I know that plots in young adult books are held to different standards, but this one had massive problems.
The concept is that NASA has a secret moonba...moreI know that plots in young adult books are held to different standards, but this one had massive problems.
The concept is that NASA has a secret moonbase built in the 70s with robots and astronauts, but no one ever entered it. There's a strange signal from the moon, and they decided to restart the moon program and drum up interest by sending five astronauts and three teenagers, chosen from a world-wide lottery (which doesn't pick a single American kid for this American program). And when they get to the moon, things immediately go very wrong.
I was quickly ticking off plot problems.
(view spoiler)[1) Teenagers? I really have trouble believing that they would send three teenagers after a short training time. If something went wrong, it would be worse than either of the shuttle disasters.
2) They were able to build a secret base on the moon without *anyone* finding out? With 1970s robots? Not to mention that it included a greenhouse module that has an apple tree, and tomatos that are still growing more than forty years later.
3) After reading books by astronauts like Chris Hadfield, I know that every minute in space is planned and scheduled. The idea that they would get to the moon and the non-commander astronaut would start deciding what people should do is just silly. They should all have checklists to start into.
4) When two astronauts go to fix a broken generator, they are mysteriously locked in. Why can they be locked in? Why is there no lock on the inside? And the idea that they would decide to just give up and open their space suits to kill themselves while they still had time to try to do something was eye-rollingly bad.
5) As things are getting bad, one of the astronauts decides to overdose on drugs that have been on the moon for forty years. This is fixed with an injection of another drug.
6) When things are at their worst, the commander tells them that there is *another* moonbase, this one military, and that not only did NASA conceal building a base, they built a second one a hundred feet below ground. With an escape pod. Underground.
7) The escape pod can only hold three, but there are four left, so the commander stays behind. Considering everything up to that point, why wouldn't he go along to at least help protect them and make sure they get away? And when the last astronaut dies before they leave, he still lets the two remaining teenagers go by themselves.
Problems 3-7 might have been acceptable if the author had just included some hints that the horror elements included influencing people's minds. That might have explained the ridiculous levels of dispair. And it would have been better if things had happened over several days on the moon (they were supposed to be there for a week, after all) rather than immediately. (hide spoiler)]
I'm giving this book one star for the writing, which was quite serviceable, and I did find a couple of the characters really interesting, and one star for the afterword, which left some intriguing questions that the author might answer in a future book. But I can't go any higher than that.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The format reminded me of other books (World War Z, the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant) in that it is a retelling of the early days of a plague throug...moreThe format reminded me of other books (World War Z, the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant) in that it is a retelling of the early days of a plague through interviews with people who were there, done years later.
Basically, a flu-like illness has swept the world. It kills a lot of people. Then people who got the illness and recovered start falling into a 'locked-in' state where they are aware of their surroundings, but cannot move.
Eventually, a neural net is developed that lets them communicate, then robot bodies (threeps, from C3-PO) allow them to interact with the world. And it turns out that they can 'ride' the bodies of volunteers who were also survivors but didn't end up locked in. And humans being humans, there is prejudice against threeps.
This didn't really work as a stand-alone story, but it was fantastic as a teaser for the upcoming novel that it is a prequel to (there is a teaser chapter from the book). I definitely plan on reading the novel.(less)
Before you read this book, be aware that there is a lot of violence. Especially self-violence described.
A small group of government agents are investi...moreBefore you read this book, be aware that there is a lot of violence. Especially self-violence described.
A small group of government agents are investigating a rash of infections that might be bioengineered by terrorists (hah!). These manifest as triangular shaped growths, extreme paranoia, and violence. But they have trouble figuring the infections out, because the growths (and the bodies) decay in an incredibly fast way.
Meanwhile, former college football star with anger management issues is infected, and voices are urging him to kill. Only, he is resisting. And instead of going to a doctor (paranoia, remember), he decides to get rid of the infections himself.
Chicken scissors. Anyone who knows Scott Sigler just winced.
The story was more of a four star, but I dropped a star because the level of violence made me a little queasy, and I was skimming past those parts, trying to avoid the queasiness. Still, it was worth reading.(less)
I was sorting through a box of books, and found my copy of this book. Of course, I had to go through and reread all of my favorite bits. I loved this...moreI was sorting through a box of books, and found my copy of this book. Of course, I had to go through and reread all of my favorite bits. I loved this book when I first read it for the balance of serious and funny, with a few thrilling moments of danger. I was pleased to find that it still holds up. It's long out of print, unfortunately. It would be nice to see it come back as an ebook perhaps.(less)
Ongoing series rarely work for me. Sooner or later, I get tired of the characters, or find that things start repeating too much for my tastes.
The 'In...moreOngoing series rarely work for me. Sooner or later, I get tired of the characters, or find that things start repeating too much for my tastes.
The 'In Death' series is pretty much the only exception for me right now, and after more 30 books, that's amazing. I find the mysteries interesting and varied, and the characters are actually developing. For example, it's nice to see that Eve has reached the stage where she is no longer having nightmares about her scumbag parents, and Roarke is no longer insisting she take a tranquilizer to get some sleep. She seems that have reached some balance.
This is further emphasized when she talked to a woman who'd almost been killed by the killer as a teenager (although she doesn't remember much). This young woman has her own nightmares and protective spouse. It was nice to see Eve open up to her, and encourage her to find help.
The mystery is the bodies of twelve girls found in a building he's bought, which has been abandoned for fifteen years. This leads to an investigation into the group home for troubled teens that moved out of the building about that time. The mystery wasn't terribly deep, but it was interesting.
I wasn`t crazy about the introduction of the foresnsic anthropologist (an old friend of Roarke`s), who has the earmarks of a character that will be sticking around. I also wonder if there are plans to have Quilla (one of the troubled teens in the group home who gives Eve info) show up from time to time. She didn`t have much purpose beyond spilling lots of info to Eve.
One of the weaker installments in the last few years, but still a lot of fun to read.(less)
This was an intriguing little book about a group of astronauts stranded on the moon when the US and USSR go to nuclear war and destroy the world. Howe...moreThis was an intriguing little book about a group of astronauts stranded on the moon when the US and USSR go to nuclear war and destroy the world. However, they also have a Nazi-made (?) device that lets them slip between alternate worlds. They are hunting for a world that has destroyed itself, but one where the US still exists and has a space program. And preferably before they run out of food or go crazy (there's already been several suicides). But will they find what they are looking for?
I won't give away the ending (there's a twist!), but as a fan of the space program, I found the appendix as interesting as the story, if not more so, as it outlines an alternate space program that didn't shut down the moon program after Apollo 17, but also headed straight into a world-ending war.
The story, unfortunately, seemed a little... unfinished. It definitely should have been longer. Instead, there's a twist! and then it stops, with no follow through.(less)
For me, science fiction has three essential elements: Plot, Character, and Idea. Usually one or two of those elements dominate the book. For example,...moreFor me, science fiction has three essential elements: Plot, Character, and Idea. Usually one or two of those elements dominate the book. For example, I find that Harry Turtledove is heavy on the ideas, but the plot is just to show off the idea, and the characters are cardboard.
This story was high on the idea (the civilisation on Venus travels to Earth where humans have gone extinct, and learn more about their own past than they expected) and characters (from the scientists and historians, to political agitators and their hanger-ons) were all engaging.
Unfortunately, the plot suffered. The political plot was light, and ended up almost swept under the carpet in the end. The domestic tension between one character and her abusive ex-husband ended very conveniently. The only part that was really developed was finding a supply cache left by the ancients, and learning the 'final' history of humans on Earth, and that really wasn't a *plot* so much as a series of actions.
The 'truth' was easy to see coming from the begining, but there were a lot of assumptions that people made that had me wondering if it really was a case of cosmology being completely different from what we think it is, or if the Venusians were interpreting it in ways that show their own biases. There was also a strange religious but not quite religious element (a touch of directed evolution from an unknown force) that made me a tiny bit uncomfortable.
Still, the ideas were quite interesting, and I enjoyed the book. It just wasn't in any danger of being a *great* book.(less)
The first book of this series was a delightfully creepy story, set in a swampy area called Area X, taken over by an unknown (supernatural? alien?) eve...moreThe first book of this series was a delightfully creepy story, set in a swampy area called Area X, taken over by an unknown (supernatural? alien?) event, following a team of four sent in to investigate. They were the twelth expedition.
Authority picks up the story after the end of the first book, but looking at the organization studying Area X. A new director has been appointed to figure out what is going wrong, but he is stymied at every turn by his superiors and his supposed subordinates. The only person he can relate to is the biologist, from the previous book. Three of the four members of the team reappeared in the world outside of Area X, like the team before them did.
The world of the research facility is as murky as the swamps of Area X, filled with out of date equipment, and a shrinking staff that seems verging on insane. Or maybe it is Control, the new director, who is going insane.
Reading, I could almost hear the whine of mosquitos, smell the faint whiff of mildew, feel the sweat trickling. Nearly twice as long as the first book, this one still managed to leave me completely creeped out. I wish I didn't have to wait another four months for the final book of the series.(less)