Author Archives: Barbara Howe

The Murderbot Diaries

If I were to make a movie of All Systems Red by Martha Wells, I would open with this voiceover: I murdered 57 humans. And then I went rogue. Murderbot, as the part-organic android security unit (SecUnit) privately calls itself, … Continue reading

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2020 Sir Julius Vogel Awards

Are you aware of the Sir Julius Vogel awards? Sir Julius Vogel was a prominent early immigrant to New Zealand. Besides being New Zealand’s Premier in the 1870s, he wrote New Zealand’s first science fiction novel, published in 1889. The … Continue reading

Posted in New Zealand | 2 Comments

From a Shadow Grave

Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons was murdered in 1931, struck on the head and then buried alive in fill from the excavation of Wellington’s Mount Victoria tunnel*. That historical fact is the springboard for From a Shadow Grave, by New Zealand author … Continue reading

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Snow Falling on Cedars

The time: December 1954. The place: a courtroom in a small town on an island in Puget Sound. Kabuo Miaymoto, the American-born son of Japanese immigrants, is on trial for the murder of Carl Heine, an American of European descent. … Continue reading

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Rose in Bloom

The flurry of news articles about the latest movie adaptation of Luisa May Alcott’s Little Women prompted me to pull one of her less well-known novels off my bookshelf. I’ve read Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo’s … Continue reading

Posted in Chick Lit, Children's Fiction | 2 Comments

The End of a Long Journey is in Sight

The end of my nearly ten-year trek through Frankland—the setting of the Reforging series—is finally in sight. I wrote the first scene in the first book, The Locksmith, in October 2010. The first scenes of the fifth and final book … Continue reading

Posted in A Writer's Life | 2 Comments

2019 Recap

The Icelandic custom of exchanging books on Christmas Eve, and spending the rest of the evening reading and eating chocolate, sounds to me like a great tradition. My family knows they’ll be getting books from me—I generally do at least … Continue reading

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Cloud Atlas

The most notable feature of David Mitchell’s award-winning—and challenging—novel Cloud Atlas is the book’s structure. Made up of six loosely-connected novellas, each in a radically different style and time period, this novel nests the six stories like Russian dolls. The … Continue reading

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The Lord of Stariel

Twenty-something Hetta (Henrietta) Valstar, master illusionist, returns to the Stariel estate after six years of self-imposed exile. But it’s too late for this prodigal daughter to reconcile with her tradition-bound, disapproving father, the Lord of Stariel. She’s come home for … Continue reading

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Imperial Radch: Ancillary Justice

The Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie, consisting of the books Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy, is one of the most astounding and engrossing works I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. Given the number … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction, Space Opera | 1 Comment