This is science fiction, but your clues at the beginning are subtle. This finely-written short piece is about Joey Maverick, a newly-minted ensign in...moreThis is science fiction, but your clues at the beginning are subtle. This finely-written short piece is about Joey Maverick, a newly-minted ensign in the Atlantean Union, introduced through the eyes of an ancient storyteller. Joey is competing in a low-tech sailing regatta on a watery world where he has extended family and friends. Weather patterns and complications change the race and the stakes involved, and many lives depend on the choices Joey is forced to make.
I enjoyed meeting Maverick. I think that fans of mil spec from writers like Drake, Moon, and Webber will appreciate the technical competence shown here--sailors especially will enjoy the work. It was almost too accurate for me; I got lost once in the nautical detail, although I am sure that anyone familiar with large craft sailing would swoop through the story.
Michael B. Caffrey has gone on to the next regatta, but his wife is re-releasing his work to a larger audience, and I look forward to seeing more of it!(less)
This is a collateral book in the Liaden World series by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Two of the major POV characters are children, albeit children w...moreThis is a collateral book in the Liaden World series by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Two of the major POV characters are children, albeit children who have faced adult problems and concerns. But the third major POV is adult (very adult at times) so can't call this a book for middle grade.
An interesting segue on Surebleak, with all the curious touches of culture examination that Miller & Lee are so well known to use. Another Agent of Change has slipped the leash--can he stay off it? We get to know Boss Nova and her gang a bit better, too!(less)
This book falls into the heavy techno-babble form of SF from the late 80s/early 90s. The characters take a long time to gel, and only two of them have...moreThis book falls into the heavy techno-babble form of SF from the late 80s/early 90s. The characters take a long time to gel, and only two of them have any real personality. This is a major flaw for me, and earns it 2.5 stars -- I won't reread it, and would not look for other books by the author.
However, there is a fascinating hyperdrive ship meticulously constructed, every ounce of it squeezed into the plot. Even better, Stith weaves the overall theme and journey of the hero with the fact that everything seen on the ship is slightly in the past. So -- for heavy tech SF lovers, this book will be a solid 3 stars or possibly a 4 star reading.
Recommended for SF readers who love spending time discussing imaginary tech theory with friends!(less)
This is a reprint of several SF short pieces that first appeared in Analog Science Fiction Magazine. They all concern the adventures of eccentric kilt...moreThis is a reprint of several SF short pieces that first appeared in Analog Science Fiction Magazine. They all concern the adventures of eccentric kilt-wearing anthropologist/archaeologist/xenologist Rhys Llewellyn and his trusty assistants Yoshi Umeki and Roderick Halfax. These are not merely tales of first contact – they are also tales of how an innovative senior officer at an exploration corporation hires an anthropologist to make sure that both the corporation and the natives are dealt with fairly.
Rhys both listens and watches very closely, and he rarely, if ever, assumes anything. Such is his genius. In these tales, he grows and changes, using his strengths and working on his weaknesses. All too often he is misunderstood and underestimated by his peers, and that just adds to the fun.
These look like they might be simple tales, but they are anything but, with lots of social commentary. They also have a deep respect for the concept of spirit. I really enjoyed them, and hope that Bohnhoff writes more tales of Rhys Llewellyn! (less)
This is perhaps the oddest review I have ever written, because I am a big fan of Lois McMasters Bujold's works, have read most of what she's written,...moreThis is perhaps the oddest review I have ever written, because I am a big fan of Lois McMasters Bujold's works, have read most of what she's written, and for the first time...I didn't finish the book. I reached page 184, set it down for the night...and never picked it up for two months. This is not like me with a book I like, an author I like, a series I like.
I love the Vorkosigan Saga. I adored Paladin of Souls--I think it was the best book I read that year.
But this book lost me. I finally picked it up and flipped through the end, but nothing, not all the great bits I could see where there, got me to sit down and finish the book. I don't know if this is because I found that Ivan made a better second banana than a protagonist, or because I didn't like the characters, or life circumstances. But the book did not take me out of my own problems, and the characters did not draw me on into the next stage of the plot.
I borrowed this from a friend, and I will eventually try again. But for some reason, it didn't work for me. This isn't because it is not a frenetic Miles book--I liked A Civil Campaign. Loved Winterfair Gifts. So the quieter books are fine with me.
Don't avoid the book based on this response. But if for some reason you're having trouble getting into it? Know that you're not alone.
I actually read the hardcover edition of this book, but I cannot get the system to accept the change!(less)
Outstanding science fiction that is as timely and entertaining today as it was when I first read it. Interesting characters -- even the walk-ons -- an...moreOutstanding science fiction that is as timely and entertaining today as it was when I first read it. Interesting characters -- even the walk-ons -- and situations, people you care about -- definitely try this one. I don't think you'll regret it!(less)
I really enjoyed this in my green days, a hero who depended on brain power and biology as opposed to muscles. Heinlein always weaves an interesting st...moreI really enjoyed this in my green days, a hero who depended on brain power and biology as opposed to muscles. Heinlein always weaves an interesting story of the dark and bright side of a technological future, usually about how an individual can defeat odds and get their heart's desire. And although quirky his women/girls generally are not idiots or wimps.
Plus, no overt sex or bad language. So -- you probably know a teen who will enjoy this, if not for yourself!
Haven't re-read it yet, but I imagine I'll get around to it.(less)
The illustrious saga of the Liaden Universe(TM) continues, a place where a future branch of humanity has created a culture that embraces formality and...moreThe illustrious saga of the Liaden Universe(TM) continues, a place where a future branch of humanity has created a culture that embraces formality and courtesy as a way to "check" some of humanity's more homicidal tendencies. Our heroes are the clan of Korval, a group of people who have made their living and covered their backs through their protection and cultivation of interstellar trade, starships, and pilots.
Theo Waitley is a young pilot of talent who has inherited, if you will, a piece of old technology -- a sentient starship that is banned on some worlds and hunted across a galaxy by dangerous enemies. Theo is trying to establish a trade route for her new relations Clan Korval, even as life is complicated by ex-lovers (one who has been poisoned by a nano-virus,) her ex-mafia co-pilot, empathic mini-bears, former roommates, and the intense scrutiny of a secret agency so deep its own government does not know it exists. With her genetic history and some solid training under her belt, Theo meets interesting challenges and rises to the occasion (multiple times.)
This installment is not a good portal book for this extended series, although Lee & Miller do a good job of keeping in touch with collateral lines of the sprawling tale. This is an entertaining, well-written, culturally subtle tale, the series continuing to please. Heck, I was misting over when a long-presumed-dead alien showed up! If you have missed these adventures in the best tradition of space opera, get your hands on an earlier starting point (Agent of Change was the first book) and start reading!(less)
I don't know what happened to this review -- my records show that it should be here somewhere. Ah, well, here we go again --
Heartsick over her son’s d...moreI don't know what happened to this review -- my records show that it should be here somewhere. Ah, well, here we go again --
Heartsick over her son’s death years before, treading water as Security Chief on the biologically important backwater world Krhyllan, Lauren Pell is one of the few who have learned the language and customs of the technologically primitive, ritual-obsessed natives. Once her son and the crown prince played together. Now, she spends her days keeping up appearances for the alien, god-fearing Krhyllans and also for the Pan-Galactic order – a power that can help Earth expand into the galaxy or stop it cold.
Suddenly, a tiny act of political tinkering by her lover, doctor Peter Chen, becomes the seed of war and even genocide. Turns out the Krhyllans may not have high technology, but primitive they aren’t. Their history is not forgotten, their society is a house of cards, and almost everything they have ever told Lauren Pell – and all Terrans – is a lie.
Now Lauren Pell and Peter Chen are all that stands between the crown prince and death. In a society where the most powerful entity is a secret cult of assassins, and it’s almost impossible to figure out who hired them – and who can stop them – a young man may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice to save an entire society.
It’s been a while since someone has woven an alien culture as convincing as this one, and the Terrans trying to deal with the Krhyllans, their Human superiors and the Pan-Galactic order felt very real. This is a first novel that fans of cultural SF should check out. Blood Line tightens slowly, precisely, like a well-built watch, and then springs to a wonderful finish. (less)