Abandoning 212 pages in. At first I thought this was so much better than Saturn's Children - fast-paced, interesting story, funny at times, creative s...moreAbandoning 212 pages in. At first I thought this was so much better than Saturn's Children - fast-paced, interesting story, funny at times, creative setting within the freyaverse, pre-established. I was really into it for 95 pages. Then the author decided to stop writing the story and instead, went on and on about the economic system he'd created. He really wants the reader to understand his concept of Slow Money. I got it. I wanted to move on and tell me more during the story. But he kept stopping and giving mini lectures, and I just couldn't take it anymore.. It does take work to incorporate these details into your novel. Treating them as interludes does not make for an enjoyable reading experience. Unfortunately this repeating tendency masked my enjoyment of space mermaids when that should have been the coolest idea ever (my term.)
I'm hoping Ancillary Justice is better. I may have to call it off with space operas, Hugo nominees and all.(less)
This book defied my expectations at every turn. It is near-future but in two different times and locations. Mariama is in a caravan heading to Ethiopi...moreThis book defied my expectations at every turn. It is near-future but in two different times and locations. Mariama is in a caravan heading to Ethiopia across land, and Meena is heading to Ethiopia from India, across the Arabian Sea, on a floating road made of metallic hydrogen. Interesting concepts for the near-future, and nice to have African and Indian characters and settings. The writing is my type - emotional, internal dialogue, pondering greater meanings.
Everyone keeps calling it sci-fi, I imagine because of the brief technology mentions, but I think it fits more in fantasy - people who may or may not be human/gods/ghosts, the quest/journey, the lesson, the good vs. evil, the superhuman moments - feels like fantasy to me!
I listened to this in audio and the two readers, Dioni Collins and Nazneen Contractor, do a brilliant job. I listened to the last disc three times because I'm not entirely sure what happened. I'm still not. (view spoiler)[Where did Djibouti go and is everyone insane? *smile* (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I received a copy of this from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review.
I was intrigued by the description of this book, a post-apocalyptic...moreI received a copy of this from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review.
I was intrigued by the description of this book, a post-apocalyptic world where the main character works in an archive? Sounded interesting. In the end, I feel like the author tries to do too much at once - post-apocalypse plus crime plus grief plus a John Brunner media-saturated landscape. It reminded me of Stand on Zanzibar in the way everyone is assaulted by advertising and an abundance of information about every person they encounter, with the added twist of advertising that changes in reaction to a person's response. Porn and graphic violence in the media was also prevalent.
The trouble is, I'm not really sure what this has to do with the core story. I thought it was somehow linked to the destruction of Pittsburgh, but instead it just seems to be the attempt to represent the future and serve as a convenient way to link most of the important clues to solving the crime. And while the survivors of Pittsburgh seem to be greatly effected by its destruction, the rest of the world seems somewhat zombie-like. I never really figured out, is this the world or is this a result to tragedy?
More real to John Dominic Blaxton (who rarely is just referred to as John) is his dead wife, who he is able to spend time with in a recreated virtual space. The virtual reality has been built from actual recorded data (the vast network of surveillance) and added to based on memories, recalled info, and so on. He spends a lot of his waking hours reliving moments with her and trying to feel close to her.
He also is investigating a woman's dead body who seems to be disappearing from the archive, and ends up wrapped up in a crime family of sorts that threatens his most important memory. He's hired as an outside researcher after having to leave his archival job (drugs), one of those situations where the police are no use (necessary for him to be necessary, of course.)
"...The police don't have the resources. Besides, they don't prioritize this as a missing persons case or anything of the sort but rather a data mismanagement claim or at worst cybervandalism or a hacking charge. Digital graffiti, that sort of thing... I've searched on my own, but she's vanishing. I have photographs - I know she exists. Existed-"
The author has created some challenges for himself. In order to make a greater dramatic arc for John Dominic Blaxton, the reveals have to be absurdly violent and gruesome for them even to register for the reader after being exposed to the stream of porn and blood and gossip that the average person in his world encounters every day. To me, that event was not that startling. To me, the most sorrowful moment happened earlier in the story, when his wife suddenly isn't available to him. The poignancy of that story gets covered up by the crime romp.
There's not a lot to live for in this world, but I couldn't help but think the archive was not doing much to allow John Dominic Blaxton to move on. There didn't seem to be a lot to live for otherwise. Early on he even admits this - "I can't fathom what happiness might mean anymore - it seems like luxury to someone whose life feels like a lead-lined discomfort... I don't seek out happiness, just pockets of alleviation - a drowning man sipping at bubbles of air."
I really enjoyed the world-building part of this novel, and the use of existing technology in a more saturated way (adaware, augmented reality, virtual reality). It's just the crime element that I didn't connect to. I wonder what it would have been like as a short story, because I was yearning for a tighter reading experience.(less)
I came across this book randomly while pulling other books, and when the cover proclaimed Leslie What as a Nebula winner, I was surprised I hadn't eve...moreI came across this book randomly while pulling other books, and when the cover proclaimed Leslie What as a Nebula winner, I was surprised I hadn't ever heard of her. This volume of stories includes the 1999 Nebula-winning "The Cost of Doing Business," which centers around the concept of a society that allows surrogate victims.
In general I found the stories to revolve around babies, relationships, pregnancies, parents, and love that transcends death and transformation. There is a twinge of fantasy or slight improbability in most stories, but other than in The Wereslut of Avenue A and The Jellyfish Man Keeps A-Rolling, the fantasy isn't the main point of the story. It's the relationships.
While there are too many pregnancy story lines for my tastes, I still felt these stories were worthwhile. They are well-crafted and the author is not afraid of a shocking idea.
I got a review copy of this from the publisher and accidentally back-burnered it for a bit, but what a pleasure this compilation has been to read! Onl...moreI got a review copy of this from the publisher and accidentally back-burnered it for a bit, but what a pleasure this compilation has been to read! Only an editor like Jonathan Strahan could ride the newest waves of science fiction and fantasy, following threads of new settings (southeast Asia and Iceland), new trends (increasing AI and post-human topics), and still find so much variety both in story content and author background. This is an impressive collection, most of which I had not come across. Highly recommended.
My favorite stories were: “The Sleeper and the Spindle” by Neil Gaiman "Cave and Julia" by M. John Harrison “The Promise of Space” by James Patrick Kelly “Sing” by Karin Tidbeck
I have brief impressions of each story if you click through (not really spoilers) (view spoiler)[
“Some Desperado”, Joe Abercrombie I may be the only person not enamored with Abercrombie's universe, and Shy is a character from the First Law set of books. She is featured in the novel,Red Country, and is a tough woman. I approve of strong women, but I seem to have an impossible block in reading western tinged fantasy, so this is jut resoundingly not for me. It's probably for you.
“Zero for Conduct" by Greg Egan An aspiring chemical engineer living in exile from Afghanistan finds a solution to the power grid problem.
“Effigy Nights” by Yoon Ha Lee A beautiful story about invaders on a moon planet, with writing that made me think of Valente. When they come, they are offered "Wine pressed from rare books of stratagems and aged in barrels set in orbit around a certain red star. Crystals extracted from the nervous systems of philosopher-beasts that live in colonies upon hollow asteroids. Perfume symphonies infused into exquisite fractal tapestries."
“Rosary and Goldenstar” by Geoff Ryman No good, tries to be clever but fails for my purposes. Astronomy and Shakespeare and references to things, rather exhausting.
“The Sleeper and the Spindle” by Neil Gaiman Brilliant fairy tale retelling of the neighboring kingdoms inhabited by Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
“Cave and Julia” by M. John Harrison Halfway through 2014 and this is the first I've read of Harrison, one of my reading goals for the year. How much have I been missing? I understand this is a return to a world from a previous story or novel, where everything contradicts and the landscape betrays. I might read it four more times and not fully grasp it, but I enjoyed it.
“The Herons of Mer de l’Ouest” by M Bennardo Giant bird like creatures in the woods, in a diary form.
“Water” by Ramez Naam AI's taking over the advertising of packaged foods. Up next: the world. Related to Nexus, always love this author. "Nothing vexes an AI so much as needing approval for its plans from slow, clumsy, irrational bags of meat."
“The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang "Our memories are private autobiographies." "People are made of stories. Our memories are not the impartial accumulation of every second we’ve lived; they’re the narrative that we assembled out of selected moments. Which is why, even when we’ve experienced the same events as other individuals, we never constructed identical narratives: the criteria used for selecting moments were different for each of us, and a reflection of our personalities. Each of us noticed the details that caught our attention and remembered what was important to us, and the narratives we built shaped our personalities in turn."
“The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt I would have eventually read this story anyway, because it is a Hugo nominee, but I'm glad I had the chance ahead of time. This is a story about a village in Thailand, and a celebration of wishes, and how they come true. Lovely language.
“Cherry Blossoms on the River of Souls” by Richard Parks Restlessness can lead you to scary places.
“Rag and Bone” by Priya Sharma "Their hands drip with diamonds and the blood of the slaving classes. They lick their fingers clean with slavering tongues."
“The Book Seller” by Lavie Tidhar Another author I kept meaning to read, and here he is. A love story (?) between a Strigoi and a bookseller. With robots and genetic engineering and dusty tomes in Hebrew. I would have liked a novel-length version.
"The Sun and I” by K J Parker Home-made religion and the aftermath.
“The Promise of Space” by James Patrick Kelly A writer tries to connect with her Marsnaut husband, who because of severe damage to his brain and body can only access shared memories through an AI augment. Ends abruptly but only because the author drops you into the middle of a few typical days of what this is like. Sad.
“The Master Conjurer”, Charlie Jane Anders "Magic is not a scalable solution.”
“The Pilgrim and the Angel” by E. Lily Yu While this doesn't have the gorgeous language of The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, I love how quickly Yu can pull me into her stories.
“Entangled” by Ian R Macleod Very interesting concept where most of humanity is "entangled" but Martha is Mindblind, on the edges of society becaus of a brain injury making her unsusceptible to what is really a virus. "The entangled live in a sea of trust."
“Fade to Gold” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew This author came out of nowhere (from my perspective) and is a nominee for this year's John W. Campbell award. I this story a female soldier becomes a traveling companion to the single woman left in a Thai village. It introduces a ghostlike creature unique to Southeast Asia that I hadn't heard of!
“Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar This is one of the Hugo nominated stories, so I had read it preciously. A modern day selkie story.
“In Metal, In Bone” by An Owomoyela I'm not sure i understood the ending of this one but it seems to be a story about the futility or endlessness of war. Benine is a psychic who can read information from personal objects, including bones.
“Kormak the Lucky” by Eleanor Arnason An elfin journey from Iceland to Ireland. I loved the unique story in this and this historical Icelandic details. Warrior poet!
“Sing” by Karin Tidbeck A completely strange and wonderful story, available on Tor.com, about a woman (alien I think) who can't hear speak when the moon rises and the biologist who falls in love with her.i downloaded Jagannath a while ago and really want to get back to it. More, please!
“Social Services” by Madeline Ashby A near-future AI-filled world and one creepy child.
“The Road of Needles” by Caitlín R Kiernan I've had Kiernan on my radar and "must read" list for two years now, but this Red Riding Hood retelling was not the best first experience. It was disjointed and confusing. I like the concept but didn't feel it came together successfully.
“Mystic Falls” by Robert Reed Cyphers and who can you trust?
“The Queen of Night’s Aria” by Ian McDonald The Maestro and the Accompanist travel to perform on the edge of interplanetary war on Mars.
“The Irish Astronaut” by Val Nolan "Space is hungry, Padre. This business, it devours people. I’ve been devoured by it." (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What would you do if you knew the world was ending in six months? Hank Palace decides to keep doing his job as a police detective in Concord, NH.
The...moreWhat would you do if you knew the world was ending in six months? Hank Palace decides to keep doing his job as a police detective in Concord, NH.
The first third and last chapter of this book were my favorite parts - the world, the crisis, the lack of seeming hope. And then it ended with some questions I'm interested in and hints of other things going on that I'm unclear on, so I will probably read more books in this series.
The rest of the book is very much a crime, police procedural novel. Well written and the characters are more interesting than in a regular crime novel because of the pending doom, but still a crime novel. And crime novels aren't really my thing. It didn't make me want to put the book aside or anything, so I still enjoyed it.
A few bits: "The end of the world changes everything, from a law-enforcement perspective."
"People's inability to face up to this thing is worse than the thing, it really is."
We're discussing this on the SFF Audio podcast this weekend, so once it posts I'll link to it.(less)
Full disclosure - I got a review copy of this in audiobook form when John Joseph Adams contacted the review coordinator at SFFAudio, me! I snapped it...moreFull disclosure - I got a review copy of this in audiobook form when John Joseph Adams contacted the review coordinator at SFFAudio, me! I snapped it up because I already own many of his anthologies and reading The Wastelands changed my reading life.
Table of contents and audiobook narrator listings copied directly from John Joseph Adams' website. If you want more detailed summaries of each story, I found the review at Tangent very good, particularly because it is so hard to keep track of short stories when you are listening instead of reading!
The audio was an incredible asset to this anthology, although I will probably also need to buy this for my shelf o' anthologies. The best in audio are Removal Order, BRING HER TO ME, and The Fifth Day of Deer Camp.
My favorite stories were BRING HER TO ME and Goodnight Moon.
I'm most interested in the next installment (so please let there be a next installment) of Removal Order, Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through, and Spores.
What do I mean by next installment? Well The End is Nigh is the first volume of a triptych. It will be followed by The End is Now and The End Has Come, with some authors contributing linked stories. Very exciting concept, and as the Queen of Apocalypse there is no way I couldn't read this.
For more detailed impressions, click past spoiler (not really a spoiler) (view spoiler)[
Introduction—John Joseph Adams, read by Lex Wilson
"Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning.
The End is Nigh is about the match."
The Balm and the Wound —Robin Wasserman, narrator Jack Kincaid End times and a preacher rises up.
Heaven is a Place on Planet X —Desirina Boskovich, narrator Folly Blaine Aliens forcing humans to be enforcers of their own people, in preparation for a worldwide move to Planet X. You can read this story on Wired.com.
Break! Break! Break! —Charlie Jane Anders, read by James Keller Teenaged film makers
The Gods Will Not Be Chained —Ken Liu, read by Anaea Lay Communicating with the past through emoji
Wedding Day —Jake Kerr, read by Folly Blaine What does it take for gay marriage not to be an issue? How about an earth-destroying asteroid? Sounds campy but isn't, very present-day pending doom.
Removal Order —Tananarive Due, read by Laurice White A very sad story that left more questions than answers and I hope it continues in the next anthology of the triptych. The narrator was perfection for the tone of the story.
System Reset —Tobias S. Buckell, read by Jack Kincaid A post-Snowden, pre-apocalypse hacker wish fulfillment story. :)
This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces —Jamie Ford, read by Rajan Khanna Comet story. Honestly I forgot it already!
BRING HER TO ME —Ben H. Winters, performed by a cast that includes Kate Baker, Mur Lafferty, Anaea Lay, Tina Connolly, Rajan Khanna, Lex Wilson, and Jack Kincaid as GOD VOICE Creepy. I hope God never speaks to me. A must-listen in audio.
In the Air —Hugh Howey, read by Lex Wilson In the same world as Wool, a father elects not to go to the silo even though he knows the world is ending. This story is the last day with his family.
Goodnight Moon —Annie Bellet, read by Tina Connolly Astronauts facing certain death. No really, certain. I thought it was lovely.
Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod —Will McIntosh, read by Norm Sherman A decently interesting virus premise, a drastically mundane setting.
Houses Without Air —Megan Arkenberg, read by Anaea Lay In this pending apocalypse, the world is running out of oxygen, which will be certain doom. One person's roommate responds with art.
The Fifth Day of Deer Camp —Scott Sigler, read by Scott Sigler Oh my gosh, you must get the audio for this one. The author does a great northern Minnesota accent for this of what would make a great story from deer camp if these guys can survive.
Enjoy the Moment —Jack McDevitt, read by Sarah Tolbert The first of two stories that include a the interruption of the earth's orbit. This one is more connected with a physicist and an important discovery.
Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through —Nancy Kress, read by Mur Lafferty A major volcano blew unknown substances across the world 5-6 years before this story takes place. The effects on the unborn children of the time are just now starting to be noticeable. I'm glad the author is continuing the story in future volumes because non-violence doesn't seem like the end of the world to me!
Spores —Seanan McGuire, read by the incomparable Kate Baker The end is near and it is a FUNGUS. Of course. Not quite as creepy as her Parasite novel but has more heart, and really more about living with OCD than it is about the end of the world.
She’s Got a Ticket to Ride —Jonathan Maberry, read by Ralph Walters Another story about the earth's orbit, this time with more cults!
Agent Unknown —David Wellington, read by Jack Kincaid This story feels very much like straight zombies, but okay, we can call it a virus.
Enlightenment —Matthew Mather, read by Kate Baker This one can only have an emotional response. I was driving when I listened to it and I almost threw up. Horrifying but would have been more believable if the characters had more to them. The relationship between the most important two never made sense.
Shooting the Apocalypse —Paolo Bacigalupi A story about a reporter and a photographer covering the water crisis on the border between Arizona and Texas, which are now separate countries.
Love Perverts —Sarah Langan, read by Lex Wilson Mad Max and an apocalypse lottery. (hide spoiler)]
Some of these can be read for free on the Apocalypse Triptych Website. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Hugh Howey's bio includes this sentence: "A theme in my books is the celebration of overcoming odds and of not allowing the cruelty of the universe to...moreHugh Howey's bio includes this sentence: "A theme in my books is the celebration of overcoming odds and of not allowing the cruelty of the universe to change who you are in the process."
The cruelty of the universe was clear in Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1), where humanity was several (hundred) years into living in a silo, the only people left alive on earth as far as they knew. Isolated, yet somehow sustainable if only the riots and coups could be held at bay. The silo enforced systematic cruelty as well, with the Cleanings removing people who had violated the social code, and the engineers with access to more than they were sharing. That's about all I can say without a spoiler.
Then came Shift, the backstory to Wool. I didn't review it very highly because I decided that giving me specifics didn't end up satisfying me as a reader, in fact part of the horror that made Wool so successful was not being sure where anything had come from or how long it had been there, and if there was any hope. We don't really get hope from Shift, but it fills in the gaps up to the beginning of Wool. I admit that I went back and upped the star by one after seeing how it all ended up.
In Dust, Howey twines the stories of Wool and Shift together in a satisfying way. The facts we never knew while reading Wool become integral to what happens after. I can't say anything at all about the story without spoiling the other two books, but I was surprised by who became the two main characters.
I also include Howey's biographical quote for a inexplicable reason (just read it), but I do think this hidden optimism has an impact on where he takes the story.
I listened to the audiobook, and read other books in between. I took breaks between the major sections. Tim Gerard Reynolds is a good narrator for these books, but I can't speed him up to 2x like I can with most readers. Even 1.5x felt too fast at times. That isn't a complaint, just an observation; the book took longer to listen to than others have!(less)
Despite the hype, I had not yet tried the Divergent trilogy, but then was given an ultimatum by my husband that he would go see the movie without me T...moreDespite the hype, I had not yet tried the Divergent trilogy, but then was given an ultimatum by my husband that he would go see the movie without me THIS WEEKEND unless I hurried up and read the book. I never see a movie without reading the book first, so I zipped through this in two days.
I think it's a solid story with an interesting world. I'm sure other people have beat the similarities to death to stories like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, but I think most young adult readers are most interested in stories where someone young has to stand up for their own identity, take risks, and the story doesn't disappoint on that level. In other words I'm not sure there can be "too many" books like this, as long as there are a few new ideas. It was a bit repetitive at the beginning establishing the factions and a lot of situations are a bit convenient, but I pretty much expected these things from so many reviews. They were true but not anything that would keep me from enjoying the story.
I'll definitely read the other two, and I enjoyed the movie (no complaints, actually, pretty faithful to the book and the changes they made moved the story along a bit faster.)(less)
This was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I liked the premise of this book, time traveling from the future where the w...moreThis was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I liked the premise of this book, time traveling from the future where the world is in chaos due to shifting weather patterns and global pandemic.
Unfortunately the ideas don't work in the end. If you were trying to control a community of people from the future for the survival of all humanity, would you put it into the hands of hormonal teenagers attending public school? Would these same hormonal teenagers who can't help but gossip and stubbornly break lesser rules be able to figure out the secrets of the future and go off on a quest to save humanity, along the way hardly even breaking a nail?
As high as the stakes were presented, everything is so easy in this book. And the characters are so smart, with the only flaw being that they want to be physically intimate despite unspoken dangerous horrors that may occur if they are.
I don't think time travel, dystopia, or pandemic is really where Brashares thrives. Perhaps another magical clothing item would have made it more interesting? I don't want to be too harsh here, but I just don't think the story succeeds on its larger themes.(less)
I read this book twice. I was 1/3 of the way through in the print and downloaded the audio because it is read by Bronson Pinchot, who I think is amazi...moreI read this book twice. I was 1/3 of the way through in the print and downloaded the audio because it is read by Bronson Pinchot, who I think is amazing. After finishing the book in audio, I went back and re-read the last 2/3, kind of backwards, starting from the last section and then deciding I should go ahead and re-read all of it to see what I had missed. I'm glad I did as there was a key scene I must have drifted off from in the audio.
Area X is scary and still very unknown when this installation of the Southern Reach Trilogy ends.
But may I make a list of things I find scarier than Area X?
-Crumbling government buildings with sickly smelling chemicals (if that's what it is) -Controlling mothers who give you strange nicknames and don't want you calling them Mom -Phones that crawl across roofs -Lost time -Bunnies
I think that's what Jeff VanderMeer does best in this book. The core story moves forward, but I'm more unsettled by the small details.
This book was longer than it needed to be and I felt impatient. I was going to abandon it but then Bruna woke up in bed wtih a translucent alien and d...moreThis book was longer than it needed to be and I felt impatient. I was going to abandon it but then Bruna woke up in bed wtih a translucent alien and didn't know why he was there. That was intriguing but then he just kind of was THERE and a little creature named Bartolo showed up but then didn't have a purpose other than comic relief. This happens a lot in this book. Bruna is solving the mystery of why the reps (clones, robots, whatever) are being killed and these random characters that have no purpose keep showing up.
Apparently this is a self-admitted tribute to Blade Runner. I'm not a big enough fan to understand how it relates, but I would imagine that the Dick story and the movie based on it are the masterpieces and this is just... an aspiration. I wonder how much is lost in translation though. This was written in Spanish originally.
4 years, 3 months, 10 days. Bruna repeats how much time she has left on earth over and over and over. Reps only get 10 years although they are filled with fake memories that make them think they've lived and lost a lot more. I kept looking at the screen to see how many tracks I had left too.
The story is slowly paced for a crime sci-fi novel, which feels strange. Mary Robinette Kowal, the reader, is the silver lining. She does a great job and that kept me listening longer than I would have otherwise.(less)
"It is a special kind of homelessness to be evicted from your dreams."
When I saw this on the list of anticipated books in 2014 from The Millions, I wa...more"It is a special kind of homelessness to be evicted from your dreams."
When I saw this on the list of anticipated books in 2014 from The Millions, I was shocked to find I had not heard of this novella by a favorite author or of the new Atavist Books, a new digital-first publisher that has some exciting titles coming out soon.
In Sleep Donation, people have randomly started developing insomnia so bad they die from it. A company has discovered that people with pure sleep can sometimes jumpstart an insomniac back into regular sleep, but most people have tainted sleep unusable in a transfusion. One of the sleep donor recruiters finds Baby A, and a family is thrown into a pattern of guilted donations that are "most likely not harmful" to the child.
I love Russell best when her worlds are slightly outside of normal, and Sleep Donation fits the bill. There is an entire culture developing of Orexins (people who don't sleep) in Night Worlds outside of most cities, and there is an underlying feeling of unrest and change. The novella doesn't fully explore the story or the world that I sense is there, and I'm actually hoping she writes more about it.(less)
I received a copy of this from NetGalley as the publisher prepares to release book three. I will respond with my honest review.
Honestly, this book had...moreI received a copy of this from NetGalley as the publisher prepares to release book three. I will respond with my honest review.
Honestly, this book had a rough start. Daughter of Smoke & Bone has a startling, horrible ending that I wasn't prepared for as a reader, and then you're left not knowing what happens next. Well, what happens next is the natural fallout of death and destruction - more death and destruction. Chimaera finding new ways to kill seraphim, and seraphim just flat out massacring the chimeara. For a good first half of the book, and this book is over 500 pages, all the reader see is loss, violence, and hopelessness. I wanted to set it aside.
I hit 46% and then something really important happens that finally moves the story forward. I know the author really wanted us to understand how terrible events had gotten, but I wonder if she couldn't have started with the story in the middle and filled in those details rather than having to spend so much time setting the stage.
I loved the first book - the setting was magical, the romance was intense (YA, you know), the characters were vibrant and creative. In this book everything is dark and a lot of what I loved before is missing. I know that's intentional, a new stage of the story, but it really sucked the enjoyment out of it most of the time. But hey, how many books are set in Uzbekistan?(less)
Publisher summary: Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new...morePublisher summary: Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.
This audiobook kept me listening until I finished. Comparisons to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood are unavoidable with this book, but in this world where women are valued and imprisoned in order to bear children, M.D. Waters has also added in an element of romance. This means descriptions of the men Emma is interested in, and sex. I don't mind romance, but I think if I were a woman being controlled and manipulated by men, I would be less obsessed with marriage and sex. But Emma has very little memory, and at first no reason not to trust her husband. All she wants is to get past her accident and back to normal life.
I can't say much more without giving it away, and the best part about the book is how all the details are revealed. Archetype is suspenseful and creepy up until the end, and the end leads nicely into the setup for the next novel (Prototype) while being its own self-contained story.
I enjoy Khristine Hvam as a narrator - I had listened to her performance of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and her voice is well suited to a near-future dystopian romance.(less)
I've put off reviewing this for a few days because I feel like the author is out there watching me, ready to scream "Annihilation, annihilation!" if I...moreI've put off reviewing this for a few days because I feel like the author is out there watching me, ready to scream "Annihilation, annihilation!" if I get it wrong. Ahem.
I have seen a lot of pre-press hype for this book, partly because I follow the author on Facebook. I even went to a reading in 2012 where Jeff VanderMeer read from an earlier draft, based on a dream he had with writing on the wall. I knew back then that I would need to read the book, and then it turned into a trilogy!
A lot of comparisons have been made to Lovecraft, and I don't disagree I guess, the swampy horror element is definitely there. It kept reminding me more of another well-known work - The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I'm not sure where Area X is exactly, nor do I know if there are aliens involved, but the reason I kept thinking of it has to do with dangerous expeditions. I found the Martian Chronicles really disturbing. I had a hard time focusing on all the descriptions and stories because I kept coming back to the fact that they had sent people to Mars before, and everyone always died! I couldn't understand what motivated people to go when they knew this to be true.
That brings us to Annihilation, which starts with four women heading into the twelfth expedition into Area X. The surveyor, anthropologist, and the biologist seem to know very little about what they are getting into, and the psychologist (and group leader) seems to know more than the others based on the fact that she has to hypnotize them to get them in. I'm not sure why that is. The things I thought I knew about Area X as a reader became less clear throughout the short novel. I found that the more I thought about the unknowns, the less I really wanted to know the answers, yet the author insists on unveiling them in a gradual way and it makes them so much worse. Oh yes, this is horror through and through. I'm afraid to read the following books of the trilogy; I'm afraid not to.
Quit reading reviews! Read the book instead! Go pick up the first chapter at io9. Hurry back, because I have another comparison I want to make but you have to read the book first.
When this was the first Sword and Laser pick of the year, I was thrilled. After all, one of my 2014 reading goals was to finally read Delany. I'm not...moreWhen this was the first Sword and Laser pick of the year, I was thrilled. After all, one of my 2014 reading goals was to finally read Delany. I'm not sure what to think of this particular book as an introduction to his work!
I think I need this book to be a graphic novel. It is brief, just over 150 pages in my edition, but is chock full of ideas. At first they seemed random but as the parts of the story filled in toward the end, they became more obviously intentional. I'm certain Delany knows more than I do, and that it would take me months to untangle all the references, both named and unnamed, in what is really more of a novella. Genetic mutation, alien invasion, ancient history of western 1960s culture, Einstein and Gödel, the limitations of humanity, the future of the universe.... this isn't even scratching the surface.
If this were a graphic novel, I could try to grasp the human mutations created by an alien race millennia after humans have destroyed themselves. Lobey, the hero (Orpheus, yes. Jesus? Maybe not. And other things) who hears the music others have in their heads, ends up going on a quest after the ... girl (?) he loves dies. More and more "people" are dying, actually, and he seems to be around for these deaths, and eventually he is warned that this might be a repeat of how humanity died off before.
If there were pictures, I could understand the three accepted genders and the non-accepted creatures kept in kages. I could see the bull, the super computer, and the dragons. Delany seemed to really enjoy writing the fight scenes, and really one ended each of the three major sections of the story.
Some of the writing stuck me, just little bits like: "Dragons swarmed in sunlight." "Who wants to take part in an orgy of artificial insemination?" "A fly bobbed on a branch... and thought a linear, anthropod music. I played it for him, and he turned the red bowl of his eye to me and whispered wondering praise. Dragons threw back their heads, gargling. There is no death. Only music."
Going back to Gödel, here's an interesting quotation from Judy Jones and William Wilson about his incompleteness theorem, which is an important concept in the book:
"And it has been taken to imply that you’ll never entirely understand yourself, since your mind, like any other closed system, can only be sure of what it knows about itself by relying on what it knows about itself."
I think that's how I feel about the book - I will never entirely understand it, because it's relying on Delany's knowledge and what Delany connected together. I'm not Delany, therefore my understanding can never be complete, and he did that on purpose.
Don't despair, fellow readers, just bask in the blissful non-understanding of the book.
To steal a phrase from a friend who abandoned the book - "MacGyver in space." At least, it starts that way. Astronaut Mark Watney is abandoned on Mars...moreTo steal a phrase from a friend who abandoned the book - "MacGyver in space." At least, it starts that way. Astronaut Mark Watney is abandoned on Mars by a captain who thinks he's dead, and much of the story has to do with piecing together survival skills to function, even if he thinks he will die before he can be rescued.
Slowly MacGyver morphs into Apollo 13 and the author starts splitting the story between what is happening on Mars and what is happening at NASA. Most of the astronaut's story is told in his log, so there are moments of emotion and humor but not nearly as many as I would have liked to better enjoy the story. I get it, he's an old school military trained... botanist? Huh. Well anyway, there's just not a lot of emotion here for someone trapped alone on another planet. Imagine the PTSD!
I think the best audience for this book is Boy Scouts and Doomsday Preppers.
I listened to the audio, and R.C. Bray is a good choice for the performance of this novel - he's like an old school military thriller type voice, and it is well suited to it (although it drives home the lack of emotion in the story.) Keep a clear head! Invoke your training! Etc.(less)
I received a free copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was happy to read th...moreI received a free copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was happy to read this one too.
I had forgotten how gut-wrenching the emotions in YA fiction can be, and true to form, Becca, the Holder of all Holders, with really important work to do, is more focused on when she gets to have sex throughout most of the book. If you can't handle the YA sensibility, stay away!
I went looking for it though, wanting to see where the story would go. This book does a good job extending the world introduced in The Holders by dropping Becca into a party situation with all the old Holder families. There is more of the society, the world and the expectation that being a Holder holds.
I won't say much about the story because it is better within the context of the book. I will say that I had forgotten about the anam (soulmate) concept in this series, an element which makes everything far more complicated between the characters, and really appreciated the richness it added to the story this time around. (less)