As the plot unfolds, the vessel receives a series of threatening messages from an unnamed source. The threat: If they continue their work on wormholes in that sector, they'll pay the price with their lives. The mapping isn't going well, unexplainable wormhole anomalies pop up where they shouldn't be. Something is definitely not right. Amidst this setting, our heroine is falling in love with a coworker, very much against ship regulations. Overall, it was a very interesting, creative, and entertaining read. My inner sci-fi nerd crept out from under its shell to smile.
I found it fascinating they actually map out and create or repair wormholes through space for interstellar highways. And the various different alien races that interact, sharing meals, relating to one another, bridging massive gaps of culture and language to find common ground. My only complaint is that it should have been longer. I would really like to see a full length novel of this quality sci-fi from Michelle Browne."

"Originality! It's what first sucked me into the Harry Potter series and it's what sucked me into And the Stars Will Sing. Upon starting JK Rowling's now hugely famous series (no one had heard of it back then) I was struck by how Rowling had managed to invent so many new and fresh ideas, names and incidents in a genre that I thought had been mined dry. Michelle Browne has pulled off the exact same magic (no pun intended) with her debut novella, And the Stars Will Sing. I was immediately impressed by the fact that she just lays out her world as if we're all as familiar with it as we are with Star Wars and Star Trek. And despite the plethora of alien names, races, planets, star ships and fantastically futuristic tech those two giants of Sci-Fi have flooded the world with, Browne has invented her own brilliant and fresh canon. It's nothing short of pure genius of invention, and in reading it, one comes to believe that Browne knows all about wormholes and the technology of future space travel, and one starts to believe that all this could well be real some day. At the same time she somehow manages to channel the hard SF of Asimov, Pournelle and Niven while also including a touch of the fantastical elements of CJ Cherryh and Piers Anthony. And all this clever blending is presented in Browne's own unique Young Adult diary style writing. Without revealing any of the plot, there are also two nicely subtle instances in which the book's title is incorporated into the story and one thinks ah, now I get it... and it's really cool. So no matter your age, if you enjoy hard SF and space operas alike, and want to take a quick trip to the farthest reaches of an unknown galaxy to discover why the stars do indeed sing, grab a copy of Michelle Browne's And the Stars Will Sing."

Yeah, I'm just going to sit here and glow with that. If you haven't got a copy already, you're going to want one. Here, just follow the magic link. 


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the good kind of crazy. Find me on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. Don't forget to check back for short stories, more politics, analysis, scraps of science, and even some reviews. (And no, I haven't forgotten those extra reviews I promised you...they're coming, really. Cross my heart.) There will even be more interviews. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out!

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