Amoxil online here. Free delivery. Best price.
25 Jul, 2017

The Dreamhealers Series by MCA Hogarth

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Dreamhealers Series by MCA Hogarth Mindtouch by M.C.A. Hogarth
on June 15, 2013
Pages: 426
Series: Dreamhealers #1
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Published by Studio MCAH
Format: eBook
Source: Owned, Playster

Seersana University is worlds-renowned for its xenopsychology program, producing the Alliance's finest therapists, psychiatric nurses and alien researchers. When Jahir, one of the rare and reclusive Eldritch espers, arrives on campus, he's unprepared for the challenges of a vast and multicultural society... but fortunately, second-year student Vasiht'h is willing to take him under his wing. Will the two win past their troubles and doubts and see the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime partnership?

Goodreads

M.C.A. Hogarth’s Pelted Universe is a place where humans genetically engineered human/animal hybrids.  These “pelted people” eventually fled from the humans on Earth out into space.  They set up a peaceful multicultural society across planets as life on Earth regressed.  Once humans started exploring space again, they found the species that they created had developed a rich society.

That is the premise for several series that she has written in this universe.  I read the series that starts with Earthrise last year so I was familiar with the world.  That series has a lot more action than this one.  I’m glad I started there to get a sense of the universe.  This series is very different.  It is a very quiet and sweet story two members of empathic species that form a deep bond.

The Eldrich are a mysterious humanoid species.  They have chosen to self-isolate on their planet.  They can read a person’s mind if they touch them so accidental touch is avoided at all cost.  They are also very long lived.  Their society is one of court intrigue and careful deception.  Few leave the planet and those that do are forbidden to talk about the society.

Jahir is an Eldrich who is studying for a xenopsychology degree.  He finds an unexpected roommate in Vasiht’h, a small centaur-like Galeash.  The Galeash speak mostly mind to mind.  They are aromantic and asexual-spectrum.  Vasiht’h takes Jahir under his wing to show him around the university.  They start to develop a bond that Vasiht’h has only heard about in stories – a mindline.  It is a very deep platonic bond between two soul mate empaths.  What will this mean for their lives?  Should they let this form if Jahir is going to live for centuries after Vasiht’h dies?

This book reads like a sweet romance novel without the romance.  Not much actually happens.  They make friends, go to school, volunteer, bake cookies, and eat ice cream.  I loved it though.  I’ve never read a book that celebrates aromantic relationships.  They are deciding if they are going to be life partners.


The Dreamhealers Series by MCA Hogarth Mindline by M.C.A. Hogarth
on December 14, 2013
Pages: 316
Series: Dreamhealers #2
Published by Studio MCAH

At the advice of Vasiht'h, his first and truest friend, Jahir Seni Galare has accepted one of the most coveted residencies in xenotherapy, even though doing so has severed him from all the relationships he's fostered since leaving his cloistered homeworld. But not all the simulations at school have prepared him for the reality of being an esper in a hospital large enough to serve the winter capital of the entire Alliance, and it's not long before he's questioning the wisdom of having left the university for the tumult of one of the largest port cities in the known worlds.

When Vasiht'h follows Jahir to Selnor, he's not sure whether his plan is to help his friend survive his residency, or to drag him back to Seersana University and into a less strenuous program. But a storm is coming to Heliocentrus, one they're uniquely positioned to address, and their nascent mental link is about to receive its first test in the crucible that will either forge their lifelong partnership—or kill them both.

Goodreads

This is the most action packed of the books.  They have started to get an idea of what they can do to help mental health while working with dreaming patients.  Now there is a series of comatose patients who present to the emergency department where Jahir is working.  No medical intervention is helping and they all die.  He is determined to help them but touching them when they are dying is draining the life from Jahir.

This book does a good job of addressing the need for self-care in healing professions. He is sick and working with these patients is harming him but what is his responsibility?


The Dreamhealers Series by MCA Hogarth Dreamhearth by M.C.A. Hogarth
on July 7, 2017
Series: Dreamhealers #3
Published by Studio MCAH

Jahir and Vasiht’h have earned their licenses as xenotherapists at last, and they have their hearts set on starting their practice in one of the Alliance’s most exciting and cosmopolitan destinations: a sector starbase. But dream therapy is a revolutionary treatment modality, and as esper practictioners they will have to work hard to win the trust of their community. Not only that, but they have a deadline: if they can’t prove themselves an asset to the starbase within six months, they’ll have to leave!

Goodreads

I hadn’t noticed until I wrote this review that this book was just published.  I guess I picked the right time to binge read the series!

One cute touch in this book is a novel that Vasiht’h‘s sisters give him to read.  It is supposedly a romance story between an Eldrich woman and a Pelted man.  They make fun of it through the novel for being poorly written.  The story was actually one of the first stories the author wrote as a teenager when she was imaging this universe.  It was never published because of the all the huge problems that the characters make fun of.  It was a funny touch.

More ice cream in this book and now there are scones in different flavors every day! 

This is still a quiet series where not a lot happens but it is fun to just learn about these characters and the people who they help. 

About M.C.A. Hogarth

Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Backlist Books
  • LBGTQ authors/characters
  • POC authors
08 Mar, 2017

The Unintentional Time Traveler

/ posted in: General The Unintentional Time Traveler The Unintentional Time Traveler by Everett Maroon
on February 24th 2014
Pages: 248
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Booktrope Editions
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Setting: Kentucky

Fifteen-year-old Jack Bishop has mad skills with cars and engines, but knows he’ll never get a driver’s license because of his epilepsy. Agreeing to participate in an experimental clinical trial to find new treatments for his disease, he finds himself in a completely different body—that of a girl his age, Jacqueline, who defies the expectations of her era.

Goodreads

Jack starts to travel back in time during his seizures.  It takes a few times before he realizes what is going on.  Each time he is in the past for a longer period.  He gets dropped into a body of a girl in the 1920s named Jacqueline.  It is very Quantum Leap.

The town Jacqueline lives in is being terrorized by a local minister.  Jack is being dropped into different points in time to try to save the town.  But everything he does changes the timeline.

I enjoyed this book but it frustrated me.  It left me with several questions.  Years will pass while Jack is in the past but he is not in a coma.  He is going on with his life in the present day.  How?  Does anyone notice that he is not quite himself?  The same things happen with Jacqueline in the past.  Who is in their bodies when Jack/Jacqueline isn’t?  Is Jacqueline in Jack?  Are they just switching places?  Hopefully this will be addressed in future installments of the story.  This is book one of a series.

The author is transgender.  Had I not known that going into the book, I might have missed the exploration of gender and sexuality that happens in the story.  When Jack first finds himself in a female body he is very uncomfortable.  Over time he no longer has an issue with it.  Jacqueline is not considered to be a conventionally feminine woman of her time but she is still a more feminine person than Jack is in the future. Jacqueline has a relationship with a man named Lucas that starts when Jack is in her body.  When he jumps back into his own body he misses Lucas and worries about him.  That relationship fuels his desire to learn to master time travel to get back and help Jacqueline.  The author never comes out and says what gender or sexual orientation anyone is considered.  They just are who they are and love who they love.  It is so matter of fact that that is the reason why I might have missed the complexity if I wasn’t specifically looking at the gender dynamics.

This is a fun time travel mystery.  Read it if you like historical fiction with some suspense.

 

About Everett Maroon

Everett Maroon is a memoirist, pop culture commentator, and speculative fiction writer. He has a B.A. in English from Syracuse University and went through an English literature master’s program there. He is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association; Bumbling into Body Hair was a finalist in their 2010 literary contest for memoir. Everett writes about writing and living in the Northwest at trans/plant/portation.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Books Set in North America
  • LBGTQ authors/characters
16 Jan, 2017

A Closed and Common Orbit

/ posted in: Reading A Closed and Common Orbit A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
on October 20th 2016
Pages: 365
Series: Wayfarers #2
Genres: Science Fiction
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Setting: Outer Space
Goodreads

“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.”


This is the sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.  If you haven’t read that book this review might be a little spoilery.

At the end of the book, the Artificial Intelligence, Lovelace, that runs the spaceship is put into a body kit to be transferred off of the ship.  For Lovelace this is a huge adjustment.  She is used to monitoring the vastness of space.  She is used to having cameras in all the rooms of the ship.  She is used to having a constant flow of information from the data stream that she is hooked into.  Now she sees only through her eyes.  She doesn’t know the answer to any question that she is asked.  She feels fragile and vulnerable.

It reminds me of the Genie in Aladdin.

IMG_0677

She is taken in by Pepper, an engineer that helped with her transfer.  Pepper takes her to her home and tries to teach her how to respond to the world.  They have to make her look natural.  Putting an A.I. in a body kit is illegal.

The themes of this book are identity and belonging.  How do you go about making your own identity?  How do you decide where you belong?

I did not like this book as much as the first one.  I think that is because Long Way was one of my best books of 2016 and this one had a lot to live up too.  I missed the larger cast of all types of species in that book.  This novel is much smaller in scope.  It focuses on Lovelace’s life with Pepper and Pepper’s past as an escaped slave child being raised by an A.I.   I would still recommend this book.  It is not strictly necessary to have read the first one but it is recommended.  So much world building was done in the first book that this book assumes that you already know.

I would still recommend this to anyone who loves sci fi and enjoyed the first book.

 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • LBGTQ authors/characters
10 Jan, 2017

Murder in the Generative Kitchen

/ posted in: Reading Murder in the Generative Kitchen Murder in the Generative Kitchen by Meg Pontecorvo
on September 2016
Pages: 102
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Setting: Chicago/Acapulco
Goodreads

“With the Vacation Jury Duty system, jurors can lounge on a comfortable beach while watching the trial via virtual reality. Julio is loving the beach, as well as the views of a curvy fellow juror with a rainbow-lacquered skin modification who seems to be the exact opposite of his recent ex-girlfriend back in Chicago. Because of jury sequestration rules, they can’t talk to each other at all, or else they’ll have to pay full price for this Acapulco vacation. Still, Julio is desperate to catch her attention. But while he struts and tries to catch her eye, he also becomes fascinated by the trial at hand.
At first it seemed a foregone conclusion that the woman on trial used a high-tech generative kitchen to feed her husband a poisonous meal, but the more evidence mounts, the more Julio starts to suspect the kitchen may have made the decision on its own.”


condo-1483194_640

I think this is an amazing idea. It is 2060. Sequestered juries are sent on an all expense paid trip to a resort.  People try to get on juries now instead of getting out of it.  This jury out of Chicago is in Acapulco. They watch the trial on headsets. The headsets can show the trial superimposed on the real world so you can walk around the resort while you watch.

The Rules:

  1.  You have to watch 8 hours of the trial a day but you can do it on your own schedule.
  2.  You have to finish your viewing for the day before you can be served any alcohol.
  3.  You can’t talk to any of the other people in the resort.

If you break the rules, you are sent home with a bill for your vacation.

The Trial:

The defendant has a generative kitchen.  It monitors the health of the people in the home and changes the food to meet their individual needs.  Sick?  It will add nutrients.  Depressed?  Get mood boosters in your food.  There is no question that it increased the cyanide levels in the trout almondine but did the defendant request it or did it do it on its own?

I loved the two original ideas in this novella – the generative kitchen and the vacationing jurors.  The main character is Julio, a juror.  I hated him from the beginning.  He has a wonderful girlfriend at home.  He is planning on breaking up with her because she isn’t very feminine looking and she won’t change her look to please him.  Well good for her!  He starts to get obsessed and stalkerish over another juror at the resort.  She has an ultrafeminine look due to extensive body modification.  He can’t talk to her due to the jury rules but he tries to get as close as possible within the rules.  He imagines a life with her based entirely on how she looks since he has no idea what she is actually like and it never occurs to him to care.

When the jury heads back to Chicago to deliberate he finally gets to talk to this woman of his dreams and finds out that his fantasy and her reality don’t line up.  It is sort of like every internet troll who suddenly has to deal with a woman who has the nerve to be different from what he thought she should be.

I’m not usually a fan of books with unlikeable characters but it served this story well.  No one is on their best behavior but characters learn when confronted with it.  There is a lot packed into a novella.

  • The effects of aging on women and how other people (especially other women) judge them
  • Perception vs reality when dealing with strangers
  • How much power over your life should you give artificial intelligence

At the end of it all I still want a generative kitchen and a chance to go on one of these sequestered juries.  A few weeks at a resort with orders not to talk to anyone?  Heaven.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Foodies Read 2017
04 Jan, 2017

Wandering Star by Romina Russell

/ posted in: Reading Wandering Star by Romina Russell Wandering Star (Zodiac, #2) by Romina Russell
on December 8th 2015
Pages: 303
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Setting: Outer Space
Goodreads

“Orphaned, disgraced, and stripped of her title, Rho is ready to live life quietly, as an aid worker in the Cancrian refugee camp on House Capricorn.
But news has spread that the Marad–an unbalanced terrorist group determined to overturn harmony in the Galaxy–could strike any House at any moment.
Then, unwelcome nightmare that he is, Ochus appears to Rho, bearing a cryptic message that leaves her with no choice but to fight.
Now Rho must embark on a high-stakes journey through an all-new set of Houses, where she discovers that there’s much more to her Galaxy–and to herself–than she could have ever imagined.”


I decided to make my first two books I read in 2017 be the sequels to the first two books I read in 2016.  That makes me sound really organized but mostly it was me knowing what those two books were because that was where I stopped scrolling every time I was using my Goodreads list to count up last year’s reading stats.  Every time I’d think, “I never did read the next books in those series….”  So I requested them from the library and they showed up at the right time and now I look like a good planner.

Wandering Star is the sequel to Zodiac, a YA science fiction novel. I particularly fell in love with the world building of this series.

zodiac-1647169_640

Each world is based on an astrological sign. The inhabitants of that world all embody the characteristics of that sign. The main character is Cancerian. Her home world is based around the water. Their houses are built of sand and shells. Their personal computing devices are called Waves. Their society is built around strong familial bonds.

Romina Russell has built a detailed world and population for each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. It is fun to travel around and see the different home worlds for each type of person, especially since in this book we visited the home for Sagittarius. I loved the fact that there are meandering paths if you want to go for a walk and think but otherwise everything is designed to get you to your destination in the shortest possible distance. You can even get shot out of a cannon to your destination. That made me laugh. My husband likes to take the longest possible way to get anywhere and it irritates me to no end. I thought that was because I was a normal person but I guess that just my sign.

horoscope-641919_640

I’m less thrilled about the love triangle in this book. It is described as Rho, the Cancerian, not being able to let go of a love she once had. Ok, I appreciate it trying to be tied to her personality but really it is just annoying.

This is a fun series for when you want some quick light sci-fi with a diverse cast of characters and worlds.

About Romina Russell

Romina Russell (aka Romina Garber) is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on ZODIAC, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

10 Nov, 2016

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

/ posted in: Reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers
on August 18, 2015
Pages: 519
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Setting: Space
Goodreads

“When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possibly want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and some distance from her past.
And nothing could be further from what she’s known than the crew of the Wayfarer.
From Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the chatty engineers who keep the ship running, to the noble captain Ashby, life aboard is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. That is until the crew is offered the job of a lifetime tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. Sure, they’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years, but risking her life wasn’t part of the job description.”


The overwhelming sentiment that I gathered from reviews of this book is that nothing much happens but it is amazing and you have to read it.  I totally agree.

Rosemary is a human from Mars who is on the run from her life there.  She is hired to be a secretary.  She has skills with languages too that may come in handy.  She’s never been on a long haul ship before.  The crew of the Wayfarer is different than any group she’s been around before.

Captain Ashby is human.  He’s been looking for a way to make the Wayfarer more profitable.  Now he’s been selected for a huge job.  They will open a wormhole between a newly settled planet in a war zone and their home galaxy.  It will take over a year to get there.

Sissix is reptilian but don’t say that out loud because it is rude.  Her race is very affectionate.  They form different families at different times in their lives.  Their sexual freedom makes many humans uncomfortable.

Kizzy is human.  She loves machinery and keeps the Wayfarer running with help from Jenks.  She reminded me of Kaylee from Firefly.

Jenks is human.  He works mostly with the AI system on the ship.  During his time on the ship, he has fallen in love with her.  They are considering getting her a body so she can leave the ship.

Lovey is the AI system.  Her name is short for Lovelace. She controls everything on board.

Dr. Chef is both the doctor and the chef.  He’s in the male phase of his life right now.

Ohan is a Sianat pair.  He carries an alien parasite inside him that allows him to see in multiple dimensions and wavelengths.  He understands the workings of the universe.  It allows him to navigate when they are making wormholes.  The pairing drastically shortens his life expectancy and he is starting to show signs of physical deterioration.

Corbin is the ship’s algae specialist.  The ship runs off of algae most of the time.  He’s grumpy and a loner but good at his job so everyone puts up with him.


The story mainly involves putting these diverse species in a ship for a long period of time and watching what happens.  There are a few close escapes but mostly it is a story about making a family – the good and the bad.

Just go read this one if you haven’t yet.  You won’t regret it.

20 Oct, 2016

Karen Memory

/ posted in: Reading Karen Memory Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 350
Genres: Science Fiction, Steampunk
Published by Tor Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Setting: Washington
Goodreads

“Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.”


Oh my God, I loved this book.  Loved it as in I started it Tuesday at 8 PM, finished it Wednesday at 3:30 PM, and am posting this review on Thursday.

It grabbed me from the first page where it explains that prostitutes are taxed as seamstresses. They even have sewing machines — a regular one and one that you get inside and use your body to control.  I don’t understand how that would work but I want it!

The story is told from Karen’s point of view. She has a great voice.  She is an uneducated sixteen year old who grew up with her father training horses.  After his death she ended up working as a “seamstress” in an upscale house.  The girls of the house are a family and protect and love each other in spite of their differences.  They are from many different races.  There is a trans woman. There are disabled women.  Some are lesbians who only serve male clients because it’s their job.  Karen accepts this all but sometimes still falls into the casual prejudices of white women in that time.  Sometimes she gets called out on it.  Sometimes she needs to learn her lessons a harder way.

The women of Karen’s house protect a prostitute escaping from a more disreputable house.  This fans the flames of a simmering rivalry into out and out war.  Karen gets grabbed by a thug at the market.

IMG_0595.GIF

Don’t worry though.  She hits him the face with a bag of onions.  She holds her own until the fight is stopped by the appearance of a U.S. Marshal.  He’s chasing a murderer who was in Indian Territory previously.  When dead prostitutes start showing up, the Marshal enlists Karen and her friends to help his Comanche deputy and him find the bad guy.

IMG_0596.GIF

This is a great read for any one who likes a fast moving adventure tale full of steam punk technology and daring ladies.  Karen is a great lesbian heroine who sees the world in her own unique way.

28 Sep, 2016

AfroSF

/ posted in: Reading AfroSF AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers by Ivor W. Hartmann, Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Lotz, Tendai Huchu, Cristy Zinn, Ashley Jacobs, Nick Wood, Tade Thompson, S.A. Partridge, Chinelo Onwualu, Uko Bendi Udo, Dave-Brendon de Burgh, Biram Mboob, Sally-Ann Murray, Mandisi Nkomo, Liam Kruger, Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu, Joan De La Haye, Mia Arderne, Rafeeat Aliyu, Martin Stokes, Clifton Gachagua, Efe Okogu
on December 1st 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Published by StoryTime
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Setting: Africa
Goodreads

“AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions of original (previously unpublished) works across Africa and abroad.”


Short story collections take me so long to read.  I’ve had this book on my iPad for years. Here are some of my favorites.

Moom by Nnedi Okorafor – This is the short story that was reworked into the opening of her novel Lagoon.  What if alien first contact on Earth was made by a swordfish?

Home Affairs by Sarah Lotz – I loved this story of a bureaucratic nightmare taking place in a modern city.  When I think of African sci fi I tend to think of monsters and countryside.  This turns those assumptions around and makes a nightmare out of the most annoying aspects of modern life – waiting in line.

The Sale by Tendai Huchu – Third world countries have been sold to corporations and citizens’ health is monitored at all times in these new perfect cities.  But what if you want to rebel?

Planet X by S.A. Partridge – A new alien society has made contact and the people of Earth are afraid.  One girl thinks that humans have more to fear from themselves than from the aliens.

Closing Time by Liam Kruger – Alcohol and time travel shouldn’t be taken together

 

Untitled-1

 

17 Mar, 2016

Bitch Planet

/ posted in: Reading Bitch Planet Bitch Planet 1 on August 4th 2015
Pages: 136
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Science Fiction
Published by Diamond Comic Distributors
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro team up to bring you the premiere volume of "Bitch Planet," a deliciously vicious riff on women-in-prison sci-fi exploitation. In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman's failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?

Goodreads

Are you a compliant woman?  Do you do everything the men in your life want you to do?  Are you skinny and attractive?

If not you might be sent to the Auxilary Compliance Outpost – otherwise known as Bitch Planet.

This volume covers the first 5 issues of Bitch Planet.  A new group of women have been sent to the planet, including a former athlete named Kamau Kogo.  On Earth there is a very important sporting competition called the Duemila or Megaton.  The producers want to put together an all-female team from Bitch Planet for the entertainment of the male spectators.  They chose Kamau to lead it.  The women agree to do it, not like they really have a choice, because they have a plan to take down the event from the inside.

 
I particularly like the end of each issue. There is a page of advertisements that make fun of the ads that you see in the back of comics.

The story is ongoing so I’m interested to see what happens when the next volume comes out.

 

08 Mar, 2016

Ascension

/ posted in: Reading Ascension Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi
on 2013
Pages: 334
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in Outer Space

Alana Quick is the best damned sky surgeon in Heliodor City, but repairing starship engines barely pays the bills. When the desperate crew of a cargo vessel stops by her shipyard looking for her spiritually-advanced sister Nova, Alana stows away. Maybe her boldness will land her a long-term gig on the crew. But the" Tangled Axon" proves to be more than star-watching and plasma coils. The chief engineer thinks he's a wolf. The pilot fades in and out of existence. The captain is all blond hair, boots, and ego... and Alana can't keep her eyes off her. But there's little time for romance: Nova's in danger and someone will do anything -- even destroying planets -- to get their hands on her!


I heard about this book on a list of science fiction books written by authors of color and featuring POC characters.  This book did have a very different cast of characters than you normally see in space-based science fiction books.

  • Alana Quick – 30s, dark skinned, lesbian, mechanic, living with a chronic degenerative disease
  • Nova Quick – Alana’s sister who is a spirit guide with a life goal of transcending the need to stay in her body
  • Tev – blond, lesbian, captain of the Tangled Axon
  • Slip – female, doctor, polyamorous
  • Marre – female, pilot, studied to be a spirit guide until an accident caused body parts to randomly fade in and out of existence
  • Ovie – male, engineer, may or may not actually be a wolf

Alana works in a ship yard but there isn’t much call for fixing ships anymore.  New technology from beings who came through a dimensional rift makes mechanical engines obsolete.  Alana loves engines though.  She can understand them through the sounds they make.  When the crew of the Tangled Axon lands to try to find her sister for a job, she stows away on board.  She hopes that once they are too far away to be able to easily return her, she will be able to prove her worth and be kept on as crew.

Things don’t go as she plans.  The crew use her as a hostage to get in touch with her sister.  From here things get confusing.  There is a genocide that the crew is going to be blamed for if they can’t clear their names.  There is a romance.  There is fighting between the sisters.  There is so much going on that it doesn’t always flow together into a coherent story.  I think that more world building would have helped.  You are dropped into the story without a lot of explanation, which I usually like, but this needed a little more explanation up front to truly understand what the stakes were.

I did like the way the story of a hero with chronic pain was told.  Alana is too poor to afford the cure for her disease.  She can barely afford to get the medicine that keeps her symptoms at bay and she runs out of meds while on the ship.  She finds out that her sister is able to alleviate her symptoms but it requires her to be so mentally disoriented that she can’t function normally when pain free either.  The cure she was saving up for may even be worse than the disease.  You don’t see many stories written with disabled heroines so this was an interesting point of view.

 

 

08 Feb, 2016

Welcome to Night Vale

/ posted in: Reading Welcome to Night Vale Welcome to Night Vale on October 20th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Goodreads

If you aren’t familiar with the podcast Welcome To Night Vale, here’s the scoop.  The story is told by Cecil, the radio announcer at the Night Vale radio station, where being an intern is a fatal position. Night Vale is a place where weird things are normal.  The dog park is off limits to everyone, including dogs.  The Secret Police are watching and no one believes in angels – including Old Woman Josie who happens to live with several.  A scientist named Carlos moved to town to study the weirdness of Night Vale.  Carlos has beautiful hair and Cecil loves him.

I’ve only listened to about 8 of the podcasts but it is enough to get familiar with the concept.  The book tries to put a plot to the strange happenings.  I don’t think that it succeeds very well.  I enjoyed this book in brief snippets of 5 to 10 minutes at a time.  Longer than that at one sitting and it got to be too much.  This is a book that you enjoy for the absurdity of the discussion and not the greater story.

 

04 Feb, 2016

The Stars Change

/ posted in: Reading The Stars Change The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj
on November 5th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Erotica, Science Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in Outer Space

The Stars Change: an erotic science fiction novel-in-stories. On a South Asian-settled university planet, tensions are rising, and as they reach the brink of interstellar war, life (and sex) continues. Humans, aliens, and modified humans gather at the University of All Worlds in search of knowledge... and self-knowledge... but the first bomb has fallen and the fate of this multicultural, multispecies mecca is in question. Some people will seek solace in physical contact, some will look for spiritual answers, while others will find their strength in community, family, and love.

Goodreads

 

In the future people from South Asia settle a distant planet.  Their descendants have established a prestigious university that attracts students from all over the galaxy.  But tensions have been rising for years between humans and nonhumans and now the human supremacy movement has launched a missile into a nonhuman population center.

This story is told starting with short stories that introduce the main characters.

Kimsriyalani  – a feline-like nonhuman computer programming student who has sex with a stranger in the park that night

Amara a human woman who is married to the man Kimsriyalani has sex with.  He comes home and tells her and she grabs a bag and leaves him.  She doesn’t know where to go.  She can’t go home to her very traditional mother.

Narita – a genetically modified human woman who wanted to marry Amara nine years ago.  Amara knew her family wouldn’t accept a modified human so she left her and had her mother arrange a marriage.  Now she goes to Narita’s house to escape her marriage but Narita doesn’t want to let her in because she is sheltering a group of aliens who were injured in the blast.

Gaurav – a reptilian police officer who is the only one of his kind on the planet.  He got stuck here when his planned transport disappeared into a worm hole.

Chieri – a religious prostitute and empath who had a customer tonight who was celebrating the successful missile strike he set off.  She goes to Gaurav to report it.

When Gaurav’s superiors don’t believe the words of a prostitute who says that more attacks are coming at sunrise, it is up to these people to follow the clues to stop further attacks.

This is advertised as erotic fiction and it is that in the beginning but as the story progresses that aspect of it falls away.  There’s no time for sex when you are fighting for your life.  (Yeah, I’m still giving you the side eye Outlander.)

This is a short book and a quick read.  It shows how people of various creeds and species can pull together to protect what they love.

 

07 Jan, 2016

Zodiac

/ posted in: Reading Zodiac Zodiac by Romina Russell
on December 9th 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Young Adult, General, Fantasy & Magic, Science Fiction
Published by Penguin Group USA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Set in Outer Space

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancrian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Goodreads

I bought this book for another blogger for a swap.  I thought it looked interesting so I borrowed a copy for myself.

I liked the idea of a galaxy set up according to astrological signs.  I never knew much about astrology until I met the husband.  He’s into it.  He doesn’t use it for predictions but instead uses it to understand people’s personalities.  He was all upset that our signs shouldn’t get along when we started dating.  He didn’t understand how we could like each other so he did deeper research about our moon signs or some crap like that.  I don’t remember but apparently on that level we are highly compatible.  I thought that we just liked each other but what do I know?

In this galaxy people from Cancer feel strongly about protecting people and hate secrets.  Actually, that hating secrets thing made me a bit crazy.  The characters would get all angry and moody whenever they thought that someone had a secret.  I wanted to yell at them to get over themselves.  I’m not a Cancer.

I was very interested in the story and the world building about this society.  Based on that, this would have been a four star book, but the romance aspect dropped it a star.  There was an attempt at a love triangle with instalove and I hate both of those tropes.  I didn’t feel like any of the relationships were at all believable.  Of course, both men involved immediately declared their undying love for the female protagonist and had a hard time working together to save the galaxy because of their feelings for her.  It took me right out of the story.

Wipe away the romance aspect and this is a solid start to a series.

 

About Romina Russell

Romina Russell (aka Romina Garber) is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on ZODIAC, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

18 Dec, 2015

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall

/ posted in: Reading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall Gibbon's Decline and Fall by Sheri S. Tepper
on 1997-06
Pages: 480
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in New Mexico

A wave of fundamentalism is sweeping across the globe as the millennium approaches, and a power-hungry  presidential candidate sees his ticket to success in making an example out of a teenage girl who abandoned her infant in a Dumpster. Taking the girl's case is Carolyn Crespin, a former attorney, who left her job for a quiet family life. Now she must call upon five friends from college, who took a vow to always stand together. But their success might depend on the assistance of Sophy, the enigmatic sixth friend, whom they all believed dead.

Goodreads

In 1959 a group of college freshmen bonded over making a very beautiful girl look ugly in order to help her avoid male attention. Part of her disguise was carrying Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The women call themselves the Decline and Fall Club.

Now it is the year 2000. The group still gathers annually.

Bettiann– A former beauty queen who became anorexic. She married a rich man and spends her time on charities.

Ophy – She became a doctor in an inner city ER.

Jessamine – She is a PhD who works with primate behavior.

Faye – a famous sculptor

Carolyn – a lawyer who is coming out of retirement to handle the case of a teenager who was gang raped, got pregnant, and is accused of murdering the resultant baby.

Agnes – She always wanted to be a nun but was required to get a MBA before joining in order to develop a company to make the order self sustaining. She is now Mother Superior and has been ordered by her bishop to hand over her business to local men because it isn’t proper for women to have jobs.

Sophy – Probably Native American but she would never confirm that. Traveled the world collecting women’s stories and wrote books. Disappeared three years ago but everyone else in the group thinks that they are being haunted by her.

The world in this version of 2000 has been very violent. Gangs of men are in the streets trying to shame women whom they consider to be immoral. However, slowly people are starting to notice that violent crime is dropping. The divorce rate is going up. Rapes went up sharply and then decreased. What does this have to do with Sophy’s disappearance and bands of old ladies vandalizing fashion stores?


I love Sherri S. Tepper’s books.  They are wonderfully, wholeheartedly, unashamedly feminist books.  If you like Margaret Atwood, consider reading Tepper.  I recommend The Fresco for a starting point in her books.

Sort of Spoilers

 

The end of the book offers a discussion what you would choose of the following options:

  • Heterosexual couples bond in monogamous pairs and can reproduce once every decade if they choose
  • Females become able to reproduce without men like some lizards
  • Puberty is delayed so only mature adults are able to reproduce
  • The world is similar to now but women can only get pregnant if they make a conscious decision to allow it
  • Keep the world the way it is now

What would you choose and why?

I would choose option 1.  That eliminates all the drama between people over sexual attraction and fidelity and keeps the population down.

15 Dec, 2015

Mini Reviews – Imago

/ posted in: Reading Mini Reviews – Imago Imago by Octavia E. Butler
on April 1st 1997
Pages: 224
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, General
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in the Amazon - Brazil?

The futures of both humans and Oankali rest in one young being's successful metamorphosis into adulthood.

Goodreads

 

I’ve reviewed the two other books in this series – Dawn and Adulthood Rites.  Those books made me really, really hate humans.

To sum up – humanity has been rescued and the Earth restored by an alien race after an environmental disaster in exchange for humans agreeing to cross breed with them.  Humans act like fools from then on out.

This book looks at the situation from the point of view of a cross bred child who is turning out to be the third gender seen in the alien race.  He is the first to develop in this way.  This gender is able to bond family units consisting of a human female, a human male, an alien female, and an alien male with itself.  It mixes genetic material from all the partners to make offspring.

Honestly, I enjoyed this book the most of the series but without the outrage at the humans that I had in the other books I don’t have that much to talk about.  It is a good series ender and is an interesting look at nonbinary gender relationships.

 

11 Dec, 2015

Winter

/ posted in: Reading Winter Winter by Marissa Meyer
on November 10th 2015
Pages: 800
Length: 23:00
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer's national bestelling Lunar Chronicles series.

Goodreads

I loved the rest of the books in this series – a science fiction retelling of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  The books have been smart and inventive in reimagining the stories in a world where Earth is vulnerable to Lunar people who are able to control minds.  That’s why I’m ultimately disappointed in this last book in the series featuring the story of Snow White.

Winter is the step-daughter of the Lunar Queen, Levana.  Levana was the sister of the former Queen.  When her sister died she attempted to kill her sister’s child, the rightful heir to the throne.  Unbeknownst to Levana, the child was smuggled to Earth and healed by making her a cyborg.  Now Linh Cinder is leading a rebellion to take back her throne from the cruel Levana.

Winter is known for her stunning beauty and her refusal to use her ability to manipulate minds.  Refusing to do so is driving her insane.  She hallucinates a lot and rambles incoherently.  She is such a vapid heroine that she drove me crazy.  Maybe the problem was that I was listening to this on audio.  I sped it up to 1.5 times normal speed just so her ramblings didn’t take so long.  All she does the entire time is be a hinderance to everyone else in the book.  She has no agency.  She doesn’t make many decisions at all.  The whole story just washes over her.  Her one decision to try to go recruit some soldiers to the rebel cause is based entirely on, “I’m pretty and nice so of course they will follow me.”  Read that in the breathiest voice ever and you’ll get the idea of the audio.

I know that the story of Snow White and the evil Queen is based entirely on looks but I was really hoping that there was going to be more to this story than that.  Levana has enslaved her people and engineered and released a plaque on Earth and killed anyone who upset her but the plan is to show people that she isn’t a legitimate ruler because she is actually ugly under her glamour?  Come on.  I was hoping for something with more substance.

And the ending?  Let’s just say there is a lot of “Why don’t you let go of all your goals and marry me instead?”

The rest of the books are great and maybe this one wouldn’t have been so bad if I had read it instead of listening to it so I didn’t have so much time to dwell on the inconsistencies.

 

 

 

28 Nov, 2015

Adulthood Rites

/ posted in: Reading Adulthood Rites Adulthood Rites by Octavia E. Butler
on April 1st 1997
Pages: 304
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in the Amazon - Brazil?

Told in the haunting voice of Lilith, the heroine of "Dawn", this book is thestory of Lilith's only son, Akin. Though he resembles a normal human, Akin is one of the first "constructs"--part man/part alien.

Goodreads

To sum up:

Earth has been destroyed by nuclear war. Right before humanity was going to totally wiped out, an alien race called the Oaklani picked up the survivors and put them in suspended animation on their ship. Hundreds of years later they had rehabilitated the Earth and are ready to wake up the humans. All they ask in return is for some humans to cross breed with them to make a new species that combines the best of both.

Am I The Only One Who Isn’t Bothered By This?

 

Some humans have lost their fool minds over this. They have run away and are trying to live on the land without alien help. The aliens have made sure that no humans can breed without the help of alien DNA. This is because the aliens have rightly deduced that humans are too blindly self destructive to be allowed to continue unchanged.

The human resisters have taken to kidnapping the human/alien construct offspring. They want to have children so they steal the ones that they refuse to consent to make themselves. It doesn’t make any sense.

Akin is a male construct who looks very human as a child. He is kidnapped and held for a year. He has a perfect memory and the ability to collect and hold data. The aliens are delaying rescuing him so they can gain more information on the resisters.

Here’s all they need to know. They are right. Humans are jerks. They’ve regressed to a violently patriarchal society where woman are stolen and sold as commodities. I think we are meant to feel sorry for them since they can’t breed. I was glad they couldn’t! No one needs more of these people.

Then they started carrying on because their lives had no meaning since they had no children. Get off it. If you require children to give meaning to your life, you are an idiot. Get out and do something meaningful.


I wanted to say that I was done with this series because obviously I’m not the target audience for it.  But then I looked at the description of the last book in the series.  The first book is from a female perspective.  The second is from a male perspective.  The third book is from the perspective of an oolani.  That is a third gender in the alien race.  They have lots of powers that haven’t fully been explained.  Now I want to read that one to see what that viewpoint looks like.  I just know I’m going to get mad at humans all over again!


 

After I wrote this review, I saw something that Junot Diaz wrote about how this series reminded him to be thankful for all the black women did to keep their families together during slavery.  I’ve run that around in my mind for a few days and still don’t get it.

Black women were taken from their lives in Africa and taken against their will to America.

Humans in this book were saved from certain death and taken to a world that was specially designed to benefit them in exchange for not breeding more idiots.

This isn’t slavery.  This is Cake or Death.

If you aren’t familiar with this skit by Eddie Izzard, basically it involves British soldiers offering people they are conquering the choice of being killed or having some cake. They are surprised that they are running out of cake. They thought people would resist more.

It is the same here.  You can have a perfect world and an incredibly rich and sensual relationship with a group of aliens or you can let your species die.

I still don’t see how this is a hard choice.

I have to go now.  Book three has come in at the library for me….

 

sfm15_4

12 Oct, 2015

Hammered Trilogy

/ posted in: Reading Hammered Trilogy Hammered by Elizabeth Bear
on April 30th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, General
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Once Jenny Casey was somebody's daughter. Once she was somebody's enemy. Now the former Canadian special forces warrior lives on the hellish streets of Hartford, Connecticut, in the year 2062.
Wracked with pain, hiding from the government she served, running with a crime lord so she can save a life or two, Jenny is a month shy of fifty, and her artificially reconstructed body has started to unravel. But she is far from forgotten. A government scientist needs the perfect subject for a high-stakes project and has Jenny in his sights.
Suddenly Jenny Casey is a pawn in a furious battle, waged in the corridors of the Internet, on the streets of battered cities, and in the complex wirings of her half-man-made nervous system. And she needs to gain control of the game before a brave new future spins completely out of control.

Goodreads

It is 2062.

  • The United States is no longer a world power after being taken over by the Christian Fascist Party.
  • Canada and China are the newest superpowers
  • Wars in the 2030s destroyed countries.
  • Rising oceans destroyed many more and the collapse of the Gulf Stream was the final blow for England.

Jenny Casey is a veteran of many of Canada’s wars in the 2030s.  She was horrifically injured and was rebuilt using at the time state of the art cybernetics.  Now her tech is breaking down and everything hurts.  She is living in Hartford Connecticut, a gang run city.  She works as a mechanic and helps patch up kids in her neighborhood caught up in gang violence.  There are rumors of her past but no one pays much attention to an old lady minding her own business.

The Chinese have sent spaceships towards a potentially habitable moon.  It will take them hundreds of years to get there.  Now Canada wants to catch up.  Both Canada and China are building ships that travel faster than light but no one is able to pilot them.  They keep crashing into planets.  They need pilots with superhuman reflexes.  They can be made using nanotechnology found in ships left crashed on Mars by unknown aliens.  Already that tech is being used to reverse engineer new human technology.  Jenny could be rebuilt and augmented to see if she could fly the ships.  She was an amazing pilot even as a regular human.  She isn’t interested in getting involved with the Canadian Army again but they aren’t giving her a choice.


 

I heard about this series on a Book Riot list about books with protagonists over the age of 40.  In this three book series, Jenny goes from living in Hartford and working with gang leaders to living and working on the spaceship Montreal and working with politicians and officers.  She wouldn’t necessarily say that it was an improvement.

She sees people that she loves pulled into the deadly political games being played with her future and the future of the space program and even the future of life on Earth.

What I Liked

  • The world building was very good.  The history that leads the world to the state it is in makes sense and is possible.
  • Canada and China are enemies but individuals of each country are portrayed as complete and complex people who are able to get along one on one.
  • An artificial intelligence is developed.  I loved him.
  • There are drawbacks to enhancing people with nanotechnology.  Most of the pilots develop forms of autism and have to deal with the repercussions of that.
  • There is a complicated polyamorous relationship which is something that you don’t usually see.

What Could Be Better

  • The second book in the series drug for me.  The ending was good but it took a long time to get to the exciting parts.

scardown worldwired

03 Sep, 2015

The Three Body Problem

/ posted in: Reading The Three Body Problem The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
on November 1st 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

"With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, this near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multple-award-winning phenemonenon from China's most beloved science fiction author. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision"--

Goodreads

A multiple award-winning science fiction book set in China and translated from Chinese?  That sounds like a perfect book for me.

The book starts with the story of woman whose father is killed during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.  She is sentenced to reeducation but eventually her training as a physicist is determined to be desirable for a new military project.  She is sent to live and work on a base with a large radio antenna.

In the present day, there is a wave of murders and suicides of scientists in China.  A man who is researching ways to make fabric from nanoparticles finds that whenever he takes a picture there is a clock embedded in the image.  The clock is counting down.  He doesn’t know what is going to happen when the countdown ends.  He is contacted and told to stop his research and the countdown will stop.  It does.

He knew a few of the dead scientists.  When visiting the husband of one he is surprised to see a set up for a video game called Three Body.  The dead scientist didn’t seem like the kind of person who would enjoy a game.  He decides to play it to see what it is like.  The game is set on a planet where day and night are not set lengths.  They can’t be predicted.  In times of extreme cold or heat, civilizations on the planet collapse.  The game then restarts in a different period of time and the goal is the same.  Try to predict the movement of the sun.

People who like and are good at this game tend to be scientists and intellectuals.  Once they pass a certain level they are contacted for meetups.  There they are told that the world in the game is real and that aliens from that planet are on their way to Earth.


 

What I didn’t realize when I got this book is that it is more about physics than anything else.  Most of the main characters are theoretical physicists and the book is mostly them talking to each other about their research.

I’m not good with physics.  I had to take a few classes in college and I hated it.  Here’s my hangup.  When they start talking about things like, “We’ll smash these particles together and if something bounces back in this direction then we’ll know that there was this type of particle there.”  My brain says, “No you don’t.  You assume that what bounced your particle back was another particle because you are thinking in particles.  But you can’t see it.  You don’t know what it is.  There could be a force that you don’t know about that is repelling particles.  For all you know, there could be a tiny elf with a mirror reflecting particles.  It could be anything.  You don’t know!”  Yeah, I’m a biology girl.  I want to actually see what is going on.  When this book got into discussions of what would happen if you unfold a proton in 2 or 1 or 6 dimensions … ugh.

I had to step back from the details of this book to look at the main questions.

  • Has humanity become so depraved that you would welcome an alien invasion?  You don’t know if they will coexist, destroy humanity, or change humanity.  Do you care?
  • Can you cripple a society if you make it sufficiently afraid of scientific investigation?  This one is interesting to me because I read so much about anti-intellectualism in the United States.  (Despite my physics rant in the paragraph above, I think investigating basic sciences is extremely important because there is so much that we don’t know.)

An interesting part of the translation of this novel is the fact that so much of it is based in Chinese history and philosophy. There are some footnotes to explain the mindset of the Cultural Revolution and Chinese philosophers to English-reading audiences. There is Chinese wordplay that is explained too. I appreciated that because it helped but it is also a little embarrassing that they knew we would need the help. There are parts of the game where western historical figures are brought in. I wonder if there were footnotes in the Chinese version to explain them.


 

 

#currentlyreading #books #bookstagram #bookquotes

A photo posted by @dvmheather on

08 Aug, 2015

Armada

/ posted in: Reading Armada Armada by Ernest Cline
on July 14th 2015
Pages: 368
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 11:58:00
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he's spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure. But hey, there's nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don t get chosen to save the universe. And then he sees the flying saucer.

Goodreads

When Zack sees the spaceship during math class he is excited until he realizes that it is a Glaive fighter.  Glaive fighters are enemy ships in his favorite video game, Armada.  Now he knows he is going insane.  This isn’t the first time he’s thought about his mental health.  Zack’s father died when he was 19 and Zack was 1.  Zack has spent his whole life watching his father’s VHS tapes and listening to his music.  He has also read his notebooks, one of which contains a paranoid theory that he was formulating before his death.  Zack’s father thought that the increase in alien invasion stories in movies and video games since the 1970s was part of a government conspiracy to prepare the Earth for an encounter with hostile aliens.  It sounded like the rantings of an unstable mind to Zack and he’s worried that he might have inherited the same tendencies.

Now that he’s hallucinating Glaive fighters, he’s sure of it.


This author’s previous book Ready Player One is my all time favorite audio book.  I was so excited when I heard that this one was coming out and that Wil Wheaton was doing the narration again.  I had a few day delay between the publishing date and when I could start it.  In that time I started seeing twitter messages pop up about people who loved Ready Player One abandoning this book.  They said it was too geeky for them and they couldn’t get into it.  I got scared.

I loved this book!  It is a very different book from Ready Player One.  Where that book delved deep into 80s pop culture, this one focuses on science fiction movies and video games.   I know way more about the 80s than I do about video games but I was able to follow along with Armada just fine.

There is a long section in the beginning that serves to explain the game play of the game Armada and its companion game Terra Firma.  This is a little slow if you aren’t a gamer but it is necessary information to understand the rest of the book.

Things I Loved

  • The story isn’t going where you thought it was.  This isn’t a typical alien invasion story.  Does the fact that you probably know what I mean by that indicate that Zac’s dad’s theory was right?
  • The characters are complex.  No one is completely good or bad.  People are capable of change and nuance.
  • The Raid The Arcade mix tape.  Am I the only person who wants to make a copy of this playlist?  The songs are listed at the end with the Bonus Track – Snoopy versus the Red Baron.  That bonus track is not optional.
  • I absolutely LOVED the inscription on the headstone at the end.  (There is a war.  Lots of people die.  I’m not saying whose headstone it is.)  It is PERFECT and made me laugh and then have all the feels.
  • Wil Wheaton did a great job with the narration.  In this book there are references to several famous voices and he did a very good job with them as well as the whole book.  I think he adds a whole other dimension to the story so I’d recommend this one on audio over any other format.

The ending leaves open the possibility but not the necessity of a sequel.  I’d love to hear what happens next.

 

About Ernest Cline

ERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His first novel, Ready Player One, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, appeared on numerous “best of the year” lists, and is set to be adapted into a motion picture by Warner Bros. and director Steven Spielberg. Ernie lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic video games.

UA-56222504-1