No swash-buckling space pirates in this novella, but instead our beloved Miles is sent by his father up into the red-neck mountains to solve a murder-No swash-buckling space pirates in this novella, but instead our beloved Miles is sent by his father up into the red-neck mountains to solve a murder--the hideous (but all too prevalent) crime of infanticide on an infant perceived as a mutant because of a birth defect easily corrected by modern surgery. Through his detective work, Miles is forced to prove to these old-fashioned and prejudiced people that what his short and broken body lacks in physical strength, his mind more than makes up for in mental acuity.
The end of the story (as usual) is most touching, and I had forgotten how this becomes the thing that fuels Miles to serve his nation going forward....more
I love Miles Vorkosigan, the precocious, ingenious, and vertically challenged offspring of Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith, of Shards of Honor aI love Miles Vorkosigan, the precocious, ingenious, and vertically challenged offspring of Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith, of Shards of Honor and Barrayar. This is the first story where Miles takes center stage in the Vorkosigan Saga--his coming of age, as it were. In essence, after failing to get into the illustrious Barrayaran military academy, Miles and friends go to Beta Colony for a visit to his grandmother. But it's not long before Miles leads them into a hair-brained scheme, delivering contraband in the middle of a war zone, (view spoiler)[where he ultimately finds himself the accidental leader of a mercenary space fleet (hide spoiler)].
I really love parts of this story. I gave it four stars though, relative to many of the other episodes in this series. There are some moments, in The Warrior's Apprentice, where the pace fluctuates a bit too much and loses momentum, so that I'm not eating it up and turning pages like crazy, as in other Miles stories....more
This was definitely a story that I really enjoyed during the first read-through and didn't at all mind re-reading it when it was included again in a later omnibus collection. Miles's first meeting with Taura the genetically modified "super soldier" teenager werewolf is delightful and hilarious. Even in eight years between my first and second reads, I remembered enough about the hilarity to anticipate this meeting, although the details had certainly grown vague enough that I was as delighted my second read-through as I had been on the first....more
This novel ended up on my to-read list because it's the original work of fiction that coined the term robot. I'm confused about whether Capek's work wThis novel ended up on my to-read list because it's the original work of fiction that coined the term robot. I'm confused about whether Capek's work was originally a novel or a play. But I suspect that this BBC audio book version is a play adaptation of the original novel, specifically for this BBC radio production. Good production quality, voice acting, etc. But I definitely will need to pick up the novel version some time as well, as I felt like this one lacked in some detail and nuance not well-conveyed through the limited scope of dialogue alone....more
Perdido Street Station is one of China Miéville's oldies but goodies. Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is a scientist working along the fringes of the law onPerdido Street Station is one of China Miéville's oldies but goodies. Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is a scientist working along the fringes of the law on his pet project Crisis Theory--an area that many of his fellow scientists don't believe is anything more than make-believe. And his lover is Lin--one of the insect-like Khepri race--whom he sees only in secret for fear of racist, negative backlash from the scientific community. When a mangle-winged Garuda (of the desert bird race), shows up at Isaac's doorstep and asks him to use his scientific expertise to restore his ability to fly, Isaac's work is kicked into high gear. But during his researches, he unknowingly comes into possession of a dangerous creature that, when hatched, will wreak havoc on New Crobuzon, threatening not only the lives of Isaac's friends but the well-being of every race of creature in the city.
This is my second attempt to read a China Miéville novel. My first attempt was Un Lun Dun, of which I only made it through the first several chapters. This time around, with Perdido, I was much more successful. But I came prepared: audio book!! My main qualm with Miéville is his obsession with setting (and why the audio book version came in so handy). At the beginning of nearly every change of scene or point-of-view character, he describes the new setting for what seems like pages and pages. Listening in audio allowed me to space out during these long-winded moments and bring my attention back to the story when something was actually happening.
Besides the problem of setting, I found Perdido highly satisfying on a number of fronts. While I wouldn't say I had a very strong emotional connection with any of the characters, they were all very interesting, well-motivated, and sympathetic when they were supposed to be. The world-building was great--awesomely creative and complex. And the plot was fantabulous. I particularly enjoyed the middle of the book, when all hell essentially broke loose, and the complex plot threads that Miéville had been weaving suddenly pulled tight, right around the main character's neck. Very exciting! And the story hardly let up after that. Miéville held me absolutely enthralled for half this hefty tomb.
The few things, story wise, that I have the most eensy-weensy nitpicks for are 1) that I feel like the government point of views dropped away very suddenly, and I found myself still wanting to know what they were up to for the rest of the book. And 2) Isaac's sudden (view spoiler)[wariness of the Construct Council felt like it came out of nowhere. Almost like I accidentally skipped ahead in the audio book. They had just been in a battle with the Slake Moths, were tired and beat up, had lost comrades, and then all of a sudden he's just railing about the Constructs. I wasn't too surprised by the idea that the Constructs were up to things (that seemed obvious). But Isaac's sudden outburst made me feel like I missed something. (hide spoiler)] I also have to mention that this book is very brutal and graphically violent at times. I wasn't such a big fan of that. Also, I really really wanted to know even a little bit about what happened with the Construct Council. And what happened to David??...more
This is a very awesome compilation of the first two books in Orson Scott Card's Laddertop comic series. The story is great, though the illustrations jThis is a very awesome compilation of the first two books in Orson Scott Card's Laddertop comic series. The story is great, though the illustrations just kind of get the job done. In this version, the illustrations are black and white and small, unlike the glossy color images in the graphic novel Book 1 only version (Laddertop, Volume 1).
Azure and Robbi are best friends selected to join Laddertop Academy and become potential candidates to travel thousands of miles above Earth's surface to the Laddertop Station to help maintain the hundreds of solar panels that serve to give the planet power. Laddertop and all its technology were given to the humans by a seemingly benevolent alien race, called The Givers, less than a century earlier.
Things don't go Azure's way when the strange alien sorting machine doesn't approve her to go to Laddertop. While Robbi's harrowing experience in the sorter nearly breaks the machine. After her close call with the alien technology, Robbi begins having strange alien visions and nightmares, as if The Givers are trying to tell her something. Some factions of humanity are more skeptical about The Givers' motivations and technology, and Azure--left behind on Earth--is recruited.
I found Book 1 of this series very intriguing and, for the last couple of years, have been dying to read the next one. I even re-read it and listened to it (yep, there is oddly an audio book version) while waiting around for the next segment of the story. Finally found this Book 1-2 combo and was not at all disappointed by Book 2 in the series. But it's still driving me crazy that I can't just keep on reading to find out what's going to happen next!...more
Saga is an amazingly written and illustrated graphic novel/comic series.
I gave minus one star for the amount of graphic violence in this installment.Saga is an amazingly written and illustrated graphic novel/comic series.
I gave minus one star for the amount of graphic violence in this installment. Maybe it was no more than before, but it at least affected me more this time. I also found it a bit challenging to remember some of what had come before, since there was such a big gap between my reading of Vol. 3 and Vol. 4. But still amazing, beautiful, and fun to read....more
To my understanding, Off to Be the Wizard is a sort of expansion or spin-off of Scott Meyer's Basic Instructions web comic. I have never read the comiTo my understanding, Off to Be the Wizard is a sort of expansion or spin-off of Scott Meyer's Basic Instructions web comic. I have never read the comic so have a viewpoint completely unswayed by nostalgia or other influences.
This first novel by Meyer tells the story of Martin Banks, a disenchanted young programmer/hacker who makes the discovery that existence is really just a computer program. And he has read/write access to the files. It doesn't take Martin long to overextend his new-found powers and get into trouble. He narrowly escapes with a backup plan of going to Medieval England to become a "wizard". Low and behold, he is not the only one to have this grand idea.
Standing on its own, the book was just okay. The prose were okay. The character development was okay. I liked the premise and the nerd factor. But the plot, honestly, was a bit of a slog. I didn't care enough. Not about the characters. Not about the situation. There wasn't quite enough at stake. Plus, I was often forgetting who was who between Martin and his fellow wizard Philip. They didn't have different enough personalities or mannerisms to tell them apart except through dialogue context.
This is a difficult book to rate because I loved some of the stories, especially in the first half of the collection. The second half, though, was inuThis is a difficult book to rate because I loved some of the stories, especially in the first half of the collection. The second half, though, was inundated with pointless little story snippets -- flash fiction? -- that just didn't do much for me. I was waiting for at least one more, longer gem of a story. But came away disappointed.
B.J. Novak mixes contemporary fiction, humor, and sometimes science fiction in surprising and original ways. I loved the audiobook version, with B.J. Novak as the main reader and many guest readers including Julianne Moore and Lena Dunham.
The pseudo-sci-fi story featuring Lena Dunham was by far my favorite. In it, a man explains how he came to be the one who discovered the first artificial intelligence able to feel emotion, after he purchased a sex robot (Lena) who eventually became self-aware and fell in love with him....more
Love love love this graphic novel! Love the art, love the characters, love the writing.
Volume 3 has renegade new parents Marko and Alana visiting D.Love love love this graphic novel! Love the art, love the characters, love the writing.
Volume 3 has renegade new parents Marko and Alana visiting D. Oswald Heist, the author whose work first compelled Alana to turn away from the generations-old war between her people and Marko's. Meanwhile, the bounty hunter The Will and Marko's ex-fiance Gwendolyn are stranded on a seemingly-peaceful jungle planet until their ship can be fixed. The Will struggles with what course of action to take next as tension between him and Gwendolyn heats up, and he has a visit from the ghost of his creepy ex-girlfriend The Stalk....more
The Time Trader centers around Ross Murdock, a scrappy young criminal who has fallen on the wrong side of the law one too many times and now faces theThe Time Trader centers around Ross Murdock, a scrappy young criminal who has fallen on the wrong side of the law one too many times and now faces the choice of a reform camp or being drafted as a recruit into a top secret project. Turns out the project involves highly trained special ops traveling through time to find ancient future technologies. Ancient future technologies, you say? Yes, well that is where the plot gets interesting.
For the most part, Ross had very little personality of his own and often served as a fly on the wall while the other time travelers did all the thinking, the talking, and the work. Those portions of the story (the whole middle, for example), were rather boring. Once we were back centered on Ross (i.e., he'd lost his comrades and was on his own), things picked up a bit. Yet he mostly just bumbled his way from one thing to the next. There was not a lot of intelligent thinking here. Not a lot of character-driven storyline. Mostly, things just happened too him. Not very riveting.
However, I did like the direction the story took at the end and the setup for the next book. (view spoiler)[Aliens! Maybe even space travel? (hide spoiler)] For the most part, this story wasn't good enough to leave me wanting to read the next. But the twist near the end definitely left me curious enough to pick up the next installment....more