I found I enjoyed this selection immensely. I was drawn to the wry humor of the heroine, could understand the governmental idiocy she had to deal with...moreI found I enjoyed this selection immensely. I was drawn to the wry humor of the heroine, could understand the governmental idiocy she had to deal with as part of her investigations, and applauded the author for mixing in clues that were obvious and then surprising the reader at the end with hidden agendas. I also enjoyed this because it was under 400 pages. A plus in a world where 1000 page doorjambs have become way too prevalent, in my humble opinion.
If you enjoy a mixture of sci-fi and mystery with a bit of James Bond thrown in, this is a book you may enjoy. (less)
I regret to report, I just couldn't get into Julian Comstock. I really enjoy Robert Charles Wilson's writing and have read the majority of his books.....moreI regret to report, I just couldn't get into Julian Comstock. I really enjoy Robert Charles Wilson's writing and have read the majority of his books...but this one disappointed.
Premise of the book (from Amazon.com): After the disasters of the 21st century that resulted in the deaths of millions of its citizens, the United States retreats from technology and urban life. Social classes are sharply distinguished, and a centralized Protestant Church plays a powerful role in both politics and everyday life. President Deklan Comstock is periodically reelected without opposition. Despite his apparent stranglehold on power, he views his nephew, a child named Julian, as a potential future rival. In an effort to protect her son, Julian's mother sends him to be raised in a remote village in the Western states, where he becomes fast friends with a local lad, the narrator of this tale. Forced to flee their village to avoid the military draft, they make their way eastward where, after many adventures, Julian at last faces his uncle. On one level, this is a straightforward adventure story in the tradition of G.A. Henty or Oliver Optic. Throughout the narrative, however, there runs an engaging philosophical examination of the nature of society, the individual, truth, power, idealism, and change, which adds to the drama while foreshadowing Julian's eventual fate. Teens looking for a meaty adventure will enjoy this book, as will those looking for provocative science fiction, while readers aspiring to careers in politics will find much to contemplate.
Perhaps it is the philosophical outlook of the book, or perhaps it is because the books background is based on the war for oil and given the recent BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico it is just unpalatable. Whatever, I found the book to be a slow steady slog through northern Canada while the characters fought a relatively uninteresting war. I couldn't empathize with any of them - they all seem so very two dimensional.
Granted, I'm writing this and I'm only halfway through the book, but I don't know that I'm inclined to finish. At 250 pages out of 500 (e-book), nothing is pulling at me, nothing is crying out "Finish me! Finish me!". I'll give it another week and see.
This is the second of 6 Hugo Nominees for 2010 that I’m reading and I enjoyed this book more for being a mystery-thriller than a sci-fi book. The conc...moreThis is the second of 6 Hugo Nominees for 2010 that I’m reading and I enjoyed this book more for being a mystery-thriller than a sci-fi book. The concept of having two Cities that "unsee" the other was fascinating.
I thought the mystery itself was a bit weak in substance and never really did feel that the antagonists were “rabid nationalists”. They came across more as disenchanted citizens who only knew how to aggravate the wasps nest. The first 100 pages or so are also a bit slow – world building so to speak, but then the storyline does a pretty good job of subtly shifting from the world to the complexity of the problem Borlu faces. The story was perfect in length at 330 (+/-) pages and didn’t get mired down in complex description and imagery as some of his other books do.
Recommended if you like mysteries or thriller’s, may be disappointed if you are expecting more science fiction. (less)
This was September’s book group selection. We’ve read one Greg Bear previously – Slant, which received mixed reviews.
This book was published in 1985...moreThis was September’s book group selection. We’ve read one Greg Bear previously – Slant, which received mixed reviews.
This book was published in 1985 and current events of the time were reflected in this: we were at the height of the Cold War with Russia and political tensions around the globe were significant. And I think that’s where my issues with the plot came into being. I was old enough at the time to be aware of the political climate, but not old enough to really care. So now, looking at this through the lens of history, I found the futuristic antagonism between the US and Russia almost unrealistic. Or, phrased this way: our enemies today are not going to be our enemies of tomorrow.
Setting that aside, I felt this was a fairly interesting book up till the Nuclear Holocaust on Earth. Here is this asteroid that has an unlimited inside – a seventh chamber that goes on seemingly to infinity. We have advanced cities and libraries full of accessible information. We have mystery, intrigue and good science. We have mostly interesting characters.
I don’t want to give away too much here, but I started to lose interest with the arrival of the future humans. It was as if the main characters underwent a personality change. Still, we all agreed for different reasons in book group that this is worth finishing. (less)
We read this for book group in October 2010 – not sure what most folks thought because we had a small turnout.
When science fiction books dub themselv...moreWe read this for book group in October 2010 – not sure what most folks thought because we had a small turnout.
When science fiction books dub themselves as “pastiche”, this is what they are referring to. Written about 1920 or so, the character John Carter finds himself first running from an Apache tribe, wounded, and holes up in a cave. He wakes up on Mars, chased by Martians, taken as an honored guest and reviled prisoner. Carter falls in love with a Martian Princess, effects her escape, and well, I won’t ruin what happens next.
Cheesy? Definitely. Fun? Totally. If you can look at the story from the perspective of when it was written, we are looking very much at some of the first speculative science fiction. And while with today’s knowledge it may seem trite, unbelievable, and farfetched, back then it would have been quite adventurous. I also thought his creation of a variety of ‘aliens’ was pretty darn innovative. Now, I will also say – a confession if you will – that I have not finished Gods of Mars nor Warlord of Mars. I can really only take so much constant swashbuckling before I need a break. I needed a break.
If you have read S.M. Stirlings: In the Court of Crimson Kings, you would probably enjoy this book. (less)
Mercedes, aka "Mercy" finds herself caught between the Vampires and the Werewolves of Tri-Cities once again, this time pitting her against a vampire-s...moreMercedes, aka "Mercy" finds herself caught between the Vampires and the Werewolves of Tri-Cities once again, this time pitting her against a vampire-sorcerer. The Vampires, Werewolves and Fae are all deathly afraid of this creature, but it seems that everyone has pinned their hopes on Mercy being able to kill it. Now, this does, at first reading, seem to be at the very best, corny, but oddly, Briggs makes it work and she does it well. Book two was fast paced, a well thought out plot, and very interesting characters. And, because this is book two, the characters start to flesh out a bit more (no pun intended).
My complaint with this book was, because it was book two, that the author had to keep filling in background material covered in book one, for those poor souls who were by chance not fortunate enough to start with book one. More than once I found myself going yeah,yeah yeah, story already! as the why fore and how were filled in. The downside to a series, I suppose, but I kept wondering if it couldn't have been done a bit more succinctly.
It's not often I say this, but Iron Kissed Pissed. Me. Off. Why must a female character always be dragged through the mud emotionally and physically t...moreIt's not often I say this, but Iron Kissed Pissed. Me. Off. Why must a female character always be dragged through the mud emotionally and physically to advance the plot of the series? This is exactly what turned me off of David Weber's Honor Harrington books. Now, I am irritated with this series.
I knew Mercy was going to be brutally attacked (read the reviews on Goodreads and *some* people don't know to put "spoiler alert" in thier header), but still. It seemed so...contrary to the character as previously set up. Mercy has been portrayed as this strong, smart, independent woman who runs with wolves and fixes cars. She knows karate. She's killed vampires. Yet she manages to put herself in a situation to be brutally beaten leaving physical and emotional scars. Overkill, in my humble opinion.
Oh, but wait, she was magic'ed so that makes it okay.
Book #4 in the Mercedes Thompson (aka Mercy) series. **May contain spoilers**
Okay, so just how much crap does one character need thrown at them to ma...moreBook #4 in the Mercedes Thompson (aka Mercy) series. **May contain spoilers**
Okay, so just how much crap does one character need thrown at them to maintain a semblance of reality? This book takes place one week after her traumatic assault. One week. Really, we couldn’t have put some space in between events here? The book begins with Stefan suddenly popping into existence in her house, tortured, starved and mutilated with the warning that Marsilla, head of the local seethe, has declared her life and those around Mercy forfeit. Everyone decides Mercy should get out of town for a while, an lo! an “old friend” shows up on Mercy’s dilapidated doorstep asking for help with a ghost. Off to Seattle Mercy goes, only to run afoul of The Monster Vampire, Blackburn. Stefan, in order to save her, makes her one of his by swapping blood.
Mercy comes back to TriCities because Marsilla has agreed to negotiate ala trial style with the werewolves and Mercy must take the Chair to help prove/disprove Stefan’s innocence in a plot against Marcilla.
Mercy and Adam seal their mate bond and pack bond in a spectacular style that involves much fainting.
Mercy is kidnapped by The Monster and must rescue not only herself, but her friend’s family from the vampire, two vampire ghosts and one fae.
And let’s not forget she’s still having panic attacks.
Sheesh. Why don’t’ we just turn Mercy into a vampire/shapewalker/werewolf/fae and be done with it. Then all our paranormal folks can live in peace because she won’t be a threat to anyone because she’s bonded with everyone.
Other than that, the book is a decent quick read. (less)