Metatropolis has some interesting ideas. It has some good stories and it has some not so good. The basic premInteresting premise. Interesting tales...
Metatropolis has some interesting ideas. It has some good stories and it has some not so good. The basic premise, create a future world in which cities have been forced to take new forms, is solid sf material. The way the stories that evolve from those cities is sometimes too preachy. Jay Lake's "In the Forests of the Night" is in this category. Yes, we get that the world ran out of resources. Yes, we get that Man is evil. Say it once, maybe twice, but don't keep beating us over the head with the rhetoric.
The other stories are somewhat better, with Elizabeth Bear's "The Red in the Sky is Our Blood" is being probably the best overall story. Bear manages to make the listener care about not only her main character but the secondary characters that she deals with as she moves through the plot.
The overall feel of the anthology is definitely cyberpunk. Or maybe eco-punk is the correct term. Not anything new, really, but each author has his or her own take and gives the world a slightly different feel.
Several other reviews have mentioned the slowness of the readers. This is true, especially in the first couple of stories. I had the feeling as I continued through the stories that this was at least somewhat intentional. The world of Metatropolis has slowed down and the the readers use the slower reading pace to reenforce the feeling of a slower, less frenetic feel.
Overall it's a good collection and worth a listen....more
Recommended to me by Heather McCorkle, Threeis a post-apocalyptic novel about a bounty hunter who encounters a woman and her son on the run from a merRecommended to me by Heather McCorkle, Threeis a post-apocalyptic novel about a bounty hunter who encounters a woman and her son on the run from a mercenary crew bent on their destruction.
It's a cliche premise, to be sure, but Posey takes the cliche and makes it work masterfully. Three is at turns Clint Eastwood in his Spaghetti Western years, gruff, stern and emotionally cold and a gentle father figure who comes to truly care for his charges. The story progresses quickly from start to finish and there is a truly unexpected twist at the end that doesn't feel forced or trite.
If the book fails in any single way it's a lack of background. We're given glimpses of the world that was but we're not told what world it is. We can assume it's a future Earth, but we're never quite certain. It was a high-tech world, certainly, but we're never told what it was that caused the fall. Only that it happened. The glimpses we're given are tantalizing and leave the reader either frustrated or wanting more. (I was in the latter group.)
The lack of background forces the reader to concentrate on the here-and-now of the story at hand. There is darkness and violence aplenty but there are moments of contemplation as well. That plus the quick pace make for a breathtaking experience....more
Ultimately I enjoyed Necessary Evil as I did the other books in this series. The end was a little anti-climactic, but given the build up and the way Ultimately I enjoyed Necessary Evil as I did the other books in this series. The end was a little anti-climactic, but given the build up and the way things were brought to a close that's almost to be expected.
Tregillis writes good fiction and good suspense and this worked well throughout the series. His characters are interesting and well-rounded. They're all likeable in some way, except maybe the Doctor and Reinhold, who are both consummate asses. Even Gretel is likeable from time to time and I felt a little sad for her at the end. She got what she wanted, though not in the way she thought it would happen.
I'll probably go back and read the entire series again at some point to fill in the gaps in my memory. I'm sure there are things I missed. Well worth the read....more
While it's classified as a science fiction novel in most circles, A Princess of Mars is most assuredly a work of fantasy fiction. It has sf trappingsWhile it's classified as a science fiction novel in most circles, A Princess of Mars is most assuredly a work of fantasy fiction. It has sf trappings (he's on Mars!) but there's less of a rayguns and spaceships feel and more of a knights and dragons feel. Certainly Edgar Rice Burroughs let his imagination run wild and allow the world of Mars and the peoples of Barsoom to become real people with feelings and drives.
It draws on the romantic tradition and shows John Carter not as a modern action hero but as a southern gentleman and veteran of the Civil War who does his best to woo Dejah Thoris, the woman he discovers and falls in love with on Mars.
The story is actually pretty fast paced once it starts to move. John Carter is perhaps an overpowered character in terms of his physical prowess and perhaps Burroughs makes too much of this, but overall it's a good adventure story and John Carter is heroic in the classic ways a hero should be. He's not brutal but he does kill when he needs to.
The end of the story is enigmatic. We're left to wonder exactly how John Carter got to Mars and how he got back. We're made to assume that his adventure may have been a dream. What isn't left nebulous is his love for Dejah Thoris and the heartbreak at losing her. We feel both of those emotions in spades as the novel closes.
Old fashioned speculative fiction sometimes takes a little while to get used to. The language is a little stilted, but this is something the reader gets used to as the story progresses. Burroughs takes some time to introduce the new world but when he grabs ahold of the reader he doesn't let go until the end.
Overall it's a good book. The slow start mars it (and is the reason it took me as long as it did to finish it) but it does finally get there....more
First off I have to say that I've enjoyed the Honor Harrington books so far. Certainly they've gone from a fairly simple premise to a much more compleFirst off I have to say that I've enjoyed the Honor Harrington books so far. Certainly they've gone from a fairly simple premise to a much more complex and complicated story, but the characters have been the thing that have kept me reading. They work because they feel as though they have lives.
Unfortunately, I think I'm experiencing a certain amount of burnout. The complexity of the books now means that the actual action that I started reading the series for takes a back seat to political intrigues and a lot of characters talking to each other and explaining the situation.
War of Honor is a good book overall. The story of the reconstituted Republic of Haven trying desperately to end the war between itself and the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the way in which that attempt at peace is derailed makes for an interesting story.
However, the book spends a great deal of time featuring characters talking. Talking about this and that. Talking about alliances and treaties and how to destroy the peace and how Haven may have closed the technological gap that Manticore has enjoyed since the beginning of the war. I was surprised these characters didn't discuss what they'd had for lunch the previous day.
I understand what Weber is doing here. He has to set up a lot of stuff for the next book and the ones after it. But it would have been nice to have a little more action in a book called War of Honor....more
The Old Republic is the mythical world often mentioned in the Star Wars movies. We see the end of it in the prequels, a crumbling husk filled with infThe Old Republic is the mythical world often mentioned in the Star Wars movies. We see the end of it in the prequels, a crumbling husk filled with infighting and corruption. But there was a time when the Republic stood for something more and the Jedi were more than cloistered ministers, more often looked down on than revered for their wisdom. Fatal Alliance is a story of that time.
Based on the Old Republic Massively Multiplayer online game, and set some 3,500 years before the events of Star Wars IV: A New Hope, the book tells the story of a mysterious world filled with rare minerals that both the Sith Empire and the Republic want to control. To that end, several people are gathered together to represent the two factions and the adventure begins. Each of the characters represents one of the playable classes in the game, but they are far from cookie-cutter representations of those classes. They are in fact well-rounded characters whose "class" is just the profession they've chosen or has chosen them.
The plot is complicated but not complex. There are several climax points in the story, leading up to the final conflict on a heretofore unknown world. It is a consummate Star Wars story, filled with the adventure, humor, suspense and character that has made the franchise beloved by so many.
A note on the production: Random House Audio does a pretty good job augmenting the reading of the book with music and sound effects that give a subtle feeling of being in the action. Everything from blaster fire and lightsaber hum and crackle to the low-level rumble of a starships engines as it orbits a planet, plus music from all of the movies placed strategically give the feel of listening to a movie rather than having someone read a book.
However, the reader, Marc Thompson, has an annoying tendency to mispronounce words that, quite honestly, shouldn't be mispronounced. I suspect this is more of a direction problem rather than a problem with Thompson himself, but they're words that mean completely different things when pronounced one way or another. The one that caught me most often was loped (the act of having an easy, steady gait, more than walk but less than a run) and lopped (to cut off suddenly). Several times there are characters lopping along when they should be loping. I started counting the third time this came up.
In all, Fatal Alliance is a solid Star Wars novel, worthy of a read whether or not you play the game on which it's based....more