This is a new series focusing on the USS Titan, commanded by Will Riker after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. This was a really fun read - Riker and...moreThis is a new series focusing on the USS Titan, commanded by Will Riker after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. This was a really fun read - Riker and Troi were two of my favourite TNG characters, so it's good to see them moving on to bigger and better things. It tells a much more satisfying story than Nemesis did, as well, while dealing with the fallout of that movie. If you're not the type of person who's a Star Trek fan to begin with, though, there's really no point in you picking this up.(less)
I've been a fan of Dick's for a long time (ever since a university professor of mine used him to explain what Gnosticism is), and it seems lik...moreAmazing.
I've been a fan of Dick's for a long time (ever since a university professor of mine used him to explain what Gnosticism is), and it seems like this short novel manages to sum up all of Dick's attitudes toward religion and spirituality in one nice little 200-page package. It's as much a parable of Gnosticism as it is anything else, but there's some nice visuals along the way as well. Time keeps regressing for our main character Joe Chip - he starts off in the futuristic world of 1992, but after surviving an explosion on the lunar colony, he finds himself and the world around him gradually sliding back in time to 1939. As he's traveling, however, two additional mysteries present themselves - Joe has to discover why his friend and colleague Runciter, who dies in the lunar explosion, is sending him messages, and also the secret of Ubik, a substance that seems to have been around since forever but which no one seems to understand.
Throughout the book, Dick breaks some of what are considered basic rules for how a novel should be structured, but he does it in such an artful way that it leaves you feeling unsettled, rather than disappointed.
Highly recommended for anyone who enjoyed the Matrix films (or their spiritual predecessor, Morrison's Invisibles series).
I don't feel entirely comfortable writing a detailed review of this book, because I didn't fully read through the entire thing - it was due back at th...moreI don't feel entirely comfortable writing a detailed review of this book, because I didn't fully read through the entire thing - it was due back at the library, so I only had a chance to skim through the last few chapters. Eventually I'll get back to the rest of it, however.
Randall provides an introductory-level approach to string theory, as well as the history of physics leading up to it (Newton, Einstein, and that type of stuff). She does so in a relaxed, easy to follow manner that's definitely intended for people who want to learn more about contemporary physics. In that case, I suppose this could be considered the "Brief History of Time" of string theory.
That said, I'm still not entirely sold on the theory. The basic idea of string theory is that we live in a universe of more than the four dimensions we're used to, and that for one reason or another we haven't been able to understand or detect those dimensions. These dimensions are used to offer an explanation about why certain elements of physics don't seem to work together, such as the relative weakness of gravity compared to other fundamental forces, and the lack of cohesiveness between relativity and quantum physics. Answering these questions has been the goal of a lot of physicists in the past generation, so I can understand the appeal of the theory. However (and maybe this is just me being uninformed), from what I've read, string theory seems to rely a lot on conjecture and guesswork, at this point at least, with little actual experimental reality to back it up. I remain unsold on the theory for now as a result.(less)
A fairly entertaining comedy book - very much Dave Barry/Royal Canadian Air Farce type stuff. Covered most of the main stereotypes about Canada and Ca...moreA fairly entertaining comedy book - very much Dave Barry/Royal Canadian Air Farce type stuff. Covered most of the main stereotypes about Canada and Canadians.(less)
As we head into the second half of the Edge of Victory mini-series, the story starts t o focus a lot more on Anakin Solo. Unfortuately, Anakin is poss...moreAs we head into the second half of the Edge of Victory mini-series, the story starts t o focus a lot more on Anakin Solo. Unfortuately, Anakin is possibly my least-favourite character in the entire series, so I figured that this would make this book a real slog through. Keyes does a really good job of developing Anakin's character, though: by the end of the book, I found him somewhat likable, and appreciated that he now has a bit of a character that's unique and separate from his siblings.(less)
Usually I'm not a big fan of "for Dummies" books. I find them too simplistic, and a little condescending in a backhanded manner. This one was good, th...moreUsually I'm not a big fan of "for Dummies" books. I find them too simplistic, and a little condescending in a backhanded manner. This one was good, though. Full of photos and diagrams to show me (at least partially) what I've been doing wrong out on the court. Haven't had too much of a chance to get out and play any tennis since reading it, but did a few solo practice sessions and found I had improved by leaps and bounds since reading this.(less)
An adaptation of the Mark Waid/Alex Ross graphic novel. Adds a lot of necessary depth, especially to the POV character of Norman, but is hampered by s...moreAn adaptation of the Mark Waid/Alex Ross graphic novel. Adds a lot of necessary depth, especially to the POV character of Norman, but is hampered by silted dialogue and descriptions. I wouldn't recommend reading this one on its own, but if you're fond of the GN it's a good enough read.(less)
That seems to be one of the questions raised by Republic Commando: Hard Contact. On the surface, it v...moreWhen is a Star Wars novel not a Star Wars novel?
That seems to be one of the questions raised by Republic Commando: Hard Contact. On the surface, it very much seems to be one - you have a group of Commando clone troopers trying to rescue a young Jedi from a Mandalorian warrior, and the Clone Wars are very actively happening in the background of the novel's action. Despite these surface similarities, however, the novel bears very little in common with the rest of the Star Wars universe, and what is the "house style" of the EU (Expanded Universe) novels in general. If a few names and titles had have been changed, this could have very easily been an 'original fiction' title, rather than a tie-in novel. For all of the stories that have been written in the Star Wars universe, most of them have focused very heavily on the 'Star' portion of the title, with little if any focus done on the 'Wars' part. Hard Contact changes that by delivering a story of military sci-fi, focusing on an elite group of Commando clones.
Throughout the course of the novel, Traviss does a very good job of developing all of her clone soldiers as distinct individuals. In other parts of the Clone Wars saga, the clones exist more or less as cyphers; in addition to sharing a genetic code, it appeared that they all shared a character (or lack thereof). One of the themes that Traviss explores is the idea of finding both a culture and an individual identity, and the difficulties that would be associated with that, when there are millions of others who share both your physical form and most of your personal past. [return][return]I generally try not to be a snob when it comes to liscenced material, but in the past year I've read a few that were really a chore to get through. Hard Contact is the exact opposite of that; with or without the Star Wars name attached to it, it was a really enjoyable piece of fiction writing.(less)
An alternate history novel set in a Jewish settlement, Sitka, in southern Alaska, The Yiddish Policemen's Union tells the story of a down-on-his-luck...moreAn alternate history novel set in a Jewish settlement, Sitka, in southern Alaska, The Yiddish Policemen's Union tells the story of a down-on-his-luck detective named Landsman who has to investigate the death of a junkie who may have been the Messiah before his untimely death.
This book was amazingly written. I hadn't read much Chagon previously, but he's one of those writers who has a complete mastery over the language, to a degree where I think I would read him write about anything at all, just because of the style it's written in. (less)
I realized only in the middle of this that, while it's part 1 of a trilogy, it's also really book 7 of a 9 book set. So I was a little lost for a bit,...moreI realized only in the middle of this that, while it's part 1 of a trilogy, it's also really book 7 of a 9 book set. So I was a little lost for a bit, but was eventually after to figure out exactly what was going on.
What Turtledove's done with this series is set up an alternate history of the United States; one in which the Confederate States of America won the US Civil War, and were able to establish themselves as a significant political and economic force.
This series, specifically, starts a little over 50 years after the end of the Civil War; The USA and the German Empire have just been victorious in World War I, winning a decisive victory over Quadruple Alliance of Russia, England, France, and the CSA. As a result of the war, the USA is occupying Canada, and is demanding reparations from the CSA.
If you're a student of history, you can kind of guess where this is going: hyperinflation, chronic unemployment, and bitterness about the outcome of the war result in a large group of people in the country becoming increasingly angry and leaning towards violence, which certain political forces manipulate by placing the blame on aristocrats in government and minority groups present in the country. Turtledove has the CSA parallel fate of the Weimar Republic in our reality, and seeing those parallels is one of the main sources of tension in the book.
The main problem I had with the book was that it relies too heavily on that knowledge of history to drive your interest in the story. The main dramatic tension comes from knowing your history between the two world wars, rather than from the characters; at times they seem almost like set-pieces being moved around in order to move the historical story from A to B. Still, the idea is interesting enough that I'll make sure to read the next two books in the trilogy. (less)