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A Harsh Land of Extremes and Perilous Journeys

Code Noir (Parrish Plessis #2)MARIANNE DE PIERRES
Code Noir
Volume two of the PARRISH PLESSIS series 

Power, responsibilities and debts are never far from immediate if not perilous concerns for Parrish Plessis and this, the second book of the series begun with Nylon Angel, hurtles the heroine from talented adolescent to weight-of-the-world adulthood.

One of the many thrills of the de Pierres stories is the clever conceal-and-partially-show of both characters and story arcs. The thrilling pace of the books, interspersed with just enough social and/or technological grit, leaves the reader both satisfied and wanting more.

De Pierres, just like Plessis, appears to have a soft spot for many of the secondary characters, and some reappear hundreds of pages later in significant episodes of the story. And what secondary ‘characters’ some of them are – virtual PAs, biotech mergings, sentient ‘trees’ etc. Whether allies or foes, major or minor, all characters in this series have a role or purpose that exceeds those of most ciphers in much fiction. This is something I look for, and often find, in current speculative fiction.

The setting for the novels is a harsh land of extremes, with facets of ‘old’ Australia and a certain belligerent stubbornness in a few characters that could easily be considered an Oz trait! The haves and have-nots are both at the mercy of powerful forces, with Parrish and her allies, old and new, often buffeted in unexpected and very violent ways.

Describing Parrish as a ‘kick-ass cyberpunk heroine’ does no disservice to her or Lisbeth Sander – both have the guts, street cred, street smarts and sexual maturity to overcome most adversity, even when at a cost to themselves. But no, there is no happy-ever-after male companion at the end of the novels – and that is another huge plus. 5 stars.

Footnote: The historical Code Noir was a decree passed by King Louis XIV in 1685, defining France’s living conditions for race, slavery and freedom.
 
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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Reviews, Speculative Fiction

 

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Guts, Personal Demons, Internal Dialogues, New Heroines

MARIANNE DE PIERRES
Nylon Angel
Volume one of the PARRISH PLESSIS series

Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Post-Apocalyptic, Speculative Fiction – whatever you want to call it, there is a strength and depth to it that surpasses other fiction genres.

Crime and Thrillers and Mystery can have terrific stories and be well told, but in most cases those novels are ploughing the same ground, with most characters only a few degrees different to hundreds of others. Only a few authors like Andrew Vacchs have created outstanding bodies of work in those genres.

Nylon Angel, the first of the Parrish Plessis series, introduces a fascinating and internally-consistent post-disaster world, cleverly populated with characters that shout their individuality from each page.

Tough girl Parrish has all the guts, personal demons and internal dialogues that are common to the Crime Thriller style, but the sheer talent and audacity of de Pierres imagination raises the stakes – and the reader’s interest – well beyond the norm. Each chapter propels the story lines, introducing essential detail along with plenty of opportunities for moral and/or philosophical musings.

This is not a slick but ultimately hollow cops and robbers in space (and I guess the Political Correctness Police will not let us say cowboys and indians in space any more in case someone will get ‘upset’ by such terms). Rather, this is a wonderfully created alternate world with its own breeds/races/cultures and loyalties/animosities that can be enjoyed as great story telling. 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Reviews, Speculative Fiction

 

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AussieCon4 – a ‘science’ failure

AussieCon4 was held at the Melbourne Convention & Entertainment Centre (MCEC) from 2nd-6th Sept 2010, in theory the premier event for science fiction fans around the world. New fans and old were presented with a rich choice of panels and activities over the five days of the Con.

AussieCon4 the world science fiction convention 2010

The world science fiction convention 2010

The facilities were excellent apart from one huge waste. Thousands of people from around the world were gathered in one place at enormous carbon expense. But the enormously rich content from the minds of the collected leading lights of literature and fandom was wasted to an extravagant extent.

The 10 hours approx each day of panel talks, presentations and discussions were allowed to live briefly before they faded into the ether, the first minute evaporating before the second was delivered. This didn’t occur just once each day but at up to FIFTEEN times each hour at the contemporaneous panels.

So around 150 hours of fabulous content was created and crafted each day, then mindlessly allowed to trickle through the enormous gaps of readily available but shockingly unused technology.

This was the 68th year of a SCIENCE fiction convention! The con was held AWAY from 99.99% of the population of the planet! Yet EVERY word spoken and even every image used could have been captured for, at the LEAST, a podcast! WTF fandom! Why this diabolical WASTE!

Even the most perverse dystopia wouldn’t countenance such short-sightedness being perpetrated by assembled geekdom!

MCEC intelligent lectern

MCEC intelligent lectern

This stupendous lack was irritating at the MICRO level as it prevented interested and committed fans – some having travelled thousand of miles – from accessing content from two or three or even four panel discussions, often in ADJOINING rooms on a single floor of a supposedly high-tech venue!

At the MACRO level the 2 or 3 or up to 6 panelists presented around 1,000 hours of rich, mostly unique and definitely VALUABLE thought which was allowed to decay instantly apart from within the minds of just 20 to 50 to 100 attendees! WTF fandom!

SCIENCE fiction? SPECULATIVE fiction? MIND fiction? Sorry fandom but this was MINDLESS waste! Either the technology was there and ignored, or it should have been adapted to provide, at the minimum, a capture of all panel content to use in podcasts and/or streaming.

Steampunk, even, would be able to capture and provide universal access to these lost treasures of thought! The new millennium of fandom, post-2001, has no Odyssey journal to speak of and not even a SINGLE collection of thought – on paper or audio or video – from the live events! WTF FANDOM!

Who? Where? When? What? No-one will ever know!

Who? Where? When? What? No-one will ever know!

The sparkling diamonds of thought from fantasy authors, agents and fans (AAFs) are lost, needlessly wasted alongside the depth of knowledge and commentary that was delivered.

The sharp, finely-honed discussions from science and/or speculative fiction AAFs vanished faster than the speed of light.

The new generation, aka the talented and challenging YA spec fic AAFs, came and delivered and must have watched in amazement as their golden words suffered a half-life of nano seconds. YA expertise at the convention came from many, including Bec Kavanagh, Zoe Walton, Kate Forsyth and Helen Merrick.

Meanwhile, in another room, not that you’ll be able to see or hear, assembled fan luminaries are angry at the LACK OF ACCESS to older print-based fanzines and other types of documentation and memorabilia from decades past!

Even at the celeb level there must have been some frustration that a person sitting on a panel would be unable to hear a transcript of another panel, in many cases with valuable content delivered by their peers or even colleagues.

W T F   F A N D O M !

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2010 in Fandom, Publishing, Social Media, Writing, YA

 

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