Reviews of Ditmar Nominees

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Ditmar Nominees 2003

NOVEL

  • Echoes of Earth, Sean Williams & Shane Dix
    The prolific Mr. Williams and friend turn in what is a pretty good, readable yarn involving a lot of near-future extrapolation that, given the current rate of change with technology is just about believable. Humanity has cloned multiple copies of certain people into "engrams", really more a computer-oriented personality, and sent them off into various directions in space to check things out as Earth isn't doing so well. One group makes contact with an alien civilization they call the Spinnners, which give them a bunch of stuff prosaically referred to as "the gifts", including an ftl drive, which allows one of them, the protagonist Peter Alander, to go back to Earth, which had stopped communicating with them years before. Williams and Dix convey a good sense of the isolation of space, even more isolated for these engrams who have no physical form of their own, and the Earth they find when Alander returns is suitably alien to the one he had left only 100 years before. At this point things don't go well for him or the human race, or just about anyone, and the book ends in such a way you couldn't possibly get that far without running to buy the next one. There are some plot machinations that are a bit contrived, or else don't seem really necessary (Why stop the one crew member whose prime directive is to return to Earth, only to return to Earth anyway? Why have the first person he come into contact with on returning to Earth be another copy of one of the crew members he left behind?). The authors don't work too hard to explain the science behind some of their toys, which is fine, and other than the main characters the others all sort of run together, but they end up not having much to do anyway, so it doesn't matter that much. Williams would seem to be the Australian Kevin J. Anderson, prolific, popular, never going to win a Hugo, but able to put out a decent, compelling read that makes for an entertaining story.
  • Blue Silence, Michelle Marquardt
  • The Sky Warden and the Sun, Sean Williams
  • Sovereign, Simon Brown
  • The Storm Weaver and the Sand, Sean Williams
  • Time Past, Maxine McArthur
  • Transcension, Damien Broderick
  • SHORT FICTION

    "King of All and the Metal Sentinel", Deborah Biancotti (Agog! Fantastic Fiction)
    "Cigarettes and Roses", Ben Peek (Passing Strange)
    "Father Muerte and the Theft", Lee Battersby (Aurealis #29 2002)
    "Scratches in the Sky", Ben Peek (Agog! Fantastic Fiction)
    "Stealing Alice", Claire McKenna (Agog! Fantastic Fiction)