Sometimes short stories are a great way to introduce yourself to an author you haven't read before. I found China Mieville while reading an anthology...moreSometimes short stories are a great way to introduce yourself to an author you haven't read before. I found China Mieville while reading an anthology and was intrigued but not sure if I would like him so I found his collection of short stories.
If these are fantasy I would call them dark fantasy for lack of a better word. In all truth I would label them as mostly horror with some science fiction thrown in but it seems that Mieville wants a different label. I'm not saying that I don't like his writing, I do but let's call this what it is.
A couple of these quite literally sent chills up my spine and I have to say I really loved the Meta fiction. He also showed that he handled post apocalyptic really well. There were a few stories that fell flat but that may be because they really needed to be longer
I think my interest is peaked enough to hunt out more of his books.(less)
I'm not sure what I expected from this book but considering all its awards and nominations I was hoping it was legitimately good. I got what I hoped f...moreI'm not sure what I expected from this book but considering all its awards and nominations I was hoping it was legitimately good. I got what I hoped for. While I love space opera and action styled science fiction, I also love a good character driven story. This falls into the latter category.
I gravitate towards the more specific genres of science fiction such as dystopian, post apoc and cyber punk because they are topics that I've put some thought into. So has McHugh. A Chinese dominated dystopian society is not one I've even considered and add into the mix the fact that the main character is also gay. It made for some really good backdrop, dialogue and therefore good reading. It could even be said this is an alternate universe as it doesn't feel like a distant future.
There are many subplots that almost weave into one. All of them do touch on the main character at one point or another but not all are resolved or are they resolved very obliquely. Which didn't seem to matter to me because I was so caught up in Zhang's character.
I also loved the glimpses into some future or possible current tech. Nothing too earth shattering but the swim suits were a fascinating concept and totally plausible. I'm glad I delved into this book before I ventured into some other current dystopian novels where the emphasis seems to be more on the physical horror.(less)
At first I found the device of using advertising blurbs and conversation tidbits too distracting but like real life I found myself filtering it out. T...moreAt first I found the device of using advertising blurbs and conversation tidbits too distracting but like real life I found myself filtering it out. That makes me think it was a pretty successful technique. Cutting down on the information overload helped me immerse myself into Brunner's future. The scary thing being that his future is starting to be our now.
I had read The Sheep Look Up a few years back and found I liked Brunner's style. I enjoyed this one as much and found it a well written story that is only slightly dated. I'm going to put this on a reread soon list because there was so much going on that the next time I'll try and see what I missed. (less)
While I found each of these stories a little formulaic it was amazing what PKD did with these formulas. Character development is never great in short...moreWhile I found each of these stories a little formulaic it was amazing what PKD did with these formulas. Character development is never great in short stories and usually neither is world building but PKD managed to do the latter enough to place his fast paced stories in, using his out of the normal imagination.
The other thing about short stories is there are usually a number of duds bolstered up by a few good and maybe one stellar story. Not so in this case. I'd say the majority were good with at least two stellar. Roog may well be overlooked by others but it's one story that made me sit back and go “Oh!”. I was also really pleased with the Electric Ant. It was like a glimpse into Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep but from a different perspective.
I've seen a few of the films based on these short stories and I wonder if whomever adapted bothered to really read them. PDK seems to have a sub current running through them that the movies just can't replicate. It's such a shame as, when handled properly, someone with more finesse could produce another Blade Runner.
I have a few more of his short story collections that contain some of these as well and I'll gladly reread them as well as the stories that are new to me. (less)
I was warned that the third volume of this series was much darker than the previous two. I found that odd because I was thinking what could possibly b...moreI was warned that the third volume of this series was much darker than the previous two. I found that odd because I was thinking what could possibly be worse than a government that murders children and forces them to murder each other in order to keep its citizens both in line and entertained. This final book managed to convey a few ways. It also went on to show that there is not always a clear delineation of good and bad. It is because of this that in some respects I liked this story the best.
From totalitarianism to communism, these are two of the extremes of government rule and this story includes both. I liked Katniss' struggle with the awareness that sometimes you have to chose the lesser of two evils. A lot of what haunts her will stay with me long after I have finished this. While at times she still comes off as whiny and angsty I am pretty damned sure I would be as well. Are we always doomed to repeat history?
The ending is a little too Utopic and the reason Mockingjay doesn't get a five but I think the series needed it. Kudos to Suzanne Collins for writing a trilogy that makes both kids and adults, think. (less)
I was glad the entire book didn't centre entirely around the Games themselves. I wasn't, however, happy to see that this ended off as a cliff hanger....moreI was glad the entire book didn't centre entirely around the Games themselves. I wasn't, however, happy to see that this ended off as a cliff hanger. As I have enjoyed both books so far I would have happily read the third without this annoying gimmick. A lot of times the second book in a series falls far short and is a disappointment. While this book wasn't as good as the first I still felt myself just as drawn in only this time I noticed the flaws a lot more.
I could have done with a lot less recap but this series isn't aimed at adults. It is aimed at young adults who may have read many things in between and need a light refresher. It just happens to appeal to a good many adults because the books are so well written.
I found I wasn't so enamoured of Katniss this time around but I'm not so sure I wouldn't be more selfish were I in her place. I'm also finding the love triangle tiresome but it least it furthers the plot. The arena this time more than makes up for all the flaws. It's devious and a stroke of genius.
I am truly looking forward to book three which makes me glad I am late in reading these and already have a copy.(less)
I, like many others that have recently read this, finally know what the fuss is all about. A friend of mine just finished it and encouraged me to read...moreI, like many others that have recently read this, finally know what the fuss is all about. A friend of mine just finished it and encouraged me to read this book now. I am glad I did. This is not your typical YA book. If it wasn't for a few teen fantasy parts you wouldn't think of this as a YA book at all. For that matter it's not your typical Post Apocalypse or Dystopian book either.
Katniss makes for a good heroine. She is neither super human nor a giggling, love besotted idiot. She's a young woman that has learned to survive the hard way. I won't go into the circumstances as that would spoil some of the book for others. She's not into the Games for fame or fortune, she's there because she cares about her family. A lot of what happens is predictable but not obnoxiously obvious.
The world that Katniss lives in is about as abysmal as you can get and is something, I think, we all fear a bit as real life governments seem to have more control and information about us with each passing year. So this book packs a lot of political and social commentary without beating you about the head and is a thrilling read to boot.(less)
Wherein we learn all 21 chapters and not just the 20 from the movie and the early American edition of the book. After reading this I really can't unde...moreWherein we learn all 21 chapters and not just the 20 from the movie and the early American edition of the book. After reading this I really can't understand why it was left out as it really is the summation of the book and it's theme. Man is not man without choice and self will. Man also can outgrow idiotic and pubescent aggression. Even the worst reprobates.
This is where I'll say I'm glad I watched the movie first but not because it was better, it wasn't, but because I had a much easier time translating “Nadsat” as I was reading. This work would be a lot less interesting without the slang or the violence but be forewarned that this book is disturbing on a lot of levels.
I also loved learning in the introduction that it was Burgess' least favourite work. I'll have to say I disagree, at least until I read his other books. (less)
I read this book a couple of years ago and wanted to write a review for it but for some reason I kept putting it off. I have just started a reread of...moreI read this book a couple of years ago and wanted to write a review for it but for some reason I kept putting it off. I have just started a reread of “A Canticle for Leibowitz” which reminded me of this. I know the books have nothing in common except views of a post apocalyptic world but for me they had another. On first read I had no idea what either were about and was delighted to find what the basis was. Sometimes I think going in cold can give you a fresher view of some books.
With that said some of the rest of this review may be considered a spoiler so read at your own risk.
The story seemed to have a very slow start but I am patient when the writing itself keeps one reading. The hints of anything other then an idyllic boarding school have yet to really manifest but you still taste small undercurrents. Small niggling ones at first and growing into more revealing ones as the pages turn. Once you realize what is going on in this future it no longer matters. You've become far more concerned with the characters.
I've said it before but I'll say it again. I love the subtlety of Ishiguro's writing. I don't always want to be hit over the head with drama and action. I really appreciate being allowed to float along and slowly have discovery creep into my consciousness.(less)
In a way I'm glad I read Moore's Promethea series before V for Vendetta. It made me appreciate it so much more. It has more depth and far less surreal...moreIn a way I'm glad I read Moore's Promethea series before V for Vendetta. It made me appreciate it so much more. It has more depth and far less surrealism and existentialism. I like the stark look of the artwork more then the kaleidoscopic colors of Promethea.
I know a lot of people like to compare the book to the film but these feel like two separate entities to me. While the film is fantastic in it's own right I get more of a feel for V and the other main characters in the novel. The Evey in the book needs to learn to feel free far more then the self assured Portman does in the film. V is more unbalanced but just as poetic as his film counterpart.You get far more glimpses into his psyche.
The totalinarianism rings more true now then it did when the book was written and can also be taken as a bit of a cautionary tale. How much power should and do we allow others to have over us?
I am now sincerely looking forward to reading more of Moore's masterworks then I was before. I also think this book is a great introduction to just how good graphic novels are. Comics, not just for children! (less)
I went back and forth between 2 and 3 at least 3 times then settled on 3 stars.
One of the reasons I read science fiction is just...moreI want half stars!!!!
I went back and forth between 2 and 3 at least 3 times then settled on 3 stars.
One of the reasons I read science fiction is just so I can suspend belief if even for a little while. A six year old leaving to become a soldier begs one to suspend all belief. I just couldn't. While the story was good I just couldn't buy child soldiers that acted like adults. Not to mention the blatant subtext of eroticism. How many times do we need to be reminded that they are naked. If it's innocent then mention it once and have done with it.
The book is set in dystopian world which I gravitate towards when picking a science fiction book to read. Card does a great job of delineating the selection process and the effect it has on the kids themselves and the families involved. He also portrays kids for the little monsters they can be. There's the usual bullies, loners and followers and they all pretty much act as you'd expect including the hero. It's too bad that the hero is so perfect.
I was far from surprised when we learn that the last set of games weren't games at all but "the real thing!" He also NEVER loses. I realize he is supposed to be a prodigy and that as a child he's not already set in his ways but six? It's a shame because the story truly gets interesting towards the end and you get a glimpse behind the fear and propaganda. (less)
I really did prefer this one over "The Mammoth Book of Science Fiction" but I think that's a personal preference. I like my sci fi a little more edgy...moreI really did prefer this one over "The Mammoth Book of Science Fiction" but I think that's a personal preference. I like my sci fi a little more edgy and extreme and this book delivered. There were a couple of misses but then again that may have just been me. I highly recommend this to anyone willing to "read" outside the box.(less)