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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

The Frozen Sky: The Novel, Jeff Carlson

In books on May 20, 2013 at 7:05 am

Bizarre aliens under the ice on Europa – first contact gone wrong – action/adventure/explosions/chase scenes – robots – politics. Certainly there are a lot of smart/interesting details (environment, biology, behavior, technology) that I don’t want to minimize (well researched for sure) – but this novel mainly feels like a fun movie to me, sci-fi alien action!

Jeff Carlson – The Official Website

A great audio interview including information on Frozen Sky

Short Interview with Jeff Carlson, Author of ‘The Frozen Sky’

Rating: 3 of 5
First Read Date: January 2013

Amazon – Frozen Sky

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Second Shift – Order and Third Shift – Pact, Hugh Howey

In books on April 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Second Shift – Order and Third Shift – Pact are volumes 7 and 8 of Hugh Howey’s Silo Series (on this blog see Wool Omnibus (Wool 1-5) and First Shift – Legacy (Part 6 of the Silo Series)). These two books are good – quite a bit of great ‘filling out’ of previous characters/plot/world and certainly some motion towards the continuation of the series – if you enjoyed the earlier books then keep reading! It is worth mentioning that, to me, these don’t quite have the ‘wow’ factor of some of the earlier episodes – but I have high hopes that these are a great foundation for what comes next!

Rating: 3 of 5 (although if you are a fan of the series call it 4 of 5 since you will really want to read these!)
First Read Date: February 2013

Second Shift – Order
Third Shift – Pact

The ‘Shift’ Books of the Silo Series (6,7,8) are now available as The Shift Omnibus.

Sidenote: There are a number of interviews with Hugh Howey (a simple Google search gives good results), some of these have information on his journey from independent to dealing with a large publisher to having film rights to the series acquired (20th Century Fox/Ridley Scott/Steve Zaillian) – pretty interesting!

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CyberStorm, Matthew Mather

In books on March 15, 2013 at 1:38 am

It seems bizare considering the amount of time I have been online (and how fragile computer technology often seems) that I can not think of a true internet ‘disaster’ (news headlines might suggest otherwise – The Worst Internet Disasters Of The Decade from December 2009 for example – but the ‘disasters’ in the list are a bit underwhelming imho…).

As both our lives and infrastructure continue to move onto the internet it becomes increasingly interesting/hard/scary to think about what the impact of a ‘real’ internet disaster could be…

Cyberstorm, by Matthew Mather, is a prequel to the Atopia Chronicles. It tells a disaster story that has the internet/hacking/cyber warfare at it’s core. But if you immediately imagined a hard science fiction tech filled novel with jargon and heroes typing into terminal windows you might be surprised… While there is a bit of cool tech and the author uses the book to raise questions about technology/internet related issues (what kind of issues? read Schneier on Security for an idea), the majority of the book revolves around our need for water, food, shelter and security and the truly terrible consequences when those basic needs become scarce (the Siege of Leningrad is referenced a number of times in the book, certainly a horrifying example of human needs/disaster/scarcity – Effect of the Siege of Leningrad on the city, Siege of Leningrad begins and The Siege of Leningrad, 1941 – 1944).

There were moments in the book where the characters seemed a bit stiff and an occasional discussion that I skimmed – but those minor details are dwarfed by all of the scenarios/details in the book that feel real enough to be quite uncomfortable/interesting/terrible/thought provoking and well worth reading!

This post is based on an advance copy of the novel that I received from the Matthew Mather at no cost.

Amazon – Cyberstorm

Rating: 4 of 5
First Read Date: March 2013

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The Martian, The Egg, Andy Weir

In books on February 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

The Martian, by Andy Weir, is a (near) future Mars survival tale – heavy on science, technology and problem solving (and humor) – no aliens/warp drives/far future gizmos to save the day this time… I (unfortunately) have no idea if any of the science was actually accurate – but it made enough sense to me that it was fun to follow along as the main character solves problem after problem.

Rating: 3 of 5 (plenty fun for techies, but unlikely to blow you away with something new/stunning I think…)
First Read Date: December 2012

I thought the The Martian was a nice read – when I was finished I did a quick search for Andy Weir I started to find some interesting details -> I am Andy Weir, and I wrote “The Egg”. A[sk]M[e]A[nything] -> The Egg (for me this was a very interesting read – amazingly/impressively short – you should read it now, this is low single digit minutes of reading for sure) -> other writings by Andy Weir (I have not dug in but have sampled a touch and this is an impressive page) -> a forum where fans can ask questions and the author actually responds/engages -> very cool!!

Rating: 5 of 5 (for The Egg the rating is certainly partly about the form – impressive)
First Read Date: December 2012

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Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley (New York Review Books Classics)

In books on December 8, 2012 at 7:39 am

Often the science fiction that I like sits more on the ‘hard‘ side of the scale, but this collection by Robert Sheckley reminded me how great stories without shiny-techno-gizmos and interstellar travel can be. There is a huge variety to these stories – but all of them are (deceptively) simple, thoughtful explorations of some aspect of humanity and are imaginatively told with wit, cleverness and (often) humor.

Rating: 4 of 5
First Read Date: July 2012

Amazon – Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley (New York Review Books Classics)

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The Old Man and the Wasteland, Nick Cole

In books on November 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole is a short post-apocalyptic story with (as the title suggests) some parallels to Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea. There are moments in this novel that are truly wonderful, and anyone who is a fan of a post-apocalyptic diversions should add this to their list – but for me this didn’t quite rise to the level of Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars or Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, both of which I would recommend reading first.

Rating: 3 of 5 (maybe better for post-apocalyptic fiction fans)
First Read Date: May 2012

Amazon – The Old Man and the Wasteland

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Blue Earth Remembered, Alastair Reynolds

In books on November 30, 2012 at 8:04 am

Alastair Reynolds (official site and blog) remains one of my favorite authors and it was a pleasure to read another work this year – Blue Earth Remembered. Blue Earth Remembered is set in our solar system a century+ in the future and, it what seems like a departure from what I have been reading lately, is largely a shiny/good future with environmental problems repaired, violence largely eliminated and fantastic technology. Of course there is conflict too – the story revolves around a family mystery that takes the characters adventuring (and creating conflict) across the solar system until the big reveal at the end. There are other books planned in the Poseidon’s Children series, Blue Earth Remembered is a great start!

Rating: 4 of 5
First Read Date: June 2012

Amazon – Blue Earth Remembered

Complete Atopia Chronicles, Matthew Mather

In books on November 23, 2012 at 10:13 am

When I was younger I wondered if I would live to see the day when we lived ‘in space’ or on another planet. I thought it would be awesome/cool/fun and with all that space we just wouldn’t have some of Earth’s problems – it would be better. Sure, naive in an infinite number of ways – but what really took the joy out of that dream was that I started to believe that we will take our problems with us where ever we go…

Matthew Mather‘s Complete Atopia Chronicles tells the tale of a future where new technology is on the verge of changing the world. Most of the books tell different facets of the same story – slowly revealing more and more about the story/world – and giving a more and more complete idea of just what human problems we might take into the glorious techno-future. A great read and worth noting that  Hugh Howey wrote “So great that I wish I’d come with it myself”! (Although I do wish someone had warned me that the ending is the sort of ending that is really begging for a sequel…)

Amazon – Complete Atopia Chronicles

Rating: 4 of 5
First Read Date: October 2012

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I, Zombie, Hugh Howey

In books on November 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I really enjoyed Hugh Howey’s Wool/Silo Series and it was an obvious choice to read more of his work! While the Kindle samples of the Molly Fyde series (1st book) didn’t really excite me I had a different reaction to I, Zombie… I can not really think of a ‘Zombie’ book that I have read, so I don’t know the genre at all – maybe all or part of this book is typical Zombie material, I can’t say. But I can tell you I found it to be terribly gross, thoroughly horrific and a pretty fascinating blend of interesting and disgusting (maybe sort of a ‘this smells, smell it’ kind of thing?). Should you read it? I have no idea – I am almost surprised I made it all the way thru – but I found it quite original and I just couldn’t seem to stop…

Rating: 4 of 5 (but, seriously, very disgusting rotting pus filled stars)
First Read Date: October 2012

Amazon – I, Zombie

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First Shift – Legacy (Part 6 of the Silo Series) (Wool), Hugh Howey

In books on July 15, 2012 at 8:18 am

I recently posted about the first 5 stories in Hugh Howey‘s Wool/Silo Series – good stuff – and I was intrigued when I saw another book available (First Shift – Legacy), partly because it is a good series and I wanted to read more – partly because instead of the sequel I expected this is actually a prequel! In this prequel Howey lays out a fairly complete history of how the silos came into existence – my best guess would have been that this information was going to be revealed gradually over another 5 books (which, I’m sure, would have been quite interesting), but Howey just lays it all out in this book – genius and an unexpected delight!

Rating: 4 of 5 (If you like the first books in the series you simply must read this!)
First Read Date: May 2012

Amazon – First Shift – Legacy (Part 6 of the Silo Series) (Wool)

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