Sci-Fi Books

Craig Alanson “Zero Hour” | Expeditionary Force 5

2Author: Craig Alanson
Title: Zero Hour
Series: Expeditionary Force 5
Genre: Sci-fi, Humor
Pages: 494
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

I’m pretty damn amazed how Zero Hour is a fifth book, and quality of the story is still top-notch. There was tension, complicated plans, and enough jokes to make another book. I loved it, yes. Mind you, review below is assuming you read the previous books.

Just as Joe Bishop lost all hope to hear from his friend, the snarky AI they call Skippy the Magnificent, and thus – all hope to get back to Earth – Skippy awakes. There’s an Elder, same race that made Skippy too, created Worm inside of him, trying to destroy him. They were programmed to destroy rogue AI’s, but whether it is Skippy who is doing something Elders wouldn’t appreciate or the Worm itself that went coo-coo is a great question we don’t have an answer for, yet. Anyway, Skippy returned. But no longer as Skippy the Magnificent, more like Skippy the Meh. He’s depleted in both power and awesomeness, and is barely able to keep everything steady and comfortable for his human friends. To add to that, the Worm is still out there, this was merely a battle Skippy won, and by now Humans are fully aware they won’t be able to survive without this AI helping them with absolutely everything. So to survive and thus – save the Merry Band of Pirates, Skippy must find an Elder Artifact he could use to fix himself and beat the Worm. Easier said, than done, of course.

For one, alien civil war means traffic in outer space is pretty jammed. And while you try to navigate that jam, it turns out that every other ship contains very angry people who really want you dead. Oh, and you’re driving a junk-yard grade space ship yourself, so… On top of it, anything that is left useful from the Elders apparently still has a skeleton protection to it. Which is still far more than Skippy can handle right now. The only way around is to convince the guardians that they are no threat. But, again, hehe, nobody likes the plan! Because humans are fragile, and out there is one hell of a danger zone.

This was an awesome book. It had everything it needed, and was very well paced and spaced. I’m really, really looking forwards to getting my hands on 6th book. This one, in the meantime, gets a 5 out of 5.

Advertisements
Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Pirate Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jordan L. Hawk “Threshold” | Whyborne & Griffin 2

2I enjoyed the first book in Jordan L. Hawk series Whyborne & Griffin, so it was only a matter of time, and finding the time, until I got into the second one, “Threshold” (Whyborne & Griffin 2; ISBN 0988564971; 249p.; Goodreads). I must say, this was the most unexpected turn of events. And yet I didn’t like it so much. But I do enjoy the Lovecraftian vibe the author has.

Whyborne’s father was never overly fond of his younger son. Especially not after he decided to make his own life, and not follow the path he provided. That slightly shifted after the battle with monsters from another dimension, where Whyborne showed immense knowledge and great courage. Still, even with that little bit of mending, Whyborne is mighty suspicious when his father hires Griffin to investigate supernatural happenings in one of his coal mines.

Miners hear buzzing, vibrations behind the walls. Some claim there’s voices telling them of rich coal veins nearby. People disappear or die in strangest accidents. Some return, strange and different. A lot of these strings lead to excavation site in a cave system nearby, so that’s where the trio heads. There’s nothing real special there, nothing archaeologists haven’t already taken account of. Up until the floor breaks under Whyborne’s feet, and he is plunged into the darkness of the caves below. Here walls are all covered in drawings of strange creatures enslaving humans. And there’s something lurking just behind the band of light…

SPOILER: this is a personal preference, but I really do not like when mild fantasy meets mild sci-fi, and results are aliens vs cowboys. END OF SPOILER. I think the biggest peeve here was the romance line. I really hate the whole “but I thought this, so I did that, because I thought…“, for as a reader you know exactly how that’ll go. There’ll be spilling sand between the fingers, then making up, and apologies, and in romance novel cases: make-up sex. Other than that, the events were very unexpected, so while I can only give this book 3 out of 5, I will definitely read the next one.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Sci-Fi Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Craig Alanson “Black Ops” | Expeditionary Force 4

1I was a little reluctant to get into fourth book in the Expeditionary ForceBlack Ops” by Craig Alanson (Expeditionary Force 4; ASIN B07121G4ZC; 673p.; Goodreads), due to repetitive action in the third one. But I still read this one. And there were times where I cried laughing. So I think it’s good.

Merry band of pirates is of on a mission to make sure Earth is safe and sounds. All they really need to do is get information on who could be threatening them, and sabotage the living heck out of it. Since with Skippy’s help they were training to fight aliens, fight like aliens, and fly alien ships too, the whole crew is pretty confident that they can pull this off. And if not, well, they have to try anyway.

But bad news don’t end with the “evil alien race wants to eradicate Earth because you’re annoying creatures“. Skippy went into the AI shell of the dead one they found, expecting to figure out why and how they were made, and maybe – what killed the AI. What he found was no happy news at all. Apparently, the race who made them, haven’t made them all sentient. Some became so with time. Fearing that others would go rogue too, they made and possibly inserted it into every AI a worm that’d destroy it if it went rogue. So did the AI Skippy found was rogue? Or was it the worm itself that misbehaved? That question likely bothers Joe Bishop more than any other, for mid sentence Skippy the Magnificent simply went silent, leaving the Merry Band of Pirates to fend for themselves in far away space.

This was so funny at times, I was crying. Other times it was very intense and kept me on the edge. And then sometimes it was so intense, and so funny at the same time… Anyway, 5 out of 5 for this one.

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

Craig Alanson – Paradise | Expeditionary Force 3

+5Expeditionary Force, so far, is a great sci-fi ride that never fails to amuse. Thus, by book three, “Paradise” by Craig Alanson (Expeditionary Force 3; ASIN B01M27RSKA; 447p.; Goodreads) I can truly recommend it to anyone who likes good humor that steps on no toes, and maybe likes sci-fi too. That, I feel, is not mandatory tho.

Skippy the Magnificent, the glorious sassy ass of an artificial intelligence created by an ancient, now long gone alien race, and Joe Bishop, continue their questing among the stars in search for answers, and, really, anything that could help Skippy find his own folk, and maybe help protect Earth doing so. While they’re at it, Joe, with Skippy’s help, does his best to try and help humans left on an alien planned they dubbed Paradise, which is now more of a jail if not a death trap.

In the meantime, humans on the said Paradise are just trying to survive. They’re planting the crops and raising animals, seed stock they were given back in the day, when things were still going pretty well, and no one suspected it’s the first and last shipment. They’re trying to avoid conflicts too, which is very difficult, since humans already split in two camps: those who still support the warring alien race that got them into this mess; and those who understand the truth. On top of it, not even the locals wish to help them, in fear it’ll be taken as opposing the overlords. Peace is, after all, a very fragile thing.

The book is a little dragged, I admit, and the whole make-a-plan and break-a-plan got repetitive, since after a third such break you’re already conditioned to expect it not go accordingly. But the banter, and even the making of those plans, were amusing to read and/or listen to. I can give it a solid 4 out of 5, and be sure, I’ll grab the fourth one sometime soon.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Funny!, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Craig Alanson – SpecOps | Expeditionary Force 2

30342581For whatever reason I find it mighty hard to review sci-fi. You’d think it’s not that different, but it feels like it is. I’ve read “SpecOps” by Craig Alanson (Expeditionary Force 2; ASIN B01GJ6XSW0; 480p.; Goodreads) maybe a month ago, yet here I just sat with it, unable to review. And it was good, it was funny, so why was it so difficult?

Joe Bishop is off on a voyage with the brilliant mastermind AI, created by an ancient civilization, to explore the space a little. Skippy, the AI, agreed to help humans after they were captured, recruited, enslaved, and hunted in exchange for a chance that they, Joe specifically, will help him find out what happened to those like him, his creators, and whatever artifacts they had left. So they saved the humans, saved the world, and… After humans had a little argument over who should get how much credit for what, to whom does the alien spaceship Joe returned in belong, and who should control Skippy, and what should Skippy, for that matter, do – they’re out! Ah, space. So beautiful, and full of evil aliens who kinda want their ship back. Or whoever is in it.

It’s a slow paced story, if as funny as the previous one. Joe is really growing on Skippy the Magnificent, and Joe is learning a lot on the way. For instance, this AI feels himself to be a person, and does not appreciate people not treating him like one. Also, when he calls himself the “magnificent”, he might just not be exaggerating, for not many could rebuild a space ship out of stardust and hope.

I wish they would’ve explored the planet they visited – more. I also wish there was a little more action in this book, for I felt lacking. but other than that, it was just as great as the last one. Not to be an ass myself, I’ll give it 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Funny!, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Craig Alanson – Columbus Day | Expeditionary Force [1]

28525188I was missing both humor and sci-fi. Luckily, one of my friends recently discovered audiobooks, and thus was able to provide me with a recommendation of “Columbus Day” by Craig Alanson (Expeditionary Force 1; ASIN B01AIGC31E; 494p.; Goodreads). And let me tell you, it was hilarious.

It was Columbus Day in America when two alien races invaded Earth. One – devastated the land, messing up the infrastructure, electricity, communication, and whatever else it was. The other one seemingly rescued the poor little earthlings and chased the bad guys away. Soon after, they started recruiting Earth’s military to join them in further warring out in the space, on other planets. This is how our hero got onto this paradise-like planet, supervising evacuation of the locals here, the same bad guys who invaded his planet, who, seemingly, merely peacefully cultivated food on this planet. They seem kind and pretty willing to engage. Unlike their new higher-ups, who seem pretty disgusted by these new folk they have to deal with. And yet they still do. Why?

This and many more questions are soon to be answered, as our hero, during one serious battle in which he fought to keep his people, humans, alive, instead of taking sides or helping sides, where he accidentally finds what seems like a shiny beer can. A shiny beer can shaped ancient AI. A shiny beer can shaped ancient AI who is also an utter asshole.

I laughed out loud so many times! It’s a truly well action packed book with a very, very healthy dose of humor and cheek. 5 out of 5, couldn’t give it a point less if I wanted to.

 

Categories: 5-5, Books: Funny!, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Adrian Tchaikovsky – Guns of the Dawn

23524779I can’t recall how this book reached me. But it did, and I’m brewing with happiness I’ve read “Guns of the Dawn” by Adrian Tchaikovsky (ISBN 1447272676; 658p.; Goodreads). It was an amazing read, one beautiful story in fantasy-steampunk realm, story of war, heroes, crimes, and the reasons behind it all.

Denland and Lascanne were once allies. Now they’re mortal enemies at war, for long enough too so that regular lascanner forgot the times denlander was but a neighbor. Lascanne king is pouring all he has into the war zone, all his warlocks, created by the spark of royal blood anointing them, giving them power to wield fire by burning an imprint on their skin. All his soldiers, and every able men. And, when even that wasn’t enough, he demands every third woman to be taken to serve too. In the end, they almost won anyway, so for them it’s merely a chance to get a medal and run back home, victorious! But if the war is truly almost done, why all this effort against Denland, country whose king was assassinated even before the war, thus a country with no mages to put to warring.

When towns and villages had only women, old folk, maimed folk, and babes left, and when even the women were required to come and serve, most genteel families sent off their maids, serving girls. Such noble families as Marshwics were expected to do the same, but Emily, their eldest, always had a heart a little too kind, a little too brave. So once the time came, she reported for duty, she and many other women, not many of any worthy rank, came to have their hair sheared short, and get taught how to use their weapons. Given the choice she even asked to serve in the worst of the worst of places, in one of the swamps covered by constant mists, full of giant beetles that thought of these meager humans as food, and as good as littered with dead of both sides. One of the last warlocks made by their king served here too. And so here, among these people she soon started calling friends, Emily learned what war is all about. For, after all, even the noble lips sometimes lie, even the most loyal hearts tend to believe wrong, and even the most deadly enemy with all the advantages sometimes offers peace, and most importantly, truth.

I can’t tell you how great this book was. Not a moment in it boring, not a moment dull. And so unique at times, what with magic only passed on by the burning touch of the royal line. But most importantly, I loved how to the very end I couldn’t tell how could this possibly be solved! It takes changes to change things. Unheard thing: drafting of women, was what it took to change the tide of the war, and then end it too. 5 out of 5, a glorious 100th book this year for me.

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

Andy Weir – Artemis

34928122I patiently waited for “Artemis” by Andy Weir (ISBN 0553448129; 305p.; Goodreads), and at last! The writer really got me with “The Martian” back in the day, and this book promised me more of what I like: the good author, moon, heists, smugglers and mobs. And while it was very different from what I expected – what I did get was beautiful.

Jazz Bashara came to live on the Moon with her Muslim father (pointing this out, because he’s practicing, she’s not, and it’s always interesting to see families work like that) from, I think, Saudi Arabia, when she was 6 years old. She grew up on Artemis, the only lunar city there, and going back to Earth is out of the question for her, no matter what happens. But she does have a friend there, on Earth, a friend who soon became her business partner. They both just wanted to live with dignity in a world where everything good that happened to them got trampled by effects of other people’s decisions. So now they control the smuggling business, everything that goes from Earth to the Moon and is considered illegal there. They’ve always been very careful about it too, especially Jazz who risks deportation to Earth if she gets caught. But when a million slug (their money) deal is thrown on her metaphorical table – well, you can’t blame a girl for dreaming big, can you?

To simplify and avoid spoilers: in Artemis they pretty much only have one big company that makes oxygen, and a handful of other products that just happen during the processes of smelting things down to get that said oxygen. It’s a heart-thing, if you please, but other than the air they breathe – nothing is of high value or importance, which leaves Artemis without the export part of the economy. But big people, smart people, find gold where there’s none, and Jazz with her heist just got in those big people’s way towards astronomical profits, money laundering, and other schemes. For the big people seem to be the good old-fashioned “killed you to make a statement” kind of mobsters, prepared to take over one way or another.

I bloody love Jazz. She’s funny, strong, real damn smart, and much like Watney when it comes to trying to survive in situations that just don’t inspire will to live. But be aware, if you’re searching for Martian 2 – this is not that book. This book might not keep you awake, as it has not kept me awake. I will give it a 5 out of 5, but that is because I love how refreshing it was, with new characters, new action.

Categories: 5-5, Sci-Fi Books | 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

Philip K. Dick – Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep?

7082This is, on mere technicality, a re-read. I was very little when I first put my hands on “Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner 1; ISBN 0345404475; 244p.; Goodreads), and recall it best in relation to other non-related sci-fi books on bounty hunters, profession I highly wanted to participate in back then. Yet the reading now was delicious. Funny how sci-fi has such a special spot in my heart, and yet I read so little of it.

Rick Decard is a bounty hunter with a license to kill, if you please. His job is to test suspicious individuals and, if they can’t pass the test, kill them, any means necessary, excluding human endangerment. Otherwise his mission would sort of lose the purpose. For he kills androids who pose as humans, androids who escaped Mars, usually, after killing humans there, and who are getting just too good to track down. There is only one test they always fail. Androids, unlike real humans, are too logical to have proper empathy. They can be trained to respond, but there’s only that much you can wiggle your way out of. Yet Rick’s job is no easier due to this. No empathy, for starters means they’ll kill people if they have to, even if “have to” is a mere distraction.

So the hunt begins. Decard follows in the tracks of androids his colleague has fallen to. Falsely gaining confidence after the first kill, he soon finds himself in far more trouble, than he ever thought possible. Worse, slowly but surely he is uncovering a far deeper rooted plan to survive that androids have cast in a web across his city, if not planet. They infiltrated places they had no rights to be in, right under their noses, every day at their ears. And newer models make even him question the morality of his work, hell, even his own humanity becomes questionable… Because, what if memories are false too?

I really like the characters in this book. Decard is not the only protagonist, but I excluded the other one purposefully. I also really love how androids have this delusion of what a head hunter for androids is: this unstoppable machine they’ll fall to if they as much as lock eyes with. If you like cyberpunk – you must read this. It’s a very easy to read and follow book, and I’ll gladly give it a 5 out of 5. And if anyone’s wondering about those sequels – someone else wrote it, I don’t feel like reading them right now.

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

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.