Tag Archives: Science Fiction

All Our Wrong Todays

7 Jan

This sci fi futuristic novel posed a lot of interesting questions – think time travel, alternative universes and existentialism. This debut novel is witty and engaging, a treat even for those who ordinarily recoil at the thought of reading science fiction.

“Time travel is very bad at fixing mistakes. What it’s very good at is creating even worse mistakes.”

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Dark Matter: The Theory of Schrodinger’s Cat Meets Rick & Morty

6 Aug

No, not really. But kind of. This is a trippy sci-fi, WTH just happened there novel by an author who does a great job with it.

As a quick review for those of you not quite up on your quantum superpositions: “Schrödinger’s cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e., a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.”

And that is what happens here – multiple selves, multiple futures, multiple pathways. Read it with a clear head. Enjoy.

 

Children of the Comet: science fiction from Donald Moffitt

24 Oct

Children of the Comet weaves together the story of the people that fled a dying Earth via hyper speed ships, and those that developed a primitive society based in the trees that were planted in comets…so, yeah, there is a LOT going on. I found the primitive society and the imaginative ways in which they adapted to life on a space comet tree more compelling than the more technical and political machinations of those on the ship. Not as much character development, and pretty detailed explanations of space travel, time lapses etc made for more dry reading. The “third act” when the two cultures come together doesn’t have much tension or resolution, and we’ve lost focus on which characters to care about. Generally interesting but a big of a slog. Interesting for fans of the author or hard core science fiction fans.

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Steampunk, Airships and Etheric Energy: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

2 Oct

A rollicking steampunk yarn replete with quirky characters kicks off this new series by Jim Butcher. As I was reading, I could see this playing on the big screen, albeit with the feel of an old time serial. Swashbuckling airship captains, talking cats, bold women, enormous bugs, crystal powered flight and so much more. As the first book in a series, this book sets up the world, the conflict and the main characters, and left me eager to read the next…
The “naval” battles in the sky are quite well done. I initially started skimming through those sections but then quickly realized that I could follow along and understand the action.
Fun, fast read. Good YA action for both boys & girls, with several strong female characters.

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The Scorpion Rules: Fantastic Futuristic Non-Formulaic YA Novel

7 Aug

I loved this book!
The world itself is so real – set some 400 years in our future, after climate change and access to water resulted in non-stop war. In a HAL like manner, artificial intelligence (and now controlling overlord) puts a stop to it all.
To keep the peace, Talis (one of the best antagonist characters I’ve come across in a long time!) requires every world leader to contribute their child as a hostage – to be killed in the event their country goes to war. Well, first he bombs a few cities (“by city number seven – Fresno, because no one’s gonna miss that – I had everyone’s attention.”) and then he develops the “first rule of stopping wars: make it personal.”
The geopolitical cynicism/real politics are so clearly rooted in the world we live in today makes this futuristic sci fi novel feel very possible.
The characters are complex and quirky, surviving in this unique environment. The children trained to face their fate with equanimity, banded together. The AI robots that teach/imprison them. Talis him/itself, with a tone reminiscent of a Douglas Adams character.
The writing is magical and compelling. I have so many highlighted sections of the book. Here are a few:
“There was a space inside me, cupped and still. It was as small as cupped hands; it was as large as the sky. It was untouched and it was touch itself. It was empty and it was full. I held love there, like a treasure. I held my own name.”
“The fire sank to coals. I could feel the night pass in the spin of the Earth. Hours, and hours. Dawn sidled near; the sky lightened over the loop of the river.”

I was excited to read that the author, a former physicist and poet, is “putting the finishing touches on a companion novel” as this is a world and a writer that I can’t wait to re-visit.
I highly recommend this book for adults and YA readers. In fact, going back over my notes makes me want to read it again RIGHT NOW!

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The “Wool” series by Hugh Howie – Lives Up To the Hype

23 Jul

I recently signed up for Kindle Unlimited and during the free 30 day trial, found myself thinking there wasn’t much in the back catalog titles that seemed to make it worthwhile to pay $10/month. But Amazon knows all, as scary as that is, and presented me with a spotlight on Hugh Howie – famous as a self-published ebook author who got discovered and who is the poster child for that pathway.
I downloaded the 5 part series that makes up the book Wool and instantly understand why Hugh Howie receives so much acclaim. The man can write! The characters are memorable and strong.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where everyone lives in a giant “silo” buried in the ground. We are dropped into this world initially through the character of the Sheriff and then through others. As the richly imagined world comes to life, the action intensifies, turning this into one of those books that you can’t bear to put down.
I’m a total convert – have now downloaded the next two books and can’t wait to dive in.

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Spy Thriller Meets Sci Fi High Concept with “The Lives of Tao”

15 May

Wesley Chu’s new novel, The Lives of Tao, is a fun fast-paced blend of sci fi and James Bond-ian international (intergalactic?) spies. Tons of action – almost written for the screen – with a ‘everyman’ character that needs to quickly come to grips with both the ancient alien inside his head, and the other aliens trying to kill him. A nice mash-up of genres that moves the reader thru the story with humor and interesting characters. Recommend.