A secret research facility in the Colorado mountains is the US Army's last outpost after defeat by the PanAsians. The conquerors had absorbed the USSRA secret research facility in the Colorado mountains is the US Army's last outpost after defeat by the PanAsians. The conquerors had absorbed the USSR after being attacked by them & had then absorbed India. They're ruthless, having crushed a rebellion by killing 150,000 civilians as punishment.
The lab is in turmoil. All but six of the personnel have died due to unknown forces released by an experiment operating within the newly-discovered magneto-gravitic or electro-gravitic spectra. Survivors learn they can selectively kill by releasing the internal pressure of cell membranes. This weapon can kill one race while leaving others unharmed.
They devise more uses for the forces discovered, but how do a handful overthrow an occupation that controls all communications & makes it criminal to print English? Noting the invaders have allowed religious practice to pacify their slaves, they start a church & act as Priests of Mota (atom backwards) to build a resistance movement which Major Ardmore, the protagonist, refers to as the 6th Column--as opposed to a traitorous 5th.
Originally published in 1941 as "Sixth Column" this came to me from my bookgroup under it's alternate title of "The Day After Tomorrow". I hadn't read Heinlein, or any other books from this era, in years, so picked it up.
The story starts with Major Ardmore arriving at The Citadel, to find that all but 6 members of the section are dead, via unknown methods. To all intents and purposes it's an Military (Army) base, but the remaining staff are science types or low grade army recruits. Ardmore finds himself having to take over command and not only deal with the temperamental staff but how to react to the enslavement of the American people by a combined Far East contingent.
"But the PanAsians arent Japanese" "No and they're not Chinese. They are a mixed race, strong, proud and prolific".
50 years of non interaction with the far east had resulted in America being invaded by an group of people they had no understanding of.
The Nonintercourse Act had kept the American people from knowing anything important about their enemy. [...] The proponents of the measure had maintained that China was a big bite even for Soviet Russia to digest and that the United States had no fear of war [...] we had our backs turned when China digested Russia
They then go on to absorb India as well and it is many of the veterans of the India campaign who are brought over to control the Americans.
The invaders are depicted as ruthless and cruel—for example, they crush an abortive rebellion by killing 150,000 American civilians as punishment.
Under Ardmore's instruction the scientists soon find what killed their colleagues, and the rest of the book is a way of overcoming the obstacles of being a small group overcoming a whole continent of enemies. They make the best use of their new weapon despite the limits on communications and travel. Noting that the invaders have allowed the free practice of religion (the better to pacify their slaves), the Americans set up a church of their own in order to build a resistance movement—the Sixth Column (as opposed to a traitorous fifth column).
This is a short book (145 pages) and so the writing is sparse and there is little exposition of the things that are different. The Scout cars - high speed flying cars, manoeuvrable like helicopters, but faster and virtually undetectable - are used where travel over long distances is required. There is some description of the new weapon, but that is kept to a minimum but having Ardmore as a non-scientist quickly bored with things he doesn't understand.
It's difficult to decide whether it's the author or the characters themselves who are inherently racist against the invaders. Several characters refer to them as "monkeys" or "Flat faced Bastards" but outside of speech they are most commonly referred to as "PanAsians" or "Asiatics". A few of the characters are slightly more charitable, saying things like the following:
"Don't make the mistake of thinking of the PanAsians as bad - they're not - but they are different. Behind their arrogance is a racial inferiority complex, a mass paranoia that makes it necessary for them to prove to themselves by proving to us that a yellow man is as good as a white man, an a damned sight better. Remember that, son, they want the outside signs of respect more than anything else in the world."
Ardmore is the most complete character, but even he isn't an in depth person. The secondary characters are a little on dimensional, but that's a side effect of such a short book. The characters who appear early in the book are dropped early, only for some of them to appear later in the book - Dr Calhoun disappears as soon as the weapons are developed, and only appears again having a breakdown and running amok in the Citadel. The intelligence gathering trip by Thomas was interesting, and provided the most rounded description of the changed world state.
firesofmanIn a world where a gifted few can manipulate reality with their minds, two great nations—Calchis and Orion—employ these psionic powers in afiresofmanIn a world where a gifted few can manipulate reality with their minds, two great nations—Calchis and Orion—employ these psionic powers in a covert war for global superiority. In the heart of Calchis, a powerful young psion named Aaron Waverly is kidnapped, and forcibly conscripted. To the north, in the capital, a plan is hatched to decimate Orion, to be carried out by the ruthless operative known only as “Agent.”
In Orion, fresh recruit Stockton Finn comes to terms with his incredible new powers, and learns firsthand how dangerous they can be. Meanwhile, officers Nyne Allen and Kay Barrett navigate the aftermath of their shattered love affair, oblivious to the fact that Calchis draws ever closer to destroying the tenuous peace.
Finally, in the arctic land of Zenith, Calchan archaeologist Faith Santia unearths a millennia-old ruin. This lost temple might just hold the hidden history of psionic powers, as well as hints of a deeper mystery . . . that could shake the foundations of all mankind
Sent to me by the author in return for a review. I have done an interview with Dan previously and it is here
Set in an alternative 2012, in an Earth equivalent, there is a secret war being waged, and both sides are training up their psionics in secret to launch a new attack. Aaron and Finn, recruited to their own sides - forcibly in Aaron's case - have to come to terms with dealing with their new powers whilst knowing that they will be used as weapons some time in the future. Both men have a feeling of isolation, Aaron because he has been physically isolated as part of his training, Finn because he is initially bullied in the training camp, and has to be extracted out to another facility for everyone's safety.
There are other strands to the story - Kay Barrett and Nyne Allen are both soldiers that are coming to terms (badly) with the fallout from their affair. It doesnt help that Kay's brother Tiberian has resurfaced after 7 years and seems to have defected to the other side. Nyne gets himself transferred an outpost (essentially Japan) to investigate whether they have any psionics themselves, and this makes him question what he was taught by his own government. Kay, in the mean time, has a rebound affair with Cole, who has been recruited by the mysterious Agent to help execute a plan to destroy the Orion training camp.
Meanwhile, Faith, an archaeologist hand picked by Tiberian, is investigating a pyramid packed in ice, but whose dig is interrupted just as she finds out something she still cant comprehend. Apart from the link to Tiberian, she has no other link to the psionics or what happens next, so it'll be interesting to see where her story goes next.
The last part of the book is the attack on the Orion training base, that is executed well, and demonstrates the heat of battle, where you have both psionics and non psionics fighting together. Damage is done, people are lost, and grieving begins. We also begin to get an indication of the significance of the Figure In Red.
Anyway: I thought this was a great first in a series, with all the main characters being well rounded individuals, with some being placed in difficult situations. Training didnt get bogged down in too much detail, and some people might be disappointed with that, but I thought it was pitched at about the right level. It would have been too easy to make everyone like Agent (the cold, calculating, agent of death), but this brought that even experienced soldiers are still human.
Would easily consider reading the next book in this series (at least!).
Published by JollyFishPress
Additional information about Dan and his books can be found at the interview done previously on my blog (nordie.wordpress.com)
There are numerous plot holes that are not properly dealt with, eg the phones are down (no one knows how or why) but not onWell, The Stand this ain't.
There are numerous plot holes that are not properly dealt with, eg the phones are down (no one knows how or why) but not only is it possible to send and receive emails (so some firm of Internet) at every site they're at, but enough electricity to keep the computers charged and running. People crop up in scenes but are soon discarded when no longer necessary to the plot with little fanfair.
Dani and Zoe are on different sides of America and after the virus has devastated much of he population, the two of them are making heir way to a mutual meeting point. However you soon forget where and why (if you ever knew the latter).
There seems to be a lot of "hurry up and wait" with people getting to the next stop and staying there for several days. For dani's group the premise is to allow others to search for family and friends but apart from cce we don't know how the searches are undertaken or the results. For Zoe and dani's lovers friends and roommates all die and apart from the occasional nightmare about dani's boyfriend noone is given a second thought. In writing this review I've noticed one website (goodreads) mentioning this was the first in a post-apocalypse Romance Series. That does change my review - slightly - but not by much - as this does explain all the extraordinary amount of time is spent lusting after the attractive men in the group and both women become the focus of jealously and suspicion from other women in their mutual groups. The sex scenes - after a remarkable number of times they get interrupted mid grope - are reasonably sexy.
The set ups of the two groups were too similar to keep track off - both had lead males starting with J (Jack, Jason), both sets with dogs, psycho girls who couldnt be trusted or were downright dangerous. Switching the narrative between the two - with is logical with the two writers just became too confusing to keep track off in the end.
So in summary: reasonably sexy romance story, with too many holes in the story line (I like to hold my Romance novels to the same level of critique as every other book I read!) and too many similarities between the two narratives to keep me truly happy...more
Chaz Eades is on the mission of a lifetime—the first to an alien solar system far beyond our own—and it's a one-way trip. When he learns that contact Chaz Eades is on the mission of a lifetime—the first to an alien solar system far beyond our own—and it's a one-way trip. When he learns that contact with Earth has been lost, he wants to help reestablish communication. But the commander insists on science first and contact later, the crew is inexplicably hostile, and Chaz finds himself painfully isolated. Soon he realizes that there's a secret at the heart of the crew's troubles that is much larger than any he could have imagined. All bets are off, and he's not at all prepared for the mission he faces now: survival.
Picked up in ebook format from the publishers Book View Cafe via Librarything's Early Reviewers
Chaz wakes up and to his horror, he realises that he’s on a spaceship with no memory of how he got there – his last memory was settling in for his first brain scan. He’s one of the first people selected to have themselves cloned, their memories scanned and stored, and sent out to Tao Ceti and it seems it didn’t go to plan.
He struggles to settle in with his crewmates – he’s been revived later than the others and has come to find out that subsequent memories were not captured, as he was killed before the second memory scan, but too late to remove his clone from the ship before it launched. He therefore doesn’t have the memories of the subsequent team bonding that went on – and there are things within the team dynamic that offend him (he is a man of faith, so the transsexual and the gay man are only two of the things that cause him offence – these issues were dealt with by the “original” Chaz subsequent to the first memory brain scan – with some pain involved – but this new Chaz doesn’t know how to deal with these issues)
Stuck in a confined space, with skills well behind his crewmates, and knowing he is both offended and offensive, Chaz spirals into a well of despair, and looking for ways to get him back into the crew’s good graces. He therefore starts investigating why the ship hasn’t heard from Earth in decades, and he soon makes a startling discovery that ultimately changes everything.
So this book is all about “Second Chance”s – the astronauts get a second chance at being useful (even if it is just their clones) – Chaz gets a second change to make up with his crewmates and deal with the issues they present; the crew get a second chance as a team on another planet when they realise that their home is lost to them.
This is a novella and therefore tight. Some characterisations are short, if non-existent, that is true, but it would have taken a longer story to fill them out, and I’m not sure that the reader would take much of Chaz’s near-fervent religious mindset. However, with a little toning down of some aspects, this has the potential to be a decent longer book, but is appropriately paced and pitched as is....more
Cat, Kassie, Sian and Loi are anything but damsels in distress. Fed up with a lack of decent male specimens they cast a love spell in the hopes of find Cat, Kassie, Sian and Loi are anything but damsels in distress. Fed up with a lack of decent male specimens they cast a love spell in the hopes of finding their soul-mates. And inadvertently land themselves on another planet. Oops.
The Arrival, follows the girls' adventures as they stumble through a foreign and often hostile world where humans are NOT at the top of the food chain. Friendships are forged and love teeters on the horizon while the threat of civil war looms thanks to the girls' very unexpected 'gifts'. Will the girls master these gifts in time to survive a war in which, not only are they the ultimate weapons, but also the ultimate prize?
Nicole's website is Damsel In a Dirty Dress. Received in ebook format from netgalley and read on an ipad on kindle software. Formatting was generally ok, with correct page breaks etc, but random font size changes which was just mildly annoying.
Premise of the book is good - 4 women in a fairly tight group, all fit and with various skills, including a mixture of archery and martial arts, are fed up with the lack of decent available men (they can beat the ones in their martial arts classes every time), conjure up a spell to find their soul mates. This takes them to another planet, where they find themselves with magical skills in a world full of sorceress, dragons, griffons, and some men they are immediately attracted to.
The initial day or two when the girls meet the guard goes a bit slow, but when they start heading towards the castle to meet the Elena - who predicted the girls' arrival - it speeds up. The rest of the book details the time spent as the girls have a month to learn about and control their new skills as "Elementals" before they fight against the mortal enemy of the realm. They also have to get used to their attraction to the men identified as their soulmates.
The premise of the book is good, and some of the passages (such as the ball, the visit to the local town) show a lot of potential. However, as per other reviewers, the multiple POVs (changing 1st person in Catherine, to 3rd party for the rest of the characters), often multiple times within the same chapter, is annoying and distracting, and ultimately slows the book down. McDonald can write both perspectives well, but doing both this way detracts from the story.
Others have discussed about the ending, and I'm sure that you can find out more if you searched for it. I wont do a spoiler here, but will say it's a little disappointing for the story to end where it does. ...more
The book is a set of 4 short stories, 3 of which have been published previously and which are linked with Angels - state sponsored assassins - as some of the primary characters.
The 4th story is set in the same world, touches briefly on Angels, but is about a musician and follower of one of the planet's religions.
One of the questions I ask myself when reading short stories is: would this story have made it in a full novel length?
Of the four stories, I think the last one was marginally weaker than the others, in that it was, perhaps a little too short (better at Novella length perhaps?).
The other stories however were much stronger at their presented length and I dont think they would have made it to novel length.
Whilst the stories here are perhaps at the right length as short stories, I think this is a very strong world to build upon, and I would be interested to see if Jaine can/will/has already built a set of stories set in this world. ...more
5 novellas dating back from the mid 1930s (judging from copyright) from the writer of "Day of the Triffids".
"Sleepers of Mars" - the Russians and the5 novellas dating back from the mid 1930s (judging from copyright) from the writer of "Day of the Triffids".
"Sleepers of Mars" - the Russians and the British have landed on Mars, and encountered a dying race. The British escape, but the Russian rocket fails, stranding them there. The Martians help build the ship, and whilst the Russians are waiting, they explore the remnants of the civilisation, and stumble onto a secret. An accident and a poor decision by the doctor releases a catastrophic chain of events. This one hasnt specifically dated - designs of things arent hard and fast (except the one difference between the Russian and English rockets - 3 vs 4 fins) and the story itself is sound - it doesnt matter what nation you come from on earth, when you make a mistake that big on another planet, you have to face the consequences)
"Worlds to barter" It's 1945, and a scientist with his assistant is performing some experiments when they are rudely interrupted by a crash next door. It's the scientist's decendant from 2145, telling a story of time travel, and deformed himans from the 53rd century who have travelled back to 2145 to demand that the current inhabitants swap places. Typos aside (the future traveller keeps changing his name, and his girlfriend keeps changing sex from "he" to "she"!) this is still a little flat in the narrative, though principal was good.
"Invisible Monster". The crash landing of a spaceship returning from Venus is witnessed by 3 friends out on a fishing trip. They got to investigate and hopefully rescue any survivors. However there is something invisible inhabiting the ship and one of the three friends is killed. The two remaining men head to the nearest town and there soon arrives an increasing number of people in an attempt to address the issue, through increasingly violent means. Finally the beast is blown up, but there are unpredicted consequences that only makes the situation worse. However, help is on the way, finding out not only how to make the alien(s) visible but how to kill them. Whilst some of the detail is gruesome, there is still a lack of tension and emotional depth in this story - there seems to be little reaction to the fact that one friend is dead, and the other has apparently disappeared forever.
"The Man from Earth". We're back on Venus, with a human being kept in a cage, with a stark warning of his fellow humans to the people of Venus. Again, it's a single person narration of how he's come to be there, and this time it's about how people use each other and the things people are prepared to do to get what they think they want. In the end Gatz realises that he's the last human, and his fate is the same as that experienced in "Sleepers of Mars".
"The Third Vibrator" another story told after the event from one person to another. By this point this technique has become boring and repetitive. I suppose Wyndham uses it to keep the stories short, but when it all 5 stories are collected together and use the same format it shows a weakness. David is a scientist who has been sent to a psychiatric unit after smashing up his work, and he tells a story of believing he's invented this "vibrator" before and has destroyed two worlds with it, and needed to destroy the vibrator before it destroyed this world too....more
Second in the Nola O'Grady books, where she lives in San Francisco with her motley extended Irish family and her new, Israeli lover/bodyguard.
The storSecond in the Nola O'Grady books, where she lives in San Francisco with her motley extended Irish family and her new, Israeli lover/bodyguard.
The story follows on from book 1, which if you havent read (like me) it's a little hard to catch up on, but generally the story is ok. She is following up in chasing the missing members of the coven that was broken up in Book 1. Meanwhile there are entities coming over from an alternate dimension, her brother is trying to get his new radioactive girlfriend over from this alternate dimension (where she has been working as a prostitute), a new business partner of her brother in law is blackmailing him and is in far too deep. There's also a small mystery of Nola's missing Irish father, who in this book she finds out why he's missing, that he's not really as dead as everyone thought, and some of the reasons he left Ireland in the first place.
Nola has psychic powers, which now places her at the head of a really really secret agency. She is following up the other people from the coven she broke up in book 1, an investigation that leads her to more deaths, more visitations and surprises from alternate worlds. I dont know the background behind the "not wanting to eat" issue - she's not anorexic, just never seems to be hungry and is always being told to eat - and there are detail descriptions of what she's wearing (I dont know why). They seem to change clothes more often than they eat, which is a little strange (and of course, no visits to the bathroom)! ...more
Did seem to be a bit of a palaver to get the book - I got sent an email, that gave me a link to a password prReceived as part of LTER June 2012 batch.
Did seem to be a bit of a palaver to get the book - I got sent an email, that gave me a link to a password protected page, where after entering the password, I had to enter my name and email on another page, to take me to another page, where I could make my free purchase and download the book. Despite the "download the version specifically formatted for your type of ebook!" there was the odd formatting issue when loaded onto my Kobo, but that was more of a personal taste issue, than there being a fault with the book itself.
As to the book itself - it's been a long time since I've read either a scifi book or a horror book. There's a little hard science in this, but it's more about the effect of warp on the humans involved. It turns out that warp causes dreams, all of which are connected (though few people realise it as few openly talk about that they see in their dreams).
In an attempt to stop the dreams, there is an experiment on a specially designed ship (the singularity) to test a new way of travel. The Chronos comes across the desolated remains of the Singularity and finds out what happened - causing the remaining crew to confront not only the horror of what happened on the Singularity, but what the dreams mean to themselves.
There are some truly disturbing parts in the book, though I did feel that those on the Singularity who managed to record their dreams were very wordy and didnt come across as people who were borederline mad and in fear for their lives (from the Shadows, their crewmates or themselves)...more
This started off well, with a different premise to normal, with a human being infested with demons and being pulled into a demonic world being threateThis started off well, with a different premise to normal, with a human being infested with demons and being pulled into a demonic world being threatened with destruction by God and his angels. The newly infested demon and his controller are set up to kill their demonic superparents, and take their place as the new progenitors of the demon space[return][return]Got about half way through and I flagged, skimming the rest of the way. Agree with other Amazon reviews in that it was overwritten and if only it had been streamlined a little, then it would have perked up and been easier to complete...more
Here is the novel that started it all, launching the cyberpunk generation, and the first novel to win the holy trinity of science fiction: the Hugo AwHere is the novel that started it all, launching the cyberpunk generation, and the first novel to win the holy trinity of science fiction: the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. With Neuromancer, William Gibson introduced the world to cyberspace--and science fiction has never been the same.[return][return]Case was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway--jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with him in a big way--and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance--and a cure--for a price.......more
Quite liked this, never having read a Darkover book before. She doesnt fall into the trap of making up words and then spending paragraphs explaining tQuite liked this, never having read a Darkover book before. She doesnt fall into the trap of making up words and then spending paragraphs explaining them, or naming characters with multiple apostropies.[return][return]Story is about families who are bred for their psychic ability, and the resultant woman with control over storms...more