What Life Is like on Jupiter and Mars; SCIENCE FICTION
Byline: HARRY RITCHIE
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
(Orbit [pounds sterling]18.99 [pounds sterling]16.99)
WE'RE three centuries into the future. Earth has been ravaged by global warming and halfdrowned by melting ice-caps -- but on the plus side humans have managed to colonise most of the other planets and moons of the solar system, together with about 19,000 asteroids.
Our heroine, Swan, is a native of Mercury; her friend and soon-to-be lover Wahram hails from Saturn, and both find themselves embroiled in interplanetary politics, a top-secret mission and the looming threat of quantum computers who have taken humanoid form.
The plot tootles along just about adequately enough, but the real energy and allure of this book comes from its often gobsmacking and always richly detailed epic vision of an extraterrestrial future -- of habitable asteroids, space elevators, a terraformed Venus and Mercury's magnificent mobile city, always on the run from the dawn and the broiling Sun. Wonderful.
THE LONG EARTH
by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
(Doubleday [pounds sterling]18.99 [pounds sterling]15.99)
THIS IS the first work from a new collaboration between the colossus of fantasy and a giant of SF.
Pratchett-with-Baxter kick off with a rather brilliantly worked tale of parallel worlds that are easily accessed with a DIY gizmo powered by a potato. …