**spoiler alert** Puts the Post in Post-apocalypse.
This was a very strange book. I wonder if this is the face of post-modern sci-fi. Usually post-mode**spoiler alert** Puts the Post in Post-apocalypse.
This was a very strange book. I wonder if this is the face of post-modern sci-fi. Usually post-modern writing is self-referential, which this isn't. This is very quiet book.
There are five or six characters who's lives we follow. The story jumps around in time.
I think my mother might like this book. Except for the parts that made me like it. She likes realistic fiction about people's lives. I like SF&F.
Within the story, "Station Eleven" is a two volume self-published graphic novel about a damaged space station that has escaped the destruction of the earth. I think it is a metaphor for the world after the plague. With the islands and bridges of Station Eleven echoing the survivors of the plague in their isolated encampments, and Undersea rebels representing the wandering cultists.
But the author of the graphic novel dies of the plague, so she never sees that world. For her "Station Eleven" seems to be a metaphor for modern life with all of us living isolated lives with conflicting goals. Some of us trying to do the best we can with what we have, while others fight to return "home", to some better imagined life.
That is the kind of book it is.
At one point Arthur (the actor) says of Miriam (the graphic artist and his first wife) that she preferred painting the pictures to writing the dialog. And I think that is true of this whole book. The author spends most of her time painting elaborate pictures of moments and very little on plot or dialog. It's more like a poem than a narrative. It's about capturing moments rather than telling a story.
The end is hopeful for the future of civilization which is nice.
It's interesting that everyone is describing the post-apocalyptic landscape as a "wasteland" because it isn't. The land is perfectly fine. The land is not "wasted" or "laid waste to". It simply has a lot fewer people in it. It's really telling how much our world is a social creation that people so easily fall into calling a world without people a "wasteland" instead of an ecological paradise. ...more
I was put off by the standard fantasy medieval feudal society at first. It's been done to death. But things picked up a bit.
This isn't your standardI was put off by the standard fantasy medieval feudal society at first. It's been done to death. But things picked up a bit.
This isn't your standard Chosen One gathering an army and marching to victory. This is a caper story, like The Italian Job. Kelsier is a lifetime criminal who has recently escaped from the world's worst prison, where his wife died. He gathers a crew with the plan of robbing the Lord Ruler, an immortal God King, and turning the kingdom over to a slave uprising. The job is financed by the slave rebellion and the payout is the Lord Ruler's stash of rare metal, worth more than gold.
Our main character is Vin, a young thief, with special skills. Not unique skills, just special skills. Many people with Aristocratic blood have the ability to use metals to do what we would call magic, they call it Allomancy. In fact this ability is the main difference between the aristocrats and the Skaa slaves. Kelsier and Vin are both half-breeds, they had aristocratic fathers. And they are both Mistborn, which means they are a special case of Allomancers who can use all of the magic metals, not just one of them. Mistborn are rare but not too rare. Being Mistborn doesn't make you the Chosen One, it's just useful.
The idea of overthrowing the God King as a caper reminds me of the Terry Pratchett novel "Interesting Times" where the Silver Horde conquers the Agatean Empire by sneaking in and taking over the court.
I have some problems with the depiction of religion in this book. I suspect the author of being a an atheist and having an atheist's usual wrong ideas about how religion works. I read in a wiki that the Skaa slaves are forbidden from practicing religion. How they are supposed to worship the God King without "practicing religion" I don't know. Also the ministry seems to be based on enforcing religious doctrine. Under that system not practicing religion would be the same as not obeying the law.
Well, I just met the character of Sazed, who seems to a bit of a philosopher. So I expect to get more annoyed. ----------------------------- Well, it turns out that the author is not an atheist, he is a Mormon. Mormons have interesting ideas about religion. In general I'm more comfortable talking to people of any faith other than atheists. At least Mormons understand that religion has social value. Religion in the story was not just a tool to manipulate the foolish, that I thought the author might make it, when I thought he was an atheist. The Mormon influence on the story explains both the definition of God as the creator of the universe, and the strong emphasis on charismatic men in creating religions.
Knowing that the author is a Mormon changed how I experienced the story. Kelsier's paternal attitude toward Vin makes more sense now. You don't often find important male characters being paternal to teenaged girls in fantasy, unless the characters are very old. I can see Kelsier's behavior being consistent with Mormon emphasis on family values, and moral behavior. As opposed to the usual adolescent fantasy of male virility.
It turns out that Vin is special after all. Although I will have to read the other two books to find out why.
In general I'm pleased with the story and have ordered the remaining two books so I can see what happens. ...more
I had heard lost of good things about this book. I'm not much of a zombie fan. I don't watch "The Walking Dead" and I haven't read much zombie fictionI had heard lost of good things about this book. I'm not much of a zombie fan. I don't watch "The Walking Dead" and I haven't read much zombie fiction. But I enjoyed this book. It's a political thriller in a post Zombie Apocalypse world.
It takes place 20 years after the zombie uprising, there are still zombies around but people have gotten used to them and life goes on. The main character is a 24 year old blogger names Georgia. She's a Newsie, that means she writes factual stories. Her bother Shaun is an Irwin, he blogs real life action adventure, which means he spends most of his time poking zombies with a stick. And they have a friend, a blond girl named Buffy, who writes fiction and poetry. They are picked to be imbedded with a Republican Senator and Presidential hopeful on his campaign for the nomination.
There is political intrigue, hard hitting journalism, and zombies.
I liked the story. I was pulled in and when I got to the end I wanted to keep reading. It's a good thing there are two more books. This is definitely a trilogy, the story didn't end with the first book. We still don't know who is behind the intrigue.
But it was not without it's problems. Several times I had problems with what was presented, but it just went by so fast I didn't have time to object. And we really don't see much of how society functions in a post Zombie world. Life on the campaign trail is pretty limited. It's all traveling in armored vehicles and staying in hotels with the candidate.
It has strong female characters, a fast paced story, and not to much gore. I can recommend it for light reading even if you aren't that into zombies. ...more
Bryony is a gardener. Who better to enlist when you are having trouble with wild roses?
T. Kingfisher is seriouslyA retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Bryony is a gardener. Who better to enlist when you are having trouble with wild roses?
T. Kingfisher is seriously obsessed with gardening. Maybe it's just that I follow her blog and listen to her podcast, but Bryony sounds just like the author, if the author was kidnapped by a Beast in a magic house. Well, they do say you should write what you know.
I love how the relationship between Bryony and the Beast develops. And I approve of how the story resolves. Although I do feel it got unnecessarily grim toward the end. What happened to the servants seemed unnecessary and overly grim for what had been a fairly light-hearted story until then....more
This is the third book of a series. Read the first two books before reading this one.
The ending was very strong. It was a thorough and uplifting concThis is the third book of a series. Read the first two books before reading this one.
The ending was very strong. It was a thorough and uplifting conclusion. So good in fact that it motivated the five star rating despite my less favorable feelings about the book in earlier chapters. There were terrible losses but the good guys won in the end.
I think this book was longer than the previous two. It took me longer to read and I really felt that it dragged in the middle. While it was dragging I had time to think about things.
Nexus gets into the brains of developing fetuses and allows them to communicate with outside adults. Personally I doubt that developing fetuses have much cognitive ability. Which got me thinking about what other animals could run Nexus. Pretty much any animal with a brain should be able to run it. Can Nexus tell if it is in a human or not? I'm sure that if such a thing existed people would give it to their cats and dogs and try to talk to them. Cats and dogs probably have more cognitive ability than a human fetus. What if PETA gave Nexus to cows and pigs so slaughter-house workers could feel their deaths? This issue never comes up in the book. Probably because it has nothing to do with the plot.
And another thing about Nexus getting into fetal brains. Those brains haven't finished growing. Human bodies grow by stem cells getting next to other cells and picking up their part in the pattern. If the fetal brain is full of nanites, that might prevent new brain cells from forming and cause massive brain damage. We are talking about filling a human brain with metal dust while it is still growing. This would actually be a problem for children as well, the Nexus in their brains preventing the development of normal brain tissues. These books just assume that Nexus has no harmful side effects on developing brains. Maybe it wouldn't. But maybe it would.
I was a bit annoyed that Sam turned into a school marm. I would complain that it was sexist to have a kick-ass female character decide to go from military work to taking care of children, but many of the male characters are also motivated by caring for children. Rangan develops a strong bond with the autistic boys that is a major turning point for his character. And there are plenty of strong female characters in the series.
It is a plot point that there are people actively instigating violent revolution for their own reasons. But I was still disappointed. It only takes 3.5% of the population to be actively involved in a civil resistance action for it to be effective, even against an armed government that is willing to use violence.
http://www.ericachenoweth.com/researc... Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan. "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict" (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, August 2011).
"Though it defies consensus, between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts. Attracting impressive support from citizens that helps separate regimes from their main sources of power, these campaigns have produced remarkable results, even in the contexts of Iran, the Palestinian Territories, the Philippines, and Burma."
"Researchers used to say that no government could survive if just 5 percent of the population rose up against it," Chenoweth says. "Our data shows the number may be lower than that. No single campaign in that period failed after they'd achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population." She adds, "But get this: every single campaign that exceeded that 3.5 percent point was a nonviolent one. The nonviolent campaigns were on average four times larger than the average violent campaigns."
We need to spread the word. If you commit to non-violence you can make social change with only 3.5% participation. Non-violence Works http://www.nonviolenceworks.us/
============================ Read the Nexus series of books. It is thought provoking and worth your time. ...more
I'm really liking this series. It's very well written. It's an action packed thriller. And it does a very good job of exploring some very complex ideaI'm really liking this series. It's very well written. It's an action packed thriller. And it does a very good job of exploring some very complex ideas.
Crux is definitely the second book of a trilogy. It's the middle of the story, you have to read Nexus first and Apex afterward.
Kade and Feng are on the run from bounty hunters. Sam is working in an orphanage for children born with Nexus. Rangan is in ERD custody with a bunch of autistic children who have Nexus. Su-Yong Shu is trapped inside a Chinese supercomputer and slowly going insane while her daughter Ling searches for a way to free her. Holtzmann is suffering the consequences of his bad decisions. And there are some new players on the board: a Nexus super villain named Shiva Prasad, a terrorist organization called the Post-human Liberation Front (PLF), and a government coverup.
Global warming issues play a role in this story, providing a November hurricane in DC and motivation for the super villain.
Su-Yong Shu's problem reminds me of "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" by John Varley and "Sideshow" by Sheri S. Tepper. Stories that also involve the problems of trying to maintain human consciousness in a computer....more
This was a fun book. I could see this turning into a SyFy series (filmed in Canada of course).
We have a kick-ass protagonist with a mysterious past anThis was a fun book. I could see this turning into a SyFy series (filmed in Canada of course).
We have a kick-ass protagonist with a mysterious past and no social skills, a large black PI with a soft heart, a wisecracking computer nerd in a wheelchair, and a perky secretary. They can have a new adventure every week.
Cas Russell is hired by a man to retrieve his daughter. The problem is that there is no evidence he ever had a daughter, and why would his wife's company kidnap their kid. On top of that Checker slept with the niece of a Mafia boss who wants to ruin his life. And Cas has promised Arthur she will try to solve her problems without killing anyone, even if they are trying to kill her.
This book is not as grim as the first one. And the body count is not as high. It really would work as the premise for a weekly Sci-Fi TV series, like Scorpion. Dysfunctional loner with no social skills fixes people's problems while learning how to have friends. I would watch that. ...more
I should have read the description more carefully. This is a supplement to a textbook.
My first surprise was how thin this book is. It's not intendedI should have read the description more carefully. This is a supplement to a textbook.
My first surprise was how thin this book is. It's not intended to stand on its own, it is a collection of source material with introductions and reading questions intended to supplement two text books Ways of Being Religious and Eastern Ways Of Being Religious by the same author.
This is a very thin academic overview of the history of Shinto intended for beginning students of philosophy and comparative religion. The author defines religion in terms of organizational structure and salvation, features that are typical to the Western Christian experience but not typical of other religions, geographically or historically. Because I don't agree with the author's definition of "religion" a lot of the features of Shinto that are problematic for him are not problematic for me. But the source material on Japanese history, beliefs, and practices is sound and I can still use it for my studies.
I was pleasantly surprised that there is a chapter on women in Shinto. The role of women historically in Shinto is discussed, both in how women affect Shinto and how Shinto affects women.
This is a reasonably good source for students interested in the academic study of Shinto religion. It is not intended for the general public, the casual reader, or the spiritual seeker....more