I didn't like this book nearly as much as I liked the others. Adding the Next in to the Long Earth/Mars phenomenon was just kind of too much for me. II didn't like this book nearly as much as I liked the others. Adding the Next in to the Long Earth/Mars phenomenon was just kind of too much for me. I would have been perfectly happy continuing on in the vein of the first two stories.
ALSO: Bozeman is in MONTANA. Regardless of what Yellowstone does....more
Pretty much just a continuation of The Long Earth, though I liked it that little bit better. Not much of a war, but Pratchett and Baxter do a slow buiPretty much just a continuation of The Long Earth, though I liked it that little bit better. Not much of a war, but Pratchett and Baxter do a slow build of foreboding very well. Very fun to read....more
Wow wow wowwow. This is an awesome book. Astonishingly original, delicately executed, deftly paced, and extraordinarily well-told. The whole premWOW.
Wow wow wowwow. This is an awesome book. Astonishingly original, delicately executed, deftly paced, and extraordinarily well-told. The whole premise is fascinating enough, and could have been interesting in the hands of a merely competent author. But Leckie takes the book, which could easily have come off as stilted or a thought exercise, and breathes life into it. Wonderful characters, and an amazing story.
It is true science fiction, in that she drops you in the middle and lets you figure things out for yourself. I love this. Of course, done poorly it can be frustrating and disorienting. But Leckie does it well, and the book is engrossing. I can't wait for the next ones....more
This is an entirely charming book. More charming in the chapters that are diary entries and less charming in the bits where Weir tries to write a normThis is an entirely charming book. More charming in the chapters that are diary entries and less charming in the bits where Weir tries to write a normal third-person novel, but that's fine.
Watney, the astronaut left behind on the moon, is a lot of fun to hang out with. I understand the complaints that he's ridiculously upbeat and mentally buoyant and skilled in exactly the skills he needs for survival. That's all pretty true, but this would have been a terrible novel if it were just the abandoned diary of a dead, marooned astronaut. (Actually, that might not have been a terrible novel, but it certainly would have been a very different book, and would have lacked this books happy-go-lucky allure.)
Also, he's not that far out of the realm of possibility. If and when NASA sends human to Mars, they will be extensively well-screened for just this sort of fearless, cheerful, flexible adaptivity. It's the old can-do attitude writ large.
Plus, Watney is just a whole lot of fun to hang out with. His voice rings true--possibly because it is actually Weir's voice. Weir may be a one-novel author. But even if he is, this was such a fun book I don't mind at all. This is the kind of book that the words "adventure" and "romp" were meant for....more
Bobbie's back! Also, other things happen in this book. It's an awesome book actually. The crew of the Rocinante get separated, and have four separateBobbie's back! Also, other things happen in this book. It's an awesome book actually. The crew of the Rocinante get separated, and have four separate adventures. They're all wonderful. Jim has some fantastic opportunities for reflection and the perplexedness that suits him best. Naomi's story gets fleshed out. Amos's story makes a lot more sense if you've read The Churn. Alex has adventures. And Bobbie's here! I love her so much.
What makes these books so great are the writing, the adventures, and their emotional honesty. Not a lot of science fiction (or even fantasy really) books let their characters be real, three-dimensional, irrational human beings with emotions, histories, and impulses. These books accomplish it so well, and it makes for compelling reading. ...more
Aren't video games fun? Wouldn't it be cool if our Dungeons & Dragons quest was real? Remember how much fun it was to read Otherland in high schooAren't video games fun? Wouldn't it be cool if our Dungeons & Dragons quest was real? Remember how much fun it was to read Otherland in high school? Weren't the Eighties a glorious time that young'uns today just don't appreciate properly, and isn't it fun to talk about Eighties trivia and exclude all those Not In the Know?
If you've thought even one of these things, even once, you'll probably enjoy Ready Player One. That's not to say that those questions might not get a little wearing at certain points in the novel, but it's still an amusing novel. However much he tries, Cline isn't Neal Stephenson. Nor is he even Tad Williams. While this book isn't nearly as clever as it would like to think it is (and is, in the end, fairly predictable) it is an awful lot of fun. ...more
My reaction to this book is probably best summed up with a short anecdote. My husband and I decided to take the baby to the beach fWell. My goodness.
My reaction to this book is probably best summed up with a short anecdote. My husband and I decided to take the baby to the beach for a weekend in December. It was the baby's first plane trip, first trip to the beach, and it was a ton of fun traveling with him and watching him react to things. And in the middle of the warm weather, adorable baby, and fun adventures, my husband finally asked, "WHAT are you reading?? You must like it a LOT." Which is when I realized just how absorbing this novel was. On the bright side, when you're nursing a baby for two to three hours each day, you have a built-in excuse to get a lot of reading done. Typically, I like to read things that don't include the phrase "vomit zombies" (or zombies at all) but for this book, I made an exception.
James S. A. Corey is a pseudonym of two writers, one of whom is Daniel Abraham. They are delightful writers. I wanted a good old-fashioned space opera adventure, and that's precisely what this is, only better because it's been updated. (There are women! Who do things other than be rescued/objectified! There are some politics that kind of make sense!) Yes, it's a little bit like Firefly sometimes. (I don't see why this would be a bad thing.) Yes, Holden may owe a tiny bit to another Captain Jim from the American heartland, but not very much. Yes, the bad guys are a little bit cartoonish in their badness. So what? It's wonderful. It's witty, and funny, and poignant, and scary, and thrilling. The characters are outstanding. The book is almost un-put-downable.
Why are you still here reading this review? Go read the book. So we can talk about it. (And hurry quick so that when it's a hit on Syfy you can snootily tell everyone you read the book first.) ...more
There are four types of books I particularly like to read in the summer while relaxing on vacation:
1. Epic fantasy 2. Books about dinosaurs/dragons 3. TThere are four types of books I particularly like to read in the summer while relaxing on vacation:
1. Epic fantasy 2. Books about dinosaurs/dragons 3. Thought-provoking science fiction 4. Books with a mystery or puzzle for you, the reader, to figure out
I don't know how Victor Milán got ahold of this list or why he decided to write a book that combined all four for me, but I'm extremely grateful that he did.
So grateful, in fact, that I don't actually know if I loved the book as much as I think I loved it, or if I just have stars in my eyes at the very fact that it exists. And it goes without saying that the art is phenomenal.
Regardless, I enjoyed this book hugely. It took me a while to trust Milán as an author (and I have a big gripe with one of the Developments late in the book) but he did an excellent job drawing some three-dimensional characters full of human idiosyncrasy. I loved the central conceit of the book, and had a lot of fun wondering about Paradise and the Creators. I'm glad the dinosaurs had feathers. I wish there was more about the dinosaur's personalities, but I'm glad they were there at all. We can't have everything all at once. I can't wait for the next one.
(view spoiler)[ So . . . is Paradise Mars? I don't think so because a Martian year is 1.88 Earth years, and a Paradise year is 1.6 Earth years, but the prologue said that anything was possible. Could they have moved Mars? Or is it another system altogether?
A point that stretched my suspension of disbelief: After all the harm they wreaked on Earth's ecosystems, we brought CATS and FERRETS to a new planet?? I love black-footed ferrets as much as the next girl, but they've destroyed ecosystems!
Also: Melodia's rape was TOTALLY unnecessary, and it honked me off. Having her be forcibly sodomized was lazy plotting and writing and made me want to write a feminist screed. I'm sure someone else will take care of this for me. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I don't know how I got the impression that this book is a space opera; it's certainly not. It's either a far-future science fiction book, a fantasy, oI don't know how I got the impression that this book is a space opera; it's certainly not. It's either a far-future science fiction book, a fantasy, or some combination of the two, and I'm still not sure how to shelve it. Future installments may provide more guidance, but I'm in no hurry to get to them.
This was a mildly pleasant book. The writing was competent, the characters were fairly well-drawn, and the premise was very interesting. Unfortunately, the book wasn't deep enough. The characters seldom examined their actions or acted more than two-dimensionally. The stakes never felt very high. (view spoiler)[So Bel killed Liane?? Why? And why was this not talked about AT ALL?? (hide spoiler)]
And for a book that is about answering questions, many of the questions the books raised were left unanswered (view spoiler)[What was that deal with the kid dying on the boat? Why doesn't electricity affect steerswomen? What about Will's sister? Whatever happened to Janus? What did Ingrud tell Rowan and why didn't we ever heard about her again? (hide spoiler)] and that the main conflict was so facilely resolved (view spoiler)[Oh! It turns out the evil people trying to kill me are just curious! We'll work together and everything will be fine! Really. (hide spoiler)]
Also, the central mystery was pretty obvious to the reader. I understand why it wasn't to the characters, but having to wait hundreds of pages for the characters to catch up with you, with very little to do in the meanwhile, got old.
I may read the next ones out of curiosity, but it won't be out of burning interest or for the characters or the writing.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Oh! NOW I remember why I loved Kim Stanley Robinson, back years ago in my biggest science fiction kick. I remember adoring the Red Mars books. But I rOh! NOW I remember why I loved Kim Stanley Robinson, back years ago in my biggest science fiction kick. I remember adoring the Red Mars books. But I recently tried to get through Shaman and just couldn't. It made me wonder if Robinson was one of the adored authors of my teen years that didn't age well. This shows that's not the case. This is a philosophical, mysterious, interesting, and well-done book. Intriguing, distinct characters and an excellent central mystery.
That the science hasn't aged well isn't Robinson's fault. Pluto's "demotion" and the discovery of other exoplanets complicate this book's plausibility, but the central philosophy is still fresh and pressing. ...more
A book doesn't always have to be surprising to be enjoyable. Just because you can predict the ending doesn't mean you can't enjoy the road that leadsA book doesn't always have to be surprising to be enjoyable. Just because you can predict the ending doesn't mean you can't enjoy the road that leads there.
Corrupting Dr. Nice is a screwball comedy, with time-traveling. And also dinosaurs. (Modern dinosaurs; intelligent, warm-blooded, with feathers! The dinosaur is also adorable.)
It's fairly predictable, and I don't care. It's also very readable and engaging, and a whole heck of a lot of fun. Sometimes that's all I ask from a novel.
I think I must be missing something about this book.
The prose was lovely and enjoyable. Many of the characters were well-drawn and very interesting.I think I must be missing something about this book.
The prose was lovely and enjoyable. Many of the characters were well-drawn and very interesting. After Cloud Atlas, I'd been very much looking forward to reading this book.
But I really didn't like it.
The most obvious plot was convoluted, and the stakes never really quite explained. The showdown was overblown and trite. But what really bothered me is that the denouement occurred about three-fourths of the way through the book. I thought the good guys won. Usually, that means the book is over. Or at least that there's just a bit of mopping up in the Shire to take care of. But this book then turned into an entirely different book—a post-apocalyptic survival story. (I've been specifically trying to avoid this type of thing.) And I'm still not sure I understood why it happened. If it was important to Mitchell's Grand Arc, then maybe it should have been a separate novella. I did not understand why it was in this book, and how it fit in with the rest except for tangentially. It left me with the feeling that either the book was badly constructed or that I completely missed the actual plot (and point) of the book. (This is of course entirely possible.)
Overall, the distressing, meandering, and confusing plot of this book outweighed the loveliness of the prose and I was very grateful when it was over. ...more
Sometimes you just want a straight-forward adventure novel with believable, complex characters in a richly-imagined, detailed, and internally consisteSometimes you just want a straight-forward adventure novel with believable, complex characters in a richly-imagined, detailed, and internally consistent environment. Books like that are startlingly hard to find, especially well-written ones.
Virga has the advantage of being a strikingly original and breathtaking complete world.
Oscar Wilde said, "When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."
I'm starting to think, though, that that's not quite correct. We have to assume sOscar Wilde said, "When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."
I'm starting to think, though, that that's not quite correct. We have to assume some things in order to function as a normal person. We have to assume gravity will work, that our relationships are approximately the same as they were yesterday, that things will (for the most part) stay where we put them, and that most of the things we knew to be true yesterday are still true today. You start to make an ass out of yourself when you assume things that you have no basis for (that a person will behave a certain way because of your own preconceived notions, rather than because of evidence-based conclusions) or when you hold onto your assumptions too tightly. Like a good scientist, you have to hold your hypotheses lightly, ready to surrender them for new ones when they're contradicted by your observations.
I assumed that this book was a fairly standard post-apocalyptic survival novel. The protagonist is a male called Hig who narrates in clipped sentences and thoughts. He flies a plane with his dog Jackson as a co-pilot. At that point, I had a pretty good picture of the rest of the book. Action-packed, heroic, lots of glorious fighting.
That was entirely wrong. A science fiction book is usually a book about an idea. This book isn't. It's all about feelings. It's about unexpected situations, and tricky ethical quandaries that aren't all laid out in black and white.
That makes it sound insipid, but it's not. The clipped, no-quotes-mark style of the prose and dialog have been as carefully crafted as any poem. Hig has suffered brain damage as a result of surviving the disease that has killed more than 99 percent (as far as he knows) of humanity. He thinks differently now, and he's been solitary for so long that thought and speech blend into one another.
This book is about what it feels like to survive the end of the world. It's creative, character-driven, and deeply poetic. Nothing is as it seems, and nothing conforms to the stereotypes of the genre.
Heller, an author and a poet, has thought long and deeply about his characters. The love story, when it emerges, is far from simple. Like the characters experiencing it, the story is complex, and much more realistic for it.
If you were expecting the typical post-apocolyptic survival novel, and if you cling to that assumption, you will be disappointed. If you're open to reading a poetic (and not the flowery kind), deep, thoughtful, ambiguous novel, then you're going to love it. I certainly did. It was honest, true, brutal, and beautiful....more