Checked out The Invincible by Stanislaw Lem as my November Amazon Prime Lending Library book... Lem is an author I feel I should have read as a SF fanChecked out The Invincible by Stanislaw Lem as my November Amazon Prime Lending Library book... Lem is an author I feel I should have read as a SF fan, so am finally getting around to his works.
Is it just me, or is naming your starship Invincible kinda asking for it? Especially when you're heading toward an apparently lifeless planet on which another ship has already disappeared?
While the characters are pretty much one-dimensional standins, that's not what this novel is about. Rather, it's an exploration of a planet where organic life has been replaced (at least on land) by a form of robotic, inorganic life. There are some relatively exciting battle scenes that are well-drawn; and the gradual reveal of the robotic lifeforms is fascinating, as is the discovery of what happened to the missing ship and its crew.
I found myself wondering of any of the creative team on the recent film Big Hero 6 had read this novel, as the "microbots" in the movie act very similarly to those in the book; albeit the Regis III version being autonomous.
I enjoyed the novel and would recommend it if you're into SF tech; but don't see myself returning to it anytime soon. ...more
I'm slowly working my way up to Martin's masterwork (partly because I want to wait til GoT is done!) - having read "Sandkings" back when it was publi I'm slowly working my way up to Martin's masterwork (partly because I want to wait til GoT is done!) - having read "Sandkings" back when it was published in Omni, then recently getting into his Wild Cards shared universe series. I checked this short story collection out from the library based on multiple positive GoodReads friends reviews.
Haviland Tuf, a deceptively mild-mannered space trader finds himself in possession of the last seedship of the legendary Ecological Engineering Corps. He assists those in need (while being handsomely compensated) with cloned animals or plants. However, "those in need" often get more than they bargained for....
It's a very entertaining read - I found myself rooting for Tuf throughout his adventures, and seeing those who tried to take advantage of his assistance get their comeuppance. The universe building (both the seedship and the worlds Tuf visits) is top-notch and the characters are engaging, Tuf himself and Tolly Mune especially.
If Martin ever re-visits Tuf's universe, I'll be eager to read the results! ...more
Finally got around to this novel; it's one of the SF classics I'd managed to overlook all these years; a mention in Among Others finally spurred me toFinally got around to this novel; it's one of the SF classics I'd managed to overlook all these years; a mention in Among Others finally spurred me to check it out of the library.
Very unorthodox in its writing & story structure and told from multiple viewpoints (including advertising voiceovers), the novel explores a dystopic world dominated by corporations. We meet (among a cast of many) Norman Niblock House and Donald Hogan - two very different men who, thru sheer circumstance, were room-mates for a while. House is an executive, who uses his ethnic heritage (African-American) as a tool to rise thru the ranks. His latest assignment involves the corporate takeover of a small African country whose odd history may hold a vital key to mankind's survival. Hogan, who works as a professional student/synthesist becomes a somewhat unwilling tool in the investigation of a genetic breakthrough in a South East Asian country. This second plotline reminded me a bit of Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which I'd recently read -I wouldn't be surprised if Neal had been inspired by this novel for some of his work.
It did take me a bit to get into this - New Wave SF leaves me cold more often than not; but the unorthodoxy of the writing supports and expands the plot and theme of the novel nicely. Scarily prescient in many ways (powerful corporations; genetic engineering, supercomputers); yet also dated in some ways - the sexual mores of the society felt very "Summer of Love" to me - and while I enjoyed Chad Mulligan and his "HipCrime Vocab" quotes - I couldn't help but see George Carlin in his place.
Of the little Brunner I've read (Players at the Game of People and I think The Shockwave Rider as well as some short stories in various anthologies) - this is the work I've enjoyed the most. I will definitely be returning to it someday, and need to check out more of his work. ...more
I enjoyed my re-read of this Heinlein not-quite-juvie - spurred by the recent RiffTrax skewering of the film; which I also enjoy as a guilty pleasure.I enjoyed my re-read of this Heinlein not-quite-juvie - spurred by the recent RiffTrax skewering of the film; which I also enjoy as a guilty pleasure.
The military minutia can get a bit overdone, but it's a good piece of pulp sci-fi wrapped in a philosophical/political package. Not my favorite RAH novel by any means, but worth revisiting once a decade or so. ...more
Jamie gave ths 5 stars & I'd read & really enjoyed Flynn's Eifelheim- so checked this out from the library.
This novel wasn't quite as high-raJamie gave ths 5 stars & I'd read & really enjoyed Flynn's Eifelheim- so checked this out from the library.
This novel wasn't quite as high-rated for me as Eifelheim, IMHO, but has some really good character development; and, despite the apparent spoiler of a title, a compelling story.
I put it on my "sf-tech" shelf, as technology plays an important role in the story. The setting ends up being as much a character as the actual ones - in that respect (and the "sf-tech" element), it reminds me of Larry Niven's Ringworld or John Varley's Titan series...more
Picked up this from the library based mostly on the title, but also on the author (Charles Stross) as well as a mention on Blaster.com. What I didn'tPicked up this from the library based mostly on the title, but also on the author (Charles Stross) as well as a mention on Blaster.com. What I didn't realize was that it was a sequel of sorts. I also didn't realize it was told in second person, from the viewpoint of multiple persons, which got a bit tough to follow at times (tho makes sense at the novel's conclusion). I would recommend reading this in as close to one sitting as possible.
Our main characters are DI Liz Kavanaugh, who gets pulled away from her normal police task of monitoring internet porn to be assigned to an suspicious death/homicide and Anwar, an ex-con trying to keep his nose clean by taking an position as consul to a breakaway -istan republic. But we also meet the Toymaker, whose meds are wearing off as he deals with managing an underground criminal operation; Dorothy Straight, Liz's former love interest; and a cast of other oddball characters.
The story itself builds a bit slowly at first, as there are many puzzle pieces to put together, and Stross expects his readers to have some sort of tech/Internet background (assuming if the title clicks, you are the intended audience). He's not quite as demanding as Stephenson, but you're not just along for the ride. The book is also heavily skewed towards a Scotland/UK background, including some of the dialog, which I found occasionally a bit tough to puzzle out. (that, or I started channeling Pratchett's Wee Free Men, which is a serious mismatch with Stross!)
I enjoyed the book and will probably check out the first book in the series Halting State as well as continuing to explore Stross's work, as I also quite enjoyed The Atrocity Archives....more
This novel felt a LOT like Heinlein (and Varley, with a touch of Ayn Rand) to me in its exploration of how teRecommendation from Miss Bren - Nov 2010.
This novel felt a LOT like Heinlein (and Varley, with a touch of Ayn Rand) to me in its exploration of how technology affects sociology... although the concept of incorporating individuals doesn't necessarily depend on any sci-fi tech, per se.
Enjoyable read with strong characters, a well defined universe and a generally enjoyable plot, even if it got a bit bogged down in places with Philosophical InfoDump (again, see Heinlein & ESPECIALLY Rand). IMHO, it's a reasonably strong showing by rookies - doubly so with it being written by siblings. ...more
Fan of author - placed on hold 6/8 - checked out 14 Jun
An expansion on the author's short story "Anda's Game" & a fascinating look at an undergrouFan of author - placed on hold 6/8 - checked out 14 Jun
An expansion on the author's short story "Anda's Game" & a fascinating look at an underground world - where children in developing nations feed their families by "gold farming" in an online game system. With the help of sympathetic outsiders, they start to organize and realize their strength is in numbers.
Powerfully written, this is probably the most action-packed book Doctorow has written, despite it's complete geek-oriented theme. The house of card economics of the game ring all too true in a world of ARM mortgage schemes and default credit swaps. It can be hard to keep track all the characters at times (it doesn't help that one of the Chinese kids is named Matthew and an Anglo teen goes by a Chinese nickname) and some of the coincedences can be a bit hard to swallow.
On the other hand, I got a kick out of a prestige item in the one of the online games being called Grapthar's Hammer! ...more