Tuesday, November 27, 2018

James Alan Gardner

James Alan Gardner is a 1989 graduate of the Clarion West Science Fiction Writers Workshop, and has had several science fiction stories and novellas appear in publications such as Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Amazing Stories, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He is the author of Expendable, Commitment Hour, Vigilant, Hunted, Ascending, Trapped, and Radiant. He was the grand prize winner of the 1989 Writers of the Future contest, has won the Aurora Award, and has been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Gardner's new novel is They Promised Me The Gun Wasn't Loaded.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I aspire to write action-adventure stories that have both humor and heart. I therefore aspire to read such stories whenever I can find them.

So I’ve been reading the Murderbot novellas by Martha Wells. There are four of them: All Systems Red, Artificial Conditions, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy. They’re science fiction, taking place several centuries from now when humans are spread across the stars. The hero is Murderbot—a security unit, part machine, part organic, which has hacked its control chip so that it no longer has to obey human commands.

Despite its name, Murderbot doesn’t want to kill people. It just wants to watch its favorite soap operas and avoid being captured or destroyed by the corporation that manufactured it. But Murderbot gets entangled in a series of adventures during which it gradually develops emotions and awkwardly learns to handle them.

Murderbot doesn’t become human. It doesn’t want to be human. But it becomes endearingly sympathetic in its grumpy intimacy-fearing way.

Exit Strategy brings Murderbot’s story to a satisfying resting-place, but I doubt that it’ll be the final book. Too many readers (like me) want to see more of the charming hacker/killer/misanthrope. I hope the series continues for many years to come.
Visit James Alan Gardner's website.

The Page 69 Test: They Promised Me The Gun Wasn't Loaded.

--Marshal Zeringue