For as much as I love John Scalzi, The Old Man's War universe, and The Human Division, I didn't care much for this short story. There just wasn't enou...moreFor as much as I love John Scalzi, The Old Man's War universe, and The Human Division, I didn't care much for this short story. There just wasn't enough here, and what was here read like a PSA for human-alien relations. It isn't bad by any means, but definitely skippable.(less)
This discourse on dystopias won Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy, and National Book awards, and almost every single one of my Goodreads friends that...moreThis discourse on dystopias won Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy, and National Book awards, and almost every single one of my Goodreads friends that has read it has it tagged with a 4 or 5 star rating. So clearly, the problem here is with me, because I really hated this book -- and it isn't because this book is dated or aged poorly, because the Cold War era slant of this book plays perfectly to a modern audience considering the current state of Russian-U.S. relations.
I'm giving it two stars because I do appreciate the big ideas Le Guin brings up. The vision behind the "profiteering" cultures of Urras -- with subdivisions for the capitalists of A-Io (U.S.) and the authoritarian state of the Thu (Russia) -- and the anarchist outcast settlement of Anarres was a solid and interesting foundation for the book. But the weak characterizations, uninspiring writing, unnecessarily non-linear storytelling, lack of action, and disappointing ending all added up to a very difficult and unrewarding reading experience for me. To address those points specifically (mild spoilers may follow):
- There is only one character, Shevek, who is more than one-dimensional. The rest fill out the story as needed -- corrupt bureaucrat, radical friend, loving partner, etc. As for Shevek, for as brilliant as he is, he is naive to the point of incredulity. And I don't mean just after he leaves Anarres for A-Io. It takes him decades longer than his friends to see the corruption in his own anarchist world. He is willfully ignorant of what is going on around him for someone involved in something as deep as theoretical physics.
- The writing was clunky throughout the entire novel, and had no rhythm. There were tedious lists, long sections of discourse about the various imperfections in the various imperfect societies, and unnecessary word invention -- although I will grant calling the toilet a shittery is funny, if nothing else.
- Another aspect of the storytelling that did not agree with me was the alternating chapters, where one chapter would be a flashback to Anarres, and the next a current day chapter on Urras. I would have minded this less if anything interesting or noteworthy happened on Anarres -- what little did happen could have easily been worked into flashbacks in the current day chapters, which could have greatly shortened the novel, and likely, my enjoyment of it.
- There was one action scene in entire novel, and, if you include the aftermath, maybe ten pages are spent on it in total. There were also two other scenes that contained somewhat tense conflict. I don't need every book I read to be paced like The Hunger Games, but I need more of an action-driven plot than this, especially if you expect me to sit through endless info dumps on your imaginary dystopias.
- The book ends right before another action scene -- or at least a scene with great potential for conflict -- that Le Guin either didn't know how to write her way out of, or didn't want to go out on a limb and make a stand for, which I see as a cop-out either way.
- The overall feeling I was left with after reading this book was that capitalism sucks, anarchism sucks in different ways, and the only hope forward lies in benevolent aliens. This could have been improved if the ending to the novel went one chapter further, however it turned out.
I could go on, but I believe my opinion is already more than clear. I will leave you with a quote from this book that sums up how I felt about reading it:
He tried to read an elementary economics text; it bored him past endurance, it was like listening to somebody interminably recounting a long and stupid dream.
Goodreads friends, in all seriousness, tell me what I am missing that led you to rate this so highly. I feel like I am the only one seeing the Emperor's bare ass here.(less)
First off, while the table of contents lists about fifty entries, about half of them are only one-to-two page illustrations that don't actually tell a...moreFirst off, while the table of contents lists about fifty entries, about half of them are only one-to-two page illustrations that don't actually tell a story. For example, this -- albeit very cool -- image of the Headless Horseman: That gripe aside, the half of the entries that were of proper story length size were a very mixed bag.
The collection started out very strong, with One Thousand and One Nights; or, 1001, an excellent update on the myth with the Arabian mythos mixed with the modern newspaper publishing world. My other personal favorites included the very next story, John Henry, which had a certain I Am Legend vibe to it; The Tortoise and the Hare; or, The Tea Garden Soapbox Grand Prix, which was an exciting blend of Mario Kart and Speed Racer; and The Shepherd and the Weaver Girl, a beautifully animated Chinese tale that is reminiscent of Bridge of Birds (as they are both based on the same myth).
There were some other stories that stood out in different ways, such as The Last Leaf, which takes place on a space station; Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a touching, if saccharine story of a nanobot pet; The Five Chinese Brothers, which while I enjoyed, was not nearly as good as the myth on which it is based; and Hansel and Gretel, or, Bombus and Vespula, which had a delightful twist that I won't spoil here.
Other stories totally missed the mark, such as the incomprehensible Kid Yimage and the Really Big Hole; The Boy Who Cried Wolf; or, The Venusian Sheperd Boy Who Cried Space Wolf, which didn't seem to add anything in being updated; Alice in Wonderland; or, A.L.I.C.E., which was both incomprehensible and didn't add any new wrinkles to the original; and Humpty Dumpty, which was just rather disturbing.
In some cases I know I enjoyed the stories more because I knew how they were manipulating the source material, but in some others where I was not familar the original story, I still enjoyed the updated take. In others, either the art, the story (or lack thereof), or both ruined the fractured fairy tale whether or not I was familiar with the original.(less)
First of all, I should state that I really liked the concept of a zombie glimpsing the memories of their victim while eating their brain. Admittedly,...moreFirst of all, I should state that I really liked the concept of a zombie glimpsing the memories of their victim while eating their brain. Admittedly, I have not read near enough zombie fiction to know whether this addition to zombie canon was made by Marion or existed beforehand, but either way, it made a lot of sense. That said, I did not like any other aspect of this book.
For starters, the main linchpin of the story is that R takes Julie home to his zombie nest after her scrounging mission is interrupted by R's pack of zombies. While his infatuation with her is easily explained by him eating her boyfriend's brain, the near instant connection she forms with him is well beyond my suspension of disbelief. The nearest thing I could see it being is Stockholm syndrome, but even that sick bond takes a longer time to form.
Also, I don't know if you caught the previous mention of the main characters' names, but they are R and Julie, because :: bangs head against wall :: this is a modern day zombie retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
Then there is R, the zombie protagonist, who is also the story's narrator. Naturally, Marion couldn't feasibly have R narrate in grunts and groans, but his decision to have a zombie -- one that cannot remember his life before death, is incapable of reading, and struggles to grunt anything longer than two syllables -- narrate so eloquently, and to delve into such deep philosophical waters, was again beyond my suspension of disbelief.
One final frustration was the "zombies" themselves. They have a zombie church, where R is married to another zombie, and is given zombie children to care for, who he takes to zombie school. I am not saying this is reaching the levels of sparkling vampires that play baseball... wait, no, that is exactly what I am saying. These are not zombies, they are shark jumping, fridge nuking, sparkling vampire zombies, and they make no sense.
Note, despite the fact that I could not finish this, I am giving it a second star for the creativity of the idea behind the story, despite how little I liked the execution of that idea.(less)
This quick read -- which I am marking as sci-fi, even thought it could just as easily be considered fantasy -- shows that its author, John Scalzi, has...moreThis quick read -- which I am marking as sci-fi, even thought it could just as easily be considered fantasy -- shows that its author, John Scalzi, has a lot more range than his typical novels about spaceships and aliens. While this short story, like those novels, also falls under the mantle of speculative fiction, as there is literally a Muse of Fire in it guiding the protagonist, it's an interesting change of pace, proving Scalzi's talents as varied as they are deep.
(Sorry for not saying more about the story itself, but there isn't much to say with a story this short that wouldn't spoil it, other than to say you should read it for yourself.)(less)
I saw the Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd movie as a teenager and was turned off by its campiness, and so -- despite my love of comics -- never bothere...moreI saw the Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd movie as a teenager and was turned off by its campiness, and so -- despite my love of comics -- never bothered looking into the comic character it was based on. I didn't have very high hopes for the rebooted Karl Urban Dredd movie from last year, but heard positive things from enough people that I gave it a chance. Seeing it totally changed my mind and made me a believer in Dredd -- it was a post-apocolyptic, science fiction, Orwellian version of The Raid, and it kicked all sorts of ass.
The reason my above digression is relevant to this is simple -- this graphic novel is cut 100% from the same cloth as the latter movie, and kicked just as much ass. It definitely has me looking forward to reading more of this series. It also functions as an excellent entry point to the character, as it's a story of Dredd's first year as a Judge -- although, to gripe, he doesn't act, nor is he drawn, particularly young.
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.(less)
This book is a lot of things -- an amalgam of various dystopian ideas, an stream-of-consciousness inspection of the butterfly effect, an analysis on t...moreThis book is a lot of things -- an amalgam of various dystopian ideas, an stream-of-consciousness inspection of the butterfly effect, an analysis on the effects of power on the human psyche, a foray into the multiverse strangely reminiscent of Inception, a love story, an ode to George Orwell (the main character is named George Orr in homage to the author) -- but one thing it isn't is boring.
I have to point that out specifically because I did not want to read this, and if it weren't for my book club, I wouldn't have. This is the blurb from the book:
George Orr is a man who discovers he has the peculiar ability to dream things into being -- for better or for worse. In desperation, he consults a psychotherapist who promises to help him -- but who, it soon becomes clear, has his own plans for George and his dreams.
Nothing about that hooked me at all. I was worried the entire book would be filled with unintelligibly meaningful dream sequences reminiscent of Dali paintings, and I can't stand dream sequences (although I didn't mind them at all in the above-mentioned Inception, go figure). And reading the first paragraph, below, didn't help:
Current-borne, wave-flung, tugged hugely by the whole might of ocean, the jellyfish drifts in the tidal abyss. The light shines through it, and the dark enters it. Borne, flung, tugged from anywhere to anywhere, for in the deep sea there is no compass but nearer and farther, higher and lower, the jellyfish hangs and sways; pulses move slight and quick within it, as the vast diurnal pulses beat in the moondriven sea. Hanging, swaying, pulsing, the most vulnerable and insubstantial creature, it has for its defense the violence and power of the whole ocean, to which it has entrusted its being, its going, and its will.
But I am thrilled to report that the book's opening is also its last into the ethereal world of dreamscapes. The rest of the book is tightly concerned with the consequences of Orr's imaginings, not the acts themselves.
I can't say much more without spoiling some aspects of the plot, such as (view spoiler)[the aliens George dreams up are among my all-time favorite aliens in speculative literature (hide spoiler)], but I feel compelled to add that this story, despite being written in 1971, was very progressive in terms of race, gender and sexuality, and did not feel terribly dated. Michael Chabon's quote from the cover echoes that in a more personal way:
When I read The Lathe of Heaven as a young man, my mind was boggled. When I read it, more than 25 years later, it breaks my heart. Only a great work of literature can bridge — so thrillingly — that impossible span.
What we have here is a time capsule from 1961, when Harrison, the author of Make Room! Make Room!, wrote a pulpy sci-fi adventure as an homage to prot...moreWhat we have here is a time capsule from 1961, when Harrison, the author of Make Room! Make Room!, wrote a pulpy sci-fi adventure as an homage to prototypical science fiction adventures of an even earlier era.
While this didn't age as well as one would hope, and may get knocked down by fans of more contemporary science fiction on that account, I enjoy occasionally looking back in time and reading influential genre works, as they give a glimpse into how the genre was built and evolved into what it now is. This work is a particularly good example, as I am not sure sci-fi gets Han Solo without first having Slippery Jim diGriz, a.k.a. the Stainless Steel Rat.
And Jim is the kind of brash, rapscallion anti-hero with a heart of gold that sci-fi is littered with. And we love him for it.
One early plot development that did not sit so well with me, however, was how easily Jim was turned by the Special Corps. On his first job for them, for example, he is given a luxury spacecraft that he uses to catch another criminal, and at no point does he consider stealing it himself and disregarding the mission.
Also of note was that while at first, the treatment of females in this novel left a bit to be desired, that gets turned upside down when the mastermind antagonist turns out to be a femme fatale that is so manipulative, she ensnares Jim, a master con artist in his own right, with little effort.(less)
This is the free short story prequel to the upcoming The Darwin Elevator, which I was excited to read because of this quote I'd read about it:
...moreThis is the free short story prequel to the upcoming The Darwin Elevator, which I was excited to read because of this quote I'd read about it:
Jason M. Hough’s pulse-pounding debut combines the drama, swagger, and vivid characters of Joss Whedon’s Firefly with the talent of sci-fi author John Scalzi.
Sci-fi that is reminiscent of Firefly and Scalzi? Yes, please.
So then I start reading this prequel story -- which is available free on Tor.com -- and was dismayed to see that this was a zombie story, a genre which I am not really a fan of -- World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War being the only exception I can think of at all.
This could have made my decision to skip the upcoming novel easy, except that this story was so engaging and well written, I found myself liking it despite the tired zombies-overrun-humanity premise.(less)
This is Scalzi's first novel, which he was unable to sell and instead self-published online. It is actually still available for free here, with an int...moreThis is Scalzi's first novel, which he was unable to sell and instead self-published online. It is actually still available for free here, with an introduction detailing his process writing it, where he writes:
I offer it freely to give new readers a sample of my writing (perchance to tempt them to pick up one of the other books), and to say "thanks" to those who picked up another of my books and were curious enough about the author to find their way here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and have enjoyed all the writing since.
The book follows the life of Hollywood agent Tom Stein and his motley assortment of clients while answering the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe (spoiler alert: we're not). While a bit raw, his talent is nevertheless on full display.
It can be easily seen how he would grow into the author that would write Old Man's War, The Android's Dream, and Redshirts -- all of which maintain his trademark humor and banter, while treating their subject matter more seriously than that tone suggests possible.
While the middle of this book dragged slightly because of some clunky expository dialogue, the imagination behind the story and the humor in its telling more than make up for those small blemishes.
Also, I should note that I did not read the online version I linked to above, I listened to Wil Wheaton's narration of the audiobook. Wheaton did a phenomenal job with said narration -- he is especially good at bringing Scalzi's material to life.(less)
I got this book as part of the latest Humble Bundle, and since I like the author, I thought I would give it a read.
Now, when I say I like the author,...moreI got this book as part of the latest Humble Bundle, and since I like the author, I thought I would give it a read.
Now, when I say I like the author, I don't mean from his child star years. I didn't watch Star Trek as a kid (I was all about Star Wars), and I'm pretty sure I've never seen Stand By Me, although I could have seen it when I was too young for it to have made an impression. I mean to say I like him as an "Internet Power" (as Patrick Rothfuss labeled him), and also as a writer, a book narrator, and the host of Tabletop. So while I was aware that Wheaton once played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, I didn't come into this book with a preconceived "I hate Wesley Crusher!" mentality that I now understand lives in the dark recesses of Star Trek fandom.
The pressure of having played Wesley Crusher is a near-constant theme throughout the book. At points, it became a bit repetitive on that point, but, overall, it was quite interesting to hear about from the perspective of a former child star. This is especially true as Wheaton made good -- albeit in an unconventional way -- as opposed to the tragic yet unsurprising stories of child stars who fell into bad lifestyle choices, such as Lindsey Lohan, or, more recently, Amanda Bynes.
It was also interesting getting a peek behind the curtain into the world of entertainment, seeing what auditions and film sets are like, as well as getting some anecdotes about what actors (and less positively, other industry types) are really like. I will admit it got tiring hearing how Wheaton was the "best actor" for every audition he went on and still repeatedly didn't get the parts. But he is so raw and candid about so many other aspects of his life -- depression, family, struggling to find work and pay the bills -- that it is easy to forgive his refusal to admit he may not have been the best actor for any given part.
I would say this is a must read for Star Trek fans, especially TNG fans, and for others immersed in geek culture, and would also be a valuable read for anyone interested in what the life of a struggling actor is like.(less)
If you've read my review of The Human Division, then you know I love Lieutenant Harry Wilson and Deputy Ambassador Hart Schmidt.
Well while reading a...moreIf you've read my review of The Human Division, then you know I love Lieutenant Harry Wilson and Deputy Ambassador Hart Schmidt.
Well while reading a glowing five-star review of that novel from SFReviews.net, I noticed the following post-script: "The print edition of the book also includes 'After the Coup,' a short story featuring Harry Wilson that was one of Tor.com's launch stories." Wait a second, I thought, a launch story would mean this is already available, even though the print edition isn't. Approximately 5.5 seconds of Googling later, and I was reading the story on Tor.com.
You should go there and read it too. It's a really good short story that highlights John Scalzi's ability to write funny yet heartfelt characters in fantastical settings. There's also an interesting fight sequence. And, it's a great barometer for seeing if you'll like The Human Division, which heavily features Wilson and Schmidt.(less)
This book immediately enters my top five all-time favorite sci-fi books (a category that is admittedly weighted heavily towards cyberpunk entries).
Th...moreThis book immediately enters my top five all-time favorite sci-fi books (a category that is admittedly weighted heavily towards cyberpunk entries).
The set-up is fairly simple, although the world and its technology get complex quickly. Takeshi Kovacs is killed on his home world, Harlan's World, and is resleeved -- a process where a conscience can be ported to another body or synthetic body -- on Earth. As a former United Nations Envoy, his skills are required by a wealthy business magnate named Laurens Bancroft, a "Meth" -- one who has been able to avoid real death by continuous resleeving for centuries -- who needs him to investigate his previous body's suspicious death. If Kovacs solves the mystery, he earns his freedom. Of course there are complications, the first being that his current sleeve is that of a disgraced local cop.
This book has an intricately crafted world, with every detail working in perfect concert to create a setting that was tangible as it was futuristic and exotic -- and without creating any obvious logical holes in it (view spoiler)[For example, at the beginning of the book, I opined that there would be nothing in this world that would stop a person from double sleeving and cloning themselves which, were it not addressed would have been a logical hole. But before the end of the book, not only had they made reference to Kadmin having done it, but Kovacs does it himself to great effect (hide spoiler)].
For all the resleeving the book had, it also managed exceptionally vivid characters that transcended the sleeves they occupied, while maintaining a nuanced cyberpunk/noir vibe, no easy feat considering everything else going on simultaneously -- especially considering this was Richard K. Morgan's first novel.
Added to the world building, the memorable characters, and the hybrid cyberpunk/noir voice, is the depth of political, religious, philosophical, and economic threads woven in and out of this story, with an amazing absence of info dumping, and you have a masterpiece. This book is a must read for anyone interested in science fiction, especially cyberpunk, as well as any open-minded fan of the noir detective story.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I am filled with reader's rage. No preamble for this review:
Problem 1: Just because Somec, a drug/technology where people could sleep for years withou...moreI am filled with reader's rage. No preamble for this review:
Problem 1: Just because Somec, a drug/technology where people could sleep for years without aging, exists, doesn't mean everyone would agree to take it -- which is exactly what happens on Capitol. Everyone in society is okay with skipping through years and decades of life and watching their peers and families grow old while they age unnaturally simply because either a) it is good for society or b) it is an honor to be given Somec. And there is no resistance to this. This idea was very hard to swallow, and also happened to be one of the main conceits of the book. (This concept was handled much more deftly in Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.)
Problem 2: My misguided assumption that because this was a science fiction book about a starship pilot that it would be somewhat futuristic, and occasionally exciting, and be set in the stars. Instead, much more of it, especially the frame story (more on that clusterfuck later), is set in something akin to the Dark Ages, and involves and describes, ad nauseum, the creation of pre-industrial societies. Zzzz. It is almost as if Orson Scott Card wrote segments of this book between playing marathon sessions of Civilization and/or SimCity.
Problem 3: The inane, boring frame story -- which was actually just a device for OSC to be able to tie all of these barely related short stories together into one steaming collection of manure. The protagonist of the frame story, Lared, is a whiny boy who is surrounded by an unbearable family, and then chances upon Jason Worthing and his daughter Justice, who are distant and fickle god-persons. There were literally no likable characters until the tinker came along for a few blessed scenes. Most of the frame story, in fact, is devoted to Lared performing menial tasks for his parents and his village. The upside, however, is now I have a greater understanding of how to properly sew leather boots, fell trees, and know which animal's urine makes good soap. Seriously, WTF. And in between these tasks he has dreams, which are actually the short stories OSC is collecting into a "saga," in what I am sure he thinks is a clever manner.
Problem 4: The coolest character found in the entire book, Abner Doon, is given so precious little time and attention. And every time his name is mentioned by future persons, they allude to his being evil or call him the devil, without the reasons fully fleshed out. Which leads me to one last point...
Problem 5: I feel like most of the book was some sort of pseudo-religious grand standing, although it was so muddled -- this is early writing of OSC's -- I can't even tell what moral I was supposed to come away with, other than, possibly, that pain is good? Wait, that can't be it -- although the entire frame story leads to that conclusion -- because in the final pages, Justice breaks her vow to not heal others, and becomes the healer to the whole village, undoing this moral for the sake of a happy ending.
And it was a happy ending for me, as well as the villagers, because I was very, very happy it was over. Fin.(less)
Seeing Mary Robinette Kowal on Patrick Rothfuss's Storyboard made me interested enough to give her writing a shot, and what better way to sample someo...moreSeeing Mary Robinette Kowal on Patrick Rothfuss's Storyboard made me interested enough to give her writing a shot, and what better way to sample someone's work than with a free short story that won a Hugo award.
As for the story, it was a tale of memory, family, struggle and loss in an interesting science-fiction setting with a bit of a steam-punk veneer -- which is a hell of an accomplishment for a 7,500 word short story (which is, come to think of it, why it is a 7,500 word award-winning short story).
It, for anyone else interested, can be found here.(less)
This book was brought to my attention by author Kevin Hearne, who blogged about it thusly:
Jason’s the next big thing in sci-fi, folks. The publisher s
...moreThis book was brought to my attention by author Kevin Hearne, who blogged about it thusly:
Jason’s the next big thing in sci-fi, folks. The publisher says his books are like Firefly meets Scalzi. Here’s what I say, because I blurbed him: "The best part about alien stories is their mystery, and Jason M. Hough understands that like no other. Full of compelling characters and thick with tension, THE DARWIN ELEVATOR delivers both despair and hope along with a gigantic dose of wonder. It’s a brilliant debut and Hough can take my money whenever he writes anything from now on."
The publisher's comparison to Firefly makes me wonder if they read the whole book, because while in the beginning I was seeing the same thing with the scavenger crew of plague immunes -- Skyler is Mal, Samantha is Zoe, Jake is Jayne, etc. -- halfway through the book, certain events that I will not spoil here eliminate any further chance of comparisons to the show.
This is a good thing, though, because while that remains my favorite show of Whedon's, I prefer not to read rehashed fan-fiction with a cheap name-swapping veneer , a la Fifty Shades of Grey. In fact, if I am jonesing for Firefly fan-fiction, I'll pick up well-respected SF author Steven Brust's failed media tie-in, My Own Kind of Freedom. But I am getting way off topic here.
The story itself begins with a world decimated by an alien plague, which created the zombie like sub-humans, or subs. However, the plague was not the first contact of the aliens -- that would be the Darwin elevator, an alien cord dropped from space into Darwin, Australia. Being in its proximity grants reprieve from the plague, leaving the tattered remains of humanity trapped in its shadow. That is, except for plague immunes, like protagonist Skyler Luiken (is this a Luke Skywalker anagram?) and his crew, who are immune to the plague virus and free to leave the confines of the aura and scavenge supplies for the paying populous of Darwin.
Needless to say, even with this bleak, post-apocalyptic introduction, things only get worse for the Big Damn Heroes from this point. Confrontations with the warden of Nightcliff, who is tasked with protecting the Darwin elevator but is more concerned with grabbing power wherever possible, and Neil Plattz, the industrialist whose company harnessed the cord to create an array of space stations on it, are only the beginning.
The book's breakneck pace had me reading it in large chunks, and I'd highly recommend it for anyone that likes action-oriented, adventure paced sci-fi. I'm looking forward to starting the second book in the trilogy, The Exodus Towers.(less)
I read this in preparation of watching the film remake, and the reality is that only two or three scenes of either movie could be taken from this stor...moreI read this in preparation of watching the film remake, and the reality is that only two or three scenes of either movie could be taken from this story's pages. However, the fact that these thirty-or-so pages could inspire not one, but two sprawling science-fiction movies says a lot for Philip K. Dick's imagination, even if the movies did miss the mark at points. But, that goes without say, as Dick has also had Blade Runner, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly adapted from his works. Back to the story, there is not too much that can be said without spoiling anything, although I will say that working two twists into such a short work was quite impressive. Also, despite both movies featuring a scene with a three-breasted woman, the short story is strangely silent in this area.(less)
Wow. This was a brilliant story that -- while wasting no words -- gave more depth and layers to its plot and characters than some books ten times long...moreWow. This was a brilliant story that -- while wasting no words -- gave more depth and layers to its plot and characters than some books ten times longer. It is an exceptional take on mental illness as a super power, with a flawed, yet likable hero/narrator. I hope to see more of Stephen Leeds, a.k.a. Legion, in the future.
I highly recommend this, and it is only 88 pages or two-hours on audiobook. Speaking of which, audiobook narrator Oliver Wyman did a fabulous job of bringing this story, and the many aspects of the main character, to life.(less)
This book's premise, that a genius-programmer/Nega-Steve-Jobs named Matthew Sobol dies and leaves behind malicious code that corrupts the world, was m...moreThis book's premise, that a genius-programmer/Nega-Steve-Jobs named Matthew Sobol dies and leaves behind malicious code that corrupts the world, was mind-blowing. It was current, original, well thought out, and flawlessly executed -- but (insert record scratch here) the further Daemon got from Sobol's death, the more and more unbelievable it became, almost to the point of sparkling vampires, which in this book's case was self-driving samurai sword wielding motorcycles.
Even before the book devolved into theater of the absurd, there were stress fractures. In the middle of the book, we disengage from one protagonist (view spoiler)[when Detective Peter Sebeck, the main protagonist, is executed (hide spoiler)], skip weeks and months into the future, and continue on, rudderless, visiting various secondary characters until eventually circling back to a second protagonist, who participates in an unsatisfying climax of epic proportions (view spoiler)[the mostly meaningless death of Agent Roy Merritt at the hands of The Major (hide spoiler)].
Equally frustrating is that two of the most fleshed out characters are hacker Jon Ross, who has a mysterious past, but no character resolution, and the dastardly villain/Daemon-disciple Brian Gragg, whose only character arc is to get more evil as he gets more powerful.
Don't start this book unless you are prepared to commit to reading its sequel, Freedom (TM), as there is no closure in this first volume. I can't decide if I will pick up its successor -- on one hand, I want to see how this story ends, but on the other, it has become so ludicrous, I'm not sure I could get through it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)