I love Bruce Sterling as an author but I was underwhelmed by this book. The plot was set in turn of the century (19th-20th) century England and adds aI love Bruce Sterling as an author but I was underwhelmed by this book. The plot was set in turn of the century (19th-20th) century England and adds a twist with the premise that the industrial revolution has jumped ahead several decades. The idea is nice but the execution falls flat. Overall the plot was confusing and most of the characters transparent. Perhaps the book would be more enjoyable for someone who is more familiar with British history during that time. I found the references to British culture confusing and distracting....more
This book made me laugh. Unlike most of Gibson's other books this is set in current time. The main character has an aversion to all things popular andThis book made me laugh. Unlike most of Gibson's other books this is set in current time. The main character has an aversion to all things popular and trendy. She uses this "allergy" to help companies identify the next big thing. But really she is obsessed with clips from a movie and the book details her attempt to discover the creator of these clips. Full of interesting characters....more
I would sum up the plot as an S&M bottom saving France before it was France by sleeping with powerful people. The main character is a trained courI would sum up the plot as an S&M bottom saving France before it was France by sleeping with powerful people. The main character is a trained courtesan who happens to be turned on by pain. She uses her unique skills, both in and out of bed, to further the cause of her mentor and eventually that of her country. She is joined by an interesting group of people along the way, all of whom are outcasts of some sort or another.
There is a lot of sex and some pretty detailed descriptions of violence in sex so it's not for the faint of heart. Although these descriptions might be a bit graphic for many I didn't find it any worse than what you might encounter in some more mainstream literature. Despite that the author does a good job of focusing on how a simple person can become embroiled in greater political machinations. I liked the interesting mix of characters and felt the interactions between them were mostly believable. In a few cases the "sex will save you" theme was a bit over the top. I did like the strong female characters and especially appreciated the emphasis on how marginalized people can fill unique and vital roles.
I would recommend this book to anyone who like fantasy that is a little racy. I would also recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy with heavy political overtones....more
This book continues the story of Phedre as she continues to save her country through coercion, sex, intrigue, and shear force of will. There is more kThis book continues the story of Phedre as she continues to save her country through coercion, sex, intrigue, and shear force of will. There is more kinky sex, but really only at the beginning. Most of the book focuses on her further attempts to secure the throne for her queen. To accomplish this she travels to even more exotic places than in the previous book. Phedre also deals with her relationship with the defrocked Cassiline Joscelin that accompanies her.
Overall the book was entertaining. The scope of the book is clearly more ambitious than the first. It does suffer from middle child syndrome since it was clearly written as the second book in a trilogy. Thus much of the exposition is focused on setting up events that happen in the next book and that left me a bit unsatisfied. Still, I found it an enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who likes their historical fantasy a little racy....more
This book finishes the ongoing tale of Phedre, the pain loving courtesan who uses sex and intrigue to save her country. This final book of three is seThis book finishes the ongoing tale of Phedre, the pain loving courtesan who uses sex and intrigue to save her country. This final book of three is set over a decade after the previous two. This time Phedre's journeys are more personal. The first half of the book is spent describing her journey to locate the mysteriously missing son of her enemy. The second half of the book focuses on her quest to save her childhood friend from his exile as Master of the Straits.
The tone of this book, at least the first half, is significantly darker than the previous two. In earlier books the S&M was essentially just play acting. This book takes that theme to a violent and disturbing place. If you found the S&M of the first two books uncomfortable you will not like this book. The violence does has a place in the plot, enough so that I continues reading despite my squeamishness, but it made for an uncomfortable read in the middle of the book. I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed the first two and think they can handle some pretty graphic violence in the middle. For people who felt the first two books were pushing it in terms of kinky sex I suggest you skip this one altogether....more
I inherited an old copy of this book from my folks and decided to give it a try. Basically this is the story of a man who is posted to a backwards plaI inherited an old copy of this book from my folks and decided to give it a try. Basically this is the story of a man who is posted to a backwards planet with the task of increasing production of a specific plant. The story follows his attempts to do this, from his initial eagerness, his apathy as things prove difficult, and back again to eagerness as unfolding events stir up his comfortable existence.
Stylistically this is written in that dry, matter of fact tone so common in SciFi in the 50's and 60s. I enjoyed the story but did not enjoy the attitude of the main character. His disregard for the feeling of others, his natural chauvinism, and his superior attitude towards the "natives" are alternately irritating and just plain boring. Interestingly, I do not think such a book could be written in this day and age. We are too conditioned to believe in equality of the sexes and to avoid cultural superiority.
Overall the interesting plot and the different point of view made this book an ok read but not a book I would likely pick up again....more
This is a fun little scifi story about seven different guys who are drawn into a massive conspiracy. They all share the same memories through their teThis is a fun little scifi story about seven different guys who are drawn into a massive conspiracy. They all share the same memories through their teenage years. Turns out after a manufactured accident the seven were cloned from the original, named John Alpha, and were implanted with his memories. They were each raised in different environments, each unaware of his clones. When John Alpha goes rogue the organization that created the seven clones coerces them into helping them stop John Alpha. The first book sets up the story and starts the conflict.
As a scifi book I thought it was pretty decent. But as one of the first really popular scifi podio books it's a classic. I also really enjoyed listening to the author. His enthusiasm makes me want to listen to lots of other podio books in addition to his. I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in SciFi and wants to get into podio books. I am about to listen to Book 2 and I'm looking forward to it!...more
This is the final saga in the 7th Son trilogy, the story following a set of government created clones on a secret mission to save the world from theirThis is the final saga in the 7th Son trilogy, the story following a set of government created clones on a secret mission to save the world from their original and his cronies. Happily in this book the clones grow some stones and finally take control of their fate. They take some initiative in their quest to stop John Alpha even though this puts them in direct conflict with other government agents much of the time. Lots of death, destruction, and profanity ensue. As usual J.C. Hutchins gleefully kills off people left and right. Just when you think he's finished he tacks on yet another crazy disaster. I have to admit that despite all this (or because of it?) I loved the ending to 7th Son....more
This podcast continues the sage of the remaining John Michael Smiths as they try to find and defeat John Alpha. The story splits up the remaining clonThis podcast continues the sage of the remaining John Michael Smiths as they try to find and defeat John Alpha. The story splits up the remaining clones and has them travel all across the U.S. in an attempt to decipher Alpha's cryptic clues.
As usual J.C. Hutchins is not afraid to kill people or create havoc on an international scale. All the violence and foul language made me almost feel guilty to listen to the story at work. Almost.
Overall I found this book quite enjoyable but the pacing seemed a bit off to me. I suspect I would enjoy this story a bit more as an actual book rather than a podcast. Despite that I am still looking forward to hearing the final book....more
This was the very first podio book I listened to. What a great first choice! The main character, Casey, is sort of a female version of Harry the StainThis was the very first podio book I listened to. What a great first choice! The main character, Casey, is sort of a female version of Harry the Stainless Steel Rat. She's all about her own self-interest but deep down is a good person. The story follows her as she steals a ship, encounters aliens, and sets in motion a hilarious chain of events. Casey is both flawed and strong, which just adds to her appeal.
The quality of the voices, sounds, and editing are top notch. I felt like I was listening to a modern version of an old-time radio show. I enjoyed the series so much I found myself restricting the number I allowed myself to listen to so the series would not end too soon! Plus my coworkers gave me worried looks every time I laughed.
If you like scifi and humor I positively recommend this book. ...more
As time travel books go this was pretty average. The main character is Martin Padway, an historian visiting Rome to gather results for his thesis. SudAs time travel books go this was pretty average. The main character is Martin Padway, an historian visiting Rome to gather results for his thesis. Suddenly he is transported back to Rome in 500 A.D. Padway then uses all his knowledge of future events to try and prevent the eventual fall of western Civilization. Along the way he introduces double entry bookkeeping, the telescope, the telegraph, and even the printing press.
Padway's extensive knowledge of a wide range of subjects was too vast and perfect for me. An unrealistically knowledgeable person from the future is one of my biggest gripes about time travel books. After all, I know a lot of chemists who would have trouble with some of the "simple" chemistry often performed in these stories.
Despite this flaw the tale is entertaining. Who wouldn't want to prevent the Fall of Western Civilization and take credit for some of the greatest inventions and theories of the last 1500 years? Worth a look if you want a quick, light read and enjoy history....more
This was a quick, entertaining read. The main character is Keepsie. She lives in a world inhabited by heroes and villains with superpowers, as well asThis was a quick, entertaining read. The main character is Keepsie. She lives in a world inhabited by heroes and villains with superpowers, as well as a class of people with minor powers, classified as too insignificant to make them useful to serve as heroes. Keepsie's own power is the ability to prevent people from stealing things from her. When one of the villains gives Keepsie something to keep things get really interesting. Keepsie and her other "Third Wave" friends find themselves stuck between heroes who aren't so heroic and villains who aren't as villainous as they appear.
This book made me laugh because these are flawed people with small and sometimes weird powers trying to figure out the best course in a crisis. No one is a true hero in this book, which is part of its appeal. The talents presented are entertaining, as is the personal growth the Third Wave people undergo when they realize it's up to them to save the city they live in. I identified with the strong bitterness most of the Third Wavers expressed towards heroes - these are people who are pissed because they were rejected as not good enough. Nice message that overlooked people can have a bigger affect on things than even they realize.
I would recommend this for anyone who likes silly superhero stories....more
The story follows the unusual girl Lyra and her daemon Pan in their quest to save her friend Roger, who has been kidnapped by Gobblers. Along the wayThe story follows the unusual girl Lyra and her daemon Pan in their quest to save her friend Roger, who has been kidnapped by Gobblers. Along the way she encounters talking bears, witches, and a whole cast of interesting and sometimes crazy characters. Along the way she tries to unravel the mystery of Dust as well as her own destiny.
Lyra as a main character was fantastic. Raised as an orphan at Oxford University she later discovers she is really the product of an adulterous liaison between two other characters in the book. Lyra uses her talents for lying and bravado to get out of trouble. I found her nerve entertaining. Good thing she's got nerve, too. She's surrounded by a host of ego maniacal adults who are either trying to kill or seduce each other, sometimes at the same time. from their perspective she is just a pawn, even though a prophecy predicts she is one of the most important people of all.
The book does have some anti church sentiment in it, although Pullman doe snot explore that theme too strongly in this book....more
I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as the last one. The story continues to follow Lyra in her travels. She befriends another young person from aI did not enjoy this book nearly as much as the last one. The story continues to follow Lyra in her travels. She befriends another young person from another world named Will. As a main character Will is rather weak and annoying. He whines about his life all the time and suffers from a lack of personality. Even worse his influence waters Lyra's fabulous character as well. She turns from a fiery independent girl to a meek, indecisive one. Not cool.
On top of that Pullman demonstrates he has a clear issue with The Church (i.e all religion in general). He constantly mentions how "evil" The Church is. In fact, Lord Asriel has made it his personal mission to kill God so he can establish his own Kingdom of Heaven. Ugh.
If the anti religious sentiments in the first book bothered you avoid this one and the final book in the trilogy. If you liked the first one this one is still worth a read, just don't expect it to be as good....more
The final sage in Will and Lyra's adventure. In this book they travel to the land of the Dead to find Roger. Along the way Lyra must abandon Pan sinceThe final sage in Will and Lyra's adventure. In this book they travel to the land of the Dead to find Roger. Along the way Lyra must abandon Pan since daemons aren't allowed in the land of the dead. Everybody whines and cries.
Meanwhile Lord Asriel continues his quest to kill God and establish his own Kingdom of Heaven. His determination knows no bounds and his plans make no sense. Are we supposed to root for him? Are we hoping he'll fail? Honestly, I just couldn't care.
Meanwhile Mrs. Coulter runs around simultaneously seducing and betraying everyone. When her character actually does something good I couldn't help but wonder what the personal gain was. I had trouble believing the redemption was genuine.
Overall the book suffered from being to large and complex. Character development never got off the ground so we see only sketches of people. Had Pullman combined the last two books and done some serious editing this could have been an amazing story. As it was it was ok but nothing spectacular. I was bored by the end....more
This book of short stories was WAY better than the previous Avram Davidson book I read. I am glad I was willing to try another book by this author. ThThis book of short stories was WAY better than the previous Avram Davidson book I read. I am glad I was willing to try another book by this author. The stories here all involve regular people dealing with the supernatural or fantastic. How could you not love cannibalistic bicycles, dentists who want to save the world from aliens, and jump rope songs as magical spells?
The stories that really shine involve a lot of character development. My favorites include the following:
Or All the Seas With Oysters - Yes, cannibalistic bicycles! Help! I am Dr. Morris Goldpepper - dentists who want to save the world from aliens Negra Sum - a magic necklace, beautiful people becoming ugly, and ugly people becoming beautiful My Boy Friend's Name Is Jello - jump rope songs as magical spells! Author, Author - trite characters get revenge on the author who created them The Woman Who Thought She Could Read - you really don't want to see the future
I would recommend this to anyone who likes a little bit of the fantastic in their fiction. This was a perfect read for the bus or during a rainy day....more