I remember watching the original Dr. Who as a kid and being perplexed because it was a far cry from anything on American networks. American sci-fi wasI remember watching the original Dr. Who as a kid and being perplexed because it was a far cry from anything on American networks. American sci-fi was transparent and in-your-face, while our British counterparts preferred more sedated, intellectually challenging fare. Of course the tables turn as you get older and those visceral hunger pains for sweets often turn to an appreciation of the savory. Subtly, dry wit, cleverness become infrequent treats that delight overburdened senses in unexpected ways that deliver satisfying new rewards.
This the vibe I got when reading Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens, the first in a homage series that features Dr. Who's estranged twin brother, Doctor How. I expected diving into this book that I would be reading a parody (or at least a cheap knock-off of the cultish favorite). What I got instead was a rich, deeply thought out ode to the classic with a few of the more commercial elements of the present day Dr. Who thrown in. The result was a buffet of sci-fi goodness that I giddily devoured over the course of two days.
What made this novel special for me is the author's ability to mix outlandish sci-fi elements into a modern day world without becoming cartoonish or bombastic. As a reader, you always want that feeling like these things are happening around the corner and had you just turned it a moment earlier you would have seen something fantastic. And that's exactly how the adventure unfolds. With a few curious incidents like a car crash and petrol robbery spiraling into something much bigger and more exciting.
Characters are always a big part of Dr. Who and in Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens, they get the same treatment. From the dry, but mercurial Dr. How to his street-saavy hacker-thief assistant Kevin to his alien spider-kitty, Trinity, the verbal slings and arrows keep us in stitches. And let's not forget the most domineering species in the galaxy, the Dolts, probably one my absolute favorite creation in the book.
You don't have to be a fan of Doctor Who or British comedy to enjoy Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens, but it has that same delightful, elevated sense of humor that makes you feel smarter for having read it. With strong prose, smart plotting, and tons of imagination, this is a series I'll be tuning in for again and again.
Really enjoyed this sprawling, powerful story centered around the cartel wars of the last decade. Winslow does a superb drama of blending actual (horrReally enjoyed this sprawling, powerful story centered around the cartel wars of the last decade. Winslow does a superb drama of blending actual (horrific events) with the fictional characters presented here. The book could be a little shorter and the narrative thoughline gets lost at times, but the subject matter is powerful, especially when it comes to the victims of this violent trade. I personally found the journalist Pablo's storyline extremely impactful. Especially in light of the dedication that listens hundreds of journalists that lost their lives to speak the truth of what was going on. One of Winslow's best. ...more
This book was recommending to me by a fellow writer friend. Neither of us our prone to reading "self-help" titles, but it's written from the perspectiThis book was recommending to me by a fellow writer friend. Neither of us our prone to reading "self-help" titles, but it's written from the perspective of a working writer (although any artist can reap the benefits inside). It focuses on how artists struggle with "resistance," a term Pressfield created to describe the force that keeps us from pursuing our work, which can be manifsted in many ways including writer's block, procrastination, fear. What most working artists know through experience is that approaching the chair or the easel is the hard part. Once you sit down to get to work, the fear is quickly overcome.
Others have suggested the voice here is flippant and the messages repetitive, but the multitude of experiences are ones I share. Self-help titles aren't for everyone, but if you struggle sometimes with doing the work, I highly recommend giving this breezy book a read. ...more
Really enjoyed this time travel novel from Wesley Chu. I've never read him before, but it was a delight to find he's the real deal as an author, constReally enjoyed this time travel novel from Wesley Chu. I've never read him before, but it was a delight to find he's the real deal as an author, constructing a realistic future world that feels both advanced and yet grounded. His prose is also rich with detail, but not overwrought. This is especially unique of any time travel story as most authors get mired in the vortex of time travel paradoxes and the reader is often inundated (read: confused) by questions of physics. Here, Chu gives us a few rules and keeps the story moving. The confusion is also mitigated by the fact that we're not returning to the same time over and over and over again so tireless attempts to track story threads is unnecessary.
I also enjoyed the characters, particularly the protagonist and his habitual adversary Levin, who reminds me of Javert from Les Miserables, who puts law above doing what's right. The story ends with some questions, which I presume will be answered in a book two. For my part, I'll be eager to check them out.
For science fiction fans that like their stories with a little more meat on the bone, this one's definitely worth your TIME....more
I'm not a regular Harlan Coben fan, but any time I pick up one of my books I'm reminded of how talent he is. The man writes excellent mystery prose thI'm not a regular Harlan Coben fan, but any time I pick up one of my books I'm reminded of how talent he is. The man writes excellent mystery prose that immerses you into the story and makes you eager to continue reading to find out what will happen next.
The Stranger is a mystery where in we spend the bulk of 400 pages wondering who the stranger is and what his role is. The problem for me is that the payoff just doesn't live up to the hype. Fans of pure mysteries might like the Stranger because it gets you asking a lot of questions with several misdirections that you can't see coming but as someone that likes their mysteries with a dash (or more of thrills), this one was a little too slow for me. I also wasn't crazy about the protagonist as he was surly most of the time, even to his kids. Lastly, there wasn't a ton of conflict, always a problem for me. My feelings for this one wouldn't dissuade me from reading Coben again, however, because his talent will hit more often than miss. ...more
Author Andy Weir states in the afterward that this was the book he'd prepared to write most of his life because of his fascination for space travel, aAuthor Andy Weir states in the afterward that this was the book he'd prepared to write most of his life because of his fascination for space travel, and Mars exploration. This statement makes perfect sense after reading it. No other explanation outside of "He's an astronaut or works for JPL" will do. I can't speak of the factual legitimacy of so much theoretical science, but it sounds believable. Reading The Martian was like watching the sequel to Apollo 13 and you can see why the movie rights were snatch up quickly. It'll likely be just as good. A large portion of the book is written in diary form as the author does his daily check ins for posterity. The characters voice is self-describedly smart ass, which I like, but I felt like there were a few places it could have been toned down as the seriousness of the situation warranted it. Still, it didn't detract from the excitement of the read. The best books are the ones that keep you thinking after you've set them down and the Martian did that for me, propelling me from a journey off the page to the darkness of sleep where my imagination took over navigation of the adventure. All in all, a fun, exciting, and grounded sci-fi read....more
In JUMP, it isn’t the discovery of time travel that sets the story churning, but the potential misuse of it. When a covert environmental group threateIn JUMP, it isn’t the discovery of time travel that sets the story churning, but the potential misuse of it. When a covert environmental group threatens to destabilize the past in hope of limiting man’s influence on the future, the fate of the world hangs in the balance and our likeable cast of heroes must race to heal time’s wounds before it’s too late.
Ladle’s prose is intelligent and thoughtful and the story focuses on the characters as much as the premise. The time travel element is heavy on theoretical psychics and laymen not used to the genre might get confused, but the second half picks up the pace to what is an exciting resolution.
For fans of the time travel genre, JUMP is the thinking man’s TIMELINE, and it’s good to see there’s room for a potential sequel. A solid debut. ...more