Never a Hindrance: A Review of Aurora Blazing, by Jessie Mihalik

There is a certain amount of joy gained in reading some fiction.  Fiction meant to entertain, to transport the readers to fantastical worlds and witness the deeds of heroic peoples.  Where literary fiction tends to prioritize specific word choice and meaning over plot and character, many authors realize that there can be greater value in drawing in and entertaining your audience.  Sometimes the best books are the ones that make you forget that you are reading words on a page, instead conjuring images in your imagination.  These are the kinds of books that are hard to put down, and you wonder how you managed to read through them so quickly.  These types of books thrive in science-fiction, where most things, if not all things, are possible.  The only barrier is the author’s imagination.
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The Space Princess and the Wanted Criminal: A Review of Polaris Rising, by Jessie Mihalik

Science-fiction takes many forms, but there are two archetypes which nearly all science-fiction stories fall into.  First, there is the hard sci-fi.  The Expanse, The Three-Body Problem, anything by Robert A. Heinlein.  These are the stories which pay extra attention to the technologies of the future and go to great lengths to explain exactly how races have progressed to their points.  This type of science-fiction can be literary, it can be intellectual, and it can be gritty.  On the other end of the spectrum is the space opera.  Star Wars, Firefly, A Princess of Mars.  In space operas the technology is present, but is not central to the story.  These stories are all about the characters.  Where hard sci-fi series can fluctuate between multiple viewpoints, space operas relish in following an individual or a group of characters throughout their adventure.  As our world changes and progresses, hard science-fiction and sometimes feel outdated, but space operas are timeless.  Polaris Rising is very much a space opera.

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Inner Demons: A Review of Temper, by Nicky Drayden

Anyone who reads this blog will know that I read a lot of fantasy novels.  They are the perfect form of escapism, pulling readers into different worlds.  The world can be as similar or as different from our world as the author’s imagination allows.  They can draw on real-world environments, societies, and peoples.  The worlds of fantasy can also be as nontraditional as the author likes.  Medieval Europe is usually the go-to influence, but there are no limits on which culture a book must take to heart.  Asia, indigenous Australia, the middle East, old world America, the Pacific Islands, Africa…fantasy is the excuse to be as non-traditional as possible.  The whole point of fantasy is to create a new world.  Why should that new world be a slave to the rules of the old one?  Create your own world and write your own rules.

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