This story actually surprised me. I was kind of expecting a pulp-style story about a monkey who is a fighter pilot in WWII. Instead, I got one set a hThis story actually surprised me. I was kind of expecting a pulp-style story about a monkey who is a fighter pilot in WWII. Instead, I got one set a hundred years later where the monkey was star of a massively popular multi-player computer game. But the programmed monkey is showing signs of self-awareness, leading a group to decide that he is an actual artificial intelligence. A member of the group is the girlfriend of the Prince of Wales, and she pulls him into 'rescuing' the enslaved AI.
But things go crazy from there. The company behind the monkey is also owned by the prince's mother, and they've been 'treating' the prince over the years. The break-in finds a *real* monkey instead of a self-aware computer program. And the truth of what the queen has been up to. Meanwhile, a woman who is a cyborg is investigating the murder of her ex-husband (and others), only to be targeted herself.
Oh, and there's the mission to Mars that is more than it seems.
Part alternate-history, part cyberpunk, part steampunk, part thriller, part pulp, this book throws in everything except the kitchen sink. Strangely enough, it all works, and I look forward to giving the next book a shot....more
A television channel that is *not* the SyFy channel (snicker) has started creating popular, 'slightly' fictionalized documentaries. Their latest projeA television channel that is *not* the SyFy channel (snicker) has started creating popular, 'slightly' fictionalized documentaries. Their latest project involves sending a ship loaded with scientists and a film crew to find evidence of mermaids (and do ignore that performance troop of professional mermaids, please).
Needless to say, since this is Mira Grant, not Seanan McGuire, things go very, very wrong.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. If I have any complaints, it's that it wasn't expanded into a full novel. Things got a little rushed in the last sections of the book, and I think there was plenty of room to push out to novel (if short novel) length. She certainly did a good job of quickly sketching in the characters, but when they started dieing, I had trouble remembering which were gay couple, or some of the other experts. I also really liked the 'mermaids' and would have liked a little more time with the ones that were more background.
Being a Subterannean Press book, the book as object was gorgeous. Thick paper, excellent binding, and a gorgeous cover. Unfortunately, it sold like hotcakes, and is sold out, but if you live in the US, you can at least get the ebook edition....more
Embassytown is one of those rare sf books that is about language, and does something interesting with language. Embassytown is a human controlled cityEmbassytown is one of those rare sf books that is about language, and does something interesting with language. Embassytown is a human controlled city on a strange world where all technology is all bioengineered. The natives (who are never fully described) speak through two mouths at the same time, and humans have to come up with way of doing the same to even be recognized as speaking anything. Ambassadors are clones who are basically the same person, but each speaks one half of the language (and have names like CalVin, MagDa, CharLotte, etc).
But now a new Ambassador, EzRa, has come from Outside. They aren't clones, and when they speak, it turns out that their voice acts as a drug to the natives. And everything falls apart.
The protagonist, Avice, is a simile. The natives can't speak lies, and in order to use similes, someone has to act them out. Avice filled that role as a child. Then she left the world to work on the ships that travel through Immer between planets. Then she marries and does something unthinkable, she returns to Embassytown with her linguist husband, and they get dragged into the conflict.
I found the book fascinating, and the world truely alien, rather than just 'pseudo-human society on another planet' or even 'animals/insects/etc-like society on another planet'. It's the first Mieville novel I've ever read, and while I'm not sure he's quite to my tastes, the read was worth the time. It did make me want to go through boxes to find my copy of Native Tongue for a reread....more
Books in the 'In Death' series tend to fall into three categories. 1) You know who the killer is, and your interest is in how Eve identifies the killeBooks in the 'In Death' series tend to fall into three categories. 1) You know who the killer is, and your interest is in how Eve identifies the killer. 2) You don't know who the killer is, but you know the clues and the suspect and might be able to figure it out as Eve does. Or 3) You don't know who the killer is and there are no real clues to follow, so you find out when it's revealed. (Okay, there was also at least one book where everyone knows who did it, and it's the quest to *prove* it)
This one follows category three. Eve has an obsessed fan who is killing people she's gone up against in the past. A tough lawyer who defends killers, a druggie who clocked Eve once by mistake, a witness who was really, really rude to her. The killer leaves messages that are signed 'your true and loyal friend'. Eve has to track down the killer without tipping them over into anger and a targeting of Eve's friends instead of her perceived enemies.
I appreciated the references to past events without getting too hung up on explaining everything (for example, the lawyer defended the killer from Rapture in Death). You get enough information to understand without complete descriptions. It's a tricky balance, but Ms Roberts handles it well.
40 books, and I am still enjoying this series....more