Posts Tagged With: sci-fi

N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season [1]

fifthseasonI took this book for all the wrong reasons, yet loved it to bits never the less. “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth 1; ISBN 0316229296; 468p.; Goodreads) is a colossal fantasy book, falling under the general genre of sci-fi too. The world is nothing like I ever read before, and the threat to it is even more so. There’s just nothing I can compare it to. And I promise, it feels like pure high-fantasy, so if you don’t like sci-fi, don’t even think of it as of such.

Father Earth is angry with all those crawling little things at the top. No one is sure why, but the anger is constantly there, on ever shifting, trembling, constant seismic activities undergoing surface. Any quake can start a new Season, and humans can only pray they have enough to outlast it, until sun comes out the ash-filled skies, lava cools, and volcanoes choke their last. It is because of this constant threat that people hate, and fear the breed of people called Orogenes. For even a babe in a cradle can quench a tremor, tapping into it as easily, as it breathes. And just as well, that babe can grow, get angry, and set off something that’ll kill them all. And that’s not the only odd race of beings here.

Damaya was one of the orogenes given away to Guardians, assassins who can turn their power against them, if need be, and thus, by humans, considered the lesser evil, even if they aren’t. But Damaya trained, learned, and not being of seemingly any special skill, was put to pair with a ten-ringer Alabaster. Her chaotic accidental power, born out of no where, to his well bred potential. It’s just that they don’t like each other much, and yet not only are they required to try for a baby, but get on with an assignment too. One that changed their lives forever, and the rest of the world’s too.

This was a superb book I cannot even begin describing. If I thought that Final Empire / Mistborn was great, then this is more. The characters are so very interesting, with their own personalities, that don’t just fill in for others. There’s easy acceptance of trans character being who they are, and a little tiny love triangle where Damaya and Alebaster fell for the same guy. But it went well, that guy liked them both anyway. There’s beings that walk through stone like it’s water, and mountains, well, obelisks, that follow people around, inching with their colossal size towards them. It’s all so very amazing. 5 out of 5, really.

Categories: 5-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hugh Howey – Shift [silo, 2]

shiftSo ominous the warnings, don’t dig, don’t search for the truth. Then the story gets told to the reader backwards, and I find myself rolling my eyes… “Shift” by Hugh Howey (Silo 2, Omnibus edition; ASIN B00B6Z6HI2; 520p.; GoodreadsGoodreads) was a challenge to read. I don’t have a good memory, and thus find it preferable to follow a plot, rather than try to remember several characters, and update their stories as they progress, or give prequels.

Story follows several characters. Some built the silos, back in the day. Others lived in those that fell first. Some survived the falls, others survived the truth. And each one has knowledge of something that could be groundbreaking, that could cause another silo, or all of them, to fall, riot. How was the world before, and what caused humanity’s retreat? Can they ever go back up, and could it be, that not all of the world is as devastated as this corner of the earth with buried silos is? Each one, in their own way, is prepared to go beyond these walls.

The book could really serve as a prequel with inserts of current event updates. There’s really little new to the now of it all, but a lot of backstories. Like Jimmy, the previously sole survivor of one of the fallen silos. Or Mission, who witnessed the start of the fall, and knew the culprits. Or Donald, who approved Lucas promotion, and spoke to Juliette, giving them grains of truth, without them knowing that he too, doing this, has rebelled.

Honestly, I find it a bit ridiculous with premonitions like “the truth will kill you, oh don’t go looking for the truth!” – it’s the same damn thing I keep getting in Nightrunner, and it makes my whole reading process lag. The truth is – nanotechnology. Great, that’s new and unique, unlike atomic bombs would be. But so what? I just can’t see why this kid, knowing his great great great great grandfather maybe helped doom humanity to live in a silo should beat himself over it. Strive to fix it, sure, but go crazy and run out, where the air itself is going to kill you due to the knowledge? 3 out of 5, no more. I’ll read the last one just to close it up. Story has and had potential, but having it, and using is – are two different things.

Categories: 3-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books, Sci-Fi Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frank Herbert – Dune Messiah [Dune 2]

dune2Right, well, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (Dune 2; ISBN 0441172695; 331p.; Goodreads) felt far longer than it actually was. Odd how the peak of the story came to be at the end of the previous book, and now – everything spiraled down. Truth be told, if there’s nothing to pick it all up in book 3, I’ll abandon the Saga, glad I’ve read the first book.

Muad’dib has power beyond measure. He’s in sole control of Spice mining, and everyone needs it, everyone wants it. Drowning in visions induced by air saturated with this very spice, Muad’dib is dreaming of the simpler days. With no empires to rule, no legions to control. With no intrigues, politics, and those nasty fate lines he can see so clearly now. One wrong step is all it takes for it all to fall. The face changing assassins. His dead mother’s sect in hunt of, what, his genes? Stolen worm to be taken to another planet in attempts to take away the monopolis from Muad’dib. The most trusted friend once dead, now alive again, dubbed Hate by smiling faces. Just one step, and…

The Dune is changing. There’s now plenty of water for everyone, but not everyone is happy about it. Worms went deeper, further away into the desert, for they fear all this moisture. And people too feel there’s something wrong in this lavish…

 

As you can probably tell already from the hard-to-read writings of mine, I didn’t like this book much. I can give it 3 out of 5, no more. For there were indeed plenty of very good parts, but they reminded me more of gold veins in marble. You follow this thin line, twisting, breaking, turning. The rest was filled with that superbly common topic of those on top dreaming to be simple men. It was mighty boring to read of a person with, what, super-awareness? Someone who can remember what her ancestors might have known, dreaming to “just be loved”.

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

Frank Herbert – Dune [1]

dune-coverI tend to dislike overly long books, even if they’re as good and wonderful as Frank Herbert‘s “Dune” (Dune 1; ISBN 0340839937; 604p.; Goodreads). For, simply, so much happens between the first page and the last, that it becomes as good as impossible to say one thing that would reflect it all.

Spice, melange, is the most wanted, and the most expensive substance in the cosmos, obtained in one planet alone, Arrakis, know to the open desert folk simply as Dune. It is said that it never tastes the same twice, that the spice adjusts to persons wants and needs, pandering to the desires, and soon creates an addiction. On top of it, it gives an almost supernatural insight, the Sight, without which navigators are as good as blind, unable to predict the dangers open space has in store for their ship.

The price of it lies not only in want and addiction, but the hardships of mining this substance. For Spice is closely guarded by giant creatures known as desert Worms, known to grow large enough to swallow mining factories, men, spice, and all – whole. The relation between the worms and the spice is too intertwined for anyone to risk killing more than one or two truly menacing ones, but no one, except maybe the free folk, truly know how it is with them.

I feel like I’ve just read an epic story, like Kalevala or whatever else. The book inside is thespicemustflowsplit into three, so it’s not difficult to read, and the story is so well paced, and so well braided with treacheries within treacheries, that I ate page, after page. The way people live in the desert, how moisture is preserved, and how even tears are frowned upon as wasteful, how treacherous sand can be, how easy it is to get buried and never found again, and oh, how the spice changes the color of the eyes… And most of all, how scary the damned giant sand worms are, forcing people to adjust even their way of walking just to avoid attracting one. Politics are unbelievable too, real easy to follow, and real interesting to watch unravel. 5 out of 5, there can’t be a question here.

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

Andy Weir – The Martian

18007564  I am the type of person who just feels all sorts of wrong when I have to see a movie before I’ve read the book, even thought I do know it’s different media: spoilers galore, and I prefer book doing it, not the movie. But with work and reading responsibilities, I had little hopes for this book, even though something was pulling me towards it. Luckily, our book club lit a green light, and Andy Weir book “The Martian” (ISBN 0804139024; 369p.; Goodreads) miraculously became a go. So here we are, and I am mad excited.

Mark Watney was part of a six member crew meant to spend some time on Mars, get some samples, celebrate Thanks Giving day, and pack up home to Earth. Everything was prepared, and they even got a slight treat: actual live potatoes for their celebration, not some dry-freeze astronaut crap. But you can’t foresee all, even if you’re a grand like NASA, you’re still dealing with Mars, a desolate planet with no life or resources to provide you with. So when the great hell of massive winds, dust, and sand hits: crew aborts the mission and retreats towards the safety of the ship leading home. It’d not be all that bad, if the ship (or the MAV) wasn’t under a risk of tipping over: even with Mars atmosphere or lack of it, they’re in no position to straighten it up, so this is it, leave now, or leave never. Mark, on the other hand, has a plan, which he quickly tries to rely to his commander, how to keep the damn thing standing. One moment he’s there, spilling optimistic words to her speakers, the next he is gone, signal and all. And after a few precious and risky minutes of search the world believed Mark dead.

But here he is, our crazy botanist. Waking up in this wasteland of a planet, a hole in his suit, shut accidentally with his own blood, alone, and with no way to communicate anyone of his survival. Next NASA mission to Mars is years away, and Mars, as pointed before, has nothing to offer. Unless Mark figures how to use what people already littered the face of this red planet with. Hey, at the very least he has water reclaimer that will keep him as hydrated as they come, and a hab full of nice clean air for as long as it might take. It’s only half as bad, right?

Imagine if Wade Wilson was a few times smarter, sane, and worked with NASA rather than be a merc. Mark Watney is easily one of my all time favorite characters. His will to survive, his jokes, his whole take on “well, I can sit here and cry, or I can get up and fix it instead” is just beyond me. Take a guy who when asked for a picture as proof of survival and well being sends Earth a thumbs-up and a sign saying “ayyyyy”. That’s him, this guy, against whole Mars. Luckily there’s not many Martians to screw with him.

So let me keep it as short as I can, and I can do little about it, for I’m still in the mode of “this was beyond good”, with nights spent out to read another chapter, another log, another page. 5 out of 5, on my fav list, and Thank You, Andy Weir. You gave me a book that kept me awake, rather than help me sleep, and I’ve no regrets.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Treasures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

William Gibson – Neuromancer [Sprawl 1#]

Neuromancer_1  Cyberpunk genre was always to my liking, from the first time I encountered it. But only in the past few years I gave it a little more research. Down below I’ll add a video by one of my favorite YouTubers, one I shared before already. It explains what Cyberpunk is and why it fits people like me so well. All that said, I think no one was much surprised in the book club, when for my turn I chose one of the most influential (and among the first ever too) cyberpunk genre books, first in the trilogy of the Sprawl: “Neuromancer” by William Gibson (ISBN 04415695995; 271p., Goodreads).

Case is what they call a Cowboy. A “new type” of hackers who are able to jack in directly into the cyberspace (with tools, of course, much like those of Matrix or even Ghost in the Shell), where they’re irreplaceable. And it’s not that Case was any more talented than the next guy, but he loved his job and was passionate about it, thus maybe a little more worthy than the next guy, when it comes to choosing a cowboy for a job. Yet he made a mistake he promised himself not to make, ever: he stole from his boss and got his neuro system burned and messed up for it, the bit that allowed access to the matrix, the cyberspace. And not even the darkest, the deepest parts of eternal night city of Sprawl had a cure for him. Thus he killed and stole to survive, all the while dreaming the grid or not sleeping at all.

One night Case finds himself staring at his stars. Are they his fate? The stars he were looking at were cold, and shiny chrome of a shuriken. And maybe he wished upon this star, falling, flying or hanging on an invisible thread. Eitherway, out of the depths of the cyberspace came a native. Came in many forms, shapes and events, but that didn’t matter. The only thing that truly, truly mattered to Case was that he or rather it, had a cure for him. Now the question is: why would an AI of such extreme complexity and abilities, out of all the cowboys available, choose the broken one?

I admit, there were parts I wasn’t able to understand. And there were also parts that were very difficult to read, not sure whether because of the writing style, or my lack in English. Yet. The story is fast-paced, which I always appreciate. It’s ever changing, full of secrets we’re allowed to enjoy when the answers are finally given. Gloom and Doom of a dystopian, and hyperconnected world wasn’t irritating, as it sometimes is, rather just a fact in the background, some sort of a thing happening behind the grid screen of the matrix. I enjoyed it a lot, no matter how slow of a read it was (with all the fast pace of the story) and I will give it a very firm 4 out of 5. I’d give it a 4.5, but I’m not up to split the points. And I do intend to read the other two books too. Just think about it: it took a cyberspace native to fix a human where the human had a connection to the cyberspace. And that last chapter? The signal that AI got? Where from!…

To those who have not read anything of cyberpunk and are not yet sure about it either, here’s one of the book club members, also new to the genre: P.S. I love that book – Neuromancer

Categories: 4-5, Books, The Afterlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[Game] Blade Kitten

Blade_kitten  The game takes place on an artificial alien planetoid known as Hollow Wish. Kit Ballard, our protagonist, goes there on a lead of some local trouble maker with a great bounty on her head (Kit is a bounty hunter). Yet as soon as she sets a foot on that planet – disaster follows. A rival bounty hunter Justice Kreel destroys her ship and steals her breaker key that contains all the required information on capturing Terra-Li, the troublemaker. So for the first one third of the game – that’s your priority. Catch Justice, get your key back, kill the red guys.

Welcome to Hollow Wish… On the surface, it’s your typical lawless frontier. Yet this mysterious shell planetoid is filled with dark secrets and cloaked figures. It’s here Kit Ballard, aka Blade Kitten, works as one of the best bounty hunters in the business. Don’t let her pink hair fool you, Kit is part cat, part girl, and wholly lethal. She is one of the last of her species, having fled her homeland after the genocide of her people at the hands of the ancient and mystical race known as the Darques.” – Quote from Steam page

Got the key back? good, good. Because some monsters are waking up and you’re about to get eaten. While running, would you mind setting some people free? Funny how some seem to be willing to be taken away somewhere and only a few truly understand the situation and the danger those guys in red impose. And just like that you jump from a chapter to a chapter, one enemy to another and even get a plot twist or two. Or the implied plot twists that in truth were an absolute meaningless zero, actually…Kitten_blade_1_blackwood

The game is very much tongue-and-cheek from start to end, so there’s plenty of joking about, sarcasm and all that jazz. Some of it is even good. Yet in my opinion this strange little story that was sadly only partially interesting and only partially unique. And the worst part was the Mass-Effect effect. Two chapters in the greatest plot twists happens and your character moves on with a newly found ally, it seems. And that’s it. You get a prompting screen to go buy the next chapter for 4.99. And while everyone seems to still be spilling backlash on Mass Effect for selling off important fragments of the game as dlc’s – no one seems to mind buying the second chapter of an indie game. I understand the need to support an independent artist, especially with a decent game, no matter what I said before, but after the story was broken off like that – I feel a little… Disappointed. It wasn’t good enough for me to want the next chapter, that’s one, and now that I didn’t get the ending – I’m sorry, but unless there’s Steam Summer Sale – I probably won’t bother. It were good few hours of running, fighting, climbing on walls, collecting hex, luring monsters into destroying walls for me and fighting beasts in places where I shouldn’t have went, places where the only exit literally was dying, re-spawning and turning the other way. But that’s about it. A little loose story and mere running that you can do while half-asleep, since it takes a while for anyone to start talking again and no thinking is required to reach things or unlock doors.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like the game. I liked the mechanics, the fairly wide 2.5D world, beautiful anime style, a not-irritating soundtrack and all that. But it was streched a little more than just a little. In the end the mobs were just spawning non-stop to seemingly slow you down and my not-real-game-ocd nearly strangled me when I couldn’t bear any more to run forth and then back just to collect all the hex, since some were on the floor and some were on the ceiling. But that’s that, that’s all I can praise of this game. See how I told little to nothing of the story? It’s exactly that. Go there, do that. What for? Forget about it, go there, do that instead. Story is a bit messy, some parts seem pointless, others don’t connect together, end abruptly and completely and you are left with only a hope and a new monster to fight.

I can spare the game 2 out of 5, and 3 out of 5 for game mechanics. Pardon me, but I don’t intend on getting the next chapter. I might read the comic thou, since that one might have a more smooth story than this. And now, for the finals, have all the appropriate links if you still care to know more of this game. And sure, if you got nothing better to do, go on and wait for some sale and buy it. You’ll be done in a couple of hours and then you can come back and tell me what you thought of it yourself. Links under the trailer.

Categories: Games | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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