I think Daniel Suarez's writing gets better with each book of his I read (though I haven't read Kill Decision). Influx is a fascinating what-if tale o...moreI think Daniel Suarez's writing gets better with each book of his I read (though I haven't read Kill Decision). Influx is a fascinating what-if tale of a government agency that suppresses technological advances supposedly to prevent a sociological catastrophe, while at the same time using and abusing those advances for their own nefarious purposes, and the scientist that ends up helping to bring them down.
There are some interesting twists with characters. Some characters that I expected to have more impact on the story met untimely ends. There's plenty of fascinating science and technology info dumps towards the beginning of the book. There's some torture of the main character, which I don't particularly enjoy reading, so I did some skimming. But what I did read of it, didn't seem too gory, and it was necessary to his development.
There's also lots of neat tech being used throughout the story, which is always fun.
The world is in ruins following the events of Robopocalypse. Archos-18 was defeated, or was it? Other mega AIs scramble to life as well. The Freeborn,...moreThe world is in ruins following the events of Robopocalypse. Archos-18 was defeated, or was it? Other mega AIs scramble to life as well. The Freeborn, humans, and a strange intermingling of man and machine all try to find their place in this new world they thing free of the looming threat of the AI supercomputer. They soon discover they're wrong, and again the fight is on to survive.
Robogenesis picks up pretty well right after the events of Robopocalypse. Though at first we're with some new characters in Russia. We're reintroduced to characters from the first book as they're thinking the war is over and can start moving on with life. Things don't go well though, and the characters slowly realize the war never really ended, and eventually everyone is reunited, and some new characters are brought in as well on both sides.
I absolutely loved Robopocalypse. I was excited to read Robogenesis and see where the story went. This books feels like a middle book in a trilogy, especially the way it ended.
There was very little happiness for the characters in the book. I can only think of two events that were really happy. And I happen to like some happy in my books, even post-apoc end-of-world war stories need some happy in them in my opinion.
I think my favorite character this time around might be Houdini. Loyal and faithful Houdini. A close second would be Nine Oh Two, is almost more human than the human characters, and definitely more human than the other freeborn.
Overall, it's a good book. I don't think it's as good as the first one, but if there's a third book in the series I'll definitely keep reading!
Far Orbit is a wonderful collection of short science fiction stories.
A few of the standout stories to me were:
Open For Business, by Sam Kepfield, is...moreFar Orbit is a wonderful collection of short science fiction stories.
A few of the standout stories to me were:
Open For Business, by Sam Kepfield, is a tale of (practically current day) entrepreneurs starting up an asteroid mining company, and the fall out from doing so.
Composition in Death Minor, by Kevin Jewell, where a cellist assassin has to make a choice.
Spaceman Barbecue, by Peter Wood, is a Twilight Zone-esque throwback with a happy ending.
A Game of Hold'em, by Wendy Sparrow, is an Old West tale set on a colony world.
And I think my favorite was Bear Essentials, by Julie Frost, about a small trading vessel run by a grumpy man and his adult daughter, along with their small crew. This tale has them transporting a live bear from one world to another, along with an unusual passenger, and discovering something amazing along the way. I definitely want to read more stories about this crew (especially if that bear comes back).
Need a quick fix of good old-fashioned science fiction? Far Orbit is it!
An eARC of Far Orbit was provided to me by the publisher for review (thanks!). (less)
What did I just read? And why did I like it so much?
Starship Grifters is a crazy story about a gambling, alcoholic, con-artist and his robot assistant...moreWhat did I just read? And why did I like it so much?
Starship Grifters is a crazy story about a gambling, alcoholic, con-artist and his robot assistant that accidentally become owners of a planet that put them deep in debt and smack-dab in the center of a conflict between the current galactic empire and the rebels who want to overthrow it.
There are character names like Rex Nihilo and General Issimo, the Malarchy Empire, and the prison planet Gulagatraz. There are borrowed quotes from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and Star Wars, as well as plenty of other similarities and ... parodies. If Ex Nihilo means out of nothing, then does Rex Nihilo mean king of nothing? There were probably other names that had plays on words that I didn't catch.
Taken piecemeal, that would make this book seem quite silly and derivative. However, on the whole it all works. I got caught up in the story, and the absolute wonder of how Rex Nihilo spins his yarns to con people, and the witty, snarky banter between him and his robot assistant Sasha.
If Douglas Adams and Mel Brooks wrote Star Wars as an episode of Leverage, and JJ Abrams and Michael Bay directed and produced it for the SyFy channel, you might end up with something close to Starship Grifters.
And that twist at the end... just another crazy whiskey tango foxtrot moment in a book full of fun moments.
Starship Grifters was provided to me by the author for review. Thanks!
Surprisingly good little story. I'd label it YA Fantasy. It is just the first part of a serialized story by an author whose usual genre is over-the-to...moreSurprisingly good little story. I'd label it YA Fantasy. It is just the first part of a serialized story by an author whose usual genre is over-the-top action/technothrillers.
A young tribesman decides to venture into the troll kingdom to steal a cure for the disease ravaging his people, and his young sister. Along the way he meets a swampland hermit and an outcast troll. As they near the entrance to the hobgoblin caverns... well, I guess I'd have to read the next seriealized part of the story to find out!
Interesting premise. However, there's too much telling and not enough showing. The nanobots in Jake's blood seem to be able to provide everything Jake...moreInteresting premise. However, there's too much telling and not enough showing. The nanobots in Jake's blood seem to be able to provide everything Jake could ask for: make him smart, make him successful, make sure his daughter and her caretaker are okay, save his best friend, etc. There was no real danger or suspense because the nanobots would fix everything. Too much of a deus ex machina.
The only suspense I had was thinking the author was going to pull a fast on on us and have the nanobots turn out to be evil.
As a father, I certainly wouldn't have left on a multi-year space mission if I had a very young daughter and my wife had just died. Too unrealistic for me.
I remember reading some of Dale Brown's earlier Patrick McClanahan stories, and thinking they were a tighter, leaner version of Tom Clancy-esque stori...moreI remember reading some of Dale Brown's earlier Patrick McClanahan stories, and thinking they were a tighter, leaner version of Tom Clancy-esque stories. I only read a few of those earlier novels, but only because I got behind and didn't want to try to catch up.
Starfire continues the Patrick McClanahan world though, and gives it over to the next generation of heroes, including Bradley McClanahan. He's the son of the famed General from the other stories. The narrative does a good job of catching the reader up on major events that lead the world and characters to where they are currently. That was good for me, since it had been some years since I had ready anything in this series.
I remember this series being very real-world military fiction. Cutting edge technology featured heavily in the stories I remember. Starfire goes beyond the cutting edge technology firmly into the near-future science fiction. A near-death character is kept alive inside of a robotic suit of power armor. College students develop an orbit-to-ground power-transmitting device and test it from a military space station, only to realize it makes a really good space-based weapon. And in this story, a new cold war has started over space-based weapons and vehicles.
On the whole, this was a good, fun book. Fans of previous installments will enjoy where the story goes. Fans of Tom Clancy or similar political/military fiction will enjoy this, though it's not as heavy on the political as a Clancy tome.
To nitpick, the narrative is very heavy on detailing the technology and sometimes spends way too much time describing in excruciating detail what is happening. In fact, the opening scene with a character going into space on-board a spaceplane, and docking and boarding a spacestation is one of those too-much-detail scenes. I almost didn't make it through that opening passage. But once I did, the action and actual story-telling picked up. Later sections that went into detail weren't nearly as in-depth as that opening passage and were easily skimmed over. I don't really need to know all the specific manufacturing and deployment history of certain missiles, jets, or whatever, just give me a nice quick overview if what is absolutely relevant to the narrative.
Overall, a good action/military story with a strong space element to the story.
I thought a Vampire Earth book without David Valentine as the main character wouldn't be as good. I was wrong.
Valentine plays second fiddle to Alessa...moreI thought a Vampire Earth book without David Valentine as the main character wouldn't be as good. I was wrong.
Valentine plays second fiddle to Alessa Duvalier this go-round. The book takes her out of her element of scouting and quick combat, and puts in the role of escorting a delegation to a rare conference of the Freeholds in Europe.
We get deep into her thoughts and psyche, and see what makes her tick and how she deals with the things she's done in the fight against the Kurians and what it drives her to do.
Very good book!
I skipped the book about Anh Kah - I'm thinking I should go back and read that too, now!