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Sci-Fi & Fantasy Archives

July 1, 2005

The Tower and the Hive



The Tower and the Hive, by Anne McCaffrey

I adore Anne McCaffrey, but I'm all sad that this is the last book in the "Talent" series! I want there to be as many Talent books as there are Pern books!

Nothing horribly insightful about the book or anything, mostly just saying I read it, I enjoyed it, and I want more!

August 29, 2005

The Death of Sleep



Death of Sleep, by Anne McCaffrey

This would be another Anne McCaffrey book. (Can you tell I like her?) My copy of it is actually in a three-in-one book that has two other books from the same series in it. Just finished part one last night. It's a tad drier than most of her books, but I still enjoyed it and read the whole thing in just slightly more than a week.

Right now I mostly want to start the second book 'cuz I want to know what happens to Lunzie! It's just not nice to end a book on a cliff-hanger!

September 5, 2005

Dinosaur Planet Survivors



Dinosaur Planet Survivors, by Anne McCaffrey

I just had to find out what happened to Lunzie in the last book I read. And of course I had the next one on my shelf just waiting for me. There is a book that goes before this one called "Dinosaur Planet" that starts near the end of The Death of Sleep and ends in the same spot. But as soon as I started it I realized I'd read it a while ago! So I happily skipped to the next book.

I think I really just have to echo what I said about the last book. It's a little drier than a lot of her books, but it's still a good read. It's like there's just enough to make me want to know more about the characters. Kinda frustrating!

September 13, 2005

Deathstalker Legacy



Deathstalker Legacy (Owen Deathstalker), by Simon R. Green

This would be the sixth book in a decent length series by Simon R. Green. When I finished the fifth one it was supposed to be the last in the series, but then I was at the book store a year or so ago and found another one! Apparently the author changed his mind or something 'cuz now there's three more books in the series! Yay!

This one picks up about 200 years after the last one, so obviously there's a whole new set of characters to get to know. It's one of those wonderful books that's got a ton of pages (465 to be exact) but is also incredibly hard to put down. When I first picked it up I read the first 150 or so pages without even really thinking about it. I love that in a book. It's such a wonderful escape to be so totally engrossed in another world.

September 22, 2005

Deathstalker Return



Deathstalker Return, by Simon R. Green

Another in the Deathstalker series by Simon R. Green. I sped through it just like I sped through the last one. I adore good books like that, but it's so frustrating when they're done! I know there's at least one more in this series, but it's only available in hardcover at the moment and that's just too expensive.

There's something about the "space opera" genre that I just love.

November 28, 2005

Blade Dancer



Blade Dancer (Stardoc), by S.L. Viehl

Yeah, so I haven't posted a new book in a while. I've been working my way through a non-fiction one that's taking a lot longer than I expected! I took a break the past week to read this one. I stopped at Borders the other day because I felt in the need for a couple new books. I was extremely excited to find two new ones by S.L. Viehl. I blazed through her Stardoc series a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it. Her aliens are more alien than any I've ever read before. They're so much more than "humans with different makeup" like most are. This time there's lots of half-alien/half-Terrans.

This one isn't really part of the Stardoc series, but it does take place in the same universe so there's bits here and there that are familiar. There's a new heroine with a whole new set of problems. The Jorenians feature prominently which I liked since they were such a huge part of the Stardoc story.

December 16, 2005

Bio Rescue



Bio Rescue, by S.L. Viehl

This is another one by S.L. Viehl. Just like Blade Dancer it's in the same universe, but has different characters. The main species in this one are the 'Zangians who are aquatic. The whole idea of pods and a lack of property and a quite pragmatic view of life/injury/death. It's a very different way of looking at the world, from the perspective of a dolphin-person. Lots of inter-species stuff too, I love the way Viehl writes aliens! And I have to say, I was quite attached to the main character by the end of the book.

December 20, 2005

Some Assembly Required



SCE: Some Assembly Required, by

Well, I've certainly been on a sci-fi reading kick lately! This is book three in the "Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers" series. They're really fun books. They all started out as e-books, and each of the paperback versions has three or four e-books in it. The various stories all reference each other which I really like. Every now and then a character from one of the tv shows will show up, but for the most part they're all book-only characters. There's some really interesting one's too! A couple of the stories in this book focused on just a few of the characters and that was really nice. Kind of like a "Geordi episode" or a "Data episode".

There's really not a ton to say about it besides, it's Star Trek! And I'm a Trekkie!

December 22, 2005

No Surrender



SCE: No Surrender, by

It's amazing how much reading a person can do when they're stuck in airplanes and airports all day! I'm going to have to read something that's not Star Trek at some point I think.

So today I had some more adventures with the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. There were earthquakes, plagues, a prison break, and a crazy computer!

Yeah, not much else to say about it. It's Star Trek, it's fun, it's great airplane reading!

February 2, 2006

The Fall of Winter



Fall of Winter, by Jack C. Haldeman II

This is what happens when I read multiple books at the same time! I finish them near each other!

This one is by Jack C. Haldeman and I found out about it ages ago and have had on my Amazon list for quite a while. It's also been out of print for a number of years; I finally bought a used copy and now I've finished reading it and here we are!

The interesting thing about this book (and the reason I was interested in it) is that it had a main character who's deaf. Not the main character, but one of them. The guy is a space pilot and all pilots are deaf. Some are Deaf, but mostly the pilots have their auditory nerves removed when they finish training. It's really interesting, 'cuz there's this whole elite group of people that are needed for the civilization, but that same group in our world tends to be marginalized.

There's also a great big conspiracy and terraforming and class issues and a little romance too.

March 3, 2006

Rebel Ice



Rebel Ice, by S.L. Viehl

This is the latest in the Stardoc series by S.L. Viehl.

This one made me sad. It took me forever to figure out which character was Cherijo, and after it became clear it hurt that she was so destroyed. I'm really, really hoping that Viehl somehow figures out a way to "fix" her in future books. 'cuz I don't like a broken Cherijo! I like the kick-butt Cherijo that we all know and love.

March 25, 2006

The Disappeared



The Disappeared: A Retrieval Artist Novel, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I actually finished this a couple days ago, I just hadn't gotten around to posting it! Working the morning show and being half-consious will do that to a person

Anyway, this is a completely new author/series for me. It's by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (she spells Kathryn right!) and I stumbled across it at Borders a few weeks ago and it looked interesting so I picked it up. It's the first in the "Retrieval Artists" series so I now have a whole 'nother bunch of books to read. Always a good thing. The premise is that there is a kind of witness protection program for humans who are trying to escape from alien cops/bounty hunters. There's a number of companies that do the "disappearing" and something odd is going on with one company in particular. The catch is that it's technically illegal to disappear because the interspecies laws say that the aliens have a right to these people. I'm not going to say any more because that's going to give away major plot points!

Just the procedural aspects of the legal system are quite fascinating. And I quite enjoyed the characters too! It had me interested from the first chapter and that always makes me happy. I like when a book can engage me right away like that.

May 31, 2006

Dies the Fire



Dies the Fire, by S.M. Stirling

I'm back in my favorite genre with this one by S.M. Stirling, whom I thought was a woman until a couple days ago! I'm not sure why, but I've read previous books by this author and I'd always assumed it was a woman. But this book has an author picture in the back and he's a guy! I have no idea why I thought S.M. Stirling was a woman, but I did.

Anyway! I was wandering around Borders a few weeks ago and picked up this book and it looked really interesting. So it came home with me! (It's really amazing how those books keep sneaking into my "to be purchased" pile...) At any rate, I haven't read anything quite like this before. The basic idea is that all of a sudden electricity stops working. All over the planet. Poof. Gone. And it isn't just electricity, all types of engines quit, gunpowder doesn't even work right anymore.

Once I started really getting into the plot and characters it started making me think. What would I do in that situation? How would I survive? I love books that get you to do that.

My only issue is that it tends to have a Christians=BAAAAAD bend to it. And yes I know that there's horrible people out there that call themselves Christians, but it's incredibly frustrating when the only characters that are identified as Christians are nasty people. There's other people that are "good guys" that are "lapsed Lutherans" or are converting to Wicca. It leaves you with the idea that a strong Christian faith is a bad thing. There's no reason there couldn't have also been decent people who were identified as Christians to balance it out. Very irritating! Luckily it's a fairly small part of the plot!

So for the most part I really liked it and am looking forward to the next one in the series!

August 7, 2006

Deathstalker Coda



Deathstalker Coda, by Simon R. Green

This is the last in the Deathstalker series by Simon R. Green. *sniff*

I've really enjoyed this series and didn't want it to end at all. I don't really have anything to add to what I've said about this series before, just that I'm sad that this is the last one.

December 14, 2006

The Protector's War



The Protector's War, by S.M. Stirling

This is the second in a series by S.M. Stirling, the first being Dies the Fire.

I know it got a number of crummy reviews on Amazon, but I liked it. Yeah, there isn't exactly a war like the title says, more of the buildup to it. I'm assuming that'll happen in the next book (I'm waiting eagerly for the paperback edition so I can get it, I want to know what happens next!)

I think the time jumps about 5 years from the end of the first book, so civilization is a little bit further along; we get to learn about some of the rest of the world, which is nice. Plus it's quite lengthy and I'm always a fan of a well written brick!

December 23, 2006

Extremes



Extremes: A Retrieval Artist Novel, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

This would be the second book in the Retrieval Artists Series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, the first was The Disappeared. For whatever reason, this one is out of print and I had to order it from a seller on Amazon. No idea what that's about since the book before and the ones after are still in print. And it's not like it was a bad book or something either! I quite enjoyed it. Lots of character development stuff happened for the main character and his former partner.

This one centers around a murder at the moon marathon and the possible involvement of a Disappeared in that and the following events. (about which I shan't go into detail so as not to ruin it for anyone who happens across this!)

I'm planning to go get number three in the series at Borders tomorrow. I'm home on vacation and I need another book!

February 12, 2007

Snow Crash



Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

This is the first book I've read by Neal Stephenson. It's one of those iconic sci-fi books that people talk about. I first heard about it while I was reading some Heroes boards; a number of people were comparing the Hiro in the TV show to the Hiro in the book. Other than the name and the sword carrying I'm personally not sure there's a ton of common ground.

I found it kind of interesting, but it took me quite a while to get into it at all. At least the first half just felt like a chore. It did get more engaging eventually, but it took a while. I think it had more to do with the writing style than anything, a lot of it felt really disjointed.

A lot of the ideas in it are interesting (and a little scary!) Corporations are basically in charge of everything, there's no laws to speak of... there doesn't seem to be much in the way of personal connections. The "internet" in the book seems really nifty though! It's the 3-D, avatars, virtual reality version that movies frequently use.

It was an interesting book and I'm glad I read it, there's a lot of movies and things that I can see got some of their inspiration from it, and that's always nifty to see. But I'm not sure I'll read anything else by the author for a while.

March 28, 2007

Changelings



Changelings (The Twins of Petaybee, Book 1), by Anne McCaffrey

This follows after the Petaybee books by Anne McCaffrey. (Powers That Be, Power Lines, Power Play) It focuses more on the twins than the adults as they grow up. There's a lot of them trying to be more independent, but they also have to figure out who they can trust with their true natures.

I think I'd be hard pressed to find an Anne McCaffrey book that I didn't like and this one is no exception. I love the universes she creates.

July 6, 2007

Maximum Ride



Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson

This is what happens when I go home on vacation... I bring multiple books because I know I'll read a lot while I'm home. And then I don't read what I brought, I buy something new and read that. And have to fit the extra books into my suitcase on the way back.

Anyway! This is by James Patterson and is one of those "young adult" books that are wonderful guilty pleasure reading. We have kids that have been genetically messed with to have wings. They've escaped from the scientists and are on their own, but of course the bad guys hunt them down and they have to escape again. Yes, it's predictable, but I wasn't looking for difficult reading with this one.

It's fun fantasy reading, and I'm a total sucker for stories about people with special abilities/super powers.

July 16, 2007

Maximum Ride - School's Out Forever



Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever, by James Patterson

The second book in this series by James Patterson. The second one picks up pretty much exactly where the first one left off, which is a great way to get you to buy the next book, I have to say!

There's a lot more of the conspiracy and destiny stuff in this one. What I said about the first one holds for this as well. It's fun light reading.

Really the only thing that bugged me was the Ari character. I know, these are kids with wings, I shouldn't expect reality, but the Ari stuff really rang false to me.

August 24, 2007

Ghost in the Shell: The Lost Memory



Ghost In The Shell - Stand Alone Complex Volume 1: The Lost Memory, by Junichi Fujisaku

I've been watching the Ghost in the Shell anime on Adult Swim lately and enjoying it quite a bit. I know it's originally a manga, but I've never been able to get in to those. But there's at least a couple actual books set in that universe and this is the first one.

The world they're set in has a very Matrix feel to it (I think the Matrix guys used GitS as one of their inspirations so that makes sense), the main character is essentially a brain inside an artificial body. Just about everyone is hooked up to a version of the internet, and people can be "hacked" though it.

It's a Japanese series so there's a lot of subtle differences in cultural priorities, what's acceptable behavior, what a person's goal in life should be... it's really interesting.

The story in this one has to do with teenagers that are becoming terrorists without any warning.

October 23, 2007

Blood Price



Blood Price, by Tanya Huff

This is the first of the "Blood Books" by Tanya Huff.

I found out about this series in a slightly roundabout way. I've been watching Moonlight on CBS and in the forums for it on TWoP someone mentioned Blood Ties which is airing on Lifetime, and that that series is based on a book series. So of course I ended up at Borders since I like to read something before I watch it. (Over the weekend I watched most of the episodes of it that have aired so far and it's quite good)

So we have a former cop that is now a PI (she has retinitis pigmentosa and couldn't continue as a cop), her former partner/lover, and the illegitimate son of Henry VIII (who is a vampire). The story itself involves demons.

I think I finished this in all of about two days. Yes, I'm predisposed to like the mortal/immortal dynamic, but it's a really good story and well written and it was one of those books that I couldn't put down.

What I find absolutely fascinating about the book is that Henry (the vampire) is Catholic, he has a soul, he prays. It's pretty common to have books about supernatural stuff that just has evil vs. humans. And "good" vampires are only good because they deny their vampy ways. But this one is different. Yes, he's a vampire and he enjoys what he is, but he isn't evil.

slightly spoilery bit is next, quit reading now if you don't want to know...


There's a part where the demon is starting to come through and Henry prays and the demon is pushed back. There's an acknowledgment of the supernatural that is good. And that the good is just as powerful as the bad. It's just not something that's seen very often in the genre and I'm loving it.

October 24, 2007

Blood Trail



Blood Trail, by Tanya Huff

This is book number 2 in the Blood Books series by Tanya Huff. Yes I read it in one day.

Clearly I'm enjoying this series, but there's only 5 of them and that makes me sad! But they're very re-readable so that's good.

The story in this one involves a family of werewolves and someone is hunting them. The family dynamic is very different than a human family (obviously!) but they're essentially a close-knit family that just wants to be safe. And ya know, turn into big dog/wolf/wer things.

The Henry/Vicki relationship moves quite a bit forward in this book. And the relationship Mike has with both of them changes. The scene when Mike is going to the farm to confront the two of them seriously had me laughing out loud at work.

October 27, 2007

Blood Lines



Blood Lines, by Tanya Huff

This is number three in the Blood Book series by Tanya Huff.

Well, I managed to get this one to last about three days which is progress of a sort! I'm just glad these are all very re-readable or else I'd be very very sad, instead of just normal sad.

The Big Bad in this one is a mummy, sort of. And no that's not a spoiler, it's on the back cover of the book.

There's a lot of Henry's emotional insecurities and fears in this one which hadn't really been in the first two very much. He's not quite the invulnerable vampire he'd like everyone to believe. There's also more religion stuff in this one which I think is really interesting. There's a kind of struggle between ancient Egyptian gods and Henry and his belief in the One True God.

I know I talked about it before with the first book, but I find the author's treatment of religion incredibly refreshing. I'm such a sci-fi junky that most of what I read completely dismisses my own religious beliefs and while I have no idea what the author's personal beliefs are, she treats them with respect and I really appreciate that. It's such a rare thing to find.

November 1, 2007

Blood Pact



Blood Pact, by Tanya Huff

And we have arrived at book number four in the Blood Book series by Tanya Huff.

This one didn't have a supernatural bad guy, but the human bad guys were plenty bad!

I'm having a slightly harder time coming up with something to write about this one. I bawled my way through the last 50 pages or so and I'm just kind of emotionally drained. I know there's another full book and a collection of short stories still, but I'm just not ready to read them yet. I don't think I'm ready to have everything be so different (as it will have to be because of what happened in #4).

Anyway.

There's a lot of Henry/Mike interaction in this one which is a very different dynamic than the Mike/Vicki & Henry/Vicki that's in the first three.

And now I'm going to read something completely different. I'm sure it won't be long until I finish the series, but just not quite yet.

December 9, 2007

ST:TNG Slings and Arrows 1 - A Sea of Troubles

TroublesCover.jpg
A Sea of Troubles, by Steven and Christina York

A couple weeks ago I bought Sony's ebook reader and I'm completely in love with it. This is the first full book I read on it. Actually finished this at least a week ago, but I completely forgot to write an entry for it.

So! This is the first in a 6 part series of Next Gen books that bridge Generations and First Contact. At the moment they're only available as ebooks, but the SCE ones are released as paperbacks so I'm assuming these will be eventually as well. This one is by Steven and Christina York.

There's a changeling infiltrator and there's interesting stuff with Data and his emotion chip (which is a new thing for him at the time this is set)

December 10, 2007

ST:TNG Slings and Arrows 2: The Oppressor's Wrong

OpressorCover.jpg
The Oppressor's Wrong, by Phaedra Weldon

The second book in the Slings and Arrows Next Gen series... this one is by Phaedra Weldon.

I finished it a few days ago, but was was a bit forget-full with the posting thing.

This one is a bit more on the political intrigue side. At the time these are set the Dominion War is going on which of course breeds a lot of paranoia and fear because of the nature of the enemy.

December 15, 2007

Blood Bank



Blood Bank, by Tanya Huff

I find short stories a little bit odd when they involved characters that you're used to seeing in full books. The stories are never as intricate, there isn't as much involved. They're fun, but they don't really capture me the way a real book will. There just isn't as much meat.

I did really like the Henry past stories, I always like finding out more about him and what he's been doing for 450 some years!

***If you haven't read book 4 stop reading now!***

Mostly it's just really odd not having Henry and Vicki together. I know they talk on the phone and stuff, but it just isn't the same. It makes me kinda sad.

December 29, 2007

At All Costs



At All Costs (Honor Harrington), by David Weber

This one is the latest in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. I'm sure I've said it before, but I love this series. It has that whole epic/military sci-fi/space opera thing going on.

There's a lot of rather... unconventional things going on in Honor's personal life, and of course being who she is that causes all kinds of drama. The scope of the military stuff becomes insanly huge, which kind of scares me as far as the future of the story goes. The numbers of people involved is rather overwhelming.

And of course I made it the end of the book when I was at work and only had a few pages left and only a few minutes until I had to put it down... and I was crying. The way Weber ends it is really beautiful, but incredibly heart-breaking at the same time.

January 2, 2008

Storm Front



Storm Front, by Jim Butcher

This is the first book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.

I found this series through my typical... watch a TV show, find out it's based on a book, read the books... method. And just about invariably the books are better, but that's just the way that kind of thing works.

This falls under that contemporary fantasy genre which is just great fun. In this case the main character is a wizard (and advertises as a wizard, not that anyone believes him) who works as a PI in Chicago. And what is it about this particular genre that there's so many PI's/detectives?

So there's a missing husband, another wizard messing around with some seriously dark magic (who of course wants to kill Harry), giant scorpions, and a nasty new illegal drug.

Since this is the first in the series we also meet or are introduced to a bunch of people/things for the first time. Bob is quite a bit different than the Bob in the TV series, his personality is very similar, but his history is different. Murph of course, and the White Council enforcer dude whose name is escaping me just at the moment. There's fairies, and quite a bit about the "Rules" since the new wizard is very much not following said rules!

January 7, 2008

Blood Debt



Blood Debt, by Tanya Huff

This is the last of the Blood Books by Tanya Huff. *sniff, sob, cry*

Yeah, I know there's the "Smoke &" trilogy that at least has Henry and Tony, but I am so ridiculously in love with the Henry/Vicki of the first four books and I want more of those!

If you haven't read the first 4, you shouldn't read this here post as it'll give away all kinds of stuff, so stop reading!

So, Vicki's a vampire now and is with Mike. Henry's elsewhere with Tony and a ghost is haunting him. He asks Vicki for help which creates all kinds of problems since he's lived for 400+ years believing that two vampires can't be in the same territory without killing each other.

Even though the two of them do kind of figure out how to co-exist, it mostly just made me sad that they lost the relationship they used to have. Yes, they're still friends, but it isn't what it used to be and that's sad. Seeing them figure out how to control their instincts and decide what is necessary and how much is just Henry's "this is the way it's always been." It was hard, I'm glad they somewhat worked through it, but I still wish they could be close like they used to be. Not having to be so guarded with each other all the time.

Egads, I seem to be a tad attached to these guys!

It is a very good book (as are the previous ones) it just had this sad overtone to it (for me anyway,) that made it a little harder for me to read than the other ones.

January 13, 2008

Twilight



Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

This is the first of a series by Stephenie Meyer. There are three so far, but I believe a fourth is scheduled to be published later this year.

This was recommended to me because of my recent devouring of the Blood Books by Tanya Huff. Ya know, vampire stuff. These are geared younger than the Huff books, the main person (main human anyway) is in high school.

The book was ok. Kinda predictable. It kind of irritates me when I can see exactly where a certain story line or plot point is going and it takes forever for it to arrive. As soon as Bella sees the "odd family" in the lunchroom it's quite obvious who they are and why they're so different and standoffish. But then you have to wait through quite a bit more book before she figures it out.

Of course I always find supernatural stuff very fun so whenever there's people who have special abilities or whatever I really enjoy that. And as most authors do, the vampire rules are slightly different. They can go in the sun, but they don't unless they're alone because they look completely different in direct sunlight. So they tend to live places that are cloudy most of the time! Regular food is out, but animal blood works, it doesn't have to be human.

Let's see... plot-wise (and so I remember which book this was which is the whole point of this) some other vamps show up in the territory of the "good vamps" that we care about and want to have Bella for their own and of course that just can't happen so there's a big old fight and of course a couple loose ends.

January 14, 2008

New Moon



New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer

This is the second in a series by Stephenie Meyer. I'm sure the series has an official name, but I'm not sure what it is! I did read this fast, but it was more of a "wanting to spend the day in bed reading" than "must finish book" kind of thing.

I had similar issues with this one as I did with the first one. There's big creatures prowling around in the woods... gee, ya think those might be werewolves? And that the boys in local Native tribe that are suddenly acting oddly... they just could be involved?

It just frustrates me when characters take forever to arrive where I already am.

Plus this time there was the added problem of me really not caring one little bit that the main character was all depressed. She's just so insanely broken by her boyfriend leaving and it didn't seem realistic to me. There's really never an explaination for why she's so incredibly attached to this guy. Yeah, he's a vampire and he's hot, but that's as far as it goes. Every time she's pinning after him it's just that he's "perfect". OK, fine. What makes him perfect? Why do you love him so much?

Werewolf boy on the other hand seems to be a real person. He's much much more three dimensional than either the girl or the vampire. Much more interesting. I actually cared about his issues!

But of course, it's a vampire book and I just can't help myself so of course I read it and I'll read the rest of the series too.

January 15, 2008

SCE: Have Tech, Will Travel



SCE: Have Tech, Will Travel

This is the first of the "dead tree" versions of the SCE ebooks; it has the first four ebooks. I have read it before, but it isn't listed here so it must have been at least 2 and a half years ago. I was wanting to start reading this series again, but I wasn't remembering who exactly everyone was and what had happened and all of that so I figured a little re-reading was in order. And I didn't actually read this in one day despite what the time stamps say. I tend to read more than one book at the same time and sometimes I finish multiple books pretty close together.

The first 3 all have Geordi in them which makes me happy since he's my favorite. Of course there's never enough of him in any ST books, but I'll take what I can get. The third one (the one with the Friend spaceship) could have done interesting things with him and the whole concept of cybernetic implants, but it wasn't even mentioned. I totally get that there was a story to tell with one of the actual main characters of the series, but I still found it disappointing that there wasn't at least a throwaway line or two.

Anyway, my own personal hang-ups aside... the first two books deal with a gigantic ship and the thousands upon thousands of passengers that must be missing. Of course they do turn up and it isn't pleasant.

Book the third is mostly about 110 dealing with what happened to 111. It fleshes out a lot of Bynar society and culture which is interesting.

The fourth is part one of a two-parter; the second part is in the second omnibus edition. It has an interesting premise that comes from a TOS episode (I believe it's "The Tholian Web" but I'm not positive) involving a ship stuck in a rift between our universe and another.

January 16, 2008

SCE: Miracle Workers



SCE: Miracle Workers

This is the second anthology in the SCE series, it has ebooks 5-8.

I have read this before, but it was quite some time ago and I wanted a little refresher.

The first book is the second part of the last book in the first anthology, the one with the Tholians and the ship stuck in Interphase. After that there's three stand-alone books.

First off (or second really) they have to go get something from Empok Nor to fix DS9 so we get to see Nog. And Corsi and Fabe kinda get involved with each other, but not exactly.

The third book is set up a little differently, it's all about Sonya and a lot of it is told through her log entries while she's away on a mission by herself. And even though it isn't listed this way in the table of contents, it's actually two ebooks but they were smooshed together for the anthology version. Which makes sense.

January 20, 2008

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports



Maximum Ride - Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, by James Patterson

This would be the third book in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.

I'd say I had a similar reaction to the first two. It's a fun read, not very complex, but it isn't meant to be so that's ok. And besides, kids with wings? That's just kinda cool to contemplate.

This one does wrap up a number of the loose ends and I was assuming it was going to be the end of the series, but I just saw a posting on-line somewhere for a fourth book so I guess not!

My one complaint is the whole weird blogging/kid revolution thing. Yes, as a kid that would have appealed to me in a book and since this is aimed at "young adults" that makes sense. But, as a sort of grown up (and when exactly do I become a grown up? I sure don't feel like one most of the time!) it just seems kind of ridiculous. Yes, I blog and have for years and I do think it can do amazing things. But this went waaaaay beyond that. And without any "adults" involved. I just have a hard time believing a bunch of kids could go storm some military complex without any kind of guidance or planning or anything.

I know, it's a story, it's fantasy... and I have no problem accepting kids with wings! But when there's an element that brings me out of the story, I think that's a problem.

But mostly it's just a fun quick read!

January 23, 2008

Eclipse



Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer

Third in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer...

First off... same issues as I had with book the second... so I shan't rehash them here. I'll just do a little plot business for my own memory.

The bad guys from the first book are back and want revenge, so the vamps and the were have to defend Bella. Which involves them working together which they're programmed not to do.

And there's this whole "Bella has to choose" thing going on through most of it, which makes the above mentioned issues more annoying. The guy who's more believable and interesting is of course the one that she isn't being written to want. It's frustrating, the author is clearly capable of writing an interesting three-dimensional guy, so why aren't both guys written that way?

January 30, 2008

1632



1632, by Eric Flint

This would be the first of the Assiti Shards series or the 1632 series or whatever you want to call it! And it's by Eric Flint.

I've looked at this one I don't know how many times and thought "I should read that, I bet I'd like it." And now that I've finally done so... I did indeed like it a lot! It has a similar feel to S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire series. Except instead of everything not working, it's an entire town that gets sent back in time. So the rules of physics haven't changed, but everything outside this one town has. So even though stuff works, there aren't going to be replacement parts coming, power is going to have to be generated somehow, and the people aren't exactly going to behave like we're all used to!

I did end up finding myself on wikipedia every other chapter or so because real historical people kept showing up and I wanted to know who they were and what actually happened. So I've learned things about the King of Norway and the war that was going on at the time and all kinds of interesting things!

Just like Dies the Fire this one had me doing the "what would I do?" thing while I was reading it. And even though stuff would still work in this universe, it freaked me out a bit more than Stirling's. I think it's the idea that there is absolutely nothing familiar left outside of your one little town.

It's an incredibly interesting book and idea and I'm very much looking forward to reading more in the series. I really liked watching the "natives" learn about American style democracy and equality and justice and all these ideas that we very much take for granted, but at that time would have been completely foreign and unthinkable.

And how do you prepare yourself for everything to break down? The modern technology is great and gives a huge advantage, but only for as long as it lasts. Sure, you could figure out how to make some things, but there'd be no way to make so many of the things that would eventually quit working.

So... very interesting and good book. Lots to think about, and I learned some history stuff that I never would have otherwise!

February 2, 2008

Fool Moon



Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, Book 2), by Jim Butcher

And here we have the second Dresden Files book by Jim Butcher.

This one involves werewolves, and more than one kind of them at that! And each kind has their own rules of course. I have no idea how much of these are based on folklore and how much is from Mr. Butcher's head. It seems each author changes the rules slightly for all the various paranormal creatures. Which makes sense. They aren't real after all!

And I've now been staring at the screen for a good ten minutes trying to come up with something to say. It probably doesn't help that I'm writing this a good month after I finished the book. (The date on the post is when I finished it, I just held off on the actual publishing of said post until I wrote something and it's now a month later than that there date)

So yeah, werewolves, mob boss, general bad stuff, Murph getting mad at Dresden... all that.

February 4, 2008

The Ship Who Sang



The Ship Who Sang, by Anne McCaffrey

I'm not going to do a big long thing for this one. It's the first in the "Ship Who" series by Anne McCaffrey. I've read it a number of times, but I was in the mood for this series so here it is!

This one is about Helva (she is the Ship Who Sings naturally), and it's more a collection of novella/short stories than one novel.

February 6, 2008

Forests of the Night



Forests of the Night, by S. Andrew Swann

I've read this before, but I felt like reading it again so here it is! It's by S. Andrew Swann and there's three more books in the series.

The whole idea is that genetic engineering became a reality, and of course the military wanted to create soldiers. But messing around with humans was off limits, so animals were made intelligent and changed so that they could be the soldiers. The wars are basically over now, but there's still all of these creatures left (They're called "moreau"s as in The Island of Dr.) who have to somehow be integrated into society.

Mr. Main Character (Nohar) is a tiger, but there's rabbits, foxes, bears, a mongoose, rats, dogs... all kinds of interesting people/animals. And they all have to somehow live with the humans. Which obviously creates some problems. I find all those little things really interesting. Like not wanting to wear clothes, having issues with one's tail falling asleep 'cuz you have to sit in a chair made for a human, instincts that are fine in the jungle, but maybe not so great downtown or dealing with clients.

As far as plot stuff... Nohar is a PI and gets asked to look into the death of a politician. And of course things rapidly go downhill.

February 8, 2008

Partnership



PartnerShip, by Anne McCaffrey

I've been in the mood for re-reading very much loved books lately... this is the second in the Ship series by Anne McCaffrey.

I find the "shell-people" concept incredibly interesting. These people that are incredibly powerful and yet incredibly helpless at the same time.

Anyway! This one features Nancia as the brain, and then the group of Family brats that she transports on her first assignment after she graduates and gets her ship. It follows the lot of them and bounces between them all for a few years to tell the whole story of what happens and how it all interconnects.

Unlike Helva from the first book, Nancia does know who her family is and she stays connected to them. I like that difference, I think it keeps her more human. A lot of the story is about her growing up and learning how to make decisions for herself.

February 9, 2008

The Ship Who Searched



The Ship Who Searched, by Anne McCaffrey

And continuing my re-reading kick... another in the Ship series by Anne McCaffrey.

The brain in this one is Tia and this time there's a consistent brawn too, Alex.

Tia is quite a bit different than the other brains in the series so far (and after for that matter) in that she's 7 or 8 (I don't remember exactly without looking it up) before she becomes a shell-person. And it takes some significant doing by a doctor and another shell-person to get her in the program in the first place.

Once she's ensconsed in her ship, the searching refers to her attempt to find out what made her sick (forcing the whole shell thing) and make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

February 12, 2008

Wizard's Holiday



Wizard's Holiday, by Diane Duane

Number 7 in the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane...

I read the first six books in this series quite a while ago and it was a lovely little surprise to find two more.

In this one Nita and Kit go on a sort of wizard foreign exchange program which is supposed to be a bit of a holiday for them and of course isn't. They have to help an ancient race of people from becoming completely stagnant.

And Nita's sister is at home and there are wizards staying with them as part of the program and while they're there they discover that there is something seriously wrong with the sun and they have to fix it.

February 14, 2008

The City Who Fought



The City Who Fought, by Anne McCaffrey

More re-reading... This is maybe my favorite of the Ship series by Anne McCaffrey.

I really like Simeon. And the name of his brawn is totally escaping me just at the moment! Oh well.

Anyway, this time the brain is a station manager so there's lots more regular people around instead of just the brawn. He gets to be a father which is cool.

There's lots near the end of the book that's just heart-wrenching though. The whole thing with him getting taken out of his column is just scary, but what gets me every time I read this is what he does to get Amos to take care of his brawn since he can't. He very clearly wants to, but isn't physically able.

February 17, 2008

The Ship Who Won



The Ship Who Won, by Anne McCaffrey

Continuing the re-reading... as is probably obvious from the title, this is part of Anne McCaffrey's Ship series.

The brain is Cari and the brawn Keff. They have a wonderful relationship that is just really fun to watch. She's the princess and he's her knight and they have this whole pretend thing going on between them all the time.

They work for a different organization or part of the government or something than most of the rest of the ships in the series. So instead of getting sent on errand type missions they're explorers and go out looking for new planets and sentient species.

Of course they find a couple and nothing is as it seems and they have to figure it all out. And there's frog princes and magicians and it all fits with the way they interact with each other.

I just really like the relationship in this one. She's always wanting to keep him safe and he wants to go on "quests" for her.

February 20, 2008

Jumper



Jumper, by Steven Gould

This is the first Jumper book by Steven Gould. There's two more at the moment, but I'm really really hoping he'll write more!

The movie that's out right now is loosley based on this book, but I always like to read books before seeing the movies and since I want to see the movie I needed to read the book! I ended up liking the book a lot. (and still haven't gotten around to seeing the movie)

The basic idea is that this teenager figures out that he has the ability to "jump" anywhere that he has been before and can remember well enough. He has a pretty crappy home life so he starts by running away and living on his own. And then he has to figure out how to have relationships with people and do more than just jump from place to place without getting hurt or endangering the people he cares about.

On the surface it's such a cool fantasy, such a cool ability to have and just imagine what you could do! Just go somewhere once and then you can go back whenever you want and not have to worry about the time it would take to get there or the expense. But once people start finding out what you can do... things are going to get dangerous. I can't imagine a government agency that wouldn't want to somehow lock that person up either to use them or so they wouldn't be a threat.

I very much love the Aerie that he builds himself. A peaceful place, far away from people that only he can get to. I would love to have a place like that. And he loads the places with shelves and shelves full of books and I kinda have a thing for books so that just makes it even better.

February 21, 2008

Reflex



Reflex (Jumper)


This is the second "Jumper" book by Steven Gould. It takes place a little more than 10 years after the first book.

I had an incredibly hard time reading this, but at the same time I had to keep reading it because I wanted to get past what was happening. I ended up reading it in maybe a day and a half since I wanted to get Davy out of where he was. There were huge chunks that I just cried through because the bad guys were doing such horrible things to him.

Which isn't to say it's a bad book, it's not. I wouldn't have cared what was happening to him if it were a bad book!

I very much hope that there'll be more books with Davy and Millie, I like them a lot and I want to know what happens to them. But I'd really like them to be happy! I realize you need some kind of conflict or there's no plot, but maybe something not quite so extreme next time?

February 23, 2008

Old Man's War



Old Man's War, by John Scalzi

Scalzi is a new author for me and I quite like him. If I'm remembering correctly this book was originally offered as a serial on his blog I believe and got enough good word of mouth that a publisher picked it up. Very cool.

In the acknowledgements he says he was influenced by Heinlein quite a bit which is fairly obvious in reading the book. And he uses sci-fi author names within the story as place/people/thing names which is kinda fun. Like a little game of "spot the reference."

So, the general idea is that there are colonies on other planets that need to be protected. But the colonies are doing all they can just to survive in hostile environments so they need a military force. Which is recruited from the retired populations of Earth. All the people know when they sign up is that they will somehow be made healthy/young/fit/something and will be able to be soldiers. Of course it isn't quite as simple as they all think, but you knew that already.

There's a very similar tone to Starship Troopers and it's very much that these people are fighting for their buddies and not really for any government.

And then there's the Ghost Brigades... who weren't quite people to begin with and start out with adult bodies. So there's these elite soldiers that are emotionally toddlers. The interactions are rather interesting to say the least!

I quite enjoyed the writing style too, I can't quite figure out the exact word I want to describe it... kind of irreverant I guess. Not quite as formal maybe. I don't think I'd want everything I read to be written this way, but it's a nice change now and then.

February 25, 2008

The Ghost Brigades



The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi

This is the follow up to John Scalzi's Old Man's War.

This time we find out a ton more about the Ghost Brigades and how they work and how they're different from the "regular" soldiers (who aren't really all that normal themselves). There's quite a bit about what kind of rights they have or should have. They're created people and on paper they have the same rights as more conventionally created folk, but in practice they're almost slaves. Doing what they're told because it's what they're supposed to do. How can they make decisions about what they want for their future if this one life is all they've ever known?

We also find out more about Jane and what's happened to her since the end of the last book. And there's the always slightly odd bits about the generals being teenagers because of the nature of who they are. (and I mean odd-good, not odd-bad)

The naming convention for the soldiers is another fun little game (at least I think it is) except the characters are aware of it so they talk about it some too, it isn't just the reader noticing this time.

February 26, 2008

Pegasus in Flight



Pegasus in Flight, by Anne McCaffrey

Well I've clearly been in an Anne McCaffrey mood lately!

This is number two in the Pegasus/Talent series. They go before the Hive/Talent series. There aren't overlapping characters between the two series, but they are very much related sets of books!

I love this book, but then I really enjoy most of McCaffrey's books. I think the Talent series and the Ship series are maybe my two favorites of hers. Of course I'll probably start re-reading Pern soon and decide that's my favorite. Except that I know I've re-read the Talent and Ship series many more times than I've re-read Pern so maybe not.

Anyway! This is the book where we meet Peter who is the one who figures out how to use gestalt. The other plot-lines belong to Tirla and the children trafficking, and Rhyssa et al dealing with the space station.

I just love contemplating the idea of telepathy and telekinesis and all that. It's just so cool!


February 27, 2008

Griffin's Story



Jumper: Griffin's Story, by Steven Gould

This is the third in the Jumper series by Steven Gould, it's the backstory of one of the characters in the movie.

This one didn't make me quite as upset as Reflex did, but it had its moments! I just felt so incredibly bad for the kid. He's so little and he's having to deal with stuff that no one ever should. The bad guys are so ruthless in pursuing their goals and it makes my heart break every time someone close to him gets hurt.

I still haven't seen the movie, but I did read a couple reviews that complained that certain things weren't really explained. I think some of that does get explained in the book, at least to an extent. But not having seen the movie I obviously can't be sure.

I do hope that there'll be more books though! I really like these even if they do have parts that make me cry. But I figure an author that can make me care about a character enough to get emotional when stuff happens to them is a very talented person!

March 6, 2008

The Ship Errant



The Ship Errant, by Jody Lynn Nye

And back to the Ship series we go! This one is by Jody Lynn Nye, but it's part of Anne McCaffery's Ship series. It's the sequel to The Ship Who Won which Nye co-wrote. And it ends up being one of the very very few books on my shelf at home that aren't shelved according to author!

Being a sequel this continues the story with Cari and Keff. And they have a major fight with an administrator dude which causes all kinds of problems. He thinks she's unstable and crosses all kinds of lines to prove it whether it's true or not.

The Frogs get to go back to their home planet and meet their people.

There's also a whole other species (the Griffins) introduced, but it takes a while to figure out who exactly they are and how they fit in with everything going on with our main characters. One of the people working with the Griffins has a very interesting story that caught me off guard again even though I have read the book before. It's been quite some time and I'd forgotten what her connection was to the Central Worlds.

And of course there's the very wonderful redemption of Cari against the scavangers and stupid administrator dude.

March 7, 2008

Smoke and Shadows



Smoke and Shadows, by Tanya Huff

This is the first of the "Smoke and" series by Tanya Huff. I know there's three books in it at the moment, but I'm not sure if it's meant to be a trilogy or if it'll have more books eventually. They go after the Blood Books, but they're mostly about Henry and Tony. Although for my tastes there's too much Tony and not enough Henry. But I adore Henry so that's not really a surprise.

The two of them are still living in Vancouver after moving there with Vicki (Vicki of course being long gone by now) and Tony is working as a PA for a TV studio, on a vampire show.

Plot stuff... there's something coming through from another universe and hiding in shadows. Tony, Henry, and the local wizard have to figure out how to stop the shadows and close the gate that's letting them through in the first place.

And I'm finding I don't have a heck of a lot to say about this one. I liked it, but it didn't quite grab me like the Blood Books did.

March 8, 2008

Dark Thirst



Dark Thirst, by Sara Reinke

This one is by Sara Reinke and yes, it's another vampire book.

However, this one was in the romance section so I normally wouldn't have picked it up at all, but it intrigued me because the vampire is deaf.

But, since it's a "romance" it has all that ridiculous over-written sex scene nonsense that does less than nothing for me. I ended up skimming all those parts waiting for it to get back to the story. It's not that I don't want any romance/sex/whatever in my books, but I don't need, or want, to read about it in excruciating detail.

That issue aside... the story itself was really interesting. There's this teenage vamp who was severely hurt when he was a child before he was able to heal so he ends up deaf and unable to speak. However, this shouldn't have been too much of a problem because these vamps have telepathic ability and he can talk to his family that way except that he's not allowed.

And just to push all of my buttons, they don't let the kid learn ASL until he's at least 8 or 9, and none of his family learn it. They require him to write everything down instead. That royally pisses me off when it happens in real life and it gets me just as rilled when it's in a book. I just do not understand how parents can refuse to communicate with their children. How do you go through life being unable to tell your kid you love them? Grrr!!

I'll get off my soapbox now...

The vamp rules are a little different than the norm, they can eat regular food, but they need blood too. It helps them heal faster if they get hurt, that kind of thing. And sunlight isn't an issue. This specific family is raised with the idea that feeding equals killing.

So, our main character is in his upper teens and he hates what his family is, he thinks they're monsters (and I have to agree with him on that one) but he clearly isn't so it seems to be that they're raised to be that way, not that they have to be. He doesn't want to live like them so he runs away and goes looking for the man that was his tutor when he was younger. And finds his sister instead.

The family doesn't want to let him go and they come hunting for him, and he ends up learning a lot more about who he is and what he's actually capable of doing. Which things are part of who he is and which things are just what he's always been told.

I liked the story itself a lot, she did a lot of interesting things that aren't normally part of vampire stories. I just wish the graphic crap hadn't been there.

edited August 2008 to add: this falls somewhere between examples 2 & 3 in the Romance Disclaimer

March 14, 2008

Damia



Damia, by Anne McCaffrey

This is the second book in the Hive/Talent series by Anne McCaffrey, and yes I've read this one a number of times.

It retells most of The Rowan but from Afra's perspective so you get to learn all kinds of interesting things about what was going on at the time. And how many things didn't quite happen the way the Rowan thinks they did. It continues the story past the end of the first book and has the starting of the Gwyn-Raven clan.

It's very much about Afra growing up and then taking care of Rowan; stepping aside when Jeff shows up and finally finding a family of his own. Even if he does have to wait an awfully long time for the right woman to come along!

This is also where we first meet the Mrdinis, but they aren't a big part of this book, they're a much bigger part in later books though.

March 19, 2008

Code of Conduct



Code of Conduct, by Kristine Smith

The first book of the Jani Killiam series by Kristine Smith. And it's a new author and series for me.

The whole time I was reading this I had the feeling that there's this incredibly rich backstory going on, but it's just hinted at and never completely revealed. Bits and pieces keep coming to light throughout the book. I'm assuming that more will be learned in later books, I'm certainly hoping so because there's just enough there to thoroughly intrigue me!

I want to know who these people are and how they're all connected, how they ended up where they are now. And what exactly was done to Jani? It's obviously more than just the "augie", but it's never completely explained.

The book is sci-fi, but it's more on the political intrigue side than my typical fare. There's spooks (former spooks?) aliens that like to play games, illegal medical experiments... all kinds of good stuff.

By the end I understood what was going on, mostly, in the present. But there's this undercurrent of past events that are very much not resolved. And the past is clearly very intertwined with what's going on throughout the book so I really want to know what happened!

The alien language fascinates me. It sounds like it's a combination of a spoken and gestural language, each part having different information. It's much more transparent than "human" languages, without the subtext and multiple meanings.

March 20, 2008

Moon Called



Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs

The first of the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs...

This is a new author/series for me. The main character is a "walker" i.e. she can turn into a coyote any time she feels like it, and she was raised by werewolves (she's also half-Indian which is very much related to the walking thing). But she tries to stay out of the business of the pack as much as they'll let her.

In a departure from the norm for this genre, some of the supernatural creatures were forced to "come out" a while back so the world in general knows about the "fae" but not about the were or the vampires or any other creatures just yet. (fae being things like fairies and nymphs, but a good helping of not so nice things too) A lot of them have chosen, or been forced depending on how you look at it, to live on reservations away from the general public. It's an interesting dynamic, there's still a LOT of secrecy, but a lot more out in the open than is normal in these kind of books.

One of the local fae had been a mechanic before he was forced to out himself, and he sold her his shop when that happened. So she has a kind of mentor who is centuries old, she's been claimed by the local werewolf pack Alpha as his, and she takes care of the cars of the vampires in the area because she can't afford to pay them protection money.

The plot involves a newly-turned were who shows up starving at her shop and once he's taken in by the local Alpha things rapidly go downhill. There's kidnappings and murder and our protagonist has to figure it all out.

I liked it a lot. The characters are all very rich and there was obviously a lot of thought put into the various rules for the different groups and their histories, how they interact with humans. Since the were are who Mercy tends to be with, and that's how she was raised, there's a ton of discussion about the importance of body language and dominant/submissive behavior. I found it really interesting and I wonder how much of it people do, we just aren't really aware of it.

March 22, 2008

Blood Bound



Blood Bound, by Patricia Briggs

The second in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs...

The main plot issues are more to do with the vampires this time than the werewolves, but the were are still a very important part of it since Mercy is a member of the pack even though she isn't were herself. And they've joined the fae in being "outed" since the end of the first book. They aren't all out though, they're being very careful and only introducing some of their member at a time so as not to completely freak out the public.

Plot stuff... Stephan (vampire, but a friend) asks for a favor in return for one given in the first book. He needs Mercy to be a witness while he meets with a vamp traveling through the area because he doesn't trust his own memory (with, it turns out, good cause). The rest of the book involves everyone having to deal with that vamp and the havoc he wreaks.

There's a sequence I really liked part-way through with Mercy and Samuel when he's stuck in were form and they have to pretend he's a ginormous dog to a cop. And then the conversation they have afterwards about sticking their heads out the window while in their animal forms... it's just such a fun idea! If you could turn into a canine of some sort wouldn't you want to do that just to see what all the fuss is about?

March 23, 2008

Iron Kissed



Iron Kissed, by Patricia Briggs

This is the third book in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

The main plot issue in this one involves the fae; the vamps aren't really in evidence at all except as something Mercy worries about because of events in the second book. There's been a series of murders on one of the fae reservations and they think that Mercy will be able to see through whatever magic is protecting the murderer and help them find whomever it is.

There's a lot in this one about the policing of people who can't really be bound by "human" laws. How do you punish someone who can't really be held captive and is essentially immortal? Do the humans let them take care of their own in whatever way they think is necessary? Or do they insist on following the law of the land? If your leaders tell you to sacrifice yourself for the good of your people... do you do it? Even if you're innocent?

There's also some incredibly tough stuff near the end between Adam, Mercy, and Ben. It explains a lot about why Ben is the way he is and that there is a good person inside he's just completely buried it. But oh man did I cry through that part! Both for Ben and for what Mercy went through.

March 24, 2008

SCE: Some Assembly Required



SCE: Some Assembly Required, by

This is the third SCE anthology and has ebooks numbers 9-12.

I've read this before in December of '05... but I neglected to put in anything about which stories are in it!

So this time around I will. This has the outpost full of holes, the monsters through the gate, a mining colony that needs their equipment, and a computer that's trying to teach.

The last story (the one with the computer) has some really sweet stuff with Carol (cultural specialist) at the end.

And now I've written enough to remember which stories these were (hopefully!)

March 28, 2008

Dead To Me



Dead To Me, by Anton Strout

This is by Anton Strout.

The word that kept popping into my head while I read this was "silly". I have no idea if that was intended or not!

The main character has the ability to touch an object and see what's happened around it in the past, which makes normal relationships difficult 'cuz he keeps ending up knowing more than he ought. He works for a secret government group that takes care of the paranormal goings on in NYC. The department names are all ridiculous, there's the "Things that go bump in the night division", the "fraternal order of goodness"... they're all just kinda goofy. It's this weird combination of government bureaucracy and psychics and ghosts.

Plot-wise... a ghost shows up and needs help but doesn't remember anything about who she is. So our hero has to figure out how to help her and finds an evil organization along the way. And it's just as weird as the one he works for, all office workers and red tape and clipboards. It's silly!

March 31, 2008

A Hymn Before Battle



A Hymn Before Battle, by John Ringo

This is the first book by John Ringo that I've read, and it's the first of the Posleen series.

He's one of the Baen sci-fi guys and since I like both Weber and Flint I figured it was about time I give Ringo a try!

The book is set in 2001/2002 so it has a more familiar feel than a lot of sci-fi since it's set more "now". It's full of current military alphabet soup stuff which can be hard to follow. I'm assuming if you're from that world and know what all the ranks and jargon mean it's easier! The story itself makes sense, it just sometimes takes me a bit to figure out who the people are and who's reporting to whom.

The basic plot is that there's these very non-violent aliens who are being attacked by another group of aliens who are not non-violent at all. They can't defend themselves and since Earth is in the path of the bad guys they ask Earth for help, both to save the aliens and to save Earth since it'll be over-run as well.

There was one little thing I noticed that I'm hoping pays off in future books! There's a word that the Posleen use that is extremely similar to a word one of the main characters' AID uses. It made me think that there's another group working behind the scenes of both groups of aliens but I could be reading too much into it, we'll see!

April 2, 2008

High Stakes



High Stakes, by Erin McCarthy

This is the first of the Vegas Vampires series by Erin McCarthy.

First off... this is another one that I started reading before I realized it was a "romance" book and once I've started a book it has to be spectacularly bad to get me to stop reading it. So I did my standard "skim the crap parts" and just read the actual story parts.

I just don't understand the hormonal stuff. I have absolutely no frame of reference for that and I just don't get characters who give in to their urges and all that. It seems so unbelievable to me. Do normal people ever really feel like that? Are they ever so completely driven to distraction by someone else's body? That honestly never happens to me. I have to be told to look at someone before I'll notice if they're cute/hot/whatever.

I want to know what's wrong with all of them! Why on earth are they behaving that way? Do they really have that little control of themselves? See what I mean? No frame of reference. I have zero ability to understand this stuff. It just confuses me.

However, between the skimming and it not being a very long book in the first place and a very easy reading one at that I read this in a day.

On to the actual plot...

First off, the vamp rules: they can be in the sun but it wears them out, they only drink blood, but almost always from blood banks not from "live donors", they have some telepathic/compelling abilities, and can fly. They get stronger as they get older... I think that's most of it. They also have a democratic government system and the main dude is the current Vampire President. (the term of office is 40 years)

The main female character is mortal and trying to get her sister away from the crazy rich guy (who is Mr. Pres but she doesn't know that at first) and ends up falling for him. Someone is trying to kill him and he's in the midst of a re-election campaign so she starts off as a political girlfriend since it'll look good to his constituents to have a mortal girlfriend.

Good grief, there really isn't much in the way of plot. They don't even find out who's trying to kill him by the end of the book (the reader knows, the characters don't). Of course she gets attacked near the end and the only way to save her is to do the obvious. And since it's cheesy romance land she's his "chosen one" so they end up getting married after knowing each other for all of two weeks.

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 5, 2008

Rules of Conflict



Rules of Conflict, by Kristine Smith

Second book in the Jani Kilian series by Kristine Smith...

First off, a ton of the questions I had after reading the first book were indeed answered in this one. A lot of the back story is fleshed out and there's more of an explaination of what exactly happened to Jani.

By shortly into the book she isn't hiding any more, but because of what happened in the past she thinks she should be in a ton more trouble than she is. There's multiple people pulling the strings on that one, some trying to help her and some trying to help themselves by getting her out of the way.

The poor woman keeps having major health issues (again, related to the past stuff).

Other important things... Nema conives to get her recognized by another leader (I think it's the leader of the secular stuff for his species, where he's the religious leader) and that's somehow part of his master plan.

There's a lot of people pulling her in every which direction for their own reasons and not a whole heck of a lot of concern for what she wants. Which is obviously frustrating for her!

The albino character (Shroud) fascinates me. The way he's described is really interesting. That he knows he looks different to "normal" people and uses it to his advantage in whatever ways he can.

The "augie" concept is really interesting too. That there's these soldiers and retired soldiers that aren't completely in control of their own minds and reactions. They have to basically reset the augmentation stuff (it's called a "takedown" in the books) every so often or the person goes nuts. But there's such a loss of control involved in that.

April 7, 2008

Bit the Jackpot



Bit the Jackpot, by Erin McCarthy

Second in the Vegas Vamps series by Erin McCarthy...

I'm not going to rehash my romance issues from the first book, just assume that everything I said there is still true. I'm just going to do a little plot business...

This one is more about Seamus the campaign manager and the woman he turns near the beginning of the book. They do finally figure out what's going on with someone trying to kill Mr. Pres so that gets dealt with.

And that's all I have to say about that!

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 9, 2008

Hammered



Hammered, by Elizabeth Bear

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

I've already started the second one in this series and it picks up pretty much exactly where this one leaves off. I'm curious if the three books (I think there's just three in the series, but I'm not positive, I haven't looked it up) were written together and then published as seperate books since they would have been a massive brick of a thing all together.

It's set about 50 years in the future and a large portion of it is in Canada and there's little French bits thrown in here and there which I quite enjoyed. Most of it isn't translated (you can kind of get the gist from context and so far it hasn't been anything terribly important) and I'm enjoying figuring it out and seeing how much of it I can get without looking up any words. As an aside.. I have no idea what I did with my French-English dictionary or my 501 French Verbs book! They were both falling apart, but they still worked and I wouldn't have tossed them. My German-French dictionary I have, but that isn't very helpful since my German is pitiful, my French at least doesn't completely suck!

Anyway! Governments have gotten in bed with corporations for money reasons. (more than now, and more overtly) The U.S. is rather messed up and Canada is competing with China to get a new space/starship technology working first.

There's a number of different people/stories happening simultaneously and they do all eventually come together, but it takes a bit. Most of it is in 3rd person, but one of the storylines (the one with the main character) is in 1st person.

There's also interesting stuff going on with the concept of artificial intelligence. If one is created and becomes self-aware does it then have rights? Or is it still just a thing and you can do whatever you want with it?

So, main character has been trying to stay away from the Canadian military for the past decade or so but has been found and they want her to come back and pilot this starship that they're building. There's something about the way she's adapted to having cybernetic prosthesis and implants that makes them think she'll be able to do this when no one else has. There seems to be a lot going on behind the scenes (and having started the second book now, that's continuing and we're learning more about motivations and all of that fun stuff)

April 13, 2008

Scardown



Scardown, by Elizabeth Bear

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

This picks up pretty much right after the first one ends.

We get to find out a lot more about the Chinese program which is set up quite a bit differently than the Canadian one. There's more of an obvious sacrifice involved for their pilots because of how the nano-enhancement stuff is done and how it affects them.

The AI gets a lot more involved in what's going on too. He's really interesting, and I liked that he started to be more involved instead of just being this voice in a couple people's heads.

There's also some really sad stuff partway through involving something the Chinese do to try to thwart the Canadians and then what our main characters have to do to try to prevent/mitigate the damage done.

I'm liking this series quite a bit, I've started something else as my next book, but I'll probably read the third in this series fairly soon. I want to know what happens with the new arrivals!

April 16, 2008

Nightlife



Nightlife, by Rob Thurman

First in a series by Rob Thurman... I've seen it labeled both as the Cal Leandros series and the Nightlife series. It falls into that contemporary/urban fantasy genre.

So yeah, one of the characters is half human, half Auphe/Grendel/monster, and there's werewolves and a vampire and Robin Goodfellow (ya know, from A Midsummer Night's Dream?) but mostly I think it's about these two brothers and how much they love each other. They really only have each other and they're both desperate not to lose the other. It's a really sweet relationship.

Basic plot stuff so I remember the book... the Auphe want to go back to a time before there were so many humans, but they can't do that on their own and of course their plans involve our protagonists.

April 18, 2008

Moonshine



Moonshine, by Rob Thurman

Second in the Cal Leandros/Nightlife series by Rob Thurman...

So now the guys have a couple more people in their lives that they care about, and they think they bad guys that have been stalking them since Cal was born are all gone so they think they can settle down a bit and try to have a "normal" life. Of course this doesn't go well, but you knew that already.

One of their new friends disappears and they end up having to find a specific object in order to get her back. And there's all kinds of interesting "people" along the way.

April 21, 2008

Madhouse



Madhouse, by Rob Thurman

Third in the Cal Leandros/Nightlife series by Rob Thurman...

First off, it is not nice to end a book on a cliff-hanger when the next book in the series isn't out yet! Not nice at all!

The basics... this crazy canibal monster has come back to life and the guys have to stop him. Meanwhile someone is trying to kill Robin for reasons unknown.

There's a lot of interesting internal stuff going on with Cal in this one. He's finally becoming attached to people other than his brother and he doesn't know how to deal with that, how to deal with caring for other people and worrying about them. And of course he's still trying to figure out what it means for him to be half-Auphe. Does using those abilities make him closer to them? Less human? Or is it just using what he has?

On a totally shallow note, I really want Niko to get his braid from the first book back. I know, hair takes a long time to get that long, but it was such a neat detail. I really liked it, and I miss it.

April 26, 2008

Bled Dry



Bled Dry, by Erin McCarthy

3rd in Vegas Vamps series by Erin McCarthy...

Clearly I have issues, I don't particularly like the romance nonsense in this series and yet I keep reading it. Oh well.

This one focuses on Brittany and Corbin (the Frenchman) and their baby, and all the political ramifications of said baby.

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 27, 2008

Sucker Bet



Sucker Bet, by Erin McCarthy

Fourth in the Vegas Vamps series by Erin McCarthy...

Again... I have issues... but I think this is the last one available (at least right now, no idea if there's more planned) so I should be able to stay in genres I enjoy more than this one.

This one is mostly about Gwenna (sister of Mr. Pres) and Nate (mortal cop) and the two of them meeting and falling madly in love within days and all that ridiculousness. There's also some business with a "slayer e-mail ring".

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 29, 2008

Damia's Children



Damia's Children, by Anne McCaffrey

Third in the Talent/Hive series by Anne McCaffrey... and yes, this is a re-read. There's something very atractive to me about this series so I tend to go back to it.

This one follows some of Damia and Afra's kids as they start to have their own lives and jobs and figure out what they want to do with themselves (within the restraints of being Primes of course).

The Mrdini are a big part of the series from here on out, the eldest of the kids is sent to be Tower Prime on their home world. The boys join the Navy to help hunting down the Hive spheres, and there's the capture of the queen.

And that's the important stuff! I've said before how much I enjoy this series so I think that's it for this one!

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.

Anyway!

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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.

June 3, 2008

Law of Survival



Law of Survival, by Kristine Smith

Third in the Jani Killian series by Kristine Smith...

After all the legal questions in the first two books, Jani finally gets to be an upstanding citizen with an above-board job! And it seems like her health issues are settling down (for the most part, there's still some problems but nothing compared to the first two books). So of course the political stuff has to heat up and create all kinds of issues.

This one has a lot more about Nema and the Vyshnaara (I'm spelling that from memory, I'm quite sure it's wrong) and their caste system. There's this whole sub-group whose souls are already damned for whatever reason so they do all the "unclean" jobs so those who are still "pure" will stay that way. There's a generational aspect to it as well, it seems like once a person isn't pure any more their offspring are similarly screwed.

Which seems rather unfair!

As does the idea that the upper classes only keep their souls because other people take care of the "unclean" jobs. If your existence depends on other people giving up their souls, there is something wrong with the system! How can you benefit from their work and not also become unclean? It seems to me like there ought to be some kind of transitive property going on there. (yes I know, I'm a geek, I'm using a math concept to explain this)

The whole issue of Jani as Nema's successor gets shoved right smack into the middle of everything too. She seems like she's starting to accept what's been done to her even though she doesn't like it. There just isn't a heck of a lot she can do about it at this point.

What else... Shroud still fascinates me, and I want to know more about Lucien. Is he really as without empathy as he claims? He seems to genuinely care about what happens to Jani and I have a hard time believing that's just a self-serving interest on his part.

June 4, 2008

The Sagan Diary



The Sagan Diary, by John Scalzi

Short story in John Scalzi's Old Man's War series, goes between The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony...

Wow, just wow.

This was achingly beautiful.

It's a diary of Jane Sagan as she's ending her Special Forces career and getting ready to become a "normal" human with Zoe and John. Everything she wants and fears, how she feels about her identity and if she's going to lose whatever it is that makes her her after that change.

It's so incredibly intimate and adds so much to her as a person, and we already know a lot about her after Ghost Brigades!

So yeah, I loved this.

June 7, 2008

The Last Colony



The Last Colony, by John Scalzi

Third in the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi...

Yay! Scalzi book!

I finally figured out one of the things I love about his books while reading this one. He assumes the reader knows things, the books are smart. I love that. There's references that you're just assumed to get. For example, in this one the planet is called Roanoke and the settlement Croatoan. The significance of the name Roanoke is mentioned off-handedly by one of the characters partway through, but that's it. And no it isn't vital to understanding the plot or the book, but it adds such an interesting layer to the whole thing.

And John and Jane are just cool. They seem like people I'd like to hang out with. John especially, he's all sarcastic and snarky and fun. Of course they can both kick some serious butt if necessary.

So... in this one John, Jane, and Zoe have been living as "normal" humans on a colony for a while until they're chosen to be the leaders of a brand spanking new colony. There are of course complications and much political wrangling behind the reasons for the colony which we don't learn about until partway in.

There's a lot going on for Jane personally, and I think it really helped to have read The Sagan Diary before this. She's finally feeling like she has a home and then they're sent elsewhere and she has all kinds of Special Forces stuff shoved back at her even though she's past that. It's such an interesting concept, she's barely a teenager chronologically and yet she's mother and leader and wife. Which is a heck of a lot to deal with if one is emotionally a teenager! And to be dealing with it and then be shoved back into what you used to be... quite the thing.

I also really liked the Stross character. He's so spacey (heh, in more ways than one!) and interesting. Perfectly happy just floating around in space studying literature.

June 8, 2008

The Turning



The Turning, by Jennifer Armintrout

First in the Blood Ties series by Jennifer Armintrout...

As if it isn't obvious from the title of both the book and the series... vampire book! So as is traditional, vamp rules... no sunlight, but able to be conscious during the daytime, can eat regular food it just doesn't do anything for them, they need blood to sustain them. Holy water will burn, staking works, or severe injury beyond their ability to regenerate (which gets stronger the older they get). They transform somewhat when feeding or if there's strong emotions going on. There's also a strong tie between sire and offspring. There's also this odd thing with an extra heart that grows allowing the human heart to be removed but it's still somehow attached to the vamp and if it gets staked they die.

The interesting bit is that there's a group of vamps that want to prevent any more vampires from being created. They have a long list of rules that they expect everyone to follow and if they don't... well, the consequences are rather severe! Things like no creating vampires, no feeding from unwilling "donors", no hurting humans, and if another vampire is going to die they have to let it happen. Even if it's a "good" vamp or a friend, kind of like a DNR order, no extrordinary measures!

So, our main character is a doctor in an ER and ends up being accidentally turned by a vampire that was brought in to the hospital. He's a bad guy so she's automatically marked for death by this vamp group because the tie between them will make her do what he wants. Of course she's not a fan of this plan and wants another option.

A "good" vamp does end up helping her and manages to get himself in some serious trouble along the way, both with a witch and with the vampire group (for whom he works) since he's breaking the rules.

June 18, 2008

The Vor Game



The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold, it's the second one I've read but there's a number of different reading orders so there isn't a firm "second in series" or anything like that.

Mr. Miles just keeps getting himself into trouble. He's managed to graduate from their military academy and gets assigned to the middle of nowhere to work on learning how to follow orders. Of course he ends up in the middle of a rather nasty situation politically but it's more that he ends up in trouble because he's trying to do the right thing.

He ends up far from home with the Emperor (who's having a bit of a personal crisis and is trying to run away from home, himself, his responsiblities...) and has to protect him. There's lots of interesting interactions between the two of them. There's something really interesting to me about people like them, people who are raised to be rulers and don't have a choice in their lives. They have incredible responsibility and power, but they never really get to be "normal". Except occassionally with each other. I find it a really interesting dynamic.

The two of them end up back with the mercenary fleet from The Warrior's Apprentice and have to prevent a war.


June 30, 2008

Cetaganda



Cetaganda, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Third that I've read in the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold...

This time Miles finds himself all mixed up in a huge political plot on Cetaganda. The Barrayaran political set-up I understand, it isn't anything like what we have in the States, but I get it. The Cetagandan one on the other hand... it is seriously screwy. There's women who are never seen, women that everyone acts like can't be seen, men in military power but only through their wives... it's very odd.

Miles of course gets himself stuck right in the middle of everything as is his habit. I'm never quite sure if he's right to go out on his own or if it would have been better if he'd told his superiors what was going on from the get go.

This one focuses more on the Barrayaran characters than any of the Dendarii, I think Miles gets to be Lord Miles though the whole thing actually, no Admiral.

July 3, 2008

Borders of Infinity



Borders of Infinity, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Part of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

I really liked the way this was presented. It's actually three short stories in the Vorkosigan series that had been published previously, but put together in one volume with a bit of narrative between them binding it all together. The stories are "Mountains of Mourning," "Labyrinth," and "Borders of Infinity." The last of course confuses things slightly since it's also the title of the collection.

The first one is kind of a detective story. There's been a death in the Vorkosigan District and Miles' father sends him out to figure out what happened and deal with it. It ends up being very personal for Miles since the death was an infanticide of a child that had a cleft lip/palete (and therefore considered a "mutant" under the old traditions). I think this one deals more with the attitudes of the older generations and the less educated people towards Miles than the rest of the books I've read so far. It's always mentioned, but it's much more overt in this one.

Second is the story of how Sergeant Taura came to be a part of the Dendarii. At first she's presented as a genetically-engineered killing machine, but after a bit it becomes clear that under the 8 foot tall monster with claws and fangs is a scared 16-year-old girl.

The last one thoroughly confused me until near the end. But in a good way. Miles is stuck in a POW camp and he of course tries to take control of the POWs. For most of it it seems like it's almost just to give him something to do and because he likes to be in control, but what was really going on does eventually become clear.

The narrative weaving between the three is Miles (in the hospital getting his arm bones replaced) reporting about the three incidents to Illyan.

July 5, 2008

Brothers in Arms



Brothers in Arms, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Part of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

I really liked this one. It completely turns Miles' whole identity as being "one of a kind" on its head. There's a group (mostly the guy in charge of the group) that wants revenge on Miles' father the Count. So they clone Miles intending to replace him and cause all kinds of chaos when the clone gets back to Barrayar since he'll have all kinds of access, not to mention being third in line for the throne.

Of course since Miles' actual genetics aren't screwed up the clone has had to go through all kinds of pain since his creation to make him physically resemble Miles since genetically he is "normal" and therefore a clone would be "normal". I felt so bad for him. His entire existence has been pain and torture to satisfy the twisted desires of one man. It's no wonder he has some serious mental problems! There's just no way for him to trust anyone, even though we know he can and we know that Miles' and his family would help him and take care of him.

It isn't any treat for Miles either. He suddenly has a sibling, something he's always wanted, but said sibling has been practically bred to hate him and his family.

And there's that whole plot to destroy the Imperium that has to be stopped too...

July 8, 2008

Dark Hunger



Dark Hunger, by Sara Reinke

Second in the Bretheren series by Sara Reinke...

First off I have to say how thrilled I was to be able to read this when I was. It isn't due to be published until September and the author very graciously offered to send me an ARC of it after she read my post for the first book in the series. All of which is just way cool.

Honestly, I liked the first book better. But I think a huge part of that is because I was incredibly pissed off at Rene by the end of the book. Also, what really attracted me to the first book was the idea of a deaf vampire. That's just an incredibly intriguing concept, and that character really wasn't the focus of this book at all. I do find Rene interesting in his own way, just not quite as much as Brandon.

Since I do like Brandon a lot, everything that Rene does at the end of the book got me rather upset! I can't quite get my head around how he thinks that's going to make things ok. Does he really think Brandon's twin is going to be ok with what he did? Even if it keeps her safe, I just don't see her letting that go.

I kind of want to tell Rene to get over himself, he seems a lot more concerned about what other people are thinking about him than they are. I realize that's a lot easier said than done! He has this image of himself that isn't true any more and that's a hard thing to deal with. And that has to be harder since he knows he probably would have been fine if he'd just been left to feed and heal.

I've said this before, I figure a book that has characters that are real enough to piss you off is a well done thing. Otherwise they wouldn't make me mad, I just wouldn't care! And much as it irritated me, the ending makes it fairly clear that there'll be more to the series and that can't be a bad thing.

edited August 2008 to add: This falls somewhere between examples 2 & 3 in the Romance Disclaimer, leaning a bit towards the "2" side of things.

July 12, 2008

Mirror Dance



Mirror Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

A lot of this one is about Mark since Miles is rather out of commision for big chunks of time! Mark is trying so very hard to do something important, to gain respect, to be worthy of something. So he tries to become Miles again (or rather the Admiral) so he can use those resources to save a bunch of children and maybe if he saves them they'll look at him the way everyone else seems to look at Miles.

Things do not go to plan and Miles ends up having to swoop in and save the day (or try anyway) which I think almost makes it worse for Mark, that he just can't seem to do anything right and needs saving by the "big brother" he's trying to impress. And then being at least somewhat responsible for what happens to Miles while Miles is trying to save his butt.

Mark does end up back on Barrayar and finally meets the rest of his family. He's of course expecting them to hate him, but then he had been primed with all the stories of how evil they all were. He does start to figure out that he could have a place with them if he wants it, that they'll accept him. He just has so much baggage going in and it takes so much for him to trust any of them.

And then there's everything that happens when he goes to get Miles. All of which just made my heart break for him.

But I think he does finally start to figure out who he is apart from Miles. That he doesn't have to be a better version or the backup version, that he can just be himself.

July 15, 2008

Memory



Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

This one is very much about Miles. He's having to deal with a particularly nasty side effect after his death/revival that ends up with him being kicked out of the military. That particular event was one of those that I find hard to read. He's losing everything he's ever wanted and everything he's worked for for most of his life. It's just heart-breaking watching that happen.

So he's completely lost and depressed and really doesn't have a clue what to do with himself and Ilyan (his former boss) gets sick, something either natural or external causes his memory implant to start to break down; the end result of which is him losing all concept of time. He jumps from year to year in his own head and is very rapidly going crazy.

Miles gets the Emperor's help and gets himself appointed in charge of figuring out what's happened. It starts out as a means to an end (helping Ilyan being the end) but along the way he starts to find a new purpose for his life so it helps him too.

I found the Ilyan stuff really interesting. He's had this implant for basically his entire adult life that gives him an artificial eidetic memory. So everything he has ever seen or heard is remembered exactly. When that is removed he has to almost learn how to think all over again. There's a really cute scene when he discovers maps, having never had a need for one he'd never used one before and it has an almost magical feel to it for him.

Oh, and there's a rather huge personal change going on for Gregor in and amongst it all too.

July 22, 2008

Lyon's Pride



Lyon's Pride, by Anne McCaffrey

Fourth in the Talent/Hive series by Anne McCaffrey, and a re-read.

This one is very much about the continuing adventures of Damia and Afra's children. What Roger and Thian are getting up to with the Navy, and what's happening with Laria on Clarf.

Even though I knew it was coming everything that happens with Roger's 'Dinis still made me cry. Both the initial event and the resolution. The first part wasn't nearly as bad as the first time I read it since this time I knew everything would be ok. But the resolution still gets me.

July 31, 2008

Grave Peril



Grave Peril, by Jim Butcher

Number three in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher...

A new character is introduced in this one that I really liked. Both the character himself and what he brings into the whole Dresden universe. The guy is basically a Knight Templar, with the sword and the chain mail and the white robe (I know it has a name that isn't "robe" but I can't come up with it). He has an incredibly strong faith and that along with the sword is what he uses to fight the nasties with Dresden.

It very much reminds me of the way Tanya Huff's Blood Books treat religion. Acknowledging that there are bad supernatural forces, but there's good ones too. I love that! It makes the universe so much more interesting to me. It's not just the humans against all the bad stuff, there's good out there too.

Plot-wise there's something torturing various ghosts in order to weaken the barrier between their world and ours which would allow all kinds of nastiness to get through, including something that Dresden and Michael (the knight) thought they had dealt with already. This, of course, would be a Bad Thing. We also meet Dresden's godmother who is an interesting... person. I'm looking forward to learning the whole story behind her and how they're connected.

August 2, 2008

No Dominion



No Dominion, by Charlie Huston

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

This time Joe ends up getting himself sucked (sorry, bad pun) into the political wranglings of all three of the major vamp groups in an effort to find a way to survive on his own terms. I ended up feeling really bad for him by the end of the book. He's being used and he knows it, but there really isn't a whole heck of a lot he can do about it.

His relationship with Evie gets a bit more complicated too. She isn't responding as well to her meds any more and he very much wants to help her any way he can (except for in the one way that would actually cure her). She ends up finding out a few things about him and he ends up with the perfect opportunity to tell her what's really going on, but he makes up a rather ridiculous story instead. I get that he's trying to protect her, but I kind of feel like it ought to be her choice, not his.

August 5, 2008

Dead Until Dark



Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris

First in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris...

This wasn't bad, kind of light "popcorn" reading.

Since this is a new vampire series for me I'll do my standard and start with the vamp rules. Sunlight kills them pretty much right away and they're unconcious during the day, garlic and silver don't kill but will weaken them. They drink blood exclusively, and can feed without killing, however there is a synthetic blood substitute available that provides everything they need but apparently doesn't taste very good. Maybe like diet pop compared to the real thing. And they have the ability to put a "glamour" on people so they won't remember things or will do whatever the vamp wants.

The main character isn't a vamp, but she isn't strictly a "normal" human either. She's a telepath and has spent her entire life trying to figure out how to deal with hearing things she doesn't want to hear. She calls it her "disability" and people treat her like she's slightly nuts, they all know there's something different about her, but none of them really want to believe it.

This is also one of those series where at least some of the supernatural creatures are "out", in this case it's the vampires but that's about it. There are other beings, but only the vamps are known to the world at large.

There's a really interesting scene with the main vamp (Bill) talking to a group of people about the Civil War, about what happened to him during it. It's something that is so far removed from people now and the reactions to what happened are completely different. He was there, he has an emotional connection to it, it almost seems crass the way people ask him about it.

And some basic plot stuff so I remember which book this is... women who have a past of associating with vampires are being killed, but it doesn't seem that a vamp is responsible. There's also a small group of vamps being obnoxious and making it difficult for Bill to "mainstream".

This falls under example 3 in the Romance Disclaimer

August 6, 2008

Living Dead in Dallas



Living Dead in Dallas, by Charlaine Harris

Second in the Southern Vamps/Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris...

As is obvious from the dateline on the post, these are easy reading!

There are a number of plotlines going in this one. First off, the cook of the bar where Sookie works is murdered, and then she gets sent to Dallas to use her special talents to help the vampires there figure out why one of their own has disappeared.

The business in Dallas gets complicated by a group of anti-vampire fanatics. Which makes sense. In a world where vampires are a known thing, I would assume there would be people who would want to get rid of them. It really underlines the vulnerability of the vamps (at least this kind, where they're asleep during the day). If someone who wants to do you harm can figure out where you hide during the day, there's nothing you can do to protect yourself from them.

We also get to learn just a bit more about some of the other supernatural creatures, the shapeshifters mostly.

This falls near example 3 in the Romance Disclaimer

August 8, 2008

Cry Wolf



Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs

First in the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs...

This actually starts with a novella in the anthology "On the Prowl", but I didn't read that whole book, just the part that applies to this book so for my purposes I'm treating that as a Chapter 0 in this book. It's in the same universe as her Mercy Thompson series and builds off one of the plotlines from the first book, Moon Called, in that series. It has to do with what happened when Bran sent Charles to Chicago to deal with whatever had gone wrong with the pack there.

This was one of those wonderful books that completely pulled me in and I just wanted to sit and read it and not do anything else! There's a number of really beautiful scenes that really grabbed me emotionally. The funeral part-way through (which is related to someone who dies in Moon Called) was one that made me completely lose it.

There's also bits sprinkled through it that flesh out some of what was happening with certain characters in Moon Called, mostly Samuel. There's more about why he decided to go stay with Mercy. And a lot more about the history of Bran and Samuel which was really cool. I liked learning more about their past and how they became who they are.

I really liked getting to know Charles more. He's such a secondary character in the Mercy series, and there's a lot to him! He has such an important role in Bran's pack, and it's a responsiblity he accepts, but it's a hard role to play. It holds him very separate from most everyone else.

So, a bit of plot stuff... first we wrap up some loose ends from Moon Called. Then there's people being attacked in Bran's territory and it looks like a rogue but it might be something more dangerous, some kind of attack on Bran's authority. So Charles has to go check it out. There's also stuff to do with one of the other very old wolves in the pack and what happened to his mate a couple hundred years prior.

I'm very much liking this author and I think I'm going to have to try one of her other series soon!

August 13, 2008

On Basilisk Station



On Basilisk Station, by David Weber

First in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber...

It's a re-read! For some reason I was feeling like reading some Honor Harrington so here we are. I very much enjoy this series and I don't think I've done any re-reading of it before.

A lot of the characters continue in later books in the series and it was really fun to see them back at the beginning again. How they all met, their first impressions of each other, the original Fearless...

We already know that I love this series so this'll be short. This one is (rather obviously) the one where Honor gets sent to Basilisk Station and has to deal with all kinds of craziness there with a ship that's been practically gutted by a nutty weaponry theorist.

August 15, 2008

Cyborg



Cyborg, by Martin Caidin

By Martin Caidin, this book was the basis for a TV movie and then the TV show "The Six Million Dollar Man".

This was an odd read, and it's become slightly more strange now that I've read a couple of the reviews that were left for it over on Amazon. All the reviews there were these glowing "best book ever" "amazing sci-fi" things, which was really not my experience at all.

The story itself isn't bad and there's some mildly interesting cybernetics/bionics bits. Maybe at the time it was written (early 70's) it would have been more revolutionary as far as that particular subject goes. But the issues I had weren't really to do with the science at all.

First issue is that it's incredibly sexist. Yes I'm sure part of that is because of when it was written, but I've read lots of sci-fi "classics" that were written decades ago that don't have that problem. The women all do that "damsel in distress/I just want the big strong man to love me" thing, which is just weird. And the guys do that "I'm going to make the decisions for your own good" thing. The characters in general, but the women in particular are very two-dimensional.

Moving on from that, the attitudes after the main character gets hurt (which allows him to become the bionic man and all that) struck me as really off. Again, maybe it's because at the time it was written there weren't as many options for people with serious injuries. But even so, they seemed extreme. It was just assumed that of course he'll want to kill himself, who wouldn't? And then it took forever for the dude to start interacting with the world again. All the characters' baseline attitudes seemed very out of wack to me. If it were one or two of them, fine. But this was all of them. It would have been more realistic to have a range of attitudes and reactions.

Also, it took quite a long time for anything to happen. Both in terms of time within the story and pages for the reader. I found myself thinking "get on with it already!" more than once! A lot of the science and explanations took a lot longer than seemed necessary, and rather dry on top of it. It just seemed overly elaborate for no real reason.

There are a couple more books that were written (I think there's four total in the series) but I'm not at all sure I'll try any of them. Maybe I'll hunt up the next one and skim it to see if it gets any better before committing to the whole thing.

August 21, 2008

Smoke and Mirrors



Smoke and Mirrors, by Tanya Huff

Second in the "Smoke and" series by Tanya Huff...

I'm thinking I might like these more if they were a completely seperate series and didn't have these little tantalizing bits of Henry in them. There's just enough there to make me notice how much he isn't there.

Aside from my "I want more Henry" issues, I do like this series. I love the whole TV thing, behind the scenes stuff always fascinates me. I'm one of those people that wants commentaries on everything and loves behind the scenes featurettes on my DVDs. Yes, I work in TV, but it's TV news which is a completely different thing. The one thing that is the same though is the distribution of people. There's so many more behind the camera than in front, no matter what kind of TV it is.

So... Tony is starting to figure out what the whole "being a wizard" thing means. And ends up having to "out" himself to a big bunch of his co-workers when they all get stuck in a very haunted house where they were shooting. It makes for an odd dynamic since he's low man on the totem pole, being a PA, but he's the one who has at least some idea of what's going on so he has to at least somewhat be in charge.

August 23, 2008

Smoke and Ashes



Smoke and Ashes, by Tanya Huff

Third in the "Smoke &" series by Tanya Huff...

Alrighty... since I've already talked about this series quite a bit before I'll skip rehashing all of that.

So Tony realized in the last book that it'd be a good idea to actually work on the whole wizard thing so he has a bit more control of his abilities in this one. Still not great, but better than last time! Which is good since there's all kinds of nastiness being shoved through various gates that he has to take care of.

There's also all kinds of business with Lee and the two of them finally relating to each other as people instead of PA and star.

August 28, 2008

Consequences



Consequences, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Number three in the Retrieval Artist series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch... The first book is here, the second here.

This one is a bit of a departure from the first two since it doesn't really involve aliens. There was a civil war on a colony planet more than a decade ago, and certain people ended up disappearing since they were under death sentences. The power structure on that planet has since changed and pardons have been issued and everyone can supposedly come out of hiding.

Miles ends up retrieving one of those people and there are all kinds of consequences steming from that decision that go all the way back to the reason they disappeared in the first place. A number of people die and would they have if he hadn't retrieved that person?

A lot of the core story ends up being about the lengths people will go to to get their desired result. Very much a "do the ends justify the means" kind of thing.

No Surrender



No Surrender, by Various

Fourth dead tree Star Trek: SCE book. Has ebooks #13-16...

This is one of my few re-reads so far that are since I started the book blog, it showed up originally here. I didn't write much about it at the time, and I don't think I will this time either.

I'm now caught up to where I left off last time in the SCE series so the next one I read in it will be new.

September 4, 2008

The Honor of the Queen



The Honor of the Queen, by David Weber

Second in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber...

This is going to be quick and short since it's Honor and Weber and my love for both has already been established.

This is the one where Honor goes to Grayson for the first time, we meet the Mayhews, and there's the whole confrontation with Masada.

The thing that really struck me this time around was the religious extremism. And the complete obliviousness of certain political types to it. That logic just isn't something that will work to combat that level of conviction.

I'm always amazed by authors that can get me completely emotionally involved in a story, especially when it's one I've read before.

September 15, 2008

1633



1633, by Eric Flint & David Weber

Second in the 1632 series by Eric Flint & David Weber...

Seems I have been horribly neglectful of the books blog again, I'm writing this a good two months after reading the book. Very silly of me.

So... this continues the stories of the people sent back in time to 1632, they're starting to have a serious impact on world happenings (or at least the going's on in Europe). There's a lot going on with history books being essentially smuggled out to other countries and what those other leaders do with the information. Say you're Richelieu, or King Charles I and you get this information telling you what's going to happen. What do you do? Do you get rid of the people who are supposedly going to be your downfall? Or change what made them want to get rid of you in the first place?

Of course nothing will go according to the history books any more anyway because there's all kinds of change happening anyway. But can you learn from the mistakes you would have made in different circumstances? Try to change policies or stear things in a different direction? It matches well with the idea of predestination that was a big deal at the time. Calvin and all of that. Which is a really big idea for me to get my brain around anyway.

I'm liking this series a lot, but it does have me going to Wikipedia frequently. My 1600's European history knowledge isn't very good!

September 22, 2008

Foundations



Foundations, by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

Fifth dead tree Star Trek SCE book, collects ebooks #17-#19...

It's an SCE book that isn't a re-read. Yay! This one was really fun. There's a common story that threads around the three ebooks with the normal main characters, the three books themselves are about Scotty and the beginnings of the SCE.

The first one is set before ST:TOS, Scotty is on his way to join the Enterprise for the first time and ends up helping out with a problem at an outpost in the Neutral Zone.

Second is after a first season episode of TOS. The SCE gets sent to help clean up after Kirk et al find a planet being ruled by a computer (The Return of the Archons). This one was the most interesting to me I think. It's such an interesting idea, at the end of the episode everything seems solved and it's all going to be ok. But in reality what happens to those people once the Enterprise leaves? Their entire society and way of life has been turned upside down, so who cleans up the mess? Turns out the SCE does that.

I remember having a conversation on a Farscape message board a while back that was similar (what happens to that woman after Crichton leaves in "I, ET"?) and I find it a really fascinating thing to contemplate. I really think it goes back to high school and "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead", that idea that these people all have lives that continue after they exit stage left.

Anyway! The third one happens at some point after the second season TOS episode "By Any Other Name," since it involves the same aliens and Scotty reminisces about the experience.

September 26, 2008

Blindness



Blindness, by Jose Saramago

Well, that was an incredibly strange book.

I first saw it a few months ago and thought it sounded interesting, but didn't get around to reading it right away. A few weeks ago I started seeing trailers for the movie adaptation and figured I should get around to reading the book. And assuming the movie is anything past mediocre it's going to be one of the very few exceptions to my normal "the book is always better" rule.

The author, Jose Saramago, is apparently a Nobel laureate, and he and his books are popular and critically acclaimed and all that. Which seems odd to me, I think it desperately needs a ruthless copy-editor.

One of the Amazon reviews said that they thought the lack of punctuation and run-on sentences and complete confusion of the writing was to keep the reader as confused as the characters. Which would be a good point, except that that seems to be the way the guy writes everything. So it wasn't a choice for effect.

Beyond the writing style (which can be dealt with even if it's incredibly annoying) the characters were weird and their actions just didn't make sense. Why would everyone stop using names? If you can't see to describe someone the most logical way to identify them is by their name. But instead everyone just wanders around and thinks names are useless for some reason.

They all seem to slide entirely too easily into behaving like animals. I realize that newly blinded people wouldn't be able to take care of themselves as easily as someone who has been blind for a longer amount of time, but none of them even try! They all just give up. And wouldn't it make sense to recruit actual blind people to help out? They can't "catch" whatever is blinding people so when it seems like it'll be a containable event, why not have blind people there to explain how to do things? To share their experiences?

I lost patience with "the doctor's wife" pretty early on. She gets more and more upset by the way everyone is living, and yet does nothing to help the situation. She's in the perfect position to help a ton of people and she does nothing. Because she's afraid she'll have to lead everyone around all the time? That's just silly! Blind people don't need to be led everywhere. Help them figure out how to take care of themselves, how to help themselves.

The whole thing just came off as very condescending and pretentious.

October 2, 2008

Art in the Blood



Art in the Blood, by P. N. Elrod

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

This'll be short I think since these are fun plot-driven books that so far haven't had a lot else going on. Which is ok, a person needs that now and then.

Jack ends up befriending an artist and then investigating when the artist's friend/almost love interest shows up dead. Said artist's wife having died of a suspicious suicide a while back making him the main suspect in the current murder.

October 23, 2008

The Final Warning



The Final Warning, by James Patterson

Fourth in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.

This one was kind of "eh" for me. Not that the previous three are great literature or anything, they're just fun easy reads. This one however, came off really preachy.

I think what worked before was that it was mostly about these kids who just wanted to be normal kids. That seemed to take a backseat to "The Message" this time. It ended up being a let's jump on the environmental/global warming band-wagon thing.

Not that the environment isn't important, it is. But it completely took over the book and in a very heavy handed way. It felt more like propaganda than a book one would read for enjoyment.

February 6, 2009

The Ill-Made Mute



The Ill-Made Mute, by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

This is the first in the Bitterbynde series by Cecilia Dart-Thornton.

I read this on a recommendation and unfortunately it didn't work for me. To not particularly enjoy a book is annoying enough, but it's worse when the thing is lengthy. There are pages after pages devoted to describing every single bottle on a shelf. Descriptions that use ten words when two would work. A number of the reviews I've read said that it seemed that "the author wrote with a thesaurus", which rings true for me.

It's all very disappointing. There are interesting characters and places as well as quite elaborate world-building, but that's all buried under unnecessary words, descriptions, and tangents.

February 9, 2009

Bone Crossed



Bone Crossed, by Patricia Briggs

The fourth in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

There's quite a bit going on in this one. On a personal level, Mercy is still trying to deal with what happened to her at the end of Iron Kissed, as well as how that affects her relationship with Adam.

Stefan shows up, almost dead, both to warn Mercy and needing her help. His mistress is punishing him, ostensibly because of what he and Mercy did in Blood Bound. Of course, she also has other motives, but those don't become clear until much later. So when an old friend shows up asking for help with a ghost Mercy agrees in order to get out of town.

There is rather a bit more to it than a ghost! Which results in Mercy and the were having to deal with all kinds of vampire politics.

December 7, 2009

Ghost Ship



Ghost Ship, by Diane Carey

So I got it into my head that I'd like to re-read all the ST:TNG books. I have the vast majority of them sitting on one of my bookshelves and I do occasionally go on "good bits" sprees. Grabbing my favorites and just re-reading favorite scenes. But actually re-reading them cover to cover... I haven't done that in a very long time.

Starting with #1!

This one has a couple parts that I know really really well. Mostly because they are Geordi-centric and he's always been my favorite.

As for the rest of the book, a lot of this one was a bit odd. Most of them didn't really act like themselves. I understand why, it's the first book, the show had hardly been on the air, there really was very little chance of the characterizations being spot on. Geordi and Beverly seemed the best. Picard was off, but only when compared to how he is from season 2 on. He acted a lot more like how he was originally in Encounter at Farpoint. Much harsher and more closed off than he quickly became.

Riker also struck me as being quite a bit off. His inner monologue is entirely too insecure. He's almost nasty to Data which doesn't really match how he behaved in Farpoint. He seemed fascinated by Data, not dismissive of him. Which brings me to Data whose inner life is just odd. He seems to have emotions which it was established from day one he doesn't.

But, there's lots of really great Geordi stuff in this one which makes me happy. Lots of detail about how he sees the world (both literally and figuratively) that does match up with how he is going forward.

December 10, 2009

Peacekeepers



The Peacekeepers, by Gene DeWeese

This one is #2 in the numbered ST:TNG books.

As opposed to Ghost Ship everyone seems much more like themselves in this one.

Geordi and Data end up getting transported far away by an artifact and have to figure out some complicated politics when they arrive. Everyone else has to figure out where they went and go get them.

December 12, 2009

Children of Hamlin



The Children of Hamlin, by Carmen Carter

TNG #3

This one has some interesting questions about kids. There are children that were abducted when they were very young, many years later their people find out about them and want to "rescue" them. They are being well cared for and only know the new people and that environment, which is completely alien to their birth environment. Bringing them back "home" is completely traumatizing because of the severe language and environment changes. So is this a rescue or another abduction?

December 16, 2009

Survivors



Survivors, by Jean Lorrah

TNG #4

This one goes right before Skin of Evil, and is pretty much exclusively about Tasha and Data. There are a lot of flashbacks to her childhood and Starfleet Academy. The two of them have to investigate a planet's government that is asking for Federation help with "rebels". The rebels are led by the guy that rescued Tasha from New Paris, so the question is who are really the good guys?

December 17, 2009

Strike Zone



Strike Zone, by Peter David

TNG #5

I finished this one thinking that the characters were well done and it was emotionally satisfying. Then I looked at the author, Peter David, which would explain it!

The Klingons and the Kreel are fighting over a planet full of very very advanced weapons. Enterprise is sent with diplomats to resolve things. Wesley is trying to find a cure for his friend's deadly illness.

December 21, 2009

Masks



Masks, by John Vornholt

TNG #7

This time we have an ambassador on the Enterprise to try to restore contact with a planet that was sent back to the dark ages a couple hundred years before. The inhabitants were originally theatre folk and ended up keeping and expanding the tradition of masks. They swap, earn, and buy masks based on their social status and jobs, never taking them off.

Picard, Worf, Deanna, and the ambassador go down first but lose contact with the Enterprise. Riker, Data, Pulaski, and two red-shirts end up going to look for them. There are also Ferengi wanting to establish contact with the planet.

May 27, 2011

Titan: Taking Wing



Taking Wing, by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels

I wasn't originally planning on reading the Titan books in my ST:TNG re-read. But then while reading the Destiny series and the Typhon Pact series I discovered that there were some characters on Titan that sounded interesting.

This takes place just after the events in ST: Nemesis. Riker finally accepts command of a ship and leaves Enterprise behind. The original plan had been for their mission to be exploration, but they end up being sent to try to help the various Romulan groups deal with each other instead.

There is a lot more diversity in the "aliens", they aren't all just "humans with funny noses". Which is a lot easier to do in a book than a TV show! The dynamics of those kind of differences are always interesting to me.

However, there's a bit of a "soap opera" feel to me. There's a lot more of an emphasis on who's doing what with whom than I've noticed in previous ST books.

April 20, 2011

Lost Souls



Lost Souls, by David Mack

Third in the ST Destiny series.

Everything comes to a head in this one. Including finding out where the Borg actually came from in the first place. I did see the Borg origins coming from a ways off, but it seemed fairly obvious so I think it was probably supposed to be figured out fairly early on. And it was good to finally have an answer to that particular question.

The massive amount of devastation is heart-breaking. Entire planets that have been part of the Trek universe for a long time are gone or severely damaged.

There's generally been a "status quo" kind of philosophy to ST books. Major things don't change. It's really interesting seeing that philosophy change.

April 14, 2011

Mere Mortals



Mere Mortals, by David Mack

The second in the Destiny series.

In this one Enterprise and Aventine have hooked up and are exploring a bunch of subspace tunnels that they think the Borg are using to get around. They want to close the whole network to prevent that.

Titan has ended up stuck on the same planet as Columbia was. They start learning about what happened to that ship and her crew.

April 10, 2011

Gods of Night



Gods of Night, by David Mack

The first in the Destiny series, and I'm back to my ST reading after about two months of other books.

There's been a run up to the Borg being active again in a major way and this series is when they make themselves known. The action jumps around between the Enterprise, Titan, and Aventine, with flashbacks to a very early NX ship the Columbia.

The Borg are attacking in large numbers and they aren't assimilating people any more. They seem to have decided to wipe out the Federation instead. The Enterprise is mostly focused on fighting back and Picard is starting to get a little bit "Ahab"-ish again.

Titan is following what they think might be the Borg's travel method and are investigating that. While Aventine is trying to figure out what they can learn from the wreck of the Columbia. In the flashbacks Columbia has encountered an incredibly powerful, and secretive, race.

All the story-lines do eventually start to show their connections.

I haven't read any of the Titan books so there's a number of new characters there, as well as a couple familiar ones that I'm glad to see again. There are a number of them that seem really interesting so I think I'm going to have to add those books to my list.

March 31, 2011

Trouble and Her Friends



Trouble and Her Friends, by Melissa Scott

This is one of those books that I have pulled off the shelf at the library and book stores I don't know how many times and just didn't quite get around to reading. It was originally published in 1994 so I've been thinking it looked interesting since high school.

Finally got around to it and quite enjoyed it!

The imagining of how what is essentially the internet works is really cool and reminds me a bit of Hackers. Except that I always thought the Hackers world was how those kids imagined what they were doing, while in this book the people really do travel into a virtual world. Or at least their minds do. It's something that I think is really attractive, the idea that there could be a pseudo-physical representation of lines of code. That security features would be actual walls that could be breached instead of just code. It's certainly much more interesting that way!

Character-wise, there's a couple main characters and a lot of it has to do with friendship and loyalty. Reconnecting after a number of years and figuring out how to rebuild that relationship.

There's also a lot of interesting legal and government/law-enforcement stuff that I think remains very relevant. Who exactly has jurisdiction over what happens in a virtual space? What happens when countries can't or won't agree on that issue?

March 25, 2011

Half the Blood of Brooklyn



Half the Blood of Brooklyn, by Charlie Huston

Third in the Joe Pitt series by Charlie Huston.

Joe is now working for one of the clans instead of going it alone. Which is how he ends up having to deal with a war between a couple of smaller clans in New Jersey. His girlfriend is also not doing well and he ends up having to finally make a decision regarding infecting/saving her or letting her die.

For some reason this one struck me as a lot more violent and crude than the previous two. There were a number of parts where the language and events bothered me, which isn't something I remember happening in the first two books. I have no idea if the series has actually escalated or if I'm not remembering the previous books accurately.

March 23, 2011

American Gods



American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

I so badly wanted to like this book. I see it being raved about constantly, it's hugely popular in sf/f circles, and it's by Neil Gaiman for crying out loud! But I just didn't. I hate it when that happens, I always feel like I've failed somehow.

Meeting all the different gods and learning all those myths was interesting. And being from Wisconsin I liked all the Midwest bits (and really need to go to House on the Rock someday), but unfortunately that's about as far as it went for me. It just never really felt like it was going anywhere. Lots and lots of back-story and exposition for all these people, but I had a hard time finding the purpose in all of it. It felt like I was waiting and waiting for the book to get going, and then it was over.

March 9, 2011

The Other Human Race



Fuzzy Sapiens (The Other Human Race), by H. Beam Piper

This is the second Fuzzy book by H. Beam Piper. The issues I had with the first one remain, which is unsurprising. But again, the story itself is good and enjoyable.

There is a bit of a paternalistic attitude towards the Fuzzies, which grates on me personally a bit, but the Fuzzies themselves seem to want to be taken care of by the big people. And there are people who want to take advantage of them so some degree of protection does seem to be necessary.

Plot stuff... Fuzzies are being kidnapped and the good guys need to figure out who's behind it and why, as well as rescuing the Fuzzies of course.

March 6, 2011

Little Fuzzy



Little Fuzzy, by H. Beam Piper

I hadn't read this before, but with John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation coming out I wanted to read the original.

The story itself is really cute, it's fun to imagine intelligent stuffed animals. It's really easy to care about them and want things to work out for them. Also, the reactions from the corporate world in the book make complete sense, as nasty as they are.

However, it is very obviously a product of the time in which it was written. The rampant sexism is a little hard to overlook and tends to pull me out of the story. The technological anachronisms are also a bit glaring, but for some reason those don't bother me quite as much. They're still very obvious, but don't bother me as much as the sexism does.

March 4, 2011

River Marked



River Marked, by Patricia Briggs

This is the sixth in Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series.

I love this series. The characters are well done, the various relationships work and make sense to me, they end up being people I care about.

This one felt a bit different from the previous books in the series, but I think that's because it was more focused on Mercy and Adam for the majority of the book, and they were off on their honeymoon away from the rest of the pack. Much as I love the two of them, I found myself missing everyone else.

Reading this series I've really enjoyed the way the various magical groups have been explored. Each book has focused more on one specific group which I think has worked really well. This time it's finally Mercy's turn. Since she doesn't really know that much about her own origins it was quite fun to discover them along with her.

I'm personally not as familiar with most Native American legends so I found all of that really interesting. It made me want to look up the stories, particularly since there was quite a bit of teasing about which version of specific stories was told.

General plot stuff... Mercy and Adam end up spending their honeymoon near a specific river at the request of the Gray Lords. People have been dying there and they think a fae is responsible. So Mercy and Adam have to deal with that and end up getting help from Mercy's magical side of the family.

March 2, 2011

Dog Days



Dog Days, by John Levitt

This is the first in an urban fantasy series by John Levitt. It has a lot of the "normal" urban fantasy elements... people with some amount of magic ability that are unknown to the general population and they have some way of policing themselves.

The main character, Mason, has a "pet" sort-of-dog (Lou) that is somehow tied to his magical talents. The "pets" (Ifrits) are rare and something that only a few practitioners have.

We start out with someone or something trying to kill Mason. He, of course, manages to escape with help from Lou. After some investigating it turns out that another practitioner has been stealing power from others and is getting up to all kinds of mischief. Mason then has to stop him.

All in all it's a pretty decent book. Not up there with my all time favorites in the genre, but still good.

December 2, 2010

Jumper (re-read)



Jumper, by Steven Gould

Grabbed this off my shelf because I felt like reading just a bit of it and ended up re-reading the entire thing. It was just as enjoyable as the first time.

June 27, 2011

Encounter at Farpoint



Encounter at Farpoint, by David Gerrold

I thought I had finished all the Next Gen books, but then when I was checking my list of what I've read against my master list of ST books... I discovered a few that I had somehow missed. So here I am back at the beginning.

Novelizations are always a different kind of reading experience. Scenes that were in the script, but didn't make the final cut, are frequently in the book. As well as ones that are added to make it a decent length.

The pacing and structure were a little weird but it's been a while since I've actually watched Farpoint so I'm not sure if that's a product of the episode or something that happened when it was turned into a book. There are a couple places with conflicts that are in progress, but the focus suddenly shifts to something mundane. Which in general I understand, but when the characters involved in the mundane stuff should really be part of resolving the conflict... it just feels off.

About Sci-Fi & Fantasy

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Sunidesus Reads in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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