Summer was way too short this year, with the snow handing around into April. And now we’ve got an early fall heralded by lots of chilly rain.
But as quick as the summer was, I still had time to read. These are three of best. I hadn’t intended to read books that made me think of the role of women, but that’s what happened with two of the three. And they made for an interesting contrast, making me think about just how much our society has changed just in the last sixty years or so.
All the Colors of Darkness
I’ve recently heard of Lloyd Biggle, who apparently was a prolific author of science fiction in the last century. (Sounds like a long time ago, doesn’t it?) Many of his works were space operas, including All the Colors of Darkness, which is the first in the Jan Darzek series.
Darzek is a private detective in the late 1900s. He’s hired by the Universal Transmitting Company after its supposedly foolproof technology that transports people instantly from one place to another. One the second day the system is open to the public, two women are lost in transit. Darzek is hired to find the women, a job that sends him on the trail of alien saboteurs and farther than he ever imagined.
All the Colors of Darkness was a fun read, but its 1963 publication date is obvious from the role of the women the story and the way they are treated. Still, the writing is entertaining, the story intriguing and it provides a few hours of pleasurable escape.
The Calculating Stars
Approaching the role of women from a different angle is The Calculating Stars, a book that made me think of Hidden Figures.
Mary Robinette Kowal’s novel is set in 1952, when an impending asteroid strike on Earth motivates the nations to develop their space programs so that humanity can escape the coming apocalypse. A of women who gained experience as pilots during WW2 want to be considered for the fledgling space program. They are dubbed “Lady Astronauts” and used as PR props more than considered to be serious contenders.
But Elma York and her fellow Lady Astronauts refuse to accept that. How they go about fighting to claim their spots as full-fledged astronauts made a great story.
Winter is the fourth book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series, is just plain fun. If you’ve missed my reviews of the earlier books in the series, here’s a quick recap. Each book retells a fairy. The first, Cinder, has a cyborg in the role of Cinderella. Scarlet, of course, retells Little Red Riding Hood, and Cress give us a futuristic Rapunzel, isolated on a satellite instead of a tower. The three novels work their way to the conclusion in Winter, which is a reimagined Snow White.
Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter all struggle to defeat the evil Lunar queen and to restore Cinder as the ruler of Luna. Full of action and suspense, Winter is a satisfying ending to a fun series.