Polly Sebastian, Michael Davies, and Merope Ward are time traveling historians from 2060 on assignment in World War II. Polly is studying shop girls iPolly Sebastian, Michael Davies, and Merope Ward are time traveling historians from 2060 on assignment in World War II. Polly is studying shop girls in London during the bombings. Michael is studying unexpected civilian heros who rescued soldiers at Dunkirk. Merope (Eileen) is studying children evacuated from London. Meanwhile in Oxford, there are signs that mechanisms governing time travel and protecting of the timeline are on the fritz.
Pay attention to the dates. It's a time travel book, so it seems pretty obvious they are important. Yet, I wasn't paying attention until All Clear.
I find it hard to review this book on its own since I feel Blackout and All Clear should not have been split into two books. I would give the entire thing 4 stars, but 3 stars for Blackout and 4 stars for All Clear.
It starts off very promising, and I really liked the threads with Polly and Eileen. Although for the first half of Blackout, the internal monologue of the historians was bothering me because it struck me as condescending/repetitive of the contemporary people. This subsides later on when things start going wrong. The entire middle (ie. the second half of Blackout and the first half of All Clear) drags on too long as well. Polly becomes annoyingly secretive. Eileen becomes very whiny. The three have serious communication issues that they really should work harder on resolving given that they think they broke the past... That being said, the ending is totally worth it. I really enjoyed the way everything played out -- not just the plot, but the journey to the conclusion....more
Oil is gone and machines are powered by mechanically wound springs. Massive food corporations provide almost all of the world's food, but bioengineerOil is gone and machines are powered by mechanically wound springs. Massive food corporations provide almost all of the world's food, but bioengineer their seeds to be sterile. Lack of biodiversity and genetic engineering run wild threaten the sustainability of human life. Thailand is one of the last strongholds with a hidden seed bank capable of fending off the food monopolies.
I was in the mood for something dystopian after finishing the last two books in the Hunger Games, but I think cyberpunk is not the genre for me. I didn't like Neuromancer either.
The characters felt like bystanders to the story (even when they weren't) and just devices to provide different view points rather than people. The use of random Thai and Chinese annoyed me, but I'm not sure why. I thought it was cool in Firefly. Also, the Chinese usage was strange.. If it was Pinyin, then it was mildly misspelled and sometimes oddly segmented. The ones that I remembered most clearly were Kuan Yin instead of Guan Yin and lien instead of lian, which might mean the author was using Wade-Giles, but that's an odd choice since the book is from 2010 and Pinyin has been the defacto standard for years. Of course, it might just be spelled differently to make it futuristic, like Malaya for Malaysia...
In a murky, dystopian underworld of extreme cybernetic implants/augmentations, drugs, crime, and corruption, Case is a suicidal, unemployable, drug adIn a murky, dystopian underworld of extreme cybernetic implants/augmentations, drugs, crime, and corruption, Case is a suicidal, unemployable, drug addicted, 'ex'-hacker (a.k.a. cowboy) who has pretty much hit bottom. He is recruited/blackmailed into using his talents for an unspecified job as a part of a team of likewise, talented and disturbed individuals.
I am not generally a fan of trippy, hard science fiction, so unsurprisingly, I was mostly bored and confused while reading this book, and never really got into the story. I (mostly) understood the plot/details (even checked Wikipedia to confirm...). I was always half unsure if I was missing something even as I was still semi-skimming the text because I didn't care enough to read it more carefully. The made-up lingo was distracting (although I found out later this book coined/popularized words like cyberspace and matrix, which is pretty cool). (The use of 'microsoft' for direct interfaced micro-software was a little jarring. I wonder how universal the company was at the time Gibson was writing the book.) Also, I had a hard time believing/ascertaining the motivations behind the characters for going along with this random and dangerous job and for the job itself....more