Posts Tagged With: science fiction

sci-fi | “Wayward Saint” by J.S. Morin

1Author: J.S. Morin
Title: Wayward Saint
Series: Black Ocean: Mercy for Hire 1
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages: 175
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

So you know how I like to pick up random books, right? And you know how they turn out to be real good often too, yes? Well, this is not it. A science fiction book with a dash of fantasy in it, and a story much too common and familiar.

About: Esper is a very bad bounty hunter. After a very traumatic childhood, she went ahead to a monastery or something, and learned herself some magic. Doing so she decided she wants to help people. And is doing exactly that, even while not being a good bounty hunter.

Her current task is a teenager whom both her parents seek separately. Esper is hired by the mother, seemingly a far better choice, for her father is a known vicious gangster. But the kid doesn’t want to be caught and taken back. She keeps escaping, choosing life in boxes, dark alleys, over, what, a loving mother? Story becomes ever clearer as Esper is doing her best to catch up with the girl. Neither of the parents is a saint, and it’s all a question of who is the lesser evil here.

Mine: Plastic surgery is beyond norm here. Mothers are all vicious and jealous of their daughters, doing their best to be more sexy than them. Sex is a great driving force, whether women want it or not. And lucky for me, there was no sex in this book, for I’m not sure I’d like it in such a concept. Characters were sadly pretty darn dull, lacking personality, and following a trope pattern. Possibly not an intended one, but hey, still a present one. The story didn’t redeem anything either, as is common with poorly written characters. But the silver lining remains in general concept of the book. I do believe author has plenty of potential, and it’s only a matter of time, and possibly a better editor, until we get a very fine cup of tea in a book form.

Speaking of which, this was not my cup of tea. I can only give a 3 out of 5, yet will add, that the story was short and light, and reads about the same way as a sci-fi cartoon would, with no overbearing information, common in sci-fi books.

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

“The Tea Master and the Detective” by Aliette de Bodard | The Universe of Xuja

1Author: Aliette de Bodard
Title: The Tea Master and the Detective
Series: The Universe of Xuja
Genre: Sci-fi, Detective
Pages: 96
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

Sometimes the title of the book intrigues me so much that I feel I must read it. “The Tea Master and the Detective” didn’t tempt me by the description, yet still I had to. Sci-fi, tea, detectives. I had to.

About: Shadow’s Child is a Mindship. A shipmaiden born and raised to be put into a ship’s heartroom, where she’d eternally fuse with the ship, and the ship would become her body and she – the mind, and the heart. Revered and honored these mindships carried people through Deep space, the Unreality, be it military purposes or just passengers. Yet during the Uprising Shadow’s Child got into a trap that left her whole crew dead, floating in her cold hallways, with her unable to do anything else than drift there and wait, in hopes she’ll die, or someone will come rescue her.

Today Shadow’s Child doesn’t even want to think of Deep Spaces. In her hologram form she lives in a rented closet of a space, where she brews certain tea blends. Most her customers are travelers who need to go through Deep Space. They want to be knocked out, sleep through it, for even the toughest minds get rendered whimpering in fetal position until the voyage is over. Unreality will do that to you. But not Long Chau, the woman with the decorative name, who introduced herself as a detective writing a study on decomposition in Deep Space. She needs Shadow’s Child to not only make her a brew that’d keep her functioning in the Unreality. She also wants the shipmind to take her up there.

Mine: In less than a hundred pages my mind almost had a meltdown with the unfathomable wonders. Can you even imagine it? Because I certainly struggle to. A person of flesh and bone, becoming a ship, fully. She can FEEL footsteps in her halls. And then, her in holographic form? She could be anything, but she chooses to remain a ship. Can you imagine walking down a corridor with a giant holographic ship by your side, talking to you? And as for the detective plot line, it was so beautifully Sherlockian, I really loved it. Long Chau is a drug user, her intellect comes off as arrogance, and she’s rude, because she’s blunt. Not to mention moral flexibility and well hidden past.

It’s a mind blowing short book. I’m tempted to read other ones too, even if they’re story-wise unrelated, merely set in the same universe. This one gets 5 out of 5.

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

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab | Villains 2

1Author: V.E. Schwab
Title: Vengeful
Series: Villains 2
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy
Pages: 480
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I follow Victoria Schwab over Twitter, and thus witnessed the birth of this book. It was full of tears and whiskey. And since I already read the previous book in the series, seeing how hard she worked, I truly had to pick “Vengeful” up too. And it started as if written for me: with a mobster wife.

About: Marcella always was an ambitious woman. But everyone tends to underestimate those, especially when one is as beautiful as she is. When she married her mobster husband, for instance, everyone assumed she’s with him despite his work. While in truth, she pushed him to it. People, men, mobsters, all rolled their eyes when she offered ideas, thoughts, or even threats. Even her dying promise to destroy her husband was taken for granted, as he fled the scene, and she died in the burning house. Just to awake as an EO with a marvelously destructive powers. But even then, with the room behind her still smoldering, men there rendered to ash, people before her rolled their eyes and thought they can use her instead. Well, not anymore. She’ll take this little game, and make it hers.

Due to such a flaunt of powers, she was soon noticed by EO hunters. And who better to use against someone who can render things dead than someone who can regenerate anything: Eli Ever. Eli, much like Victor Vale, current lives in his personal hell. Here, in a cell, they torture him, cut him, study him, use his powers to track down EO’s. While Victor, out there, got reanimated wrong, and thus dies, day, after day, after day… But neither has lost hope just yet.

Mine: All the characters, even the very cliche ones, were very interesting, and fit into the story very well. My favorite, as author predicted, promised, and as I couldn’t believe, became, of course, Eli Ever and his backstory. I suspected this might be the tragic trope he’d get, but it suits him well, and it was very interesting too. I also enjoyed the way Schwab wrote a sociopath: there’s no leading emotion. They’re not all Dexters. Even the ones who killed no less than Dexter. Well. Maybe a little less…

The book, of course, ended with a very interesting note, and thus I am left to want more. Story was fast paced, interesting, and superbly written, so it’s a 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mavericks by Craig Alanson | Expeditionary Force 6

1Author: Craig Alanson
Title: Mavericks
Series: Expeditionary Force 6
Genre: Sci-Fi, Military Sci-Fi
Pages: 275
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’ve waited, and I’ve waited, and then I got it, and so I’ve read it all in one sitting. Sixth book in the Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson, the “Mavericks” was maybe not exactly to my liking, since it followed the other humans in space, but it was still a very fine read.

About: Most of the book follows the other surviving humans who now call themselves Mavericks. The ones that didn’t get to escape with Joe Bishop and become part of Merry Band of Pirates. In fact, they don’t even know such one exists. All they know is that them and Hamsters too have figured that the enemy of my enemy might just be my friend. So humans joined their military forces, for that might just be the only thing most of these folk know how to do, and are driven to do too. Not all of them, of course. It’s not like any of them expected anymore to get a lift home, especially since the wormhole by Earth, that has caused Earth so much troubles, has turned dormant. And those who did have hopes soon had them crushed anyway, once the team learned that the enemy has decided to break rules and create a bio-weapon with humans, the ones who call themselves Keepers of Faith, still serving the evil motherf-ckers, being the main carriers and possibly the main targets back on Earth.

Mine: While I really do prefer Joe and Skippy having a banter or two, this book made perfect sense. This side of the story had to be told, and so it is better to see it unfold now, in action, rather than hear about it later, in a monologue. Plus, the writing is really high-quality, and the jokes, the jokes are damn fine, even if they did get more spaced apart.

Yep, this was fun. Not as fun as the previous book, but really, really fun. So I give this one a 4 out of 5, and wait for the next one just as eagerly.

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

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.

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

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

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: Everything, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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 of Occult, Books: Everything, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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: Everything, Treasures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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