Ghosts of Tomorrow ★★★☆½

ghostsoftomorrow (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Ghosts of Tomorrow
Series: ———-
Author: Michael Fletcher
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 396
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Mark Lokner has scanned himself and gone online while the world thinks he is dead. Just to be safe, Lokner1.0 has copied the scan and put Lokner2.0 into a secure digital space.

88, the scan of a young girl, gains her freedom and begins manipulating the real world so she will never be in danger again. This brings her into direct confict with Lokner1.0 AND Lokner2.0.

Agent Griffin Dickinson, with the military scan of Abdul Giordano, a 17 year old marine who died, is on the track of a group who illegally scan children. Scanning is a one way ticket and the head and brain are pureed after the fact. When 2 operations in a row go disastrously wrong for Dickinson, he’s about to quit. Then he gets a tip from 88 that sets him on the trail of the Lokners as the source behind all the illegal scans and children farms.

With the help of Abdul and an assassin scan loyal to 88, Dickinson must confront Lokner while the world around him is falling apart. It doesn’t help that 88 has her own plans for humanity and 88 has no mercy.

The book ends 1000 years in the future with scans as the de facto life form.

 

My Thoughts:

From a purely entertainment factor, this book was pure awesomesauce. Child assassins in suped up killer robot bodies, digital minds going insane, epic battles where scans take over electronics, massive and humongous acts of devastation, this had it all in spades.

Fletcher doesn’t shy away from brutality. Whether in thought or action, I as the reader was not spared. From the horror of how children are kept as livestock to be harvested for their brains and sold into slavery to the idea of corporations “selling” the idea of scans as a way to cheat death, for a mere 20year term of servitude, with all the attending small print we as citizens of the 21st century know to fear.

There was no hope. Griffin, the human who wants to be a hero and save the world, ends up being broken and then the woman he loved, who is now a scan, plots to have him killed so he can be scan’ed and join her. How soul destroying is that? Then the end where 88 turns all Skynet was so telegraphed that it didn’t really come as a surprise.

I thought Fletcher did an excellent job of portraying just how something like “scans” would work out in our world. How it might be used, abused, misused, etc. It was very eye opening. However, it was all predicated on the fact that a human brain could be digitized. If you think something like that could actually happen, then this was a very scary dystopean prophecy. If you don’t, then it’s just another prediction about a future by someone who has lost hope themselves.

While I enjoyed my time spent on this, I have to admit, I didn’t have any desire to seek out other books by this guy. I don’t enjoy wallowing in hopelessness and despair. It also didn’t help that I’m convinced that to you have to have a mind, body and will to be alive and to be human. Remove one and the other two are just ingredients, not something viably alive.

I did have one confusing issue. Most of this takes place in 2046 but right near the end things jump to 3052 but it feels like it should be 2152. It didn’t come across as a jump of 1000 years but just a generation. I might have mis-read though, as I don’t pay attention to dates real well in books.

If I see another Fletcher book really praised AND it has super cool over like this one, then I might seek it out. But if not, I’m good with having read just this one. Fletcher’s worldview is just too depressing for me.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

 

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Saving Daylight Movie Trailers

Tonight ends the tyranny of Big Government, at least for a couple of months. Thankfully, Brenton Dickieson put things into a slightly more awesome perspective. I’d never seen the trailer before and man, I sure enjoyed it.

If you hate trailers like I do and hate Daylight Savings like I do, then you might find this spoofy trailer and the trailer for the sequel as enjoyable as I did. Sadly, I can’t do videos here on WordPress, so I’ll just be linking to the respective Youtube Videos. The text under the pictures are the actual links.

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Saving Daylight

 

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Saving Daylight II: The Vanishing Hour

 

The really funny/sad thing is that you could see Hollywood actually attempting to make such a stupid movie. So enjoy your extra hour of sleep tomorrow! Since my body is a finely tuned killing machine aware of the slightest variance in all surroundings, I figure I’ll wake up at the same time as always 😦

 

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Time to hit the gym!

 

bookstooge

Gridlinked (Polity: Agent Cormac #1)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: Gridlinked
Series: Polity: Agent Cormac #1
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 433
Format: Kindle Digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Ian Cormac has been gridlinked for 30 years where 20 years is supposed to be the maximum. Ian’s effectiveness in the service of Earth’s AI is what caused the continued link. Recently though, Ian has started exhibiting signs of gridlink addiction, an inability to interact with other humans and unable to think for himself.

When a planetwide accident happens on the remote world of Samarkand and an extraterrestial alien known as Dragon reappears, Earth Central sends in Agent Cormac. However, the AI always has games within games within games and having unplugged Ian, allows his enemies to know where he is going. Why solve 1 problem when you can solve 5?

 

My Thoughts

Another home run of a read.  Having read Asher starting in 2010, with this book and continuing on his Polity series, it was good to re-read this and see how his writing has been polished up. Make no mistake, this was rough writing; not bad, but without some of the polish you see in later books.

If I had to choose one word to describe this all, Ultra-violence would be that word. Entrails, brain matter, dismembered limbs, broken, burst, or burnt body parts, alien flesh or fluid spattered across the landscape. Guns, garrottes, bombs, knives, lasers, bare hands [or golem hands as the case may be], alien teeth, cars, spaceships, all are used as weapons. It is phracking awesome!

This is a novel, and series, about Humanity and Post Humanity. If a human can live for 200 years, upload his mind to a golem body if he so chooses all the while living in a society run by A.I.’s of godlike intelligence, what kind of society will emerge? Asher doesn’t get sidetracked from his story to show us the nitty-gritty but we do get little peeks here and there. And those little glimpses are fascinating.

To the plotmobile! Space-gates connect planets. One explodes and destroys a worlds’ population. Ian must investigate and figure out what is going on. At the same time, some of Ian’s old enemies are tracking him down to kill him. Add in an alien and my goodness, you have so many chainsaws in the air that any guess might kill you if wrong.

The whole idea of aug’s and messing around with your mind to expand it intrigues me to no end. The idea of A.I.’s ruling humanity in the background while letting humanity grow mentally is also fascinating. Of course,the whole thing is predicated on the idea that something better can come from something lesser. A machine intelligence that is greater than humanity and without humanity’s flaws. Great idea, but I can’t buy it for real and so it kicks me out of the story occasionally.

Overall, I loved this book, was just as intrigued this time around as I was in ’10, loved the violence, love the mystery of the plot and am looking forward to the rest of the series. These rereads have been good so far and so I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let’s see if I can put that off for a bit, shall we?

Here’s some alternate covers, because some of these are just plain awesome. I’m usually not a big fan of putting pictures into reviews, but in this case, I feel some of these represent the book better than the cover here, especially the last one.

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Artificial Evil (Techxorcist #1)

6b6c1c495b9b6af519547a65ebe8d74f This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Artificial Evil

Series: Techxorcist

Author: Colin Barnes

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 207

 

Synopsis:

Mr Genius wakes up one day to find that he, supposedly exempt from the Death Lottery since he’s a bigshot in The Dome, has been chosen to die.

Escaping the Dome, Mr Genius finds out that everything he’s been told is a lie and the Dome isn’t quite the Utopia it is supposed to be.

Fighting an evil A.I while trying to survive in a brand new world, Mr.Genius leads us on fast paced adventure.

 

My Thoughts:

Barnes really did copy the outlines of this story from Shirow Masamune. The Dome/Utopia is straight from Appleseed, the A.I.’s from Ghost in the Shell.

Frenetic is the best word I can think of to describe this. I was as lost and confused as the main character for most of the book. The techno-babble wasn’t necessary and added nothing to the story except to let us know that the author “was an expert”.

The supposed “revelation” about the nature of Mr Genius was not much of a revelation if you’ve watched/read the anime/manga I mentioned above. It was a real non-starter for me.

Finally, the ending. The ever-hating cliffhanger. Mr Genius is returning to the earth on a spaceship and it has been messed with, so we end the story with him jetting off into space.

No more Colin Barnes for me.

Nexus (Nexus #1) DNF

c8aafe72c0ac9c753304543cc4321575 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Nexus

Series: Nexus #1

Author: Ramez Naam

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF/Cyberpunk Prequel

Pages: DNF @ 46%

 

Synopsis:

Mankind is messing with their genes and dna and creating all sorts of miracles and monsters and possibly the next step in human evolution, the Post-Human.

One young genius and his friends have created a breakthrough using a nanobot type drug called Nexus5. The breakthough? Mind to Mind Contact…and Control.

 

My Thoughts:

Two main reason I didn’t get past the 46% mark.

First, the profanity. It was “fuck” that and “shit” this every other sentence after the first chapter or so. I don’t want to read that kind of language, as I do believe that what we expose ourselves to on a continual basis will change us in that direction.

Second, in the last couple of years the big bad bogeyman of the future is nano/bio/techno whatzuhazzits. Just like if you read Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, their stories are filled with either how wonderful Nuclear energy is and how every garbage disposal is a small nuclear reactor that powers your portable rocket pack OR how horrible it is and how mankind ends up destroying itself every time it is used. That is how I feel this story was. Horrible, terrible humanity destroying. So forget it.

One thing I did enjoy was how this is definitely Prequel Cyberpunk. Every wonder how societies like Snowcrash or Neuromancer came about? They didn’t pop into existence over night. This story explores a world on the brink, but instead of humanity using the tech, it is all about the tech using humanity. And I just don’t buy that. We don’t understand 1/100th of the awesome miracle known as the brain, so don’t tell me that some computer program is suddenly smarter. It might be able to do certain things more focusedly, [not sure that is even a real word, to be honest] but it will not have the depth, breadth and creativity of the Mind.

So there you have it.  Good plot overall, good grammar and story editing, just hit me wrong and I didn’t like it. Maybe you will.

Software (Ware Tetralogy #1)

7b51f6d35a90b6982b9b291943cb7de7This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis

A drug induced, hazy look at the future with robots controlling the moon and all the old people living in Florida. And one man’s quest to not die.

 

My Thoughts

I have no idea why I picked up this set of books, but I have to admit I am glad I did.

Anderson Cobb is an old geezer living in Florida along with the rest of the nation’s Pheezers, subsisting on free food and alcohol and worrying about how he is going to pay for a new heart, as he is afraid of death way beyond the normal.

Cobb is also the man who freed the robots from their Asimovian coding. The robots promptly took over the moon and have been living there since.

Cobb was tried as a traitor to humanity and stripped of all his rights as a genius computer coder.

And now the robots want Cobb on the moon to help them with some more coding so that the human consciousness can be digitized. And they also need the help of a completely drugged out loser who has officially changed his name to Sta-Hi.

Ok, while this type of off the wall look at the future is about as normal as a bad acid trip while on weed and scotch [I suspect that combo would kill you, but I really have no experience with illegal drugs], it is written so well that I was sucked along almost against my will.

I don’t like old useless alcoholics, useless young drug addicts nor the made up words describing a made up future.

But I liked this. And I understood it. Even with it’s own internal slang not explained, the world situation barely explained and the action so fast that you’ll miss something important if you blink.

In the end Cobb dies because the computers don’t understand death and Sta-Hi marries some random woman. It totally fit with the rest of this book.

 

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Author: Rudy Rucker

Software

Ware Tetralogy #1

Going Shogun

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis

Chris, or Brick [I think that’s his nickname anyway], is a socio-economic climber in a cyberpunk world. All he has to do is steal some super secret recipes, hack into the completely controlled internetz AND avoid super agents.

But with a friend like Forklift, how can Brick fail?

 

My Thoughts

I started this book knowing NOTHING about it, not even a plot synopsis. So I was flying blind. And I couldn’t tell what was going on, what was supposed to be going on or where the eventual destination was supposed to be.

I enjoy the occasional cyberpunk novel, as I enjoy the over the top techtalk, the swords and the darky gloomy grit. But this? It was all funny dark. Everything is gloomy and horrible, but Forklift is this irrepressible character who the MC gets swept along with. Jokes are cracked, violence is slapstick and the non-graphic sex was totally “first time”. Also, Japan does not appear to be ruling the world.

So what kind of cyberpunk book was this? Halfway through I recognized this was a parody, not a real cyberpunk novel that just sucked. And it all clicked.

And then the ending. Forklift changes so drastically that you have to wonder. If that society could produce him, how come it is still so monolithically stable?

Basically, I got a comedy when I wasn’t expecting it. That’ll teach me to read blindly 😉

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Author: Ernie Lindsey

Going Shogun