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May 2008 Archives

May 2, 2008

The Android's Dream

The Android's Dream, by John Scalzi

Yay! It's a John Scalzi book!

There were a number of spots in this one (especially in the first half) that had me laughing out loud, even when I was at work around other people. Before I read this I saw all kinds of refrences to the book starting with a chapter long fart joke. And it does, and I laughed. Because clearly inside my 28-year-old female body there is a 12-year-old boy, or at least his sense of humor. (and when did I become 28? what is up with that?!?)

The basic idea is that these aliens need a specific species of sheep for a coronation ceremony or else they'll have major political upheaval on their hands. (It's an "Electric Blue" sheep, hence the book's title) There's also some major players that are a not so thinly veiled poke at $cientology which personally I found quite hilarious.

There's some very very cool AI stuff that I liked a lot. When he first showed up it was the first "gasp, awwww!" moment in the book for me. Someone needs to get on making that whole concept a reality.

There is a lot of humor and it's a very different writing style that most of what I read (I think I said about one of Scalzi's other books, OMW maybe?), but there's also a lot of relationships and connections and people that you can root for.

May 5, 2008

The Warrior's Apprentice

The Warrior's Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is part of the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. It's the first I've read in the series (and by this author) but I think it isn't technically the first in the series. There's a number of different recommendations for where to start the series and this was one of them even though it wasn't the first thing published.


The main character wants very much to join the military as an officer but has some serious physical limitations (something like osteogenesis imperfecta except caused by outside forces before he was born instead of genetic) and isn't able to pass the physical tests to get into officer school. He ends up traveling since he doesn't know what to do with himself now and has adventures! He collects other "desperate" people along the way and gives them a purpose.

There's a lot of class and hereditary political power stuff. More what I'd think of as a medieval political/social structure, except all sci-fi-y. With liege-lords being responsible for those who have sworn oaths to them and that sort of thing. Very serious about not marrying outside your class...

And there's some mention of superstitions regarding "defective" people. I think the planet he's from has had a lot of change in the last hundred years and there's still a lot of older attitudes that don't quite jive with the new attitudes/technology of the rest of the planets. There's this whole idea of him succeding despite the expectations of everyone around him.

May 6, 2008


Bloodlist, by P.N. Elrod

First in the Vampire Files series by P.N. Elrod...

This series is a bit different than most of the vampire stuff I've read so far. They're set in the 30's and have a very different feel to them than the ones set in the present. I've seen "hard-boiled detective" as a descriptor for the genre, but I haven't ever read anything in that area so I have no idea how, or if, that fits.

Vamp rules... no sun, unconsious between sunrise and sunset, blood only (animal blood ok), crosses/garlic/etc aren't a problem, wood is, no reflection, needs "home soil" to sleep, can become non-corporeal, can do the hypnotism thing. I think that's all of them! The "home soil" thing is a new one for me. I've heard it, but nothing I'd read so far had it as anything other than a "vampire myth". This isn't the first one I've read with the whole "no reflection" thing, but that is the one "rule" that never makes sense to me. If you can see them with your eyes then you can see them in the mirror. I know it's a common part of the lore, but it just doesn't make sense to me (I know, they're vampire rules, they aren't real, they don't need to make sense, but there I am anyway)

So, our main character is a journalist who has just moved to Chicago and then got himself murdered, but he'd been turned (sort of, the turning works weirdly, the whole blood exchange thing happens but it may or may not take and you don't find out until you die as a human) years back so he doesn't stay dead. He hooks up with a PI and the two of them try to figure out who killed him and why since he doesn't remember the couple of days before his death.

So far this feels more like the occasional mystery that I read, there isn't as much of the inter-personal stuff that tends to really attract me to characters. More plot-driven than character-driven I guess. Which is fine, I do enjoy that now and then.

May 9, 2008


Lifeblood, by P.N. Elrod

2nd in the Vampire Files series by P.N. Elrod...

Before I get to the actual plot stuff I have to share a weird connection in this book. Near the beginning of the book a couple of the characters go to see a movie version of Romeo and Juliet, since the book is set in the 30's that means it must be this version from 1936. Here's the nifty bit... the actor who played Friar Laurence in that version, Henry Kolker, is a relative of mine! I don't remember what the relationship is exactly off the top of my head, but I think he's either a cousin a couple times removed or a great-great-great uncle or something like that. I'll have to look it up. That completely tickled me when I realized it while I was reading and I had to share.

Plotwise... the sister of the vamp that turned Jack shows up and she's very old and sick now and wants him to turn her. There ends up being a touch more character stuff than there was in the first book (which I appreciated since I like character stuff).

May 11, 2008

Little Brother

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

This is Cory Doctorow's new YA sci-fi book. If you go to his website he has electronic copies of it available under a Creative Commons license. There's a great donation system set up too so that those of us who read the ebook version can get the book to libraries/schools that want it.

I really really liked it. It's one of those books that gives you a ton to think about afterwards.

It's basically a "what if" kind of book. What if a few more civil liberties were taken away, what if there was a bit more surveillance of people, a bit more invasion of privacy. The thing that's really freaky is that all the various technologies that are used in the book are things that are possible right now, they just aren't being done or at least not to the extent they are in the book. So then it becomes... how much are people willing to give up to feel "safe"? Where is the line when we say enough is enough?

Aside from the "big idea" stuff, it's just wonderfully geeky. The kids in the book use websites that I use; they do things I do (or that people I know do). And he's dedicated each chapter to a different book store! Which, to me anyway, gave the whole thing this feeling that it's a celebration of books themselves.

And don't let the whole "YA" thing turn you off, it's a very good book whether you're a teenager or somewhat older than that.

May 15, 2008


Bitten, by Kelley Armstrong

First in the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong...

This would be in the urban/contemporary fantasy genre. Werewolves this time.

The main character is the only female werewolf (they thought women couldn't become wer before her) and is trying to live away from the pack as much as a "normal" human as she can. Of course something goes wrong with the pack and she gets called back to help them deal with the problem, and in the process has to figure out if she wants to keep living as a human or go back to living with the pack.

It was decent, but it didn't grab me as much as other books (Patricia Briggs' Mercy series for example) have. And on the subject of the Mercy Thompson series... Scalzi has a picture of the ARC that he received for the latest in that series and I very much want to reach through my computer and swipe it from him!

I'm not sure why, but I don't think I connected as well with the main character. There was quite a bit of her internal dialogue that was about not being able to control her instincts/actions and I think that might be part of it. That concept bothers me. There's this implied acceptance of not being responsible for your own actions. To some extent it makes sense in this genre. A vamp needs to feed and the instinct to survive takes over, a wer need to change to a different form or must follow an order from their Alpha... I get that. But it goes beyond physical imperatives at some point and becomes an excuse and that bugs me.

May 20, 2008


WorldWired, by Elizabeth Bear

Third in the Wetwired/Jenny Casey series by Elizabeth Bear...

This one is very much about dealing with the aftermath of the second book, both politically and how Richard is trying to deal with the environmental impact. Not to mention the emotional fallout for the main characters.

And I am having the worst time coming up with something intelligent to say! Which seems odd since I liked this series a lot, the characters were interesting and I cared about them. Lots of really nifty techy sci-fi concepts that fascinate me. Dunno! I'm apparently having a "writing about books" block!

May 22, 2008


Maelstrom, by Anne McCaffrey

Second in the Twins of Petaybee series by Anne McCaffrey... I read the first one a little over a year ago, last March. And I started the third one just as soon as I finished this one since this one ends on a cliff-hanger!

The twins have been sent as ambasadors of a sort from Petaybee to invite their friend's people to come live on Petaybee. Of course there are government/military types that get in the way and make things difficult and there's some new animals/guardians that pose some difficulties as well. And the "deep sea otters" are explained a bit more so we know what they actually are.

By the end of the book everything has gone wrong and no one is where they should be. This obviously made me go hunting for the next book immediately 'cuz I very much needed to know if everything was going to be ok!

May 24, 2008


Deluge, by Anne McCaffrey

Third in the Twins of Petaybee series by Anne McCaffrey...

This one and the previous book in the series read like one longer book to me. Of course I read them back to back which encouraged that impression, but the action and plot and all of that pick up exactly where the second book left off.

This one reminded me a lot of the first Petaybee series (which I have read, but not since I started the book blog so no linkies) with the planet itself fighting back. More of a guerilla fight against the authorities kind of feel.

So, all of our good guys are imprisoned or unable to get past communication problems and in desperate need of getting the word out as to what is going on so that the situation can be dealt with. The Big Bad from the first book has reappeared and has one of the twins. I'm not going to give the whole thing away, but there is resolution by the end of the book so no cliff-hanger on this one!

I'm very much hoping that there'll be more books either in this series or in the original Petaybee series. She creates such interesting people and places and I always want more. The idea of a sentient planet is just fascinating (as are selkies!) It makes for such a different world (in the sense of the world of the book, not the planet) when there's this huge entity that is both residence and protector.

May 25, 2008

Already Dead

Already Dead, by Charlie Huston

First in the Joe Pitt series by Charlie Huston...

Vampire book! And this is a new series/author so vamp rules to start with. Can eat regular food, but need blood regularly as well. Sunlight hurts, but no insta-flames and not unconscious from sunrise to sunset either. Holy water and garlic aren't issues. Interesting departure... vampirism is caused by a virus that requires those infected to consume blood; however, there's no fangs provided when a person is infected so they run around with needles and blood bags and "tap" people to get the blood they need.

So... we have a vamp that isn't a part of any of the "clans" so he does dirty work for a couple of them so they'll let him live the way he wants. (Dirty work being taking care of zombies and things like that) He has a girlfriend who doesn't know he's a vamp, and I'd like to see where that goes in future books. Since what he is could help her, will she be pissed that he lied or will she want his help or will she want to stay human even though that means dying?

Anyway, there's a zombie carrier running around infecting people and Joe has to find and take care of it since no one wants a bunch of zombies running around eating people's brains. Things rapidly get complicated and there's a rich missing girl he has to find and her parents are somehow involved with one of the big clans (think vampire mob), her father in particular causing all kinds of problems. There's also all kinds of power struggles and political issues going on between the various vampire groups.

May 29, 2008


Bloodcircle, by P.N. Elrod

Third in the Vampire Files series by P.N. Elrod...

The time frame on these is really interesting to me. This is the third book in the series and we've barely covered a month's worth of time for the characters. It makes it incredibly tempting to just grab the next book when I'm done with one!

Let's see... plot stuff... Jack and Charles go to New York to see if they can track down what happened to the vamp that turned Jack. They do indeed figure out what happened and we meet her sire as well.

I'm liking that we're starting to get more of a feel for who these guys are and what makes them tick.

About May 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Sunidesus Reads in May 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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