Oh my god, this was just incredible. If you like sci fi, and you haven't read the preceding book in the series (Hyperion), check it out. If you HAVE rOh my god, this was just incredible. If you like sci fi, and you haven't read the preceding book in the series (Hyperion), check it out. If you HAVE read it, and you liked it, get this book. I wouldn't suggest reading this book without reading Hyperion as Hyperion introduces the whole Hyperion universe and most of the main characters in the book and begins the story which this book concludes.
Most sci-fi books are based around an idea (e.g. the nature of human consciousness - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) - or try and make a point about today's world (e.g. the futility of war - The Forever War.) They then try and flesh out a world around these central conceits, but it's usually quite clear that the surrounding world is just a container for the core idea of the book.
Not this book. I was just overwhelmed by how COMPLETE the universe is. Dan Simmons has literally planned out an entire universe of connecting worlds, down to the smallest detail - and I mean the smallest detail. There's a casual and entirely insignificant line where he compares strewn drug vials on the floor to "discarded soft drink bulbs" - nowhere else in either of the books are these "bulbs" discussed or mentioned.
It's also REALLY well written - again, compared with most sci-fi, this is pretty unique. Simmons can paint a picture down to the smallest detail, and he can actually put you inside the mind of a character, so you can almost feel their feelings and think their thoughts. He can write with beauty and passion. The romance doesn't read like typical sci-fi romance (poorly written pornography.)
The plot? Completely captivating. I was worried there'd be some kind of "6 months later" thing and we'd not get to see what happens to the pilgrims since the end of the preceding book, Hyperion, but not a moment is skipped, and things pick up exactly where they left off. Except in this novel, we get to view the whole thing in its true galactic context. Turns out the events on Hyperion are all part of a much larger story which ties in with a few loose ends left in the original. It had been some time since I'd read the original, so I kept it by me and re-read the pilgrims' stories where I needed to catch up on details.
The characters are also very well written - again, not something typical to most sci-fi, where they are often ciphers for ideas. They are entirely consistent with what we know about them from Hyperion, and their development also makes sense accordingly.
The ONLY criticism I have is that he seems overly obsessed with the poetry of John Keats. If I wanted to read THAT much poetry, I'd... you know... buy a book of poetry.
But I don't care. Simmons is compared to other sci-fi authors favourably, including Frank Herbert. This book was WAY better than Dune. It's more detailed, more multi-faceted, and there's even a bit of (mostly dark!) comedy....more
Well-written, but I just couldn't care less about the plot or the issues. I never felt like anything was ever at stake, or that any important point waWell-written, but I just couldn't care less about the plot or the issues. I never felt like anything was ever at stake, or that any important point was being made, and I really couldn't care much for the main character's motivations (which basically seemed to be that he wanted adventure for the sake of it, even if it means uprooting the way of life of all of humanity, who by the way are perfectly happy with their lives; indeed he pretty much says this on a regular basis.)
I feel slightly guilty for giving this 2 stars. This is mainly since my expectations were fairly high, and I was pretty disappointed.
The book attemptsI feel slightly guilty for giving this 2 stars. This is mainly since my expectations were fairly high, and I was pretty disappointed.
The book attempts to deal with the question of playing God. At times, Le Guin makes some interesting abstract points - e.g. there is no end, there are just means - but she also uses some clumsy writing to make her point, such as when George takes his dream-commands too literally, leading to results which are so ridiculously disastrous that it's almost comical.
The central characters of George Orr and his psychiatrist Dr Haber are also interesting - neither of whom can easily be categorised as good or evil, but who nevertheless are able to change the entire world for good or bad.
It's not a terrible book, but I think it fails to adequately explore the issue it chooses to address, so I give it 2 stars....more
I feel this is probably a book of its time. The book was very much informed and inspired by Haldeman's experiences fighting during Vietnam, and the paI feel this is probably a book of its time. The book was very much informed and inspired by Haldeman's experiences fighting during Vietnam, and the parallels aren't too difficult to see. War is often wasteful, stupid, and pointless, is the message. However, I'm quite anti-war, and the message seems a bit old now (although apparently not everyone has got it, or Iraq wouldn't have happened), so the preaching felt a bit anachronistic.
Most of the novel is set in space. The section I enjoyed the most was the (sadly short) section where they return to Earth (many years after leaving it) and see how things have changed. The characters were very one-dimensional, and the plot tended to waver between dull and unbelievable. The first half was especially uneventful.
I think the biggest problem with the novel is that it's essentially just an allegory for the Vietnam War, and as a consequence, it isn't actually very interesting in and of itself.
If it's military sci-fi you're after, I'd recommend the more contemporary Old Man's War by John Scalzi - it's got both the brains and brawn of The Forever War, and is much more of a novel in its own right.
Intergalactic politics, a film-noire detective (amongst other fully fleshed-out characters, which is a bonus in sci-fi), a wThis was a damn fun book.
Intergalactic politics, a film-noire detective (amongst other fully fleshed-out characters, which is a bonus in sci-fi), a whole new planetary system set in an asteroid belt, and ethical strands weaved in amongst it all.
I decided to try and avoid sequels in order to broaden my literary horizons, but I may have to make an exception this time....more
It's a highly ambitious book, but this is a double-edged sword - I felt as though it spreads itself too thinly. It deals with a vast multitude of themIt's a highly ambitious book, but this is a double-edged sword - I felt as though it spreads itself too thinly. It deals with a vast multitude of themes - gender, patriotism, politics, duality, pride, and knowledge and its true value. As a consequence there are a ton of interesting ideas - but I felt they weren't explored in as much detail as I would have liked - in particular the idea of asexual beings and the consequences this would have upon culture and psychology.
Perhaps a more intellectually curious person would use the opportunity to further explore in their own minds and in their own time the ideas which are presented by the author, but I personally would have liked a slightly deeper exploration of her ideas within the novel itself.
Recommended for anyone who likes the idea of a book with themes. ...more
I never read Heinlein, so I can only judge this book on its own merits. Its a very fun read, with a great sense of humour. The central premise is quitI never read Heinlein, so I can only judge this book on its own merits. Its a very fun read, with a great sense of humour. The central premise is quite interesting as far as sci-fi ideas go as well. How many other books (of any genre) have a 75-year old as their hero? Its always enjoyable, never too complex (in terms of language, plot, and sci fi), and you never get that feeling that you get with some sci-fi that a grandiose idea or new way of looking at the universe is being shoved through your eyeballs and into the back of your skull. I'd recommend this for anyone that likes a fun read, or anyone that likes sci fi. ...more
I give this 5 stars for its style alone, which made it an absolute pleasure to read. As I'm sure you've read in the description, the style varies fromI give this 5 stars for its style alone, which made it an absolute pleasure to read. As I'm sure you've read in the description, the style varies from narrative to dialogue to a TV newspiece to a chapter from a book within the book etc etc, and this really makes the place Brunner describes come to life. Its rare that I've felt so immersed in a fictional universe.
The content is also very varied, with some interesting psychological and sociological observations. The actual sci-fi aspect to the book, whilst present throughout the book, doesn't define it. If I had to say what the book is really about, I'd say it was about humanity as a species, and the way we interact with each other.
Whilst the plot is interesting, its probably the weakest aspect of the book - this being said, it remains engaging throughout. Being written in the 1960s, the book is set in "the future" of 2010. Don't let this put you off - Brunner wasn't trying to predict the future, and obviously the book isn't about what actually happened in 2010. If this bothers you at all, try thinking of it as an alternate universe. Its a book about humans, and humans have essentially remained the same.
On an unrelated note: The version I bought (due to price!) was published in the 1980s and so it looks fairly old, which may have helped to amend my expectations of this book (i.e. not expect an accurate prediction of the future). Gollancz is publishing it in their nice shiny format - I wonder if one of the limitations of this format is that it makes the book look new, which leads to a degree of discrepancy between readers expectations and the books content.
The protagonist of this book is literally a psychopath, and makes no qualms of it. Whilst certainly unusual, I persoSci fi thriller with a difference:
The protagonist of this book is literally a psychopath, and makes no qualms of it. Whilst certainly unusual, I personally felt this reduced my enjoyment of the book to a degree, as I didn't really care what happened to any (well, most) of the characters, since they are almost all terrible people.
I thought Gully Foyle's "character development" towards the end was all extremely rushed, highly cliched, and the most implausible part of the book (putting all the sci fi stuff aside!)
Bottom line: An entertaining read with a multitude of ideas thrown into a fast-paced plot, and its characterisation is probably its most unique but also most weak aspect. ...more
There's a certain soft touch to the way the book is written that I found appealing, even though I started to feel as though the pl4.5 stars, actually.
There's a certain soft touch to the way the book is written that I found appealing, even though I started to feel as though the plot was being neglected. At the end, I realised this was not the case at all, and Vance had pulled off a fairly neat trick, and managed to develop all the elements of the book (characters, plot, setting) in a perfectly synergistic way.
The key characters will stay with me for a long time, I feel - Ghyll is a more subtle, layered hero than those of most sci fi novels....more
**spoiler alert** Better than the 2nd book, not as good as the 1st.
Things I liked:
You actually find out a lot about Kovacs' background; his friends,**spoiler alert** Better than the 2nd book, not as good as the 1st.
Things I liked:
You actually find out a lot about Kovacs' background; his friends, his family, his childhood. You get a much better idea of what drives him, and why he's such a badass.
Kovacs actually seems to have a reason for doing what he's doing, some, if not most of the time (in contrast to the 2nd book where he just seemed to be wandering around out of boredom).
The settings were interesting and varied, unlike the 2nd book.
The sci fi elements were interesting and consistent (e.g. where Tak gets this feeling of nostalgia because of Jad's present in the cargo hold of the ship).
Things I didn't like: It still contains the cringey sex scenes of the 2nd book.
At times I still felt like slapping Kovacs and telling him to stop being such a whiny bitch. There's even a line in which he talks about how its just natural for him to constantly angry, and he just accepts it as status quo.
Quell seemed like a pretty interesting character in the bits and pieces of information we got in the previous 2 books. In person it turns out she's really annoying.
The whole double-sleeving thing could have been an excellent plot device, and had so much potential. It could have been used to explore how Tak got to where he was as a person, to look at the choices he had made in life, and to see if things could have been different. It could have been used as a more general device to address the philosophical concept of identity. At the very least it could have been used to set up some great combat scenes - after all, there's no clear reason why the original Tak should win. Instead, the 'second' Tak turned out to be the literary equivalent of an especially big fly thats slightly more difficult to swat....more
Not as good as Altered Carbon. Altered Carbon was great because it was set in various locales, each with their own unique atmosphere, it had a selectiNot as good as Altered Carbon. Altered Carbon was great because it was set in various locales, each with their own unique atmosphere, it had a selection of interesting characters each with different personality traits and various shades of grey ethics, and it had a great plot. Broken Angels had less of all these things. The plot didn't hold my attention as much, the characters were all fairly annoying (Kovacs included, this time... he seems to alternate between being generally angry, and being generally apathetic), and the settings were all fairly nondescript. Oh, and I could REALLY do without the sex scenes. I'm not averse to the characters having sex - please, by all means - but a 6-page long sex scene really detracts from the general sci-fi experience.
If you're a fan of Altered Carbon, by all means get this book - it has some fairly interesting scenes, and expands the universe that the author has created - but don't expect another Altered Carbon. ...more
I felt, after finishing it, that this book is really about two things - its about individuals as part of a society of other individuals, and its aboutI felt, after finishing it, that this book is really about two things - its about individuals as part of a society of other individuals, and its about the beauty - often, the indescribable and obscure beauty - of life. The character development felt so organic that I hardly noticed it, until I looked back at the start of the book. It seems to be that the slightly "deeper" sci fi novels end in despair and misery, and I was pleased to see that the plot was not dragged kicking and screaming into this cliche. Also, as a sidenote, there were times when I was reminded (for no specific reason) of Fallout (the game)... maybe its just me....more
This book is driven by its ideas - not by its plot, and not even by its characters (although a few of the characters are certainly memorable).
The proThis book is driven by its ideas - not by its plot, and not even by its characters (although a few of the characters are certainly memorable).
The prose fluctuates between laughably cheesy (the 'love scene' in particular had me in hysterics), and beautifully profound (I found Mouse's outlook on life to actually be quite inspirational).
The plot is exciting enough though, but it serves as more of a backdrop to the actual ideas themselves. I would agree with another review which states this book succeeds very well with its ideas, but fails to a degree with its execution of these ideas. On the whole, though, its an interesting and stimulating read....more
Enjoyable with a lot of interesting and very fun ideas, but a somewhat odd and slightly tedious plot, and I'm not quite sure why a 15-year old girl isEnjoyable with a lot of interesting and very fun ideas, but a somewhat odd and slightly tedious plot, and I'm not quite sure why a 15-year old girl is seen as a sex object by half the characters. Its over-rated, but definintely worth reading....more