-Culture is a form of immortality. It’s probably the only form of immortality.
Christian Cantrell's short book, Containment, was one of my all-time fav-Culture is a form of immortality. It’s probably the only form of immortality.
Christian Cantrell's short book, Containment, was one of my all-time favorite science fiction stories, so I was very excited when I discovered that Cantrell was coming out with a sequel, Equinox; I was also quite surprised because Containment was published in 2010 so there was nearly a 5-year gap between book one and publication of the sequel.
I've read many of Cantrell's stories, and I'll call them stories instead of books because they are generally of the short story/novelette length, and I can read them typically in the course of a weekend or short week. Equinox completely bucks the trend because it's a full length novel. Since most of my reading is done on a Kindle, this completely caught me by surprise. I took a quick peek on Amazon for reference and the print version of Containment is listed as 298 pages while Equinox is 574 pages.
I should also mention that Equinox is not your typical sequel. It's really very much its own independent story with a 100% new story line. In fairness it is nicely tethered to the original story, Containment, at key parts; it's certainly done well enough to qualify it as a proper sequel, but it's truly unlike any other sequel I've read.
Despite, all of my ramblings about Equinox's length, and about and how it fits in as a sequel, it's a very, very good story. The one caution that I'll offer is that it is relatively heavy on the "science" part of science fiction-especially at the beginning of the book. In general, this part was very enjoyable for me and certain revelations were actually fascinating. The scientific sections probably fall more into the category of "world building," but if you're not someone who's interested in hard science, these sections may be hard to get through. For me, they actually improved the story.
-You're thinking linearly. To figure out where technology will be in the future, you have to think exponentially.
Without revealing any spoilers, some of the more interesting scientific concepts covered were human development in the absence of gravity, the genesis of off-Earth colonies, future power sources, currency and construction methods, and brain-computer interfaces. There's also some interesting dialogue on the future of 3D printing, and required steps to establish security protocols to prevent falsifying copyrighted items or creating weaponry.
One of my favorite accomplishments of the book is that Cantrell constructs a plausible utopian future for the human race and then systematically deconstructs it within the first 10% of the book.
-Luka realized that he was being called upon to lead, and that being a true leader was not about doing what was easy or popular, or even necessarily what was humane. Being a true leader meant having to make the right decisions...
There were many nice plot twists throughout the book which for me made it rewarding despite the fact that it was a longer read than anticipated. The book is certainly not only filled with the scientific; it has plenty of human drama including love, self-sacrifice, drug addiction, suicide and political corruption.
I’d highly recommend the book to fans of Christian Cantrell, and anyone who enjoys science fiction with an emphasis on the science. I believe reading Containment first would make Equinox more enjoyable; however, Equinox could stand alone as a single novel.
Rating books is a subjective science, and for me although most of the science inserted into the book added to the depth of the story, there were some sections where I found the science was a bit too heavy to maintain the proper pace of the story. This is the only reason that I’ve rated Equinox four and a half stars instead of five stars....more
Backed this on Kickstarter and just got my ebook version a few days ago. As a rule with anthologies, I don't read the stories in order, and typicallyBacked this on Kickstarter and just got my ebook version a few days ago. As a rule with anthologies, I don't read the stories in order, and typically start with the stories of my favorite contributors and this anthology is no exception. So far, I've read just three stories by authors Tobias Buckell, Ken Liu & E. Lily Yu. If these stories are representative of the rest in the collection then this will be a 5-star book and be considered as one of my all time favorite anthologies.
Will update this thread after I've had the opportunity to read more....more
-Eo said if I rose, others would follow. But I've not yet risen. I've not yet done as she asked of me. I am not an example. I am an assassin.
As the se-Eo said if I rose, others would follow. But I've not yet risen. I've not yet done as she asked of me. I am not an example. I am an assassin.
As the second book in the planned Red Rising trilogy, I had to wonder if there would be a sophomore slump. I had special concern since Red Rising was Brown's debut novel. To give perspective to my expectations for Golden Son, I considered Red Rising the best book that I read in 2014, and Goodreads awarded Red Rising best debut novel in 2014.
-What terrifies the Golds is simple, cruel, and as old as mankind itself. Civil War.
So was there a sophomore slump? Yes and no. In a nutshell, the first 20% and the last 20% of Golden Son were excellent-in fact, as good as anything in Red Rising. However, I found the pace of the middle 60% much slower than anything that I experienced in Red Rising.
To me, this makes Golden Son a very worthy read, especially for someone who's dying to continue the storyline developed in Red Rising. The middle of the book was not unbearable; it just lacked a lot of the action and suspense that I'm accustom to with Brown’s writing.
-A fool pulls the leaves. A brute chops the trunk. A sage digs the roots.
I received a complimentary review copy of the ebook in advance of publication of the Golden Son. I mention this because it may have contributed to my second complaint with Golden Son and that is the introduction of too many characters. Most people, myself included, do not have the luxury of sitting down and reading a novel in a single sitting. As such, with the volume of characters and interwoven story lines, I would periodically get confused about which character was which. Complicating this was a backdrop of shifting alliances. So one character who was presented as sympathetic to the cause could suddenly shift allegiance. When reading the book over a series of weekends and evenings, it makes it very easy to get disoriented.
Related to my complaint of too many characters, however, the printed copy of Golden Son has a very helpful list of the main characters and families printed at the beginning of the book. I know this because I'd pre-ordered Golden Son months ago and was pleased to see this when it arrived in the mail. If you're a Kindle reader like I am, newer models of the Kindle include the feature "bones of the book" which will probably give you a link to a quick schematic which typically lists this sort of detail.
The bottom line is that if you don't have a newer Kindle, I'd highly recommend that you purchase the hard copy version of Golden Son. It will help to reduce confusion associated with the long list of characters, and it's always nice to have a hard copy if you're inclined to loan it to friends after you read it.
A final comment tied to the cast of characters. I think that Pierce Brown does a very nice job of setting up Golden Son as a stand-alone book for readers who have not yet read Red Rising. He continues the story from Red Rising, while at the same time building a unique story that stands on its own. I do think that readers will get more out of Golden Son if they read Red Rising first, but it's not required. To get reacquainted with the characters, readers may want to re-read Red Rising before reading Golden Son, but I opted not to do this and I don't think it detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
-...you will recover from this. We are not our station in life. We are us-the sum of what we've done, what we want to do, and the people we keep close.
The bottom line is that if you’re a fan of Red Rising, this is pretty much a must-read book. Brown develops the storyline in an interesting direction, and cleverly builds suspense toward the conclusion in the third and final book in the trilogy....more
-Death isn't empty like you say it is. Emptiness is life without freedom.
Red Rising is the best book that I've read in the last 12 months, and I read-Death isn't empty like you say it is. Emptiness is life without freedom.
Red Rising is the best book that I've read in the last 12 months, and I read quite a bit.
-How clever of them. How much hate they create between people who should be kin.
From a genre classification, Red Rising falls somewhere between Science Fiction and Fantasy. The clips about Red Rising compare it to both Ender's Game & the Hunger Games, but I also see similarities to Hugh Howey's Wool, especially at the beginning of Red Rising. As in Howey's 'Wool' universe, the leaders of the society in Red Rising suppress key information about their world in order to manipulate their citizens.
-I've been in the mines for three years. You start at 13. Old enough to screw, old enough to crew.
This is a gripping story of Darrow, a boy born to a clan of repressed miners on Mars. Darrow's miner clan is part of the lowest rung on the societal ladder, the "Reds."
-Life's dealt us a hard hand. We're to sacrifice for the good of men and women we don't know. We're to dig to ready Mars for others.
The miners are responsible for mining "helium 3" which will enable the terraforming of the Martian surface. The miners’ lives are lived exclusively underground. In fact, they don't even have access to view the surface of Mars or the stars.
-When your wife died, she didn't just give you a vendetta. She gave you her dream. You're its keeper. Its maker.
The characters are well-developed and credible; you can't help but feel emotionally connected to their plight as the story unfolds. The story is chock full of moral dilemmas with blurred gray lines that will make you constantly reevaluate "good," "evil," "right" and "wrong."
It's difficult to discuss too many details without revealing spoilers. In fact, some of the most compelling parts of the story are the countless unanticipated plot twists revealed slowly throughout the course of the book.
This book hits squarely on all bases. I'm stunned that this is Pierce Brown's debut novel considering the quality of the work. I'll be the first in line to pre-order the sequel as soon as it's available for sale....more
-When your wife died, she didn't just give you a vendetta. She gave you her dream. You're its keeper. Its maker. Red Rising is the best book that I've-When your wife died, she didn't just give you a vendetta. She gave you her dream. You're its keeper. Its maker. Red Rising is the best book that I've read in the last 12 months, and I read quite a bit.
From a genre classification, Red Rising falls somewhere between Science Fiction and Fantasy. The clips about 'Red Rising' compare it to both Ender's Game & the Hunger Games, but I also see similarities to Hugh Howey's Wool ....(Click here to read the complete review)....more
I'll stop back later and do a proper review, but this book rocked if you're a fan of the 'Wool' universe. I actually found it better than the originalI'll stop back later and do a proper review, but this book rocked if you're a fan of the 'Wool' universe. I actually found it better than the original 'Wool' which I also liked very much. This is clearly one of the best books that I've read in the last twelve months....more
-We couldn't keep nuking them (the kaiju), or pretty soon the Earth was going to be destroyed while we were trying to save it.
I didn't want to like Pa-We couldn't keep nuking them (the kaiju), or pretty soon the Earth was going to be destroyed while we were trying to save it.
I didn't want to like Pacific Rim-I suppose I thought I was too sophisticated for what's essentially Die Hard meets Godzilla with a little bit of Rocky thrown in for good measure. I have to admit, however, that Pacific Rim is an entertaining read. Let's face it, we all need a little junk-food for the soul from time to time, and this book serves it up in a very digestible format.
Is this an original story, or is it a rip off of Godzilla? As a kid, I watched UltraMan on TV. Yes, it was the exact same storyline in every episode, but I didn't mind. Of course the UltraMan special effects were an absolute joke with plastic monsters stepping on cardboard buildings, but old-school Godzilla special effects were no better. Pacific Rim takes these established international cultural icons and pulls them into the twenty-first century.
I'm torn on the question of originality, because on one hand the story is essentially a chapter right out of Godzilla/UltraMan lure, yet on the other hand it's been so long since there's been a mainstream quality adaptation that it really was refreshing. Viewed through the lens of current time where we've been doused with sequels upon sequels like Ironman, the Avengers and X-Men, I really do feel like this is an original (almost "new") creative concept.
Is the story-line cliché? Yes, there are absolutely some stereotypical science fiction/action elements, but I found that the original creative elements substantially outweighed the tired and clichéd. Certainly putting humans inside giant robots was a new twist, although a little hard to embrace with modern technology going the other way with the deployment of drones (no pilots) in modern combat.
There were a few other legitimate surprises that popped up throughout the story. These really helped to keep the plot line a little off balance and less predictable which I thought was a nice touch.
Why did the Kaiju come? Pacific Rim has an environmental backdrop to the story with quotes like “We terraformed Earth for the kaiju." Basically kaiju are the second coming of the prehistoric dinosaurs, and the damage that we as humans have done to the Earth has just started the downward spiral of the planet which the kaiju will finish.
There are a lot of valid reasons to take better care of our environment, but I don’t think sewing the seeds for kaiju destruction is among them. This is the first of several weak science backdrops that really didn’t work for me.
Where's the Science in this Science Fiction? I am not a hard science geek who reads Science Fiction books with the intent of identifying any scientific impossibilities, but the major premises in Pacific Rim are really more like fantasy than Science Fiction.
I really don't think we have to worry about dinosaurs rising out of the Marianas Trench (the "breach") trying to take over the Earth. Even more far-fetched to me was the synching of minds (the "drift") needed to operate a Jaeger. This concept worked brilliantly to create some tension within the story line, but it's just not believable to me on any scale, and I'm really not that fussy. I’m fine with technology that makes people invisible, travelling faster than the speed of light, teleporting, time-travel and many other questionable technologies that Science Fiction stories employ, but this was just too far off the "never gonna happen" spectrum for me.
Humor in a story like 'Pacific Rim'? The utter geekiness and tension between the two scientists, Newt & Gottlieb, added a humorous element to the story. I wouldn't necessarily expect any humor in a science fiction/action film like this, but I quite enjoyed it. I haven't seen the film yet, but I'm curious to see if any of this humor gets translated into the big screen.
How does the story mesh with current society? As impossible as it was for me to embrace some of the fictional elements of the story, I really appreciated other elements that meshed nicely with the real world.
For instance, I thought it was really clever to have crime bosses who were responsible for selling kaiju body parts on the black market for a huge profit. Additionally, I liked the concept of the "kaiju slum" where people opted to live in the radioactive forbidden zones despite the contamination from the dead kaiju. This seemed plausible as well based on trade-offs made by people who are poor or looking to go off-the-grid.
-Today we are cancelling the apocalypse. -Striker Pentecost
Pacific Rim is no Shakespeare, but it doesn’t pretend to be. If you enjoy action stories, military Science Fiction or monster stories then you will almost certainly like the fast-paced action in Pacific Rim. Even though it’s not an especially deep storyline, it does cover a lot of ground. Once you get through about the first third of the book which layouts out the plot and provides character background, the final two-thirds are hard-to-put-down exciting.
By the way, if you’re looking for a film review of Pacific Rim, I came across this one which I thought was quite good....more