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Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (2006)
Reviewed by Alisa Krasnostein (this review was originally published in 2006)
Overall, the science fiction novels published in Australia in 2006 were disappointing. Hydrogen Steel by K A Bedford was one of the few standouts that managed to hold my attention for the whole book. Thrilling in places, suspenseful in others, an avid science fiction reader could do a lot worse than Bedford’s latest offering.
Former homicide inspector Zette McGee has found a quiet life on the Serendipity retirement habitat in the Sirius A system. Her quiet, peaceful life is interrupted by a call from Kell Fallow in desperate need of her help and claiming to be a disposable, just like her. Being an android is McGee’s big secret. No-one knows, not even her best friend Gideon Smith. It’s the reason she quit the police force and she’s still not really fully convinced that it’s true and if it is, where her life ends and her programmed memories begin.
When Kell Fallow is blown up whilst trying to smuggle himself into Serendipity, McGee and Smith become involved in not only the mystery surrounding his death and the prior murder of his wife but also the bigger mystery of the Fireminds and, in particular, Hydrogen Steel and the intergalactic war it is waging. Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Fremantle Press (2009)
Reviewed by Guy Salvidge
Time Machines Repaired While U Wait is Perth writer K.A. Bedford’s fourth published novel, but it’s the first to have been published in Australia. All four of Bedford’s science fiction novels have previously been released by Edge Publications in Canada, including Time Machines, which won Australia’s Aurealis Award for Best SF Novel in 2008, and was shortlisted for the Philip K Dick Award in the US in 2009. Presumably this lead to Fremantle Press picking this novel up for domestic publication, which makes Time Machines something of a breakthrough novel for its author.
And it shows. This is an assured performance in a mode that reminds me a little of my great love Philip K Dick (especially in that our protagonist, Al “Spider” Webb, is a repairman) but also of authors like Robert Sheckley. The plot starts out relatively simply, with Spider picking up a dodgy used time-machine that may or may not blow up, potentially consuming the universe. There’s this thing called “the Bat Cave”, which to my mind is probably the coolest gadget in the book — it’s a sort of miniature universe for performing experiments or blowing stuff up. Turns out there’s another time machine hiding inside the first (this reminds me of an old Doctor Who episode where two spaceships get merged into one — kind of) and there’s a dead body inside. And Spider, an ex-cop with a chequered past, is itching to solve the crime.