Galactic North (Revelation Space #6) ★★★★½

galacticnorth (Custom).jpgThis 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: Galactic North
Series: Revelation Space #6
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 356
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of 8 short stories and novellas set in Reynolds Revelation Space universe. Many of them focus on the Conjoiners and we get several stories that provide history about several of the Conjoiner characters we’ve read about in previous books.

There is also a story about the Green Light that is mentioned in an earlier book and while we don’t see how humanity overcomes that, we do see how it gets started.

One of the stories gives a tip ‘o the hat to the novella Diamond Dogs. That story was much closer to a horror story and it meshed with the tone of Diamond Dogs perfectly.

 

My Thoughts:

Man, another winner of a book. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I’d already read one or two of these stories in Reynold’s Best Of… Collection but they were just as good upon a re-read.

I did enjoy the variation in length of story from novella down to a short story. It helped with the flow of the book and never made me feel like I was slogging. I also liked finding out the history and future of several characters we have already met in previous books. Reading this was a nice “rounding out” experience.

By this time, if one has read this far into Reynold’s Revelation Space universe, nothing here is going to deter one from continuing. Not even referencing one’s self in the third person. That being said, I think there is only one more book for me to read and then I’ll have to go track down his other works and figure out what order to read them.

★★★★½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Advertisements

Time Thieves ★★★☆☆

timethieves (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: Time Thieves
Series: ———-
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 146
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

Peter Mullion wakes up sitting in his car in his garage and can’t remember a thing about how he got there. He knows he went to his cabin to work on it, but that is it. When his wife comes home and sees him, she tells him he’s been missing for 3 weeks! Peter sets out to investigate just what happened to him.

Unfortunately, he’s having trouble counting or keeping track of time or even where he is. He loses his way one day in his office building and when he comes to his wife tells him he’s been missing again, for several days. Peter sees the same man watching him, at a restaurant, at home, wherever he turns, there he is. Peter and his wife Delia head up to the mountain cabin to see if that holds any clues. They find the cabin painted, which means Peter was there. However, upon further examination, it appears that the painting was done less than a day ago, not weeks ago like it should have. Peter’s paranoia isn’t so misplaced after all.

One night Peter begins hearing voices and he realizes he can hear other people’s thoughts. Peter ends up in communication with an alien being, who has been spying on him using its robot servants. Peter flees, honing his mental skills. During a cat and mouse game, he destroys the minds of the robots. Now he just has to deal with the aliens.

The aliens mentally kidnap his wife and tell Peter that they accidentally killed him 3 weeks ago. They rebuilt him but due to them not being familiar with human biology, accidentally gave him telepathy. They say Humanity isn’t ready for that and they just want to take that ability away from Peter. No harm, no violence, just remove a mistake that they made. Peter refuses and tells them every single human is alone and that they shouldn’t be. Peter kills the aliens, who are pacifists at heart and he and Delia go off to live a happy life, spreading telepathy to all and sundry like corn kernels to chickens.

 

My Thoughts:

First, that cover has ZERO to do with this story. There is no sexy woman with a ray gun, Peter doesn’t dress up like a ninja and crouch on a mountain and the UFO is only talked about. It’s actually parked inside a mountain for the whole book.

The title only makes sense if you consider the aliens to have stolen time from Peter when he went missing those several times. They can’t actually manipulate time. I kept waiting for that right up until almost the end of the book.

The tension was pretty high for most of the book and I liked that. Koontz kept me edgy and wondering just what was going to happen.

My issues came down to the fact that Peter killed the aliens because they were going to take something back that had been given by mistake. His life was not in danger, his wife’s life was not in danger but Peter had something and he wasn’t going to give it up. The justification given is because of how much Peter loves Delia, but that just rang false. He was an adult who knew enough about how Humanity would use such a gift and he was even told that it would spread but he chose to keep it anyway. It almost felt like Koontz was writing about a modern Adam and Eve, but ones that weren’t deceived into eating the forbidden fruit but ones who willfully chose to take and eat such a fruit. Even “love” can be corrupted and that is really applicable in this day and age with every idiot bleating about “love” all the time but having no concrete concept of what Love actually is.

My kindle had this at about 140 pages. I think the paperback runs around 100, so either way, it was a short little novel bordering on the novella. I wasn’t expecting a mind blowing experience and I wasn’t disappointed. On the other hand, I wasn’t disappointed. Glad I read this but don’t plan on ever reading it again.

I am thinking of adding an author’s name as a tag to any series of books that don’t have a series associating them together. I’ve been doing that with Dickens and I’m going to start now with Koontz. I will have to decide if I want to start that with every book or not. The problem with NOT doing it for every author is then remembering which authors I AM doing it for. But if I do it for every author then my tag cloud is going to grow humongously, even more ridiculous than it already is. Do any of you have any thoughts or opinions or anecdotes or experience to shed some light on this issue?

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days (Revelation Space #5) ★★★★☆

diamonddogsturquoisedays (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: Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
Series: Revelation Space #5
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 296
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

This book consists of the two Revelation Space novellas that make up the title of this book.

Diamond Dogs follows a man driven to explore a mysterious tower on a forsaken planet. The tower is made up of rooms with a puzzle in each room. Answer correctly and the door to the next room opens. Answer incorrectly and the Tower punishes you. This man gathers a group together and they begin the journey. They have a geneticist with them who helps change their bodies and minds to answer the various challenges. Along the way it is revealed that the man is actually a clone of the original man. Each clone is programmed with the memories of all those who came before and convinced that that particular clone CAN beat the tower. Eventually, only 2 other members of the group and the clone survive and the 2 remaining members turn back before they die. The clone continues on. Eventually one of the members can’t resist the lure and the story ends with him sneaking off on a spaceship to return to the Tower.

Turquoise Days follows 2 sisters on a Pattern Juggler world. Pattern Jugglers are ocean wide remnants of a civilization. They take in the mind of anyone who swims in their oceans and sometimes rearrange the swimmer’s mind and gives them a boost. The planet sees a spaceship coming and one night there is unprecedented Pattern Juggler activity. The sisters go swimming illegaly and one becomes one with the ocean and other has nothing happen to her. The spaceship arrives 2 years later with a contingent of scientists who want to study the Pattern Jugglers. Only it turns out they trying to revive a specific memory in the Pattern Jugglers and imprint it on all of their members. Said memory is of a Tyrant. The remaining sister convinces the Pattern Jugglers to resist the invaders and it does, agains all the humans on the planet. The book ends with the remaining sister giving herself to the ocean and the Pattern Jugglers destroying everything.

 

My Thoughts:

Cheery stories, eh? I’d read the first one in the book Beyond the Aquila Rift back in ’16. I couldn’t remember if that was the whole story or not. I enjoyed the story this time around too but my goodness, it was depressing. Not only the clones (all of them) megalomania but then the story ending with the other main character being drawn back by his own lust for knowledge. So good and evocative but I just groaned inside.

The second story was new to me so that made it quite fun to read. The ending wasn’t quite what I was expecting but considering Reynolds’ penchant for extinction events, once I thought about it it didn’t really surprise me. Reynolds is definitely a gloomy gus of a guy so don’t expect human exceptionalism to be part of the story. We don’t get to pull a rabbit out of our collective hat and save the day.

I really liked that Reynolds didn’t have 3 story plots going on that ever so slowly tied together. A good way to start the month out.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Of Mice and Men ★☆☆☆☆

miceandmen (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: Of Mice and Men
Series: ———-
Author: John Steinbeck
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 73
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

George and Lennie are looking for work. George has a dream of owning his own little bit of land some day and all Lennie wants is to have rabbits so he can pet them. George has been looking after Lennie for years and benefits from his lack of intelligence and from his brawn.

On a new farm, they come across an old one handed worker who has half the price saved up to buy the piece that George has his eye on. All George and Lennie need to do is work one month, collect their pay, pool it with the third man and then they can “live on the fat of the land”.

Their new boss has a young son who is recently married. The young man, Curly, has a chip on his shoulder and is always fighting those who are bigger than him. He takes an immediate dislike to Lennie and Lennie simply doesn’t understand what is going on. Curly’s wife has a roving eye and wants socialness, something that she just isn’t getting from Curly or life on a ranch.

She corners Lennie one afternoon to talk to him, since she knows he’s too stupid to go away. Lennie feels her hair, as he has a weak spot for soft things. This frightens Curly’s wife and Lennie freezes up. She starts to scream and Lennie puts his hand over her mouth to stop her and ends up breaking her neck. He runs away to a special spot that George told him to go to if he ever got in trouble.

Curly gets together the men of the ranch to hunt down Lennie and makes sure George is with them. George knows where Lennie is and steals a gun from one of the other ranch hands. He finds Lennie and tells him the wonderful story about the place they are going to own to distract Lennie. George then shoots Lennie, killing him instantly so that he won’t suffer at the hands of a lynching led by Curly.

The book ends with George giving up on his dream of a place of his own and resigning himself to spending his monthly pay on whores and whiskey.

 

My Thoughts:

What a fantastically written horrible book. As much as I wish it weren’t true, Steinbeck can write. His books are considered Classics for a reason. By the end of this little tiny novella, George and Lennie felt as real to me as anyone I know from my work.

That being said, Steinbeck was an asshole in choosing to waste his talents on such horrible subject matters. My take is that Steinbeck wanted to show the worst parts of life, and only the worst parts, and then extrapolate that ALL of life is that bad. Meaningless, hopeless and ultimately completely futile.

I had read the Red Pony back in 7th grade and it so affected me, negatively, that I have never read another book by Steinbeck until now. I wanted to see if growing older and more mature made a difference in how I viewed his writing. Nope,not one jot.

What a waste. A waste of talent, a waste of a life, a waste of such potential. I don’t mourn, but it does sadden me that people can make such choices and do such things.

★☆☆☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

The Man with One Name (The God Fragments 2.5) ★★★★☆

manwithonename (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: The Man with One Name
Series: The God Fragments 2.5
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 68
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Lynx is wandering and comes into a small town. He accidentally kills an employee of the local warlord. He is then made Reeve by an enterprising old woman and has to survive the wrath of Therien, the man he has bucked.

After killing half of Therien’s crew, Lynx proposes a duel of mage pistols at dawn and Therien agrees, knowing that if he kills Lynx, he will then be the legitimate authority in the town. Lynx simply snipes him and heads out of town.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a story of Lynx before he joined up with the Cards. Honestly, I was expecting a prequel novella to book 3, much like Honour Under Moonlight leads up to Princess of Blood. Seeing what Lynx dealt with as an ex-Hanese soldier wandering around was enlightening and it definitely made him a slighter fuller figure (ha, yes, that is a pun on him being fat).

Knowing Lynx from the previous books and novella, I suspected that the ending would go the way it did. Lynx is pragmatic until it runs counter to his set of morals. Sniping a warlord who had used his underlings to try to kill him presented no moral qualms for Lynx.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Hammer of God (Alex Hunter #5.5) ★★★☆☆

hammer (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: Hammer of God
Series: Alex Hunter #5.5
Author: Greig Beck
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 115
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Someone has access to multi-kiloton nuclear bombs [of the size and type to be able to wipe out Jerusalem]. They also have access to beings of unhumanness that can carry these bombs to wherever they are needed to go, without stopping, without food, without water, without detection and without being susceptible to gun fire.

Israel will not stand for such a threat to exist without striking back. But even their special forces can’t deal with giants who apparently can’t die because they’re already dead. Enter the HAWC’s, led by Alex Hunter.

Now, the combined forces, that are both disavowable by their respective countries, must find the terrorists who are creating these nukes and the alchemist who is creating the undead carriers. It comes down to Alex Hunter, the Arcadian, to take down a thousands year old alchemist who wants to rule the world while inhabiting Hunter’s superior body.

Yeah, like the Arcadian is going to let THAT happen.

 

My Thoughts:

As I was reading this near the beginning, I thought this would make a great full length novel. At 115 pages, it is a pretty good novella. Near the end I changed my mind and was glad it was as short as it was. While these books are never studies in character development, this felt particularly card-boardy.

There is a difference between telling a good story and telling an engaging story. An engaging story utilizes all aspects of the authorial craft whereas a good story can follow a formula, cut a few corners and still keep your interest. This was a good story.

I have to admit, I have been hoping that after this many books and this much writing experience, that Beck would have learned a bit more about writing characters. In many ways, Beck reminds of the likes of Christopher Stasheff or even Robert Asprin. Both are solid B level writers but they never rose above that. I am beginning to think that Beck has found his level and will never get any better. I’m not going to stop reading these Alex Hunter books, mind you, but I’ll be adjusting my expectations accordingly.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

  1. Gorgon (Book 5)
  2. Black Mountain (Book 4)
  3. This Green Hell (Book 3)
  4. Dark Rising (Book 2)
  5. Beneath the Dark Ice (Book 1)
  6. Arcadian Genesis (Book 0)

Arcadian Genesis (Alex Hunter #0) ★★★☆ ½

arcadian (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:       Arcadian Genesis
Series:    Alex Hunter #0
Author:   Greig Beck
Rating:    3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre:     SF
Pages:     79
Format:  Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

An item is uncovered in Russia. It appears to be a source of unlimited power. The Russians are working on it and discover it is an incubator, not a power source. In the process, they bring on board a scientist, who used to be a Chechnian whose family was killed by the Russians. Said scientist steals the power source and contacts the United States, all to spit in the eye of the country that killed his family. What he doesn’t know is that by removing the power source, the creatures inside begin to awake and grow.

Alex Hunter is sent on a mission with a team of HAWC’s to recover the scientist. The HAWC’s run into a Russian team who are also intent on recovering the scientist. Hunter gets shot in the head, but the bullet first passes through the alien device. In a comatose state, Hunter is prepped for a super soldier project, codenamed Arcadian, that “might” save his life.

Thus begins the legend of Alex Hunter, the Arcadian.

 

My Thoughts:

I waited to read this prequel for a some time, just because I wasn’t sure when it was published, and was too lazy to look it up, and didn’t want anything revealed that might impact future books. In all honesty, this would be a good place to start with Alex Hunter, even before Beneath the Dark Ice. Nothing is spoiled and it does a good job of showing exactly how things worked out to make Alex a working Arcadian.

As a short story/novella, this has just the right amount of action, tension and drama. It is on par with the other Alex Hunter books. Not much else to say really.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Beneath the Black Ice
  2. Dark Rising
  3. This Green Hell
  4. Black Mountain
  5. Gorgon