Told in the form of an actual oral history, this novel has fantastic world building. Beginning with the first outbreak covering 10 years, WWZ is as se...moreTold in the form of an actual oral history, this novel has fantastic world building. Beginning with the first outbreak covering 10 years, WWZ is as serious an examination of global zombie infestation as you will see, including containment issues, patriotism, reality tv, the pharmaceutical industry, governmental non-responsiveness, and almost every human response possible on economic, psychological, military, political, and medical levels.(less)
Beware the cover. This is neither cyberpunk nor military sf. It is a novel of people controlled by their fears and bored by the world they have create...moreBeware the cover. This is neither cyberpunk nor military sf. It is a novel of people controlled by their fears and bored by the world they have created in response to their fears. It is a novel of misunderstanding, ignorance and survival.
The first hundred pages are a bit slow and almost misleading in the type of novel this ultimately is. However, the voice of Deepra, a very unreliable narrator, got me through. I enjoyed watching his misinterpretations of what was going on around him.
One aberation I found in the storytelling was the "crystal man" construct. Buckner seems to vascillate on whether Deepra could take full credit for his actions or whether there was another entity making decisions for him. I think the crystal man exists but that leaves Deepra's psychological growth in doubt. On the other hand, this is not a novel of psychological growth so much as a hope for the future tale.(less)
Most of the stories fall into one of two themes: the magic (real, imagined or commonplace) of childhood or time-travelling homosexuals. Secondary them...moreMost of the stories fall into one of two themes: the magic (real, imagined or commonplace) of childhood or time-travelling homosexuals. Secondary themes are parenting and cataloguing. Of the 16 stories, only one ("Möbius"), possibly two ("Be Prepared") do not follow one of these themes. They are enjoyable but better read in anthologies rather than collected all together because of the similar themes in all.
"Basement Magic" - real magic because believes "Intelligent Design" - secret history of creation, I love secret creation history "Green Glass Sea" - the found magic of childhood when even the commonplace can be wonderful. good atmosphere of loneliness and being apart. "Clip Art" - a nice little exercise in narrow focus alternate history, but a better concept than story "Triangle" - I'm not sure that this story works as a whole: powerful ending but was it prepared for or did it come out of nowhere. Must consider. "The Feed Bag" - a prose poem (oh noes!); however, the lines "When I sat down at the table/I felt older" resonated, or at least worked for me "Flying Over Water" - transformative alienation brought on my wicked mother unit, similar to "Basement Magic" "Möbius, Stripped of a Muse" - the sort of meta fiction that amuses writers, and me. "Time Gypsy" - a lovely story of time-travel but a little rosy lensed "Be Prepared" - a chef so involved with cooking that he is detached from his emotions "Travel Agency" - childhood magic "A Taste of Summer" - more (real) magic of childhood "Ringing Up Baby" - the trouble unattended children can make "Guys Day Out" - the sometimes-harsh responsibilities of parenting w/a small amount of childhood magic "Portable Childhoods" - vignettes of a mother's relationship with her child. the child is never named because the child's individual personhood is not important in the story; it is the mother's reactions/interactions with the child that are important. parenting as a way of freeing oneself from one's own bad parenting. "In the House of the Seven Librarians" - story of nurturing, providing what the child needs and then letting go. interesting about requesting things of a higher power when the caretakers can't or don't know to provide. problems with structure.(less)
A well-thoughtout conspiracy and intrigue plot. The moments of vegan-omnivore culture shock were well done. However, I was disappointed that for a uni...moreA well-thoughtout conspiracy and intrigue plot. The moments of vegan-omnivore culture shock were well done. However, I was disappointed that for a universe in which only brown people remained, the cultures, politics and ideologies seemed standard Western caucasian. Except for frequent descriptions of skin color, I didn't get any sense (culturally speaking) that these peoples' ancestors were anything but white.
Aliens arrive on Earth and issue the ultimatum that all nations must send two women to negotiate better political systems or the aliens will starting...moreAliens arrive on Earth and issue the ultimatum that all nations must send two women to negotiate better political systems or the aliens will starting blowing up property. This novel begins as a simplistic women-are-oppressed dystopia, but somewhere after the 200-page mark it begins to show signs of deeper thought. It seems to be gearing up to be more about the corrupting effects of power than how bad men are. While the ending tempts me to continue with this five-book series to see where Duchamp is heading, the brutality and heavy-handedness of the beginning gives me pause.(less)
A time travel novel about cause and effect, the lack of coincidence, love at first sight to say nothing of the bishop's bird stump. The title comes fr...moreA time travel novel about cause and effect, the lack of coincidence, love at first sight to say nothing of the bishop's bird stump. The title comes from the subtitle of Jerome K. Jerome's late 19th century comic novel Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis takes much from Jerome's book including its narrative voice of the slightly bemused gentleman carrying on while all about him chaos and confusion created by perfectly nice and pleasant people, the introduction of animals as though they are human and providing interpretive dialogue for their actions, of course the trip down the Thames, and the general tone that the voyage is more important than the eventual destination.
After spending the first 40 pages or so worried that Willis was going to have the protagonist not clue in to what the audience knew for the entire book, the protagonist regained most of his wits and I enjoyed this book. I'm a sucker for this type of roll with the punches, witty, full of understatements voice. In addition I found the time travel story of trying to fix the timeline when the timeline may be capable of fixing itself to be interesting and quite a mental puzzler and thought provoking about what needs to happen when and why.
I only gave it four stars, because in the end I thought it went on a bit long. I think a good 75 pages could have been pruned to good effect.(less)
Written in short scenes, almost vignettes, interspersed with "excerpts" from academic papers on trolls, this novel is oddly compelling. I found the st...moreWritten in short scenes, almost vignettes, interspersed with "excerpts" from academic papers on trolls, this novel is oddly compelling. I found the story fascinating and I was entertained in the reading; however, I can't say that I actually liked it. While Troll is well written and some scenes were quite striking, I think my understanding of its raison d'etre was hindered by a lack of experience with Finnish culture or perhaps by a lack of fascination with trolls.(less)
Friedman builds a portrait of two cultures in perpetual war and two extraordinary nemeses born of them. Characters are introduced and discarded by the...moreFriedman builds a portrait of two cultures in perpetual war and two extraordinary nemeses born of them. Characters are introduced and discarded by the dozens to fill in aspects of the culture; all building to two face-to-face meetings.
The cultures were interesting as thought experiments and analogies to our world but not much else. The characters were … there. I never engaged with either Zatar or Anzha (the nemeses) and really thought they should get over themselves. Actually I thought the whole Braxin/Braxaná culture should have gotten over itself.
Really, the world building is the only thing In Conquest Born has going for it. So if you'd like to see extreme extrapolations of bad ideas (free love [of a sort], the denigration of gentler emotions, etc.), give it a read.(less)
Darwin's Radio is so plot/idea driven that the characters do things just to keep the plot going. Also they weren't interesting. The idea behind the bo...moreDarwin's Radio is so plot/idea driven that the characters do things just to keep the plot going. Also they weren't interesting. The idea behind the book (or rather front and center)—human speciation can come suddenly rather than over thousands of years—is interesting, but Bear presents far too much of the science (in expository dialogue after expository dialogue) and (realistic) political shenanigans for my taste(less)
Highly entertaining and very meta if you know not only Star Trek but also some history of the science fiction genre. Can't help but think there was al...moreHighly entertaining and very meta if you know not only Star Trek but also some history of the science fiction genre. Can't help but think there was also stuff I was missing. There's also a healthy amount of what I'll call philosophical layering (you know, real meaning of life, why do things happen they way they do stuff). It doesn't quite make up for the lack of emotional depth, but it's a help.(less)
Intriguing premise—second generation alien castways have the opportunity to go to their parents' homewor...moreYou don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
Intriguing premise—second generation alien castways have the opportunity to go to their parents' homeworld. It's okay as far as it goes, but really seems more like a short story. It's all character (good). The tight POV from the two aliens worked well to convey character, but created an insular almost claustrophobic feel. Answers about the homeworld are only hinted at.