The future is a scary place. Bacigalupi creates a vision of post-oil Thailand where calorie companies that are Monsanto in all but name are the new wo...moreThe future is a scary place. Bacigalupi creates a vision of post-oil Thailand where calorie companies that are Monsanto in all but name are the new world powers. This world is one beset by out-of-control plagues and mutations, from diseases to genetically-modified plants, animals, and even people.
Into this rich setting, Bacigalupi weaves the narratives of several characters: a calorie company man, a Chinese expatriate, a couple of loyal members of the Thailand Environmental Ministry, and an artificially-created Japanese woman known as a windup. These character arcs crisscross over and through each other against an environment of hunger, fear, and seething political unrest.
I thought the worldbuilding was excellent and the plotting was tight. Bacigalupi succeeded in cresting a setting full of rich detail without burying the reader in exposition. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes hard science fiction, biopunk, or likes a good potboiler.(less)
It felt like someone trying too hard to put an entire run of a comic book into novel form, what with extremely short chapters and wandering points of...moreIt felt like someone trying too hard to put an entire run of a comic book into novel form, what with extremely short chapters and wandering points of view. That's ultimately why I lost interest in what I'd hoped would be a great superhero tale. It felt like a bad adaptation of a comic book instead of a story written originally in prose form. At times, the narrative felt forced, as if the author was trying very hard to be edgy. Most of the characters, like comic book characters, were superficial-little more than names and powers, and I just didn't find myself caring enough about them. I think the story would have been much better if the author had gone smaller, focusing on just a few characters and one major plot line instead of trying to shoehorn in a dozen characters and three or four major story arcs.(less)
This book is a far cry from the quality of the album.
First of all, I am a tremendous Rush fan, and I believe the album Clockwork Angels represents the...moreThis book is a far cry from the quality of the album.
First of all, I am a tremendous Rush fan, and I believe the album Clockwork Angels represents their finest effort. If it were to be their last, they would leave on the highest note possible.
Unfortunately, they set the bar so high, that a writer as poor as Kevin Anderson couldn't possibly hope to even approach it, much less reach it. His writing style grates, with his immature voice and formulaic structures. Every character, for example, is introduced in exactly the same way: a description of the character's outfit. No character has his or her own voice; everyone speaks exactly the same way, and the same tone is used in the narration as well. Anderson throws in literary tools with little regard for their effect upon his quality, tossing in similes and alliteration at every whim. He may have thought his shoehorning of various Rush lyrics into the narrative was a clever Easter egg, but I found it to be jarring when something truly beautiful and lyrical, written not by Anderson but by Neil Peart, interrupted the inanity. One last major complaint is the amount of telling versus showing which goes on in Clockwork Angels. Fully half of this book consists of the main character's inner monologue, which would be fine if his inner monologue consisted of more than reiterating the same thoughts over and over again. Everything is recapped within an inch of its life every few pages, to the point where I would just skip ahead.
I realize this book was written because of the author's relationship with the band, but I really wish instead it had been taken on by a writer of much higher caliber. As it is, I was very disappointed. Based upon my own rules of reviews, I had to give this two stars because I finished it. Really, though, it's only 1.5.(less)
This is another tale set in the same universe and featuring the same characters as Mead's previous work FATE'S MIRROR, which I've also read. In compar...moreThis is another tale set in the same universe and featuring the same characters as Mead's previous work FATE'S MIRROR, which I've also read. In comparison to that work, THE CALINE CONSPIRACY is a much better book in my opinion. The character of Aidra, who is only a secondary character in Fate's Mirror, is a more appealing lead than Morris the hacker, and I found myself identifying with her right away. The story moves along at a brisk pace, peppered with cinematic action sequences. The book as a whole reads like a 90-minute detective/action movie. There's a definite twist that I didn't see coming, and it tied the plot up very nicely. My only complaint is that it was a fast read in the sense that most of the characters besides Aidra are undeveloped beyond talking scenery, and a few of the subplots which are begun are left virtually unexplored. Genetic manipulation makes for some fascinating and scary science fiction, and I felt there were some more opportunities to expand upon the horrors that man might create with it. The book would have benefited by adding some depth to the setting and minor characters. That being said, it was an enjoyable beer-and-pretzels read, and an admirable sophomoric effort. I'm looking forward to further adventures in M.H. Mead's near-future Detroit.(less)
Curses! falls in the same vein as the book Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, taking a reality populated with fantas...moreAn entertaining take on the murder mystery.
Curses! falls in the same vein as the book Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, taking a reality populated with fantasy characters and establishing it as the norm - in this case, fairy tale characters. The "protagonist" is a villain, one Rumple "RJ" Stiltskin, who's been cursed to be nice and helpful by his local villains' union. He winds up embroiled in the investigation of Cinderella's murder. The story moves quickly from scene to scene, and the author mixes humor, intrigue, and the developing romance between RJ and Cinderella's sister Anastasia well. At times, I thought the fairy tale puns were a little heavy-handed but overall they fit well within the scheme of the worldbuilding. Overall, a fun read.(less)