Since Little Brother is such an amazing book that should be mandatory reading for teens, I wanted this sequel to be a 5-star book as well. Sadly, it i...moreSince Little Brother is such an amazing book that should be mandatory reading for teens, I wanted this sequel to be a 5-star book as well. Sadly, it isn't. As a novel, Homeland fails — unless Cory Doctorow wants to continue Marcus Yallow's story in minute increments. The characters do not develop throughout the book, let alone are they changed at the end. What happens to Marcus is pretty much a repetition from the first book and even the villains are the same. But one can argue that that's reality and that the book would not be any better if they were. I have a suspicion that 'Homeland' is not (intended to be) a novel. It's littered with very explicit descriptions and explanations of computer-related subjects revolving around security, hacking, downloading, spying, information exchange as well as 3-D printing and it reads in large parts like an instruction manual. That may be good and useful, but it takes away from the novel. The name dropping (Wil Wheaton et al) seems almost silly, Doctorow's fascination with 3-D (already a major subject in Makers) gets a lot of coverage and if you are a regular reader of the excellent BoingBoing website like myself, it feels as if you've read 20% of the book already. I would still recommend it to teenagers and even more so to anyway with a sound understanding of computer technology and advanced use of 21st century software. And as a fan of Cory Doctorow, I will read more books of his.(less)
No need to repeat all the things mentioned about A Canticle for Leibowitz in other Goodreads-reviews (real classic, Hugo-winner, religion, apocalypse)...moreNo need to repeat all the things mentioned about A Canticle for Leibowitz in other Goodreads-reviews (real classic, Hugo-winner, religion, apocalypse), but there are two buts. Before the stoning commences, I feel I should say that of course I enjoyed the book, very much so, and I'd not hesitate to recommend it.
Having started but not finished the book back in the 70s, I can now see why I put it away unfinished. Most likely I dismissed it as religious propaganda - it really isn't, but unless you are at least interested in religion (even as an atheist), you might not enjoy this as much.
Or was it the very heavy dose of Latin I did not like back then (and now)? When Walter M. Miller Jr. revised the three novellas/novelettes (?) previously published in the "Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction" in 1955/56, he added all these Latin passages and phrases which require more than a layman's knowledge to translate them. According to critics this resulted in "decided improvements" and "made it consonant with the tradition of Judeo-Christian writings". BS. Maybe that's why I will always take a good SF-novel over a praised work of mainstream fiction.(less)
I read A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! in response to the death of Harry Harrison last week. HH wrote mainly two types of novels, funny ones like The...moreI read A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! in response to the death of Harry Harrison last week. HH wrote mainly two types of novels, funny ones like The Stainless Steel Rat/Jim di Griz-series, and gritty ones like the Deathworld-trilogy, but also some odd ones, like this book which I did read in the early 70s, but did not remember at all.
It has been called "early steampunk", but I disagree wholeheartedly. It is simply a homage to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, it's a "scientific romance" — no punk here whatsoever, no name dropping (Isambard Brunel does not count!). It's written in a rather charming style, the characters are stereotypes and the plot very predictable. To say that is "negative" criticism, is to say Verne & Wells were bad writers, which - of course! - they were not. And Harrison succeeds: I can easily imagine this in "Amazing Stories Quarterly" and Hugo Gernsback praising it.
It's not easy to bring a trilogy to a satisfying end, but trust Robert Charles Wilson to do just that. For a while I thought the story in this final p...moreIt's not easy to bring a trilogy to a satisfying end, but trust Robert Charles Wilson to do just that. For a while I thought the story in this final part was a bit weak in comparison to the first two, but it isn't (though a link to the first book Spin would have been nice). The way Wilson wraps up this novel and the whole series is very impressive and rewarding as well. I will follow Wilson's novels with great interest and also catch up with the 2-3 I missed so far.(less)
Most excellent, outstanding. One of Stephen King's very best novels and the best book I've read all year.
I urge anyone who still thinks King writes "h
...moreMost excellent, outstanding. One of Stephen King's very best novels and the best book I've read all year.
I urge anyone who still thinks King writes "horror", to read 11/22/63 or Duma Key or Lisey's Story. If you ignore "Cell" (and you should), you have to go back many years to find one of King's horror novels.
Technically speaking this is a science fiction novel, but not surprisingly, "11/22/63" reads like a historical novel about the late Fifties and early Sixties, the years before America would change significantly and like all good books, it's about people, their development over the course of the story and their relationships. This is where King excels and where his maturity as a writer shows.
I only have one issue with this book: (view spoiler)[Why does King subscribe to the lone gunman theory with Oswald acting alone? I think the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. The only reason I can see is that the story would have become too complicated ... (hide spoiler)]
Another 'bought for nought'-book – should this become a category now that so many eBooks are offered for free? I was certainly lured into 'buying' this...moreAnother 'bought for nought'-book – should this become a category now that so many eBooks are offered for free? I was certainly lured into 'buying' this for £0.00 knowing full well that I'd buy the remaining episodes (which I just did) if it would be any good and it is. So why only three stars instead of four?
This novella is just that: part of a novel and as such it is difficult to assign stars to. It was certainly good enough (three stars) to make me buy the rest and hope the overall work warrants four. The story - no spoilers beyond what Amazon has, promise! - delivers exactly what the authors hint at: a mix of The Stand, the marvelous The Passage by Justin Cronin with a dose of TV-shows like Lost and the X-Files told through a number of very different characters. Other than that? It is set in a dystopian USA in the year 2011. And it is a quick read.
I will write a review about the complete season one once I've finished it.(less)
Little Brother is a five-star book if ever there was one, a 1984 for our times and it should be mandatory reading for teenagers. Praise enough? Okay, h...moreLittle Brother is a five-star book if ever there was one, a 1984 for our times and it should be mandatory reading for teenagers. Praise enough? Okay, here's more: Though it's a YA-novel, anyone over 25 (the crucial cut-off age in the book - an update from the old saying 'trust no one over 30') who wants to learn/know more about computers in general, hacking, encryption, security in it's many forms and about a very dubious branch of the US government (Homeland Security) in an entertaining and exciting way, could not pick a better book.
Cory Doctorow is not just a (good!) SF writer but a respected journalist and very active blogger who is an authority on the above issues and he provides a lot of additional information on all these issues.
So - is Little Brother, which won the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award as well as several other awards, one of the greatest SF novels ever written? Definitely not! It is non-fiction with a YA thriller-coat that takes place in the very near future and as such barely qualifies as SF.
Do I recommend it? Hell, yes!
PS: Fans of George W. Chaney and Tony B-liar will not enjoy this one.(less)