Books: Dystopian

book review | The Courier by Gerald Brandt | San Angeles 1

the courier gerald brandt book reviewAuthor: Gerald Brandt
Title: The Courier
Series: San Angeles 1
Genre: Cyberpunk; Dystopia
Pages: 293
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

Whoever allowed Gerald Brandt to ruin his perfectly great book “The Courier” by passing a romance of 16 year old and a 21 year old needs to be reevaluated.

About the Book: Corporations own everything. From the water, to the sky, to your privacy. But people, including those very same corporations, rivals, have found ways to deliver messages anyway. Here come couriers, such as our 16 year old Kris. Who got dealt a bad card, and sent out to deliver a message many bad, very bad people want…

My Opinion: The story is otherwise great. Dystopian world, just on the verge of proper space travel and colonization or whatever that plotline was. With a very interesting perspective. But then someone decided to hook the 16 year old girl who gets groped by every dude that comes too close, with a 21 year old. Nothing grander than a kiss happened, and still I don’t understand why she had to be a teenager? Or why wasn’t he then too? I’m sorry, this is outright nasty.

A great new type of run-stop-run-stop kind of story. But it gets a 2 out of 5, age is not just a number, this isn’t good romance idea.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Crime, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, crews, gangs, etc, cyberpunk, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky

Roadside Picnic Arkady Strugatsky book cover reviewAuthor: Arkady Strugatsky
Title: Roadside Picnic
Series: –
Genre: Sci-fi; Dystopia
Pages: 213
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Reading “Roadside Picnic” by Arkady Strugatsky I remembered vividly all the best bits from Metro 2033 series. Everyone who loves the genre should read this book.

About the Book: No one expected an alien visit like this one. With absolute chaos left behind, alien trash that makes no sense to anyone, yet might just propel humanity into the future. But it’s a very risky job, so scientists working on it are slow and few, for often, too often, they have to rely on almost mythological type of people known as Stalkers. Stalkers go into the zone, permit or no permit, and bring back whatever they can or whatever you’re willing to pay the most for. If they return alive – they’re forever changed, and even their children often no longer resemble humans. Is this in itself a form of invasion?…

My Opinion: The book is just too short. It’s very good, perfectly balancing sci-fi and philosophy, its most humbling and most baffling questions of what our part is in the Universe. And the fantastical part of it is like a fever dream. From terms like “rattling napkins” or “full empty”, to goo that dissolves bones but not soft tissues, invisible death that just happens, and dead who return.

It’s brilliant. 5 out of 5.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Third Wave: Eidolon by John O’Brien

The Third Wave Eidolon John Obrien CoverAuthor: John O’Brien
Title: The Third Wave: Eidolon
Series: –
Genre: Horror Literature; Fiction
Pages: 356
Rate: 3-5 | Goodreads

The Third Wave: Eidolon by John O’Brien began very strong and very good. It was scary, eerie, and made perfect sense. But a good start doesn’t yet make for a good book.

About the Book: First wave was the largest Solar Flare ever witnessed colliding with Earth. It killed all electronics, all backups, anything even remotely functioning on electricity, thus killing millions who depended on it. Among the broken machines was the Hadron Collider in the process of two particles colliding. The second wave, caused by those two particles ripping the very fabric of time and space killed billions by ripping their very souls out of their bodies. Some, lucky ones, died. Others, soulless, were doomed to repeat the few seconds of their life until their bodies expired. Third kind became the third wave. Their souls were torn, but remained tethered, agony indescribable. The only way to remotely lessen it, and maybe detach the soul from the body is to take another soul. So the hunt for what remained left of humanity’s taters began.

My Opinion: The book began with painful but vivid and welcome details of what was happening, how, and what were the consequences of it. It was horrifying, and at times I paused my reading, just to give myself some breathing space. Truly magnificent work, I thought. But as the tale progressed it soon sort of pushed itself too far in time. Next thing we know it’s one of those tales: a handful of soldiers in a submarine, considering life on a tropical island that they could clean of vermin prying on their souls. With added bonus of that one chosen young woman, for apparently no one else ever woke up from a coma, saving the poor souls.

The first half was amazing, and to it go all the 3 out of 5 points. The rest was mediocre. Good writing, pretty well made characters, but it could’ve been… More.

Categories: 3-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, ghosts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro | The Strain 3

guillermo del toro the night eternal vampire book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro
Title: The Night Eternal
Series: The Strain 3
Genre: Vampires; Paranormal
Pages: 576
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes this happens. Sometimes the last book redeems it all. The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro has finally ended for me, and I am happy to admit that The Night Eternal has made it all a bit better as a whole, and worth the time I spent reading it.

About the Book: The world as we know it has ended. Atomic detonations, toxic clouds, ash, smoke, triggered disasters. The sky is covered in a perpetual cloud that only allows meager sunlight through at the greatest peak, for a couple slim hours. This has ensured the vampire dominion, their rule. All the Master is missing now is that damned book of creation, the one with answers on why or how they, him and ones like him, were made, and how will they be or could be destroyed. The same book old vampire hunter died to protect, just so it wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. But what are the right hands? Even in this apocalyptic setting a man is still a threat to a man… Homo homini lupus est.

My Opinion: There was more history on vampires, how they came into existence and what even is the Master. That part was truly interesting. The inner monologues improved too, taking action within events or followed by them closely, thus lessening the sensation that nothing is going on, nothing’s happening, and everyone’s just twiddling their thumbs. Some good plot twists took place too, including character development I did not expect. But all in all, while unique story, it was still pretty simple, very slow, a bit confusing at times, and with questions remaining, even at the end of it all.

All in all the trilogy might be worth reading if you’re really into apocalyptic viral vampire themes like that. Otherwise I’ll refrain from recommendations. This particular, final book in The Strain trilogy gets a solid 4 out of 5 from me, redeeming the sleepiness inducing second book in the trilogy.

Categories: 4-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

fiction | “Far Cry: Absolution” by Urban Waite

5Author: Urban Waite
Title: Far Cry: Absolution
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Video Games Literature
Pages: 256
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Far Cry 5 very fast became one of my all time favorite video games. Huge open world, marvelous Montana sights, flora and fauna to admire for hours, and so very many things to do or not to do. I thought I might as well read the related book. It is by no means a tale from the game though, mind you.

About: After a drunk accident in which Will has killed his family, the only solace he found was in Eden’s Gate cult. Led by Joseph Seed, called The Father by his followers, cult lives a communal life, building each other houses, keeping one another in check, donating all they got to common kettle, where it then gets distributed to those who need said things accordingly. Will’s sins were absolved, he was taken into new family, given home, purpose. But the more time he spends away, on his own, his soul slowly seeping back into nature and thoughts that he did, accident or no, kill his family, the more he starts doubting the purity and truth of the Gospel The Father is preaching. The cult believes the world’s about to end, for it is corrupt and rotten. The only way to be saved is to abandon sin and join them. But while his joining was willing, full of new hope, there’s whispers and rumors in the wind of ever emptier towns below his mountain, which speak of drug-laced baptisms, kidnappings, and even murder…

Mine: The book had the same thought and point as the game did. The same double-view on things. From one point you see these armed folk kidnapping you, forcing you to confess, possibly tying you up to prevent you from running. On the other side you see desperation to save you, for the world might indeed soon end, and you, a sinner that you are, don’t deserve to die anyway. You get this in the game too. I remember the strange shock I felt the first time I was saving people from a bunker, hearing cult members scream in desperation that the people will die if allowed to go. They didn’t mean they’ll kill the people. They literally meant that they’ll perish in the apocalypse which was indeed mere days away. Brutal means to keep you safe. Or brutal means to force you into a sect. But. Here’s a big one. There’s inconsistencies with the game that could’ve been prevented by googling, looking into wikipedia and so on. There’s plot holes. And at times it seemed like author forgot what he wrote three pages back, so what you’re reading now – doesn’t fit at all.

This book was just good enough to read to the end and give it 3 out of 5. It’s not a bad book. It’s simply not a good one either.

Categories: 3-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Everything | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

horror | “Plague of the Dead” by Z.A. Recht | Morningstar Strain 1

1Author: Z.A. Recht
Title: Plague of the Dead
Series: Morningstar Strain 1
Genre: Horror Literature, Zombies
Pages: 292
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

Such an ominous title. I truly expected hellish creatures, a zombie apocalypse, terror left and right. Instead I got long discussions, plain characters who always make the right decisions, and linear plot from one zombie infested point to another.

About: A virus outbreak tends to be similar every time. Isolated incident. Then isolated cluster. Leading to a few such before it starts spreading all over like wildfire. Even your common flu is scary when it spreads this way. And this? This is a zombie apocalypse, a virus to wipe humanity out.

Virus can take both living and the dead as host. The living are called “runners“, for they’re agile, fast. They’ll chase you down, often in hordes, and you better pray you’re faster than a creature with no sense of what is tired, and doesn’t need to breathe the way you do. But you can kill these the regular way. It’s those who are infected dead, or those who died infected, that are bothersome. They’re quiet, dormant until there’s anything of interest, and will slowly crawl across the desert itself to reach your yet uninfected flesh.

And then we have the backwards effect. From isolated incident to isolated clusters. To plague. To isolated clusters of survivors, to isolated, single survivors.

Mine: A group of soldiers sent to evacuate survivors hops from point to point. Each one either already infested by zombies, or is somehow not deemed worthy of them. While now and again we see them run, because ammo is long gone, most of the time we see them stand there, chatting, deciding what to do. Everyone does the right thing, everyone succeeds or becomes hero for trying. This was the bluntest story, and not in the good way, I’ve read in a long time, with very one-dimensional characters that did not help me progress at all.

Zombies are great. It’s a hard topic to mess up. You’ve a virus, you’ve horror, fear to live, fear to die. The hopelessness of easy infection and very, very difficult destruction of the infected. The book sort of had these traits, but they got buried under politics, who should do what, and why is the place they’re at – bad. 2 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 2-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, zombies | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Bird Box” by Josh Malerman

2Author: Josh Malerman
Title: Bird Box
Series: –
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Pages: 262
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I always seek horror books. When this blog was created it was with the idea that I’d be a horror, true crime, dark fantasy blog. But it turned out those books are hard to find. At least the good ones. Yet now and again one such pops up, like Bird Box, and scares you into feeling uneasy while looking at the pictures friend sent to you of the fog they’re having at night…

About: The world has changed. It started like in a fantasy, dystopian book of zombie apocalypse. Isolated incidents of people raving about seeing something, then attacking others, and finally, without a fail, killing themselves. Malorie and her sister watched the news about it. They watched it, until there was nothing more to watch, for there was no one left to broadcast the news. The world has gone blind, for those whose windows were not covered have already died. But human curiosity, especially when pushed by madness, is limitless. What’s the big deal, you’d think. Just a peek, just a smallest, shortest glimpse outside, to make sure the world is still there. And if doing so you saw a fraction of a second of what could it be, it wouldn’t hurt you, now would it?

Mine: This was one of the very best horror books I’ve ever read. The story is told from two timelines, both following Malorie. It tells a story of a world gone mad, blind, and then mad again. It tells a story of morality or lack thereof that leads to hard choices, death, and one justification: survive. Nobody knows what’s out there. To know is to die, go insane, and die. But everyone got theories, and even home-experiments to try. It was brilliant and beautiful in a very terrifying way. Suspense was top notch. This is a masterpiece.

Remember “I, Zombie“, which I also loved? Well, this is like that, and even better. No, it’s not about zombies, simply the madness spread similar to it, for much like a virus travels – whatever people saw also traveled that fast. How do you fight an instinct to look when something’s right there, and someone’s screaming while looking at it? There’s no more sense of safety. Humans will have to learn to live all over again, differently, in the dark. 5 out of 5, for this one fine piece of horror.

Categories: 5-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Horror | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hugh Howey “I, Zombie”

2Author: Hugh Howey
Title: I, Zombie
Series:
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Pages: 222p
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

I couldn’t figure out where I know the author from. And only now, as I opened goodreads, did I notice that Hugh Howey wrote Wool books too, Silo and all those. I didn’t like them much, to be honest. But this one was wonderful.

About: All the speakers in this book are either zombies, or people who are about to become zombies. Little by little, including interesting enough personal background stories, they tell a tale of how did this happen, to them, to their city. It’s scary, how it all began with a few infected on the street. They looked no worse than deranged sick vagabonds, so people avoided them. But apparently, they didn’t do so well enough. For not long after that, a gang of zombies, a shuffle, came along. They weren’t fast, what with their rotting, often broken bodies, but their need drove them forwards, causing panic, horror, and all the disasters that start with it. Some, now, like our very first speaker, are trapped in their rotting bodies, internally screaming against impulses they can no longer control, as their broken bleeding hands shove rotting flesh into their mouths, throats. Others feel relief, for they won’t have to worry about anything anymore, not the contamination, virus, not even death. But they’re all united with one need, one want: human flesh. They can always smell them, always feel them. So they know full well there’s choppers above, full of scientists and military, all people who do nothing but observe and research. And by the time they reach a conclusion: sacrifice a city for the sake of humanity, by the time they decide to bomb it… They already know there’s herds of living, delicious flesh behind the barricades of this city.

My Thoughts: This was a very scary read. From the very first story, where a completely conscious woman with a gaping hole in her cheek, explains the terror she feels when her hands shove guts into her throat, and how painful is the wind against her bare teeth. Then to living people, civilians. One had just enough bullets to show mercy to some, choosing to shoot women and children first, and put them out of this horror of existence. And finally, to those who didn’t see the rising sun of a bomb fallen, for they were pushing, scraping at the barriers between themselves and humanity. By the end of this book my heart was thumping. I am not someone who likes to be scared. But this was unbelievably amazing. Not every story was interesting or scary, but a total of the book was definitely worth it.

I am waiting for Dying Light 2 even more now, praying it’ll still have zombies, and not just gangs of people. I was never interested in zombies, never felt the need to read or watch anything with them, really. But this book had a teller who was one of those people who were actively preparing for a zombie apocalypse, like quite a few in our world actually do. And so it just brought it all to life, made it beautifully believable. I give it 5 out of 5, and to you I suggest to put it up for October, Halloween read.

Categories: 5-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Everything, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stephen King – The Gunslinger | The Dark Tower 1

43615I bought this book so very long ago. Yet came about to reading it only when they released the series. I’ve a love-hate relationship with King’s books. I like his stories, but don’t much enjoy the books themselves. Adaptations are often good, but then… Anyway, I’ve finally read “The Gunslinger” by Stephen King (The Dark Tower 1; ISBN 0452284694; 231p.; Goodreads), the first book in The Dark Tower series. And I really didn’t like as much as I hoped I would.

This is a very slow story of a Gunslinger, the last of his kind, chasing a man in black in a world that’s tearing itself apart, across the desert beyond which the world, according to some, simply ends. But that is where he must go, for he must find the Dark Tower, and the man in black is likely the key to getting there, getting inside. All the while he’s expecting a trap from the man in black, for he has seen it before. He left villages obliterated due to those traps, due to people attacking him with firm belief that he is the very devil incarnate. He saw it in minds of others, even in people he liked. Like the woman who was given a keyword that would’ve opened the memory of her risen from the dead friend. He would’ve then told her what’s out there, beyond, and it would’ve driven her mad. Much like the idea of a trap is driving the Gunslinger mad.

The Dark Tower itself is a nexus of everything. Time, possibilities, but most importantly – size. What’s behind the door, behind the sun, the galaxy, all of the galaxies, what’s there, at the far end, where nothing is anymore? The idea of it, the want to see, to know, is driving Gunslinger through this scorched place of madness and delusions.

The idea would’ve been of epic scale, if I’ve not read similar philosophies many times before. This embodiment of everything, across the dunes, and over the train tracks, built by gods, for who else could’ve done that? Demons in the sand, in the bones, in the machinery that no longer goes. If none of that sounds familiar, then you might just like this book. It is worth your love, it is a classic for a reason. It’s just not my cup of tea. 2 out of 5, but, yes, there’s a but. I’m not ready to quit just yet, so I’ll be reading the next one.

Categories: 2-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Fantasy, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

George Orwell – 1984

5470It was due time I picked up “1984” by George Orwell (ISBN 0451524934; 328p; Goodreads), what with all the things happening in real life. It is also one of those rare classic books that got good reviews from some people I follow, who I didn’t expect to rate it well. So I’ve read it, and I’m pretty blown away.

Individual makes mistakes. Only together, led by strong Party, people, their nation, can survive among the enemies, win wars, thrive, prosper. Individual thinking, thus, is a weakness punishable by jail, or even death. For if you seek to think on your own, declining the Big Brother doctrine, you, obviously, wish for the Party, and therefore – your own nation, to fail. By disagreeing with the truth given by Party, by not destroying the false memories, you are doing ill for your nation, you’re a traitor, and thus, you must be punished.

 

Winston tried to live with the memories of yesterday’s enemy, who, today, is a friend that was never an enemy. He tried to live one step behind the Big Brother, the all seeing eyes, the all hearing ears. He tried to live with false, individual thinking induced freedom, believing that at least in his own head – he must be safe.

From the reviews I’m seeing, I dare assume the book is on the harder works of literature. But that aside, I also saw some reviews claiming this is too thick a fantasy book to feel realistic. So let me tell this: ideas never die. If you believe that things like communism have died, let me show you the images of Confederate flag, defended as part of South history. Let me show you the photographs of Neo Nazis, marching with their stupid tiki torches. Let me show you the thriving “I’m better than thou” individuals, who are gathering into clusters. As one smart boy in a video game once said: It’s dangerous when too many men in same uniform believe themselves right. No idea that can make an insecure little man believe himself better than someone else will ever die. So I give this book a 5 out of 5, and I pray that we never forget.

Just because you didn’t suffer it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening (e.g. if as a woman you were never discriminated against, doesn’t mean you don’t need feminism; if as a person you never been racially, ethnically, religiously, or otherwise persecuted, doesn’t mean it’s not happening out there)

Categories: 5-5, Books: Dystopian, Books: Other Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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