First, this book comes across as kind of racist at times, but I partially attribute that to when it was originally written (1941 in magazines, 1949 inFirst, this book comes across as kind of racist at times, but I partially attribute that to when it was originally written (1941 in magazines, 1949 in hardcover). The US is overrun by "Pan-Asians" and the stereotypes are really in evidence in this book. That said, the basic plot is interesting. After the military has been wiped out, a small group of the military working on scientific projects is basically all that's left. They've developed truly fantastic new technology that's better than anything the enemy has, but there isn't the military to make use of it. Americans aren't allowed to congregate except in religious ceremonies, so they make use of the tech to found a new religion as a "Sixth Column" against the enemy.
If it wasn't for the racism, I'd probably rate it 4 stars, but the racism can be really bad. I highly recommend that younger children not read this book (at least not without adult supervision to discuss the issues). That said, I do like the overall plot. Also, this book doesn't suffer from Heinlein's usual problem of poor endings, it's actually fairly decent....more
This is one of Heinlein's juvenile novels. That said, there's a couple of somewhat more adult portions, so I'd recommend that younger children shouldnThis is one of Heinlein's juvenile novels. That said, there's a couple of somewhat more adult portions, so I'd recommend that younger children shouldn't read it. At least not without having some an interesting discussion or two. But, since the main character is a older teenager, it's more aimed towards that age range.
It was written in 1951 and it certainly bears some of the hallmarks of that. Most notably in the fact that there is very little for the women in this novel to do. That said, the main love interest does express an interest in joining the women's corps in the military when the planet is at war, although it comes across as more along the lines as their participation in WWII, than full participation.
It's basically a boy's adventure novel like most of his juveniles (with the exception of Podkayne of Mars which has a female protagonist). It's a decent novel, and explores themes that he'd revisit in later novels. Here we have a colony world (Venus) rebelling against the Earth regime, very much like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress which had Luna rebelling against Earth.
I think a number of his juveniles perform a useful service in raising issues for young people to consider in a safe environment. It also helps in preparing them for other themes that will arise in his later novels (e.g., Starship Troopers which could be misconstrued) as well as themes in more weighty texts.
I listened to the Full-Cast Audio production which is kind of a mix of a book and a radio play. It's the full text of the book, but they use different people to play (i.e., read) the individual parts, along with the main narrator. I've quite liked their productions of Heinlein juveniles in the past and they once again did an excellent job here. Overall, it's a decent novel, but not a great one. If one is an adult interested in starting to read Heinlein, I'd really recommend his The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as a starting point. But, for the YA audience, I think the juveniles would work fairly well and this certainly isn't a bad one....more
I actually read this serialized in Analog Science Fiction and Fact where it was printed over 4 issues. That said, according to the author there's onlyI actually read this serialized in Analog Science Fiction and Fact where it was printed over 4 issues. That said, according to the author there's only minor differences (and not to story) with the book version.
The book is centred around a very interesting premise that an experiment causes various people's minds to be linked together, but they only can read one other person's mind (and it's not reciprocal). However, since one of the people linked is the President of the US, this causes definite security concerns.
It reads like a mix of a science fiction novel and a Tom Clancy novel. It's for this reason I'm not that big on the book. It ends up kind of coming up short on both sides of this equation. It doesn't explore the premise quite as well as it could and it's not the best political thriller either (although it doesn't really try very hard on the latter).
This author has some excellent books (e.g., the WWW trilogy, or Calculating God) so I'd recommend that people look there first. This isn't a bad book, it's just not as good as some of his others....more
Like many of the last books in this series, this book is far more about politics rather than the naval battles. Also, this book continues the trend ofLike many of the last books in this series, this book is far more about politics rather than the naval battles. Also, this book continues the trend of not enough Honor Harrington. That said, it has more than it might appear from the start of the book (she doesn't appear until a fair way into the book).
This book is very much about posturing and politics, although there are some satisfying naval segments.
Overall, I don't think it's as strong as the early books, but it's better than some of the later books....more
It's been a few years since I read this book, so this is going based upon my recollections of it. I wonder how much people's love for this book is basIt's been a few years since I read this book, so this is going based upon my recollections of it. I wonder how much people's love for this book is based upon the war as video game connection in the book.
The book centres around a young boy, the titular Ender who is supposed to be a boy genius (and by boy, he's 6 years old). A long time in this book is spent on basically scenes of laser tag, which are ostensibly military training, but it's all kind of boring. Ender succeeds at basically everything and then the book has his siblings who basically changed the world by blogging? Seriously?
Note that this is all aside from the homoerotic subtext that's pretty clearly present in the book. One big scene involves two young boys fighting while naked and soapy. Okay...
I can understand why young adults might like this book since it basically describes pre-teens who triumph. That combined with the teachers are bad equivalence could make it popular. Are adults who love this just remembering reading it? Or is it the ideas the book presents?
On the plus side, Card does imagine things well before they occurred in real-life. The war as video game is playing out with drones right now and he basically imagined blogging well before the WWW. Basically, there are some interesting ideas here, but poor execution....more
I have mixed feelings about this book. I wasn't a fan of the first two-thirds of the book (probably about 2.5 stars) while I quite liked the final thiI have mixed feelings about this book. I wasn't a fan of the first two-thirds of the book (probably about 2.5 stars) while I quite liked the final third. The first part is training for the war and the initial stages. Then, it gets into a part where the survivors are back on Earth. This part is very odd and for a book about the horrors of war, I'm not sure why he made the time back on Earth so unpleasant, other than to get the main character(s) back to the military.
The book has large tonal shifts which I'm guessing is to illustrate the changes due to the passage of time, but his choices are somewhat odd. Suddenly, everybody is homosexual and heterosexuality is viewed as psychological dysfunction? Okay, but the justification given in the book comes across as really thin. I'm not sure why clones suddenly have the ability to be able to communicate successfully with the enemy and the author basically cops out and has it be that the main character(s) wouldn't be able to understand. Are the clones a hivemind? If so, why are they a hivemind if they're just clones of humans? It's all kind of muddled.
The best part is really the military campaign when everybody is homosexual (but it barely comes into play in the story, so once again, why?). Until then, the battles were quick and brutal. But this time, you see the strategy involved and the details are far less gruesome. I guess he's trying to show how war is viewed from the different perspectives based upon rank? But, he has the main character fight alongside his men, so even that goes away, but we still see the strategy he's trying to employ. I really wish he would have written more of the book like this.
Overall, it's not bad, but not great. It has some big flaws, but I can kind of see why a lot of the earlier stuff needed to happen to get to the parts I liked....more
A beautiful story about the ending of relationship and a robot trying to find himself. She does an excellent job of illustrating all points of view inA beautiful story about the ending of relationship and a robot trying to find himself. She does an excellent job of illustrating all points of view in the story: woman, robot, and adopted daughter. Not quite as strong as A Memory of Wind by the same author, but close....more
It starts out slow, likely due to the need to introduce the reader into this world (which is the subject of a few novels by the author), but it finishIt starts out slow, likely due to the need to introduce the reader into this world (which is the subject of a few novels by the author), but it finishes strong. For people who aren't familiar with the other works, it can be a bit confusing, but one will eventually pick things up.
It's about a guy who works for a UK governmental agency that handles paranormal threats (of the Lovecraftian variety) and has to work over Christmas (but for triple pay!).
It does an excellent job of portraying the office workplace and the emotions of the main character having to work over Christmas.
I got this for free when Tor was giving away a bunch of short stories. It's now a few dollars on Amazon. Would I buy this? Possibly, if I was already familiar with the other stories. Given that I wasn't, I probably would have skipped it. That said, the story world is interesting enough for me to consider reading the novels in this story world....more
I love this short story. It's about a woman who time travels to view the Wright Brothers' first flight. That said, the flight isn't the point of the sI love this short story. It's about a woman who time travels to view the Wright Brothers' first flight. That said, the flight isn't the point of the story, instead it's about the people involved. I don't want to say more for fear of spoiling the story.
If you can, I'd highly recommend reading this....more