Sci-Fi Books

book review | Armageddon by Craig Alanson | Expeditionary Force 8

armageddon expeditionary force craig alanson sci-fiAuthor: Craig Alanson
Title: Armageddon
Series: Expeditionary Force 8
Genre: Sci-fi
Pages: 18h
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Finally! Finally I had the chance to read the 8th book in Craig Alanson‘s Expeditionary Force series, “Armageddon“. It was worth the wait! And I am very eager to start the next one.

About the Book: Merry Band of Pirates, now reformed and upgraded with officials nobody wanted, are off to find a suitable planet for humans to colonize as Plan B. It’s not so easy, not even for Skippy the Magnificent, who is searching for wormholes around any potential target, opening dormant ones, and… One of them actually asks him for a password. To which some unknown part of his answers. The further they go, the more worried Skippy is getting by the information he’s gathering and the conclusions this information serves. There are no wormholes beyond Milky Way galaxy that he can make use of. In fact, there’s a sort of a barrier rim around it, out of scattered Elder Technology. As if they tried to close it away from something on the outside. Could this be related to their ascension? If so, what could be out there so scary, that even the Elders felt threatened.

My Opinion: Oh dear, I have so many question. Why do Elders still defend some bits and pieces scattered across the galaxy, what sources of power do they need while no longer corporeal? What’s outside the Milky Way? What scared Elders so much they close a whole galaxy off, and then turned themselves to ghosts? Damn this is good.

You know a good book when you want the next one before you even finish the previous one. A firm 5 out of 5 and then some.

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

book review | The Last Astronaut by David Wellington

the last astronaut david wellington scifi aliensAuthor: David Wellington
Title: The Last Astronaut
Series: –
Genre: Sci-fi; Horror
Pages: 400
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

The very first book to properly get me into reading was “Reckoning Infinity” by John E. Stith. It was strange to read a tale so very similar, as “The Last Astronaut” by David Wellington. And a bit sad I didn’t like it all that much.

About the Book: First contact. An alien object entered the solar system and started moving towards Earth. With no communications coming from it, NASA did what they could. They sent out a handful of their best to investigate the now parked object, so terrifyingly close to Earth. But in space as on Earth, astronauts got only silence, and nothing on the looming surface, definitely alien, answered any questions either. So they made a call to go knock on the neighbor’s doors before they, the aliens, battered Earth to oblivion for this or that resource.

My Opinion: The story is sensible, but neither very interesting, not captivating. Horror aspects fell short, for anything in pitch black, with only a light on an astronaut suit, could look scary and alien. And so we got a lot of ascending, descending, walking through corridors without any clear sense to it, just the idea from observed gravity. And while characters each were unique, serving their own purpose in the story, the latter one got really predictable real fast, and you knew exactly who’s going to go mad, and who’s going to be a hero.

It’s an okay book. Not great, not bad either. If you enjoy long walks in pitch black alien things with writhing stuff left, right, and one with teeth behind you, it might be for you. I give it a solid 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, aliens, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Sci-Fi, General, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Pattern Recognition by William Gibson | Blue Ant 1

pattern recognision blue ant cyberpunk william gibsonAuthor: William Gibson
Title: Pattern Recognition
Series: Blue Ant 1
Genre: Cyberpunk; Sci-Fi
Pages: 367
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

You know how Murakami is almost a genre of his own? The way you can clearly say you want to read something Murakamish, and people will get that? Well, William Gibson seems to be a genre of his own too. I’ve started his Blue Ant trilogy with the book “Pattern Recognition“, and… I’m at the loss for words.

About the Book: Cacey’s life wasn’t very simple and normal by the regular standards as is. But one day her little internet corner, where people value their privacy and anonymity, gets all shaken up and buzzing with strange little snips of videos appearing, that seemingly belong to a greater, bigger file and idea. Nobody knows who, why, and what. But everyone wants to. Luckily, or not, for Cacey, the secretive organization called Blue Ant, with funds to track this down, chooses her to investigate the case of Mysterious Videos. And from here on her life becomes a spy thriller.

My Opinion: Truly a very strange story. Dream like ideas, cut up in uneven pieces that are then tossed at the characters and us via their proxy. It makes things buzz like a bee hive with the want to know. This need is fueled additionally by conspiracy theories, real or not, of who might be making this. Eventually reaching such far fetched ideas as “not human” in a sense of something dreamed up, unconscious, digital in a human way. See what I meant by lack for words?

The book, in compare to Neuromancer, for instance, was easier to read, and yet still required full attention. Otherwise your mind wanders for but a sentence, and you have no clue what’s going on anymore. And while the characters felt flat and two-dimensional, the story itself was very captivating, so I will definitely read the other books too. This one gets a solid 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, cyberpunk, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Milk Run by Nathan Lowell | Smuggler’s Tales 1

nathan lowell milk run a smuglers tale sci fi space operaAuthor: Nathan Lowell
Title: Milk Run
Series: Smuggler’s Tales 1
Genre: Sci-fi; Space Opera
Pages: 378
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Eh. In my search for good Space Opera or Sci-fi, preferably with androids, robots, and/or AI, I ran into “Milk Run” by Nathan Lowell that had none of the three things to it. And in general, wasn’t very entertaining.

About the Book: After being framed for murder, Natalya and her friend made a run for it. The only safe place to survive outside the legal jurisdiction for them was in smuggler ships, where they got jobs that mostly fit their actual education. But it turns out joining a smugglers crew is much easier than, say, surviving on deck of one such ship. From the lack of educated people running it, to the lack of honor among thieves…

My Opinion: From one great event that’s left in the dust by the story, to the next. Characters were mediocre, with little effort put in to change their whole course, and not too much depth. The captain was mister-right, agreeing with all things he had to agree, and disagreeing with all things he had to disagree with, thus propelling the plot without any events greater than the final attempt at a hold-up.

This wasn’t very entertaining, and I don’t think I want to read any more in the series. Book gets a 3 out of 5 from me.

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

book review | The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers | Wayfarers 1

the long way to small angry planet becky chambersAuthor: Becky Chambers
Title: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Series: Wayfarers 1
Genre: Sci-Fi; LGBT+
Pages: 518
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Some books tell so many tales that it gets hard to review it. Especially seeing how I might like one thing, and you’d be sold on the book for the other. Such many-strained book is “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers, the first in the Wayfarers series.

About the Book: A colorful crew on a ship, designed to make wormholes, lives before our eyes like a reality show in space. Each one of them has their burdens, their hefty past, and secrets. Some carry heavier load than the others, but traveling through space together, puncturing those holes in time and space, they learned to view one another, their whole crew, AI included, as family. And so, helping one another carry the burdens, they do their best to avoid space pirates, traps, unwanted adventures, and other things that might be lurking… Not always successfully.

My Opinion: It’s a good book, and possibly a very good palette cleanser after heavy reading. Even though it’s big, story reads smooth, for the writing is good, and the people are very unique, different from one another, vivid and alive. It’s just that, again, there’s so many of them, being a whole crew, that by now I can clearly remember some stories, but not the others, and don’t even try asking me for any names…

A worthy read, solid 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Sci-Fi, LGBTQ+ Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

autonomous annalee newitz book coversAuthor: Annalee Newitz
Title: Autonomous
Series: –
Genre: Sci-fi
Pages: 303
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

From love for the book, to bitter taste in my mouth, all in one paragraph. Such was my experience with “Autonomous” by Annalee Newitz. If you don’t want spoilers, I’ll mark down the spoiler part of my opinion below.

About the Book: Simplifying, big pharma patents medications so there’s no alternatives, thus making it so only the rich elite can live long happy lives. Jack is utterly fed up by this, and so she goes into pirate business: reverse engineering medications and making them available via black market. But here’s the problem. Due to those medicines being used and abused only by such a small percentage of the population, a lot of side effects were unknown until it leaked down to public. And so there’s deaths of people who took a drug that’d make them enjoy their work more, need for extensive rehabilitation because their brain is so very hard rewired towards what gave them their fix of dopamine, the drug itself is no longer of consequence. And even though Jack didn’t create the drug, only made it public, a military bot with his partner is sent after her to detain or kill. Military bot, known as Paladin, is on fresh contract, due to being freshly manufactured, making him essentially a slave for the next ten or more years to cover the cost of his making. But things already are growing complicated between him and his homophobic partner who is the first kind person to Paladin.

My Opinion: No Spoilers – Paladin and his partner are falling in love, but his partner is absolutely stupid, and they both decide it’s better to internalize old hurts than work towards healing, making their whole relationship nasty; Now SPOILERS: bots don’t have a gender, and the only reason Paladin is known as a “he” is because he’s a military bot, and those are perceived in such a way due to their bulk and form. But given a choice of: sleep with partner – YES if woman; NO if man; Paladin makes a choice to assume a female identity. Because his partner, even having to fight random boners Paladin’s presence is inducing in him, is homophobic due to old hurts. He uses derogatory slurs, and the fact he’s falling for a sexless person with nothing but personality present, and not much of that one either – doesn’t matter. Must be a woman or I’m gay, and I can’t be a f-. Nobody cares to correct him, to help him. Nobody cares to correct or help Paladin either. They’re just let loose to lie to each other because they’re in love. Paladin is extremely enabling of him, and, in my opinion, solely because that man was the first kind man who treated Paladin as a person.

The book, otherwise pretty interesting, felt icky. I can’t give it more than 2 out of 5, for I don’t like books that teach shitty lessons. Yes, kids, internalize your feelings, and pretend to be something you’re not for the person you love, even if they clearly have some kind of unresolved issue that could be resolved, and you both could grow as people, benefiting from this gift we have called speech.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor | Bobiverse 1

dennis e taylor we are legion we are bob sci fi book coverAuthor: Dennis E. Taylor
Title: We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
Series: Bobiverse 1
Genre: Sci-fi
Pages: 383
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

For my sudden cravings of sci-fi I blame Detroit: Become Human, which I’m almost done playing for the 4th time, rA9 save me, for I am not kidding. And since currently there’s no more Murderbot Diaries, I decided it’s time to blow the dust off some old recommendations, and picked up Bobiverse trilogy by Dennis E. Taylor, with the first book “We Are Legion (We Are Bob)“.

About the Book: Bob decides to sign up to one of those “we’ll freeze your head post-mortem until future can fix you” kind of things, and as it happens – dies the same or the next day.

He wakes up in a hard drive, a property of a superbly religious state, in a far future, with humanity on a brink of a war that’ll almost wipe them all out. Most others like him went or are going insane what with being unable to handle the idea of themselves being digital, no bodies, no sensory feedback, nothing. But not our Bob, no. He soon becomes the final hope of the whole humanity. And while he’s at it, saving the day, and remnants of people on a dying planet, he might as well copy himself an assistant, or a friend…

My Opinion: So, Bob copies himself, but Bob 2 isn’t really Bob anymore. He has his own personality, and possibly doesn’t even want to be called Bob. This way, slowly but surely, all the Bobs take over all the jobs across the universe, as far as they can reach, creating themselves crews. And if some Bob in that crew decides it would prefer go check what’s at the core of that planet – he can do so, and make himself a new crew. Thus, Bob’s a Legion. One Bob goes off to explore. Second Bob goes to find new planets. Third Bob prepares the ones already discovered. Fourth Bob seeks resources. Fifth Bob is trying to convince humans to stop fighting over who is first, and who is second on a ship to new home. Sixth Bob found some aliens, and is happily interacting, seventh Bob…

It’s a very fun and good book. Every Bob has his own personality, you can’t mix them up, and each one wants to do different things, so there’s a little bit of different type of sci-fi for everyone. From alien artifacts, to basic humanoids, to apocalypse outrunning, and so on, and on. I give this book a solid 5 out of 5 and will soon read the next one.

P.S. So… has anyone else played Detroit: Become Human here?

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

book review | Salvage Marines by Sean-Michael Argo | Necrospace 1

savalga marines necrospace sean-michael argo.jpgAuthor: Sean-Michael Argo
Title: Salvage Marines
Series: Necrospace 1
Genre: Sci-fi; Military Fiction
Pages: 232
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Hmm… “Salvage Marines” by Sean-Michael Argo had a great base, but the general story wasn’t so well told.

About the Book: Tired of slaving for a debt designed to never get out of it, one his father served, one he serves, and one his own son will serve too, Samuel Hyst joins space salvage operations as a soldier for hire. It pays well to stroll around abandoned, destroyed planets, wrecked drifting space ships, and alike. But Necrospace hides more dangers than empty hulls and dusty landscapes…

My Opinion: Have you ever read book “Sten” by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole? It is similar with the whole debt designed to keep you trapped and working stuff. But the characters were written poorly. Unmemorable, and hard to like or even sympathize with, they took down the story too. It might be the problem of the first book, so I’m okay with trying another one to see.

Well, 3 out of 5 is the best I can give it.

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

book review | Exit Strategy by Martha Wells | sci-fi

exit strategy martha wells the murderbot diariesAuthor: Martha Wells
Title: Exit Strategy
Series: The Murderbot Diaries 4
Genre: Sci-fi
Pages: 176
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Damn. The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, especially with “Exit Strategy” are definitely up there, in my favorite sci-fi series now. Just below such grand things as Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson.

About the Book: Murderbot’s not very happy about his new sense of caring. Upon learning that Dr. Mensah got in trouble due to it, and then possibly got kidnapped, definitely due to it, Murderbot is jumping all kinds of security hoops in attempts to reach her and find a way to save her. It’s good humans are so very bad at security.

My Opinion: Murderbot’s becoming a serious badass. I’ve happily re-read all of the fight scenes, and a few thought process paragraphs. Do yourself a favor and if you didn’t like first or even the second book – try to power through it, it really gets better and better.

Masterfully simple short books that are an easy pleasure to read. A 5 out of 5 from me, and a torment as I wait for the 5th one to be published. Eh.

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

book review | Dark Matter by Blake Crouch | sci-fi lit.

blake crouch dark matter book coverAuthor: Blake Crouch
Title: Dark Matter
Series: –
Genre: Sci-Fi; Thriller
Pages: 342
Rate: – | Goodreads

I didn’t rate “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch due to the story theme itself. I simply dislike such topics in general, any repeated need to jump over hoops in a game-like reality to reach the goal or find the right one gets on my nerves for no known reason. It doesn’t reflect the quality of the book though.

About the Book: We all make choices, and live with consequences. Rarely, we get to take second chances at life, if we did indeed fail at something not wholly finite. One dark night Jason gets kidnapped. He wakes up in a lab. In a world where he never married the girl who said she’s pregnant with his child, his now teenage son. He pursued his career as a scientist, and the breakthrough in research is what got him all the way here. To his second chance at life. The life that isn’t his.

My Opinion: The choices we make lead us further. But the choices we don’t make… They lead a version of us further. A version who made that choice. Then, just after choosing eggs or toast for breakfast, we’re faced with another choice – bike or bus to work? And so reality branches out again. And again. Infinitely. We get this trope in time travel most commonly, I feel, where a character goes back, chances something, and then tries to go back again, and again, because their reality isn’t theirs anymore. Until they do it right, and it is. And I absolutely hate it.

Which says nothing about the book itself. The story is very well written, and if you like stories like this, I can absolutely recommend it to you. But I myself will refrain from rating, for I simply can’t apply one here.

Categories: Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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