'The Forever War' describes a future in which Earth has discovered interstellar travel, and their first encounter with an alien species results in war'The Forever War' describes a future in which Earth has discovered interstellar travel, and their first encounter with an alien species results in war. Contrary to what you would expect from the title, there is very little if any, description of fighting going on - things are remote and very surreal. The most detailed description of fighting relates what is happening when space vessels are travelling at relativistic speeds so the results that the main characters in the story are experiencing have been set in motion hours or even days before.
I cannot comment on the accuracy of what the author describes because I know very little about the theory of relativity and its effects when travel occurs at near light speed but what the author describes provides an incredible and bewildering view of what would happen. The unit that the story follows only has 2 engagements within a 1000 years which to them only feels like 2. I find this idea really intriguing and while the author does make use of this to provide some interesting views on what can possibly happen to the human race in the future, and the culture shock that these 'time travellers' experience, I feel that a lot more could have been made of it. Maybe this lack of real substance and bite is because the story was originally serialised and the author does note in the preface that he did have to make changes at the request of the editor(s). It's a shame though, as while definitely a good novel, with a bit more this could have been great....more
It's difficult writing about Battletech books. They all revolve around battles involving 'mechs and they differ only in the quality of the descriptionIt's difficult writing about Battletech books. They all revolve around battles involving 'mechs and they differ only in the quality of the description of these battles and how exciting they are. A lot of them also form part of a greater narrative as they form part of the living 'history' of the future that they are set in. This book is a particular point in case. Set in the middle of the FedCom Civil war and involving major characters and forming a major set of events during the period, you can only really appreciate this fully as part of the overall bigger picture.
What makes this story so good is that it is an important event in the Battletech 'history'. You have the first major Clan incursion into Inner Sphere territory since the destruction of Clan Smoke Jaguar by the Star League. The story is filled with tensions between the Inner Sphere forces that are on opposite sides of the FedCom Civil War having to work together to stop the common Clan enemy. At many points you are left wondering are one part of the Inner Sphere forces going to betray each other or not.
You are also treated to numerous excellent battles with the author skilfully switching between sweeping large scale descriptions and diving straight into the cockpit to sit amongst the heat and tension of a 'mech pilot in the heat of battle.If you are a fan of Battletech then you really cannot let this book pass you by....more
This is the fifth in a series following the Gray Death Legion. Alhough you could read this one it's own I would definitely read the previous book - BlThis is the fifth in a series following the Gray Death Legion. Alhough you could read this one it's own I would definitely read the previous book - Blood of Heroes - before you read this one.
The author has produced some of the best Battletech novels and he has not let us down with this one. There is an excellent mix of battle scenes and intrigue set amongst the early stages of the FedCom Civil war. What makes this different from many of the other novels set during this period is that the Gray Death Legion are Lyran supporters and so it is interesting to see things from this point of view.
One of the best things about this story is that the author makes a really repugnant and hateful villain in the form of the planetary governor. There is a really disturbing scene when we first meet him that goes into just enough detail to give let your mind fill in the blanks. Although there is only passing reference to him in the rest of the story you are definitely in no doubt what you want the Legion to do.
I do have a major complaint though. In amongst a description by one of the victims of what was done to her she refers to being raped as though it was just something that happened to her. What this woman had to endure should have had more impact on her and this should then have been used by the author to increase your disgust and hatred of the villain, but it is passed of as just one of those things. Rape, and the other violations that this woman suffered is never just one of those things and so shouldn't be handled in this manner. I don't think the author did this in a manner to belittle what happened to her - especially that these books have a teen audience - but either something more should have been made of it or it should have been left out....more
An interesting read with some great ideas. Man needs to colonise Mars if he has any chance of preventing a nuclear apocalypse. To carry this out an AsAn interesting read with some great ideas. Man needs to colonise Mars if he has any chance of preventing a nuclear apocalypse. To carry this out an Astronaut undergoes numerous modifications to turn him into a cyborg that can cope with the harsh conditions of living on Mars without the need for an environment suit. Mixed in with these events we are shown the psychological impact on the astronaut and those around him. It is definitely a novel of its time - it was written at a point when the end of the world and the threat of communism was real. Ignoring this we still have a set of excellent ideas and fantastic visions of what might be for space exploration and colonisation. The ending is fantastic - it's a 'Sixth Sense' moment two decades before that film was even cast! It's nearly worth reading just for that alone...
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
This is a weighty tome and kept me happily reading for a number of hours. I am always dubiI received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
This is a weighty tome and kept me happily reading for a number of hours. I am always dubious about the so-called 'best-of' when it comes to fiction - I find it far more subjective and personal than films. As such I would not normally purchase these types of books but I am glad to get the opportunity to read this book though. That isn't to say that I loved every story within - it's just that I would have missed some fantastic stories that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to read otherwise.
I dived straight to the stories from the authors that I knew and liked - Bruce Sterling and Neil Gaiman. I wasn't to be let down. Neil Gaiman works his usual magic of merging the mystical and fantastical into our world with a story about a man in search of a legendary treasure within Scotland during the time of the Border Reavers. As to be expected from Gaiman, not all is as it seems. Bruce Sterling provides an innovative tale in a dystopian setting called 'The Exterminator's Want-Ad' in which an Exterminator writes a 'want-ad' for an employee. This want-ad actually takes the form of the recent history of the employer as he tries to explain why the fact that he is an ex-criminal should not be held against him. Sterling has a wry look at current 'oddities' in today's world such as the virtual economies within MMORPGs that have created real world economies.
My personal favourite in the collection is 'The Zeppelin Conductors' Society Annual Gentlemen's Ball' by Genevieve Valentine. In an alternate history Helium filled Zeppelin's have risen to be the pre-eminent mode of transport in late Victorian era. This has had an effect on the conductor's whose bodies have stretched and changed due to their long periods at high altitudes in a helium atmosphere. The depth of the description is wonderful and you can just imagine being above the clouds working amongst the iron girders that form these leviathans skeleton.
There are many more worthy stories within and I am sure that a fantasy and/or sci-fi fan will find at least a handful of stories that they will enjoy whiling away a few hours reading....more
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
What's the first thing that springs to mind about this book - bizarre! That sums the wholeI received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
What's the first thing that springs to mind about this book - bizarre! That sums the whole book up. An overweight man who delights in his ever lengthening toe-nails is drafted by the United States of Everything (which was the USA) to start a war in a country that he (or most people for that matter) has heard of.
The completely over the top satirical USA of the future is hilarious but also sobering at the same time. The author uses it and the events in the book to make points about recent US foreign policy to police the world and their apparent selections on where to intervene based on oil. In this future the people who are fighting do not know what they are fighting for, just that it would be unpatriotic and treasoness not to do as they are told. I am concerned that some of the points made by the author are too heavy handed and this might put people off or they will loose their impact.
Let's be honest, this book is no 1984 or Animal Farm but it is a pleasant diversion for a few hours with some interesting ideas and a few new twists. If you have a journey that needs to be filled or a couple of hours to spare then take a look....more
When I first started this book I was disappointed as it didn't grab me. It seemed like it was going to be another of these political struggle books anWhen I first started this book I was disappointed as it didn't grab me. It seemed like it was going to be another of these political struggle books and not what was promised on the back. After about getting a third of the way through the story really picks up.
Thomas Marik, the leader of the Free Worlds League chooses a friend to try and bring the concepts he has gathered from le Morte de Arthur to his people by creating the 'Knights of the Inner Sphere'. When help is asked to help quell an uprising on one of the planets of the League. Thomas sends his friend to help. When he arrives on planet he sees the horror of a guerilla war close up where it is all about body count and anybody or anything in a 'free fire zone' is considered and enemy and can be killed to up the body count. This is the best part of the book where you and the main character are sickened by the senseless violence perpetuated on the planet. His descriptions echo the horror of all the guerilla wars of the 20th century and this is the strong point of this book. ...more
I know that this is considered a sci-fi classic but it doesn't seem to be such a great book to me. I know there is a lot of social commentary which waI know that this is considered a sci-fi classic but it doesn't seem to be such a great book to me. I know there is a lot of social commentary which was relevant at the time it was written and still is today but it seems weak to me. There are far better examples of this type of novel out there (Red Mars fo example). I know not all of them deal with contact with the Martians but they don't play such a major role in these stories - I feel that they are there just to hit home about the settlers persecution and near genocide of the native American Indian. I feel that the writing was amateurish and expected more from the author of Fahrenheit 451....more
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
This is an eclectic mix of short stories. The opening story (and the name of the book) isI received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
This is an eclectic mix of short stories. The opening story (and the name of the book) is about the torture of a real-life missionary to the Hurons by the Iroquois. It is full of wonderful imagery and sensation. Although it is only 3 1/2 pages long it is a fantastic story and an excellent opening to this collection.
The third story deals with a woman who has had a miscarriage and is suffering the following devastation. It is an interesting story and has an interesting take on interglatactic travel that I have not come across anywhere else.
The stories are set across various times, places, and alternate realities. They deal with human emotions and explore the human psyche and morality. They are well written and with an obvious passion. The author has an incredible knack of sneaking upon you the realisation that where and when the story are set are not what you originally thought. I've already recommended to one of my work colleagues that he should take a look....more
This is science fiction at its best. It contains lots of futuristic technologies and uses scientific terms without losing you. Cherryh has a masterfulThis is science fiction at its best. It contains lots of futuristic technologies and uses scientific terms without losing you. Cherryh has a masterful way of weaving together social commentry and attacks on corruption into her stories. This book, its direct predecessor Heavy Time, and the next chronologically - Downbelow Station all are set against the earth clinging to its old ideas as being the centre of the universe and how more advanced colonies are throwing off this yoke. While all this is going on private companies and power mad individuals are still playing their own provate power games thinking no further than the end of their nose. Sound familiar?
The main character of this book is Paul Dekker who has suffered traumas in the previous book, and has again suffered trauma while as a test pilot for the top secret hellburner. His associates and friends from the previous book are brought in to help him get over the trauma. One of the members of this group, Ben Pollard, does not really like Paul and sees him as a threat to his plans. This antoganism between the two characters is interesting and adds a dimension to the story as there is not only conflict against hidden antagonists.
Power games, and political abuse always gets me wound. It shows how good at weaving this type of story Cherryh is as it got me as wound up as it does when I see politicians abusing their power and misusing public funds for their own good.
I don't think this is as good as Downbelow Station which at this time I think is her finest work, but is definitely excellent and worth reading....more