Great adaptation of this book! While Adam feels like the focus in the book and audiobook, this seemed to better feature the angel/demon duo, kind of aGreat adaptation of this book! While Adam feels like the focus in the book and audiobook, this seemed to better feature the angel/demon duo, kind of a sad end to a very civil war, soon to end with Armageddon.
Still too many uses of the word ineffable, but I think that's a joke....more
It was an interesting experience to reread this book, because I remembered nothing about the plot or characters, just the world itself.
In the introducIt was an interesting experience to reread this book, because I remembered nothing about the plot or characters, just the world itself.
In the introduction the CBS Radio production of Brave New World in the mid 1950s, Aldous Huxley (serving as narrator) indicates that he meant the book as a warning about what would happen with our society if we continued on the path of consumerism and technological advance to the detriment of our humanity. He uses the term "negative utopia," and twenty years after the publication thought he had overestimated the number of years it would take us to get there - the novel was set 800 years into the future, and 20 years later, he decided it may be more like 200. He is very stern in this recording, a prophet of warning.
I think this time around I was struck most by the debate about happiness. Is happiness truly the greatest pursuit? Or should it not be the "first thing?" (subtle C.S. Lewis reference, booyah)
In the world of BNW:
"You can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma."
Conditioned to only want what you can have, and if that's not enough, a mood-altering drug to balance you out. That's the world of BNW, until it is disrupted by John the Savage and a few Alpha males who long for things their society is not set up for - one desires isolation and one desires poetry.
Women are resigned to "engaging" with men on a regular basis, pregnancy is simulated to cheer them up, birth control is something they are conditioned to do, and marriage and other long term relationships are considered pornographic. The greatest compliment a man can pay a woman is to say she is "pneumatic." But if this is a negative utopia, perhaps Huxley knew that increasing the number of castes, and keeping women from the top, would only be a part of the calm but controlling world he feared.
I wish Huxley would have written a novel set on one of the islands where the outliers are sent. It seems like the conversations and advancement of ideas in those places would have been more interesting than the rinse-repeat-condition universe of The World State. ...more
I picked this from my bookshelves (one of the many to-read) to take on a trip to the Bahamas, and ended up reading most of it on the ship. The premiseI picked this from my bookshelves (one of the many to-read) to take on a trip to the Bahamas, and ended up reading most of it on the ship. The premise is interesting - a woman's father dies and as she mourns and hits menopause, her old "finding" abilities start coming back. Items from her childhood start reappearing (often dropping from the sky, but also an entire cashew orchard) and then a little boy washes up on shore.
I liked the setting although the island, Dolorosse, is imagined. The language throughout has a Haitian patois to it, and that alongside the description of the landscape and food makes it feel like a real place. But I liked the place far more than the characters. I sense you are supposed to dislike the main character Calamity but the rest of the people in the novel are a bit unknown to us, leaving me just with the character I didn't much like.
I saved this book to read until I was on a trip to Florida, so it had been about six months since reading book #2 in this trilogy. At first a few of tI saved this book to read until I was on a trip to Florida, so it had been about six months since reading book #2 in this trilogy. At first a few of the details that are referenced were specifics I had forgotten, but it made more sense as I went on.
There are some answers in this book, some of what I was expecting, some that was surprising and more disturbing. A very good finish to the trilogy and I was glad to read all three in one year. I know this was an impossible feat but I wish more trilogies were published this close together!
Something about VanderMeer's writing really creeps into my head. I must have read this too late at night after wandering a remote Florida island, because I woke up shouting with visions of (view spoiler)[ time-traveling, space alien atemporal whales (hide spoiler)] in my head. But that is why I read-in-place, trying to pick books that match the places I travel. Can you match Area X?
"This island is about fourteen miles long, six broad, and forty in circumference, containing what I would estimate as about eight-four square miles or more than fifty thousand acres. The pine-and-oak forest comprises most of the interior, sprawling down toward the shore on the landward side, but the side facing the sea has been assaulted by storms, and there you will find mostly scrub and moss and gnarled bushes."
"You are only partly alive. We can help you more than you can imagine."
I had never heard of this book before it was selected for an SFF Audio Readalon"You are only partly alive. We can help you more than you can imagine."
I had never heard of this book before it was selected for an SFF Audio Readalong discussion, and I think I liked it more after we talked about it for an hour or so.
There is a lot to think about here. The novel is in four sections and quite a bit of it has hints of other dystopias - the community with scheduled sex and neighbor-reporting is similar to We, the drugging of society feels like Brave New World, and I was completely expecting it to go in the direction of the ending of 1984.
This book won the Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society for examining concepts of freedom. Hmm, I have read 18 books from their list. What does that mean?
But that may be the most interesting part of the novel, or at least what I was thinking about while reading it. Many people rate the book low because of the rape scene, and while it feels gratuitous in the moment, I actually think it is our first huge clue that Chip is a questionable hero. What is he going to do if he overthrows Uni? Would he be someone to follow? And what is worse, knowing the truth or living a passive, expected life?
And one little quote, one I felt very deeply considering recent events:
"We’ve got to fight, not adjust. Fight, fight, fight." ...more
I'm still wrapping my head around this book, so consider this review a (possibly perpetual) work in progress. My book club discusses it on Monday so II'm still wrapping my head around this book, so consider this review a (possibly perpetual) work in progress. My book club discusses it on Monday so I might have more to add at that point.
It is thanks to two Gene Wolfe fans that I have read this book - one for selecting it and one for providing useful resources to help me understand it better. And of course as with anything by Gene Wolfe I've ever read, now that I know more, I feel like to really appreciate this book I would start again from the beginning.
This is different from some of the other books by Wolfe that I have read, those combining science fiction and fantasy, in a far future post-tech landscape. These instead are set in the historical ancient world and rely heavily on actual texts, plus fantastical elements of the mythology. Having only a basic basic knowledge of these ancient times and zero experience with the texts referenced, I may not have had all the background that would have made this an even more enjoyable experience. Gene Wolfe is for smart readers.
The basic premise is that of Latro, a mercenary with a memory loss problem. Because he can only retain about a half of a day at a time, he is constantly transcribing what is happening so he can refer back to it. You really only know that he is not a local, and there is so much between the lines that I point you again to the external resources to understand the book!
The part that will be intriguing to discuss with the book club is whether or not Latro is seeing what he thinks he is seeing. Oh and the ending.
"Pinadros shook his head as if in wonder. 'Is it because you can't remember the past that you're so wise, Latro?'" (104)
I read this because it is October and Zelazny is on my reading goals for the year. It is a clever tale from Snuff the dog in the month of October, andI read this because it is October and Zelazny is on my reading goals for the year. It is a clever tale from Snuff the dog in the month of October, and his pal Jack. There are talking animals and all the science fiction and fantasy tropes of classic literature, and some conclusions the reader needs to draw on his or her own. It was a light read with great drawings and I enjoyed it.
It was very Octoberish with bits like this: "I breathed the smells of woodsmoke, loam, and rotting windfall apples, still morning-rimed, perhaps, in orchard's shade, and saw a high, calling flock V-ing its way to the south."
And clever with bits like this: "You wander these lands in dreams of catnappery?"...more
I've had this sitting on my NetGalley list for months and decided to read it in a quiet afternoon.
With all the books on clones and robots out there, II've had this sitting on my NetGalley list for months and decided to read it in a quiet afternoon.
With all the books on clones and robots out there, I can't say there is much to recommend this one. It focuses on a genetically engineered scientist trying to understand what it means to be human. A lot of the future setting makes no sense - genetically engineered computer-beings make up the majority of the workforce but there are still bookstores, and honeybees play a major part (they would be extinct by then!). The interesting bits are glossed over and implied while a lot of time is spent inside the bot's head, defining words and processing possibilities. It just sounded better than it ended up....more
I got about 1/4 in and decided I wouldn't finish. I liked the first novel of the author's previous trilogy, Bitter Seeds, but never went back to the oI got about 1/4 in and decided I wouldn't finish. I liked the first novel of the author's previous trilogy, Bitter Seeds, but never went back to the other books in that series. I think it is for similar reasons that I don't think I'll finish this one. Ian Tregillis very creatively weaves automatons and clockwork people into historical events. The previous trilogy looked at World War II, and The Alchemy Wars are set more during Louis XIV. If you are interested in how issues of mechanical beings would fare during this era, you would probably love this book. Solidly not for me, but maybe for others....more
I found this on my parents' bookshelves and decided to read it. It reminds me of a lot of the turn-of-the"The love of knowledge is a kind of madness."
I found this on my parents' bookshelves and decided to read it. It reminds me of a lot of the turn-of-the-century science fiction that had more to do with imagination than science. After all, all you really need to take with you to another planet to survive is a decent fur coat!
Still, I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the aliens - the cultures and beliefs and language systems were intriguing; and the planet - the fauna and the layers really lit my head up. I kind of wish Lewis hadn't made it a planet we know, because then I would have been ALL IN. It's just so off from the reality that it doesn't make any sense. I might read the other two books in this trilogy some day, but I'm not in any hurry to do it. ...more
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was a fun, quick read about an advice columnist in dystopian America. TI received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was a fun, quick read about an advice columnist in dystopian America. The government steals back her stolen chickens during a "negotiation" to get her to work as a propaganda artist for zombie-free America. I liked the vivid world-building in this novella, just wanted more of the story! I had not heard of this author before, but I'll be back.
The timing of this story was terrific because I was on my first day of three weeks of zero internet access, and in the story, the Internet gets turned off! Dystopia is now.
The writing makes it a fun read, and I could picture it as a tv show because it is snappy. Here are a few examples:
"Maybe she's doing something like good cop, bad cop?" "You need two cops for that." "Looks like she's an overachiever."
"I open the package and look inside: a gluey glop of hot-as-hell contents, chunks of almost identifiable foods swimming in the sludge. It's the perfect meal to eat while watching a terrorist act unfold."...more
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 sAbandoning 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....more
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 EthiopiThis 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"]>...more
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-apocalypticI 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....more
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 eveI 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! OnlI 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"]>...more
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.
TheWhat 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....more
Tamahome brought this book to Episode 5 of the Reading Envy podcast, so I tried it in a round of speed-dating my books. Ultimately it wasn't really myTamahome brought this book to Episode 5 of the Reading Envy podcast, so I tried it in a round of speed-dating my books. Ultimately it wasn't really my style, as I'm just never able to get into military anything, aging cyborg or not. I know the author writes in a lot of styles, so I will probably try something else by her someday....more
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 itFull 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"]>...more
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 toHugh 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!...more
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 TDespite 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.)...more
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 wThis 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....more