Spook Country had moments, but like an intelligent lazy teen it never reached its full potential. I liked some of the characters, particularly Hollis...moreSpook Country had moments, but like an intelligent lazy teen it never reached its full potential. I liked some of the characters, particularly Hollis and the strange Chinese-Latino hybrid crime family members, but the general sense of alienation was so overwhelming that it made me sad. I've also started to notice and be irritated by Gibson's overt brand-name-dropping in his last couple of books. Maybe I should have read this one in the spring when my general outlook on life was less filled with rage.
With all this Gibson-bashing, I feel compelled to add that Neuromancer rulz 4 evah.(less)
Wow, what a book. Science fiction? Historical fiction? Who cares? The writing style in this book is so interesting that I didn't even care when the au...moreWow, what a book. Science fiction? Historical fiction? Who cares? The writing style in this book is so interesting that I didn't even care when the author addressed me directly (usually that really annoys me). (less)
Little Brother is a thrilling cyberpunk romp with some kick-ass teen hackers who get on the wrong side of homeland security following a terrorist atta...moreLittle Brother is a thrilling cyberpunk romp with some kick-ass teen hackers who get on the wrong side of homeland security following a terrorist attack on the bay area. I am a huge fan of Boing Boing (http://www.boingboing.net/), which is one of Cory's projects, and have long admired his commitment to freedom and sharing on the internets, so this book is just an extension of his other projects in a lot of ways. Plus, it's exciting and funny. Plus, you can download the ebook for free because Doctorow always publishes under a creative commons license- you can find several versions to download here: http://craphound.com/littlebrother/do... (less)
I got into a discussion with my friend Alex about this book when we were both about 60 pages in. She was telling me that she didn't think she could fi...moreI got into a discussion with my friend Alex about this book when we were both about 60 pages in. She was telling me that she didn't think she could finish it because it was so irritatingly sexist. I was more willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, but after finishing it... yeah, it was pretty sexist. However, I still enjoyed the imaginative apocalyptic scenarios, and there were some interesting characters in there too. It's clear that this author spent a lot of time fantasizing about what the end of the world would look like. He seems to take a rather dim view of human nature, and I tend to be a little more Pollyanna about these things, but overall the book was a fun, quick read. (less)
There is the root of a great epic modern paranormal/scifi story in this book. However, it's in desperate need of a good editor to correct the glaring...moreThere is the root of a great epic modern paranormal/scifi story in this book. However, it's in desperate need of a good editor to correct the glaring spelling and grammatical errors, redundant language, and confusing plot elements. The story could have been about 100-150 pages shorter and made much more sense if it were tightened up a bit. Still, with a substantial edit, there's gold buried in here.(less)
I don't always like the harder sci-fi, but this one had enough humanity in it to sustain my interest. Marghe is an anthropologist who gets an opportun...moreI don't always like the harder sci-fi, but this one had enough humanity in it to sustain my interest. Marghe is an anthropologist who gets an opportunity to study the people of the planet Jeep, where all of the men have died from a virus that has simultaneously given a portion of the women on the planet the ability to reproduce through some kind of mysterious trance ritual. Lots of interesting descriptions of the various tribes and communities of women. We get to follow Marghe on her journey from an alienated company woman to a situation where she is captured and escapes from a warrior tribe for many months. She escapes and nearly dies during a harsh winter storm, and is eventually rescued by another tribe where she falls in love, becomes pregnant, and follows her partner into her line of work as a "viajera," one who travels, sings, tells stories and shares news from the various communities, and acts as a dispute moderator. I really enjoyed Nicola Griffith's lush language and detailed writing style.
FYI- Nicola and her partner Kelley Eskridge will be reading at the Olympia Library in October at our first annual SciFiFest- stay tuned for details. (less)
Told mostly from the perspective of Art Mumby, an typical eleven year old Victorian era boy who happens to live in outer space in a crazy spaceship-ho...moreTold mostly from the perspective of Art Mumby, an typical eleven year old Victorian era boy who happens to live in outer space in a crazy spaceship-house with robot servants, his absentminded professor father, and his annoyingly fussy older sister Myrtle. Art and Myrtle just barely escape from a harrowing situation after giant intelligent spiders (with hats) attack their house (Larklight). After a crash landing on the moon, where they are hijacked by giant moths and then rescued by a dashing and dangerous boy pirate named Jack and his passel of alien sidekicks. Alchemy, danger and derring-do ensues. Great, imaginative, rollicking read made all the better by the inventive drawings throughout. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.(less)
Seattle in the 1800's: the Civil war rages on, promises of gold in the Klondike bring new commerce and people to the city, and a machine is being buil...moreSeattle in the 1800's: the Civil war rages on, promises of gold in the Klondike bring new commerce and people to the city, and a machine is being built in an inventor's basement that promises to dig through ice and extract gold. Something goes horribly wrong with the boneshaker machine, causing it to rip through Pioneer Square leaving mayhem and wreckage in its path. A mysterious gas comes up through the churned earth, turning everybody that breathes enough of it into zombies known as rotters. The solution: wall off the affected parts of the city so that the blight stays contained. Thus, the scene is set for this mindboggling book full of dirigibles; kick-ass, renegade characters; steam power; and adventure. I loved everything about this book- characters, plot, setting, language... don't pass this one up.
After being told to read this for ages by many many people, I finally got a chance to check out "The Hunger Games," and I couldn't. Put. It. Down.
Set...moreAfter being told to read this for ages by many many people, I finally got a chance to check out "The Hunger Games," and I couldn't. Put. It. Down.
Set after a civil war ravages North America and turns it back into what is basically a feudal system of 12 areas that are divided by a primary export product. Katniss lives in district 12, the coal district, where she becomes the sole provider for her fragile mother and 12 year old sister Prim following the death of her father in a coal mining accident. Every year, Katniss gambles her life for the health of her family by entering her name multiple times in the "Hunger Games" lottery in exchange for extra grain and staples. All children aged 12-18 are entered in the annual lottery, where one male and one female "winner" from each district are forced into a fully televised battle that ends when only one child survives. When Katniss's sister Prim gets drawn as the annual representative for her district, Katniss steps forward to take her place. Much brutality, action, humanity, and a smidgen of romance ensue. This book's got it all- highly recommended, and I can't wait until my hold for Catching Fire (book 2) comes in... (less)
What a strange book indeed. Opening: Lux the genderbending narcissist poet lies underneath a car with copious quantities of cocaine coursing through h...moreWhat a strange book indeed. Opening: Lux the genderbending narcissist poet lies underneath a car with copious quantities of cocaine coursing through his body while a riot rages in the surrounding streets of Brixton. Sadly, it's all downhill from here for Lux, but he always has a positive outlook and doesn't let the circumstances of his day get him down. Rather than describe the plotline of this book, which is nearly impossible, here are some random plot elements in no particular order... A gay couple kick Lux out of their house after he wears out his welcome by repeatedly stealing from them and eating all of their food. A megalomaniac, sexually predatorial accountant employed by Happy Science PLC (a corporation dabbling in experimental eugenics) tries to drum up career interest by calling headhunters and recommending himself. A kindly lesbian named Pearl (the love of Lux's life) wanders through the riot with her PTSD lover Nicky (a former Happy Science employee whose job did not go well) in search of the only copy of her independent film reel. A thrash metal band named the Jane Austen Mercenaries stalk Lux through the riot because he stole all of their demo tapes. An age old goddess named Kalia wanders through the riot and helps people in order to achieve her promise of performing 500,000 acts of kindness so that she can return to Heaven, all the while being followed by her nemesis Yasmin, who is posing as a member of the computer police. All the while, Lux tries in vain to get anyone at all to listen to his questionable poetry. There's more, but my brain just exploded. Read this if you like experimental literature and black-as-night humor. (less)
Wow, this book took me a LONG time to read. Very dense, detailed, unique, thoughtful and masterfully written first novel. Mr. Bacigalupi managed to cr...moreWow, this book took me a LONG time to read. Very dense, detailed, unique, thoughtful and masterfully written first novel. Mr. Bacigalupi managed to craft a story without a main character to speak of, and there were a whole lot of characters to keep track of, but somehow he made it work. Set in the future, in Thailand, in a world where genetics companies a la Monsanto (ironically based in Iowa) with names like AgriGen and PurCal have taken control of the world's food supply by creating viruses that only the genetically modified foods they provide can withstand. The Windup Girl tackles issues of ethics, class, race, politics, religion, science, and greed in a way that I haven't seen in a work of fiction in a long time. My only critique of this book is that there are so many characters that it is at times hard to follow the storyline, and the addition of many new words (Bacigalupian, Thai, and Chinese) make for a lot of three-pages-forward, two-pages-back action. I'm glad I persevered- this book takes you places you've never been before.
Anderson Lake is sent by AgriGen as a spy of sorts to sleuth out the new virus-resistant fruits that are popping up in Thailand despite AgriGen's concerted efforts to prevent them from existence. Lake, under the guise of a factory owner, meets and becomes fascinated by Emiko, a manufactured windup girl. The windups, also called "heechy keechy" or "new people," are obedient androids created in Japan to serve in the work force as secretaries, servants, and sometimes military assassins. Windups have become the newest ethnic minorities in Thailand, lower even than the "yellow card" Chinese immigrants that populate the slums of Bangkok. Emiko is forced to perform in a nightly sex show where she is humiliated in front of an audience to earn her keep. Anderson, against all good judgment, enters into a relationship with Emiko; their union starts a chain reaction which culminates in a sudden and vicious civil war.
Want the rest of the story? Read the book... (less)
The second book in the Hunger Games Series... I read this in two days and thought about it when I wasn't reading. These books are such a roller coaste...moreThe second book in the Hunger Games Series... I read this in two days and thought about it when I wasn't reading. These books are such a roller coaster ride! Book two sees Katniss and Peeta being entered as competitors in another Hunger Games contest that is composed entirely of previous Hunger Games victors, this is in "celebration" of the Quarter Quell, aka the 75th anniversary of the games. There is a climate of political unrest, with many of the districts staging uprisings, and Katniss and Peeta serve as symbols of their rebellion. The ending was exceedingly abrupt, which I found irritating, but of course I'm salivating to get my hands on the third book in this series, Mockingjay, which is coming out next month. Contraband copies are welcome... anyone? (less)
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to a teen. It's suspenseful and chock full of strange and interesting phenomenon- seagulls with talons, fly...moreI wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to a teen. It's suspenseful and chock full of strange and interesting phenomenon- seagulls with talons, flying snakes, talking coyotes, kids with special powers, etc. etc. The story takes place in a California coastal town micro-environment that somehow becomes encapsulated in a giant egg/globe/wall- nobody can get in or out. Oh, and by the way, everyone over the age of fifteen disappears at the same time on the first page of the book. There's also no telecommunications access. I actually really enjoyed the overall premise and devoured the book in two days, but I gotta say it- the writing? Not so good. The author vacillates wildly between overexplanation and underexplanation. Most of the characters are annoyingly two dimensional. You can tell if someone is good or evil the moment they enter the story (it's almost insulting). Also, you know when you notice someone's verbal tics and then they start to drive you crazy? That happened for me in this book. Still, if you can overlook some slightly less polished writing for a kick-ass dystopian thriller of a story, this is a worthwhile read. I'll be reading the rest of the series, albeit mildly grudgingly.(less)
Another interesting and unique book from Paolo Bacigalupi- he just keeps getting better. There were elements of Windup Girl in this one, but it was wr...moreAnother interesting and unique book from Paolo Bacigalupi- he just keeps getting better. There were elements of Windup Girl in this one, but it was written in more accessible language for teens which is kind of nice.
Nailer is a ship breaker who works long hours with a crew of teens, breaking down old oil tankers and scavenging all of their copper wiring. He lives in poverty with his violent amphetamine-addicted father in a beach shack, constantly at risk because of the raging tropical storms that hit the area with regularity. When Nailer and his crewmate Pima discover a beautiful clipper that's been destroyed by a storm, they are excited by the possibilities that the ship's riches provide. When they discover a young "swank" girl is still alive on the boat, their destinies become intertwined with her fate and the adventure begins.
My favorite thing about Bagicalupi's writing is his ability to paint a vibrant world through character and setting. If you like some dystopia in your scifi, you might want to check this one out.(less)