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2/17/17 7:14 P

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The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1) by Ken Liu

To be clear about this book, I absolutely loved it! This is not my typical Hard SciFi read, but rather a very deeply involving Fantasy. Yet the fantasy elements are kept at a minimum, and set against the very realistic history and stories of the many characters. And yes, make no mistake, the characters do indeed drive the plot(s).
This is decidedly not a quick, easy read. On my Kindle White Paper, it didn't show me how many pages the story entails, but I imagine the a hardback would be a rather mighty tome. That said, the story that make up this first of three novels, takes it's time to unfold and unfurl.
I'm sure that some folks would not care for parts of the dialogue, as it seems to be needlessly wordy. However, I think that those characters are speaking from what they consider to be a position of learning, and erudition. Not that all dialogue is stilted and formal, no sir.
But as any epic (and this is an Epic) tale takes it due course, the subplots do come together, and then fall apart, then are weaved back together skillfully.
I heartily recommend this novel, and am about to start the second one. I just hope Mr. Liu can hurry up and finish the last one soon!


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2/4/17 4:34 P

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Central Station (Paperback) by Lavie Tidhar

What a fun ride! I truly loved this book! It's not your typical hard SciFi, so not a lot of action and rollicking around. Oh yes, there is action, and rollicking, both in thee physical universe, and the cybersphere. But this more driven by characters who all seem to be much more, and less, than they appear. Thereis a certain feeling to his book, that you are watching some many different lives as their stories unfold. and there is an innate interconnectedness that you don't see done quite so well elsewhere.
It's a quick read, but all the more thought provoking for it. When we are done, we really want to stray a bit longer and see what comes next!

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2/1/17 4:28 P

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A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak

This was written in 1977, but really is a classic. It has a feel that goes back to the Golden age of SciFi. I like that the story doesn't hurry, but rather takes it's time to develop. Yes the characters are mostly one dimensional, but each of them adds in a unique way.
This is a sort of travelogue of going across the Midwest of America, in a far future where anything and everything technological has been thrown down. Our hero finds some unlikely companions along the way, but they each prove their worth, if in some ways you don't expect.
It is a quick, fun read. Enjoy! =)

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1/30/17 5:47 P

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Immortal Shadow (Heroes of Distant Planets #3) by Anderson Atlas

I was asked by the author to read, and then post a review of this book. Since it was free on the kindle, I did download and read it. And this is my honest review of the book.
I gave it three stars, but that was a gift. Yes, it's short story so the characters area one dimensional. The plot is quite predictable, and the aliens really aren't all that alien. Happily the story is just under 80 pages, so you won't invest much more than a quick afternoon to read it. Also, the author relies way too much in alien sounding names of* whatever* items.
All that said, it basically read as a High School term project from Creative Writing. However, if the author does continue to write (and I hope he does) he shows a lot of potential to one day turn out a story worth reading.


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1/28/17 5:09 P

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Tangled Up in Blue (The Snow Queen Cycle, #4) by Joan D. Vinge

First of all, even tho this the forth book written, it the first book in the entire series! Yes, it's a prequel! Don't shudder, it's not a prequel in the style of Star Wars, and there is no Jar-Jar Binks.
Ir is a very worthy introduction to the entire Snow Queen epic cycle. And it is set just prior to the that book. Carbuncle is the same mysterious city of wonders and delights. And we have a motley crew of natives and of worlders in residence. Gundalinhu, and PalaThion are working for the Blues. As is Tree and Staun. This would be the beginning of the Gundalinhu and PalaThion team, but she is side lined for most of the book. Instead, we meet Tree, his brother Staun, and some more merry pranksters wearing the uniform of the Hegemonic Police.
Eventually, Tree and Gundalinhu must set aside their own built in prejudices against each other's cultures (Honor versus Loyalty) and grudgingly work together, or die.
So, yes, you can guess where the plot is going in many ways, but it's the clever way that Vinge has of getting us there that keeps you flipping the pages. The pace is tight, and so is the writing. She manages to develop the new, and familiar, characters in her own, interwoven fashion.
you will want to read this if you have read the other three books. And if you haven't read them, read this first!! You will thank me later!

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1/27/17 2:06 P

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The Summer Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #3) by Joan D. Vinge

Overall a very worthy read! Fun of twisty character driven plot, and interactions. And this book does a very good job bringing the various subplots together at the end of this cycle of books.
It is a large book, and part of that is due to the tendency of the author to get into some melodrama, soap opera style romance. While I like the added dimensionality to the various characters, there were more than a few times when I got bored of that artifact as well. Happily, those soap opera interludes are not so heavy handed, nor so numerous that I couldn't just skim a bit, then get back to the story at hand.
A good conclusion to this series, and still very relevant to this day and age.

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1/10/17 6:27 P

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World's End (The Snow Queen Cycle, #2) by Joan D. Vinge

Fist, before I actually review the contents off this novella, I have to ask why it isn't available on kindle? Both Snow Queen (it's predecessor) and Summer queen (it's successor) are offered via digital. I had downloaded both of the other titles, and so then discovered (much to my joy) that this was available! But, alas, only thru Third Party Sellers on Amazon? I wonder if this title never got the publicity of the other two? Or maybe it's a tangential story between them.
Having read, and muchly enjoyed, the Snow Queen, I World's End (The Snow Queen Cycle, #2)
by Joan D. Vinge enjoyed this novella. I suppose you could call it "More Hells for Gundhalinu".
He evacuated away from Tiamt, and into an even more lawless backwater of a planet. And here he truly does go to Hells, and even manages to lose whatever self respect, and sanity, he may have held on to. Make no mistake, this story belongs to him. And his incredible struggles against forces known, and unknown, which make him question the worth of his past, present and future.
But his abject self honesty, and rigid self discipline both must be mettles under a very fiery crucible indeed.
You can read this book in a day, but at the end of that day, you will know that it was the well spent.

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1/9/17 11:40 A

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Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe (ebook) by Mike Massimino

One of the better astronaut memoirs I have read. Mass takes us along on his journey, from the Bronx, to the Hubble. He doesn't pull any punches, and the story reads as if you were sitting with him, and sharing a beer.
He has a high level of frustrations along the way, but that's also how he got there! His love of his family actually propelled to do his best as an astronaut, then later to step back.
And his description of the last Hubble surviving mission will have you on the edge of your seat!
A worthy read indeed!

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1/6/17 1:53 P

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Ocean of Storms (Paperback) by Christopher Mari

Meh. Seems like the authors spent some time reading everyone else's books, and decided to mash them together really? Actually, this reads like a made of tv movie from the last decade.
Everything, and everyone is more or less your stock in trade present day SciFi. The characters are all flat, and no one shows any real change or growth. The plot is rather predictable as well.
That said, it had at least enough action to hold my interest to get too the end. Which by the way was even more predictable and less fulfilling that the rest of the plot.
I gave it three stars, but that was being generous.

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1/5/17 4:28 P

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The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1) by Joan D. Vinge

A 2001 reissue of the novel from when it was first published. Sort of loosely based on the old fairy tale, but really a fine novel. Amazing that the issues dealt with in this book, we are *still* dealing with today?!
I very much enjoyed the journey of the main characters, and how the author pulled no punches. The characters are all caught up in a cycle that they didn't choose, but must deal with. A very non-typical end of the world as we know it, and also a very strained love story (or is that stories?). No, it's not a Romance book, and yes it does have a few tiny elements of Fantasy.
all in all a well done book, and I'm looking forward to the next one!

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12/30/16 1:39 P

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Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse, #6) by James S.A. Corey

What a ride! This is the 6th Expanse novel that you have been looking for. Lot's of Science to go with the Fiction, yay! And, in fact, the science really does play a major role in this series. Which is only one of several reasons why I have enjoyed this series so very much.
Also, this book really brings the Belter "patois" (their word) lingo to life in a natural manner. And savvy that "braunschweiger" (my word) does a good job of bringing you into the thought process of the individuals using it, sa sa?
I'm not going to bother either one of us with the plot, except to say that it is well crafted and makes sense! And yes, it is driven by the characters. There are no real new characters in this wrap up (there, I said it), but everyone you know and love (or love to hate) becomes more complex, and has to painfully grow though a variety of truly miserable situations.
Some of the folks exhibit some different expressions of their selves, which is a delight that the authors didn't just stick to "This character does this, and that character does that." Rather, each character tries to remain true their own set of morals, in light of some very amoral decision making by the bad guys.
But there also the folks that have to make some very painful, profound personal choices. And that makes this book, and series, become so alive! I know that his book seems like the end of a series that I have been in love with for years... but maybe not?

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12/18/16 5:32 P

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The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars, #3) by Ian Tregillis

A very well done conclusion to this trilogy of amazing books! I very much enjoyed how the long story was drawn out. It came teasing, and bumbling, and madly dancing to it's own set of clicks and clacks and other less mechanical music. There is no shortage of characters here, and each has a well crafted story. How they intertwine, and what happens to them is what makes this such a well done story!
I really wasn't certain how things would end, and whether the truly mad and horrifying Queen Man would actually destroy, or enslave, the soft squishy humans... or not?!
The book finishes on a great conclusion, and one truly worthy of all the heroic, and also not so noble characters. The story does a great job of interweaving these complex people (some of whom are human, some of whom are not) into a richly textured tale. And, of course, when you are done, you still want more. Which is the hallmark of a story well told!

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12/14/16 5:20 P

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The Lightcap (Paperback) by Dan Marshall

It was an okay read. Several plot holes and also a rather disjointed narrative. The characters were rather flat and I just never really believed in any of them. The plot was rather choppy, and so the story didn't flow well. That said, I did read to the end, so there's that.

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12/10/16 6:16 P

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A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers

A fun read in the series. Not as humorous as the first, and tangentially related. This story, however, really develops the characters! It also addresses questions like what really is consciousness , and also implicates slavery.
Our main hero, a very young Jane lives a very hard scrabble life, alone in a shuttle, stranded on a planet. Meanwhile in another corner of the Galactic Commons, Pepper and Blue bring an AI to life by giving her a humanist body.
The plot is driven well by the characters, and we make some good friends along the way. The questions asked are also developed in a well paced manner, and the storyline doesn't get bogged down. Another nice, quick read.

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12/9/16 2:23 P

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers

Nicely done! Enjoyed reading this book as it has all the elements of a good read. The author took her time in developing the characters, and allowing them to evolve. Good plot that had to be driven through. Nice twists and turns, and a fun sense of humor as well.

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12/5/16 7:15 P

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Into Everywhere (Paperback) by Paul McAuley

Follows Something Coming Through, but from a more distant timescale. You can, however, easily read this as a stand alone book. The action is fast paced, and the characters are driven. Sometimes they are driven by their own ambitions and sense of purpose, sometimes they are driven by other, more alien ghosts in the machine.
The author does a wonderful job of continuing the universe he started in the first book, and asks some cogent questions along the way. Many of those questions have to do with what would happen if we could go out there, and what would we do with the remains of some Elder Culture's relics.
As always, we carry our sins with us, but we also have some good guys and gals to help. In this book, our two unlikely heroes are Lisa and Tony, (No, not a couple) and the way then end up meeting is cleverly done indeed. Toss in a rogue AI, and a couple off very not transparent alien races, let stew and see what happens.

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11/12/16 4:17 P

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Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

First things first, this book is an YA title. I didn't realize that when I ordered it, but it still is a fine read! Told in first person narrative, our hero is quite the gal! We move with her as she seeks out a life of adventure. Said adventure becoming all too real and too quickly! She has to grow up very fast indeed, and also take on the galaxy's worst space pirate. Toss in a few other baubles of family treachery and the alike, and you have a cracking good tale indeed.
She gets reborn hard, and glows with anticipation at coming to terms with the one that has stolen her sister, and killed her crew. Oh yes, you want to read this book!

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11/12/16 4:00 P

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A Night Without Stars (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers #2) by Peter F. Hamilton
alter cycle, but (of course) leaves the Commonwealth wide open for further adventures. The characters drive the plot and subplots. The pacing is brisk, or n to, when it needs to be. The scope of the adventure spans from several thousand light decades away, back to our own galaxy. Set in a far distant future, the story has oh so human characters. We see our own foibles and follies, and there is no end to our sins as a species. But that's why this book is such a great read.
I know some readers have complained about this author's style of writing, and in particular the heft of his tomes. I rather fancy it as he doesn't need to rush thru a chapter every time you turn a page. Also, the author is not overly wordy, but takes time to craft his universe, and the people in it.
Once again, the Commonwealth is a place and time I would love!

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10/28/16 8:52 P

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Time Siege (Time Salvager #2) by Wesley Chu

The further misadventures of James Griffith Mars. In a very dystopian future, his job was to go to the past to retrieve stuff to make the present better. Got it? Good. Unfortunately, he manages to break every rule about his job, and kidnap a scientist to help save the Earth, and also the Solar system. And that was the previous book!
This book follows the first in a seamless manner. The characters are better developed, and more textured. Our hero has a midlife crisis, and oh yeah, hits rock bottom, with the bottle. But that is a minor subplot compared with the trap he has become ensnared in. This is worthy sequel to Time Salvager, and yes you want to read that first. Fast paced and direct, the book never dawdles. It does have turns warm and loving, and also cold and tortured, depends on the character. The plot is straight forward, and driven by the characters. There are plenty of surprises in both people, and places, and storyline.
The only thing I need add is for the author to get the finish out NOW!!

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10/24/16 2:41 P

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Death's End (Hardcover) by Liu Cixin

Wow. What ride this series has been! And in this, the last installment of the trilogy, the scope has become very 'universal" indeed! The characters drive the story along, and we see our humanity define, and redefine itself along the way. This time, our fly on the wall is a young engineer from the Common Era (the same era we live in). Cheng Xin is thrust into making several key decisions that for better or worse, affect the entirety of mankind. No pressure there. She felt, after making each of those decisions that she did not choose wisely.
The Trisolarians, however, are very complicit in the background of her decision making process. And they don't play fair. It almost seems as if time itself is against our species, even tho we can hibernate away for centuries. The rest of our entourage of characters appears, and disappears as events need.
This book does close the storyline in a most appropriate manner. The clever writing can not be stressed enough, as you keep coming across twists, turns, and even roadblocks. But Time marches on, and so does the story. How it marches on is the story!


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10/14/16 2:54 P

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The Revolution Trade: A Merchant Princes Omnibus (Paperback) by Charles Stross

Hokay... I finally finished this series. And it was a slog, make no mistake about it. I'm not going to get into plot, and subplot twists and turns. But I will say that the author stumbles to a mostly unhappy ending here. Charles Stross doesn't pull any punches, instead he assaults you with full on body blows, kidney punches and jabs you in the throat.
He also makes known his opinion of the US government, and it's actions during the Bush-Cheney administration. Yes, really. I think that is a large part of why the ratings, and reviews are all over the spectrum. The author mixed his SciFi, and Fantasy, with a bit too much of a projected reality. Or, maybe, (and this is again, just my own personal opinion) I prefer my SciFi and Fantasy to not be an "Alternate History" of this world.
At any rate, the entire series lurches thru three different worlds, and none of them have much to commend. Instead the sins of ourselves seem to be ever present, in any world, and therefore all we have are some very gloomy prospects, wherever we go.

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10/3/16 4:25 P

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The Traders' War (The Merchant Princes, #3-4) by Charles Stross

Okay, so you thought the first Omnibus was confusing? Well, then let's add in another world with it's now set of distant, and pissed off Clan, and oh yeah, the US government is also pissed off as well.
So now our hero, the ever plucky Miriam aka Helge, has to negotiate thru landmines (sometimes literally) in all three worlds, while dodging various bullets. Oh, and being under house arrest is not a good idea for her either!
At least there are some few folks that she can count upon, but who are they really? Everyone seems to need her of rather own machinations, and she really is getting sick and tired of all this.
The characters are becoming more fully fleshed out, but the plot become much more intertwined and twisted! Don't blink as you might miss something important... in whichever world you may be?

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10/3/16 4:19 P

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The Bloodline Feud (The Merchant Princes, #1-2) by Charles Stross

An interesting mix of SciFi and Fantasy. Set in the America during the Bush-Cheney administration, and a couple of tangential worlds. Our hero, Miriam, has an entire warehouse of surprises when her mom finally lets on the family secret. Not the least of which is being able to transport herself into a medieval style world where (oh dear) she is a noble person. And in the middle of a very drastic feud!
Miriam really does not do well at Court. And her rather botches a lot of folks plans, both for her wealth, and her health!
Tightly written, but sometimes a bit forced. Good characterizations (as you would expect from Charlie) but the plot does get disjointed. At least you, dear reader, have the luxury of putting the book down. Which you really won't do as you need to find out what happens next.

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9/12/16 2:06 P

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Dark Matter (Hardcover) by Blake Crouch

Ah yes, the good, old, Many Worlds of life's paths not taken novel. But don't let that stop you dear Reader! Sure we have all read or seen, quite a few Multiverse Multi Plots before. And yes, rather obviously this book rests upon an artifice that someone could build a wonder, horrible machine that spans the different worlds.
Which the author does in manner you don't think about. But Mr. Crouch skillfully combines different disciplines (physics and biology) to make a believable Deus Ex Machina. Where this tome is set apart, however, are the characters. Or, in particular the main character, who is much more than he seems to be?
And just what would you do if you were ripped apart from the family, and life you know and love, and were inserted into one that you had always wondered about. The author masterfully weaves together different viewpoints, each of which drives the plot. And towards the end, when the fecal matter impacts the propeller, the storyline gets quite twistificated indeed!
It took me three days to finish this book, but if not for my mundane reality I would read it in one? Or maybe some other me in a different timeline did?

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9/8/16 7:03 P

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Infomocracy (Hardcover) by Malka Ann Older

This is swift ride, so you better not blink! Set in the near future, with a dysfunctional system of micro-democracies as the various forms of government. We're on the eve of a global election, and then it picks up! We have some greta characters who are sufficiently complex to be quite believable, and a plot that is fast paced enough to keep the pages turning.
Plenty of action, but all done by someone(s) who are driving and twisting the narrative for their own ends. Our two main heroes are not above suspicion either, and when the breakdown comes, each has to asses their own loyalties. And for very good reasons.
Once you pick this book up, you won't put it down until you are done, so go pick it up... now!

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9/6/16 2:36 P

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Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1) by Yoon Ha Lee

If you are looking for a great SciFi read, with a chaser of Fantasy, then this is for you! The author takes us on a most peculiar ride into a war of philosophies with enemies who were allies. While this brewing, we also season with an undead, sociopathic hero/murderer from about 400 years ago. At the appropriate times we baste with weapons that bring in a fantastical morbidity, and then we let bake with a newly minted, yet freshly disgraced women of uncertain philosophical character.
Oh yeah, this is a great read!!


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8/31/16 6:52 P

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The Race (Paperback) by Nina Allan

Not really a full length novel. Rather it's four short stories, and an appendix that makes a fith. Each story is somehow related to the one in front of it, if only tangentially. And the second and third really are not SciFi at all. they border on the genre known as Urban Fantasy, but barely just.
The writing is clean, and the characters are driven. The plots ate loosely intertwined, but only as a general theme really.
The journeys are compelling and a worthwhile read, but this is more of a book to read on the bus, rather than a classic.

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8/29/16 1:29 P

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Children of Time (Hardcover) by Adrian Tchaikovs

Wonderful book, and you want to put it down! I did think the author made a couple of grievous sins at the beginning, but I plodded on anyway. I love that this story has a multicultural view pf the plot. And yes, the well developed characters do drive the plot, sometimes into the depths of despair and cruelty. There are other time, however, when the characters surprise us with some wisdom, and a better way.
This novel takes a well determined time to get to where it's going, which allows for complexity of people and story. Altho, yes the pace does quicken when is should, so there are no boring parts.
When the inevitable, final conflict happens (as it surely must!), the ultimate conclusion is as satisfying as it is unusual!

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8/20/16 7:02 P

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Too Like the Lightning (Hardcover) by Ada Palmer

This book is quite the ride! It is set in the mid 2400's, yet narrated as if in the 1700's? This means that the reader doesn't get the luxury of our 21st century sound byte chapters of two or less pages. It also means that you need pay attention. The artifice of a future that is described as if in the past is well thought and developed contrivance. It simultaneously gives excruciating detail, while also avoiding the topic at hand.
Thus, the plot seems to be dragging, while in fact it covers only a few days. But you get an in depth relationship with the narrator that is rarely achieved in first person voice. And while you get this deep level of story telling, there is so much more that you ask along the way.
As each chapter is turned, you slowly become drawn in, and by the time you finish this tome, you realize that you simply must preorder the next one!
The author does a great job of having the characters, and their various relationships, drive the plot. So much so that at times you forget the miracles that are being done elsewhere?
but worry not, for the author does an admirable job of pulling yet another rabbit out of the hat, and you (yet again) applaud.

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The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut by Clayton C. Anderson

I have read many Astronaut Memoirs, and this ranks as one of my favorites. I have also met many astronauts, and "Clay" is among the coolest. He has a gentle sense of humor, and an honesty and integrity that match his (mostly) outstanding career. But really, to me, (just an "Earthbound misfit"), it is love of God, family and (yes) country, that place him head and shoulders above so many of us.
This memoir is not a technical compendium of his career. Nor is it an exercise in self aggrandizement. From the first pages of the book, you get a sense that you are having a great conversation with an old friend. It's as if you and he are couch surfing, sharing a glass of wine, and just reminiscing about your life's adventures together. When I say together, Clay brings you along in his journey, and pulls no punches. Nor does he offer excuses, or shift blame when it's his turn to be a human. He is candid and forthright in the only way he can be. If you read this whole book without shedding some tears, then you need to find the place where you put your heart.
Because, make no mistake, you will shed tears, both for his joys, and also for his pains. Yes, he is that honest!
As we all know, there is no such ting as an "Ordinary Spaceman"... but then again, we all knew the Earth was flat once, didn't we?

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8/9/16 1:52 P

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Argonauts by Kevin Kneupper

Could be better, could be worse. It was on okay read at best. I have nothing against reeling an old myth, but this one needs better editing for sure! There were several time I almost just chucked the book because it was boring, but the author would pick it up again.
So, not the worst read ever, but I would be hard put to give it a thumbs up.

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8/4/16 1:38 P

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Excelsior: Book 1 of the New Frontiers Trilogy by Jasper T. Scott

The author has some good ideas here, and also some "been there, done that stuff". The characters are pretty much single layered, and not very deep.
That said, there was enough good writing to keep me turning the pages. The storyline, and the narrative did improve as the book went along. The plot centered around a nerdy found wormhole, and a planet at the other end. Political distress, war, blah, blah, blah.
But the book does pick up in quality towards the end, and even has some surprises for the reader. I haven't yet decided if I will continue to follow this trilogy (and just why is everything a trilogy these days?). But knowing me, I probably will. So, not on the level of Ian M. Banks, or Neal Asher, or Charlie Stross, et.al. but I think the author may bear reading?

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7/31/16 6:47 P

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Human 76 : Fragments of a Fractured World (Paperback) by Michael Wombat

I must tell you that I went into this book with a couple of misgivings. First, if you have followed me at all, you know of my general dislike for short stories. Don't judge, I just prefer the whole story is all. Second, in this past decade there has been a plethora of Post Apocalyptic whatevers. And most of them are not really done all that well, in my opinion. again, just my take, but there it is.
So if this book was a sport, it would be Pairs Olympic Ice Dancing. You, the reader are one of the partners on the ice, and the story you are reading is the other partner. Yes, as any good dance should, the beginning is slow, and builds. Thought each story we come closer to Gahbrie, and then sometimes, we separate and seem to do a turn on our own? This collection of short stories doesn't go from a point a to point b to point c and so on. Instead it dances, and skates through many places and people. all of which have been deeply affected by "The Blast".
And like any great performance on ice, this story of stories twists and turns, slides slowly and also speeds up. Are we doing a tango or a merengue? There are stories of Science Fiction, and also Horror, and also Comedy and also Love.
So, when you finish the dancing with this book, you smile at the journey taken, and the people you have met. And you even shed a tear for some of the other folks that were alongtheu way.
In other words, don't let my misgivings mislead you, this is time well spent.
Also, do read about how this came to be, it is a fun tale in itself. And then look at the bios in th aback about the people that brought this dance. And ask yourself, "Is Wombat really giving me the finger?"


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7/26/16 3:12 P

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Apex (Nexus, #3) by Ramez Naam

Wowzers! What an incredible book. And oh so very credible at the same time. This is a very worthy conclusion to the Nexus Trilogy. Ramen Naam keeps the reader's attention, and you become completely involved in the story. There are so many subplots to weave together into the final whole, yet the author does a masterful way of weaving.
The characters are well lectured, and very human. Each has constraints that either helps, or hinders whatever cause they are pulling for. Lots of violence yes, and also other exciting action. When it heats up, you might get blisters from your fingers turning the pages so fast! Yet the exposition is also well paced and thoughtful.
I rally think these books would make for a great series of movies. At any rate, go read them all now, you will thank me later.

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7/6/16 3:08 P

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Crux (Nexus, #2) by Ramez Naam

Whoosh! Put the tray tables in their locked, upright positions, and buckle up, we're going for a ride!! This book ups just after the first, and you *will* stay up at night until it's finished! I literally found myself starting to speed read to get to the next point even faster, faster, faster!!
You know the basic plot (or go read the descriptions, that's not my job) and the characters are written well enough that you believe in them. Plus, they drive the plot, and subplots in a very convincing manner indeed. No one is completely white hat or black hat, and yes it is twisted. But certain aspects still remain, and doing the right thing because it is the right thing is a very pressing moral question.
More action, more dwelling deep, more answers and manipulation and happily more story...

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6/29/16 8:40 P

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Our dear historical Vlad the Impaler may not be SciFi, but it's really hard to say that classic isn;t welcome in here?! ;) Besides, you could say that it's tangentially related... At least in just about every book store they lump Horror in with SciFi anyways...

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6/29/16 8:25 P

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Dracula, Bram Stoker. It's much better written than I expected from my past experience with super-hyped classics, and now I'm a little sad I haven't seen any adaptations that are as good as the book. ;)

But since that's not actually science fiction, I'll also note that I recently read The Last Mortal Man by Syne Mitchell and that was really good, too. It's the first book in a series that was never finished, though, so alas, there are some loose threads left untied at the end...

Edited by: STARWING at: 6/29/2016 (20:27)
“Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they will.” — Pythagoras
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6/27/16 7:57 P

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Nexus (Nexus, #1) by Ramez Naam

Wowzers, what a ride! Great characters and a very compelling story. Wonderfully textured and also an emotional rollercoaster ride. Character driven plot, and subplots all come together seamlessly in this first of three novels.
Since I can only wonder just what our silly Human race is going to do next, I better read all about it!

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6/22/16 5:18 P

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The Medusa Chronicles (Hardcover) by Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds

This is a sequel to A Meeting With Medusa by Arthur C. Clarke. I think that perhaps it more of a love letter from the authors to Uncle Arthur. Honestly, the first two thirds of the book I found uninspiring and plodding. I particularly found the various iterations of our hero's machine body to be cumbersome and mostly felt like a 1980's one off? Also, the idea of Machine sentients was not really well thought out.
But I stuck with it, and the final third was well written indeed. That's when I could really sink my teeth into this, so to speak. So I was going to give it a Two Star rating, but the last part pulled it up a notch.

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6/22/16 5:12 P

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The Long Cosmos (The Long Earth, #5) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

How do you say goodbye? Especially to a beloved author who is now in the next realm. Sir Terry Pratchett, (who had numerous works to his name) left us in 2015. Happily he and Stephen Baxter left us this very satisfying, and yet bittersweet conclusion tho the series.
I would decidedly recommend that you do read the entire series, in order, before this. Otherwise, you simply won't get the full emotional impact of the book.
Our old, dear friends have one last tourney to make, and hopefully answer an invitation to all sentient beings in the Long Earth cascade. How they do what they do, and the interaction of these people are what keeps this book so close to the heart.
So, in the wise words of Dr. Seuss, "Don't cry because it's over, be happy that it happened!"

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6/12/16 7:50 P

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War Factory (Transformation #2) by Neal Asher

Wowzers! What a read! This is the second of three books in the Transformation series. And it picks up about a nanosecond after the first one ends. Or maybe that's a femto second? The pacing is tight, and the plot seems to start at berserk and then go into hyperdrive. We have several subplots, each by a different character, who's have each somehow, been changed by being in contact with Penny Royal. Penny Royal is the galaxy's Most Wanted AI, and for several god reasons. She is a murderess of planetary proportions, and she also has her own unique sense of sadistic humor. Anyone who has some kind of a deal with this black AI quickly discovers that they got what they wanted, but it's always a deal with the devil.
The plot is very consuming, as is everyone's seeming desire to figure out just what Penny Royal is doing now? Especially as it appears that she is intent on redemption. But she still is a mystery wrapped in a conundrum hidden inside a black hole.
The story follows each character, and also delves into the politics of Human, Prador and Polity AI. Penny Royal must "go back to the beginning" to find the end. So, of course she also places each character where she wants, with no regards to their wants or wishes. All of which means that as soon as you finish this book, you immediately want to pick up the next! Which I have been given to understand is at the editors.
Lastly, after reading the poignant dedication, all I can say is"Thank you Neal for remembering. I appreciate it."

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6/11/16 10:11 P

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The Rising (The Alchemy Wars, #2) by Ian Tregillis

I never knew there was an "Urban Fantasy" genre until I started reading it. This is the sequel to The Mechanical, and a very worthy successor it is indeed.
Some old friends and enemies (and sometimes you just aren't really sure?), and some new ones. The plot goes further afield and afoot, and into a revolution. One that is probably "the end of the world."
Oh dear, will Ian please and thank you bring out the conclusion to this story?!

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Code Breakers Complete Series: Books 1-4 (Kindle Edition) by Colin F. Barnes

Read this entertaining series as a set, on my Kindle. The first three books are really just one long novel. The fourth is a short story that ties up loose ends from the first three.
Very fast paced SciFi that moves along quickly. The cast of characters are quirky and eccentric, but wonderfully so. The plot is a bit strained at times, but you just keep reading.
In all a good read.

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City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

What? Yet another Urban Fantasy book? Well, yes. And a great read it is at that. This is the sequel, stand alone, of City of Stairs. I think that this novel is more smoothly written and better paced. We have some new friends and some old ones. And oh yeah, a certain Divinity that was supposed too be long dead, that has promised to her followers that they will one day wage war on the living, and utterly kill every human being on the planet. What is a retired general to do? You will just have to pick up the book to find out, it's well worth the read I assure you.

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4/29/16 11:07 A

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The Drafter by Kim Harrison

Picked this up at an airport on a recent trip. Airport bookstores are really not well noted for having any SciFi, much less really good SciFi. Happily, this was a quick and easy read. The characters drove the plot, and there plenty of twists and turns along the way.
I enjoyed the read quite a bit, but noted a few stumbles along the way. Namely, how does the Anchor and the Drafter really manage to get into each other's heads? Don't remember that being explained anywhere. Then again, I was also on two flights, one of which got delayed, and was really tired when I read most of this book, so who knows?
If you pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

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4/16/16 10:33 A

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The Nano Flower (Greg Mandel, #3) by Peter F. Hamilton

Well, Peter F. Hamilton saved the best for the last, didn't he? In the further adventures of Greg Mandel, and company, we forward about 17 years since the previous book. Shame really as I bet there is space in between for at least two more novels? Ah well, once again the action is brisk, the characters are multi layered and well textured, and the evil is not exactly out of this world. The plot is character driven, and there's plenty of twists and misdirection along the way. Spoiler Alert: I did figure out what wasn't, about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through. And that's all I am going to say about that. Go pick it up and give it a read, time well spent. And a very appropriate ending. Too bad it's the end of this series.

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4/9/16 9:11 P

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A Quantum Murder (Greg Mandel, #2) by Peter F. Hamilton

Another great read from this author! And the second book in this near future is just as exciting, and fast paced as the first. We have the same basic retinue of characters, with a couple of new friends along the way. This book is definitely a Murder Mystery first, and near future SciFi thriller second.
Our group of heroes isn't going to save the world this time, but instead they have to solve a murder that was committed by someone who can't possibly have done it. If you are now scratching your head, good! You will want to pick this book up, but fair warning, you won't put it down until you're done!

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4/6/16 11:41 P

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"Kiss the Girls" by James Patterson

Saw the movie a bunch, read it years and years ago, but re-reading it today. didn't realize how much was different, yet still awesome (one of the few times i like both the book AND theatrical version about the same)

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

"This is a revolution, dammit. We're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!" --William Daniels as John Adams, "1776"


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Mindstar Rising (Greg Mandel, #1) by Peter F. Hamilton

Put your stray tables in the locked, upright position, you are in for a very bumpy ride indeed!! This book is SciFi with Murder Mystery with Thriller... and it rocks! Written in 1993 it holds up remarkably well. In fact, if the author would just change the "cybofax" (Relly? you couldn't come up with a better word?) for a cell phone, it would be complete.
I generally don't discuss plus very ucjh as you can get that from any jacket blurb, or other reviews. So I will say that I very much enjoy a character driven plot, and subplots. This book takes no prisoners, and gives no quarter. In other words, the people that inhabit this near future are smart, and cleverly written. the inevitable twists are delicious and sharp. So pick this book up, but be forewarned you won't put it down until you are done!

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Xeelee: Endurance by Stephen Baxter
I usually don't go in for a compilation of short stories (as I've said before), but am delighted that I read this one! Set in Stephen Baxter's Xeelee universe, these are the stories in between the stories. In other words, the author's mighty works about humanity's struggles against the Xeelee are merely a backdrop here. These stories, in chronological order, tell about the kind of galaxy that evolves around, or because of, that war.
So don't expect much in the way of "Us versus Them" battle and such. As much I loved the Xeelee sequence, these stories actually flesh out that timeline, in a very human way, with very human characters, doing very human things.
Since the stories are presented in a first to last procession, you really get the idea of the background noise from the constant turmoil of the conflict, while concentrating upon the struggle of the more immediate now of the characters of each story. Pick the up, it won't let you down.

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3/19/16 1:39 P

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Across a Billion Years by Robert Silverberg

What a fun read!! From start to finish I thoroughly enjoyed this ride. hard to imagine it was first put out in 1969! Yikes! And it stand up so well even today. The characters were what really made this such a worthwhile read. Each of them were textured, and the aliens included made it more fun to read.

Our hero, a fresh archaeologist, is writing letters to his quadriplegic sister at home. Somehow Tom Rice ends up on a mission to learn more about a race of sentients that had colonized the galaxy a billion years ago. And, of course, just about everything that was previously known about The High Ones gets turned over and inside out.

Well paced, and well done!

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3/16/16 5:52 P

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Scratch Monkey by Charles Stross

What a ride!! Wowzers!! This book was originally written a couple of decades ago, by a much younger Charlie Stross that we are used to reading. But don't let that fool you! What it lacks in subtlety and smoothness, it more than makes up for in pure, raw, angst and energy.
I think it would be fair to say that this short book is really almost a mashup of three different short stories. And there is some much needed, but somewhat awkwardly handled, exposition along the way.
The pace is almost frenetic, the stakes are incredibly high, and the heroes are wonderfully twisted.
The main hero, Oshi Adjani has seen more death and despair than any girl or woman should in a lifetime of lifetimes. Her "Boss" is a rather brilliant, and manipulative cur. But even worse than knowing the "Truth" is dealing with it... to the tune of almost a billion souls. Oh and there is an even much more malevolent evil out there that seems to be simply eating our galactic civilization at will.
Toss in the odd Egyptian God with a dog's head and an appetite for despair, then mix well with some folks who do not trust Oshi, but have to rely upon her, and sprinkle with a love affair that wasn't.
Lastly, for a behind the curtain peek at writing and the business of getting published, DO read the two quick essays at the end!
Now, if only Charlie would write a sequel, set 20 some years in the future of this novel. Please Charlie, bring Oshi back in another book!!!


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Morning Star (Red Rising, #3) by Pierce Brown

Well... Pierce Brown really did save the best for last in this trilogy! By now you know the story, you know the plot, you know the characters, and you know you keep reading.

But I assure you that you don't the many surprises that come your way! Like the first two books, many of the surprises are particularly nasty, or even gut to heart wrenching. And this book moves across a different landscape, and we get to see the story draw in towards the end game.

The ending is well worth the read, and it finished off this trilogy perfectly.

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3/3/16 7:11 P

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Golden Son (Red Rising, #2) by Pierce Brown

Woot, what a ride! Better than the first book, which was pretty great, by a shot. Our hero and his not so noble band of warriors find themselves in deeper. This time the game involves not just them at school, but instead they must charge a civil war of the entire Solar System.
Throw in some fun and excitement, along with betrayal, and murder. Broken bones and hearts, and cruelty with no remorse or morals. Yup, just about a perfect Greek Tragedy!

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Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories (Hardcover) by China Miéville

I'm giving this 3 of 5 stars, there were a good variety of appropriately twisted tales, and I keep turning the pages soon enough. I do need admit, however, that I really am not the short story type. Oh, I know... it's the purest form of storytelling... cleanse and most efficient style of telling a tale... and so on. I just hate becoming invested in a story only to have Whammo The End Now! And some of the really short ditties I simply couldn't follow?
But I could, and did follow enough of them to enjoy the read.

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2/25/16 2:28 P

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Ha! I SO understand about finishing a lame book? It's like you don't want to totally give in?

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2/25/16 11:42 A

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The Legend of Broken by Caleb Carr. It's taken me forever to get about half way through, which has been a great disappointment. Carr wrote one great book (The Alienist) about 19th century New York and early psychology. He wrote a decent book (The Angel of Darkness) in the same context. He wrote a bad SF book (Killing Time). I thought I would give him another chance when I spotted this one at the library, but it seems to be a bad historical novel with fantasy elements, and some of the worst naming I have come across in years. Ugh.

And yet, I will probably finish it anyway. Go figure.

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2/23/16 10:10 A

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Worlds Away (The Interstellar Age, #3) by Valmore Daniels
The last book in this trilogy. Val more still needs to work on his continuity. And sometimes his timing of the story, and also some plot lines, seems contrived. In this last book, the aliens have all been done before as well. So I was rather prepared to say that it's a decent enough piece of fluff, but move on.
The characters, however, really do shine, even if they aren't quite a swell developed as you hope for. But the characters are ultimately what does carry the story, and you end up feeling for them.
When the author does get to the end game, he actually ratchets up his game a couple of notches! The suspense built at a good rate, and the ending was very well written indeed.
I actually would give each book a C-, but will be generous and give the series a C.

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2/20/16 4:03 P

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Music of the Spheres (The Interstellar Age, #2) by Valmore Daniels

This is the second installment of his Interstellar Age trilogy. The characters are, once again, very real and well textured. the plot is entertaining enough to keep you turning pages, even when it gets either cumbersome or stilted by turns.
I did enjoy the delving into Mayan history, and that has been well woven thru this story. Unfortunately the author still has problems with continuity in several places. And there also many places where the dialogue felt forced.
Daniels still hasn't got his approach to artificial gravity down (all puns included) and the Canadian space station just doesn't fit right either.
The journey in this book, however, does fit well, and is paced nicely. I only hope that he doesn't fall back onto some tired cliches of aliens invading Earth in the next book. It's been done too many times before to have real meaning now.

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2/11/16 6:17 P

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Forbidden the Stars (The Interstellar Age, #1) by Valmore Daniels

Happily it's a quick read, and you do get interested in the characters. Unhappily I think the author was trying for too much, and not getting it. There are several inconsistencies in this book, like a space ship that lands on the Moon, and is slated to turn around in two weeks to return to Pluto. Yet in the next chapter it launches from Port Canaveral? Also the author's supposition of mimicking gravity thru magnetics is complete bollocks, and becomes tiresome. The worst part, however, is the author's insistence in trying to use some technobabble to create this near future. it fails miserably. And even when he goes into one of paragraph long explanations of th math, he doesn't even get that right! Note to the author: surface area is expressed in square kilometers, not cubed. Duh.
All the aside, it is a fun read, if only to find out how the characters are going to react to this improbable scenario. The monument on Pluto is actually a well done contrivance, and the political machinations seem genuine enough as well.
So this good for a quick read, and I'll read the other two book, hoping that the author hits his side in those stories.

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2/9/16 9:26 P

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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

I usually don't want to spend time in a book of short stories because just as soon as I get involved with the story, it's over?! Short stories do have to have a rather efficient scale of economy, and thus are the purest form of writing fiction. Neil Gaiman does so in his (un)usual style of bringing the reader along just enough to wonder what really did happen, and what is next?!
We get to meet a couple of old friends, and make some new ones along the way. is this SciFi or Fantasy... yes. Along with some nifty poetry and prose, and a wonderful complement of oddments and curios. Once you start, you will keep turning the pages, and then wish you weren't done. Such is the magic of Neil Gaiman.

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Passage At Arms by Glen Cook

An intriguing, first person account of a mission in a war torn galaxy, in the not so near future. Our hero (who's name I never did catch!) is a war correspondent that angles his way into a Climber, to give their unique story. Climbers are small ships, with light crews, that can slip they the Ulant's defenses mostly undetected.
The story is not so much about the technology of the day, but rather about the crew, and their personalities as the mission continues. A brief, and glorious victory, but at what cost to both ship and crew? A mission that devolves thru time as the people aboard the failing ship break down.
What can possibly keep this threadbare unit alive and is there any hope of making it back in one piece?
You'll just have to read this book, but set aside a day because you will be turning pages to get to the next one!

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1/7/16 2:44 P

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Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
I don't usually go for books about time travel. The usually seem to muck about in the past, creating alternate histories, and also get lost in the technical aspects of both traveling in time, and also the technical tour de force that makes it possible. Happily, this tale neatly avoids all that!
The "present" is at the end of the 25th century, and the time travel only goes back to the latter part of the late 21st century. As for the technical Gee Whizz of how they manage to jump back and forth, our hero simply doesn't know, nor care. He just does it. This allows for a cleaner trip, and a bette read!
Speaking of our hero, James Griffin Mars, he's piece of work alright. Pretty much about used up, both physically and emotionally. Some of his pains are from to much alcohol on a consistent basis, too much guilt at what he does, and a consistent fatalism that makes him certain he's not really doing any good.
So... he does something that nobody has done before, he breaks the first, most important Time Law. He brings back to the present a scientist, that may be able to heal the Earth that has become a toxic sewage dump in the 25th century. Oh dear. If that isn't enough, he also discovers along the way that his beloved Chromo Com isn't the Knight On A White Horse it pretends to be, and also finds a plot of incredible greed across the entire Solar System, and through time itself. Rut rho.
His real journey, however, isn't from one time into another, but from who he made himself become, to become someone he's not. A hero.
And the ending was great as well...

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12/28/15 3:34 P

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Worlds by Joe Haldeman
Joe Haldeman has been a staple of SciFi for many years now. This particular novel was highly recommended to me, and I am quite happy to have made it's acquaintance! Originally written in 1955 (yes really!), it easily could have been written last year. That's silly how good it is.
Our heroine hails from New New York, the largest of some 40 cities in orbit around the planet. Set in the 25th century, the technology is amazingly prescient of how it could be.
Marianne has a singular life up there, and decides to go to Earth for a year long graduate studies program. She becomes involved with a poet, Benny, and also a subversive political group on the campus. Her fun, little cabal seems innocent enough, but there comes a time when maybe not so innocent after all.
She decides to get away from it all by taking a whirlwind tour, and gets involved with a classmate that works for the FBI. When she returns from her globe trotting tour is when the book really picks up. As the plot speeds up, she loses control over her world, as the world itself goes out of control.
Cleverly written, wonderful characters, and a juicy plot kept me entertained all the way thru. And as to the ending, oh my yes.


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12/16/15 1:05 P

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Caretaker by Josi Russell
Don't know how I managed (or mismanaged) to pick out two clunkers in a row, but I sure did! If you have someone in late elementary school, and want to introduce them to SciFi, then this may be a decent book. If, however, you are an adult, and have read a lot, then this book is fairly pedestrian.
You can read the blurb for a quick tease not he plot. All I will say is that half way thru the book the read stated to deteriorate. As in you are surprised, not by the plot twists and character development, but by the amazing amount of "Been there, done that" items you encounter. The characters are all pretty much just one layer, the plot is very straightforward to the point of boring, and the aliens have all been done before. (and done better).
So, if this was a very young adult title, it would do better.

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12/12/15 10:26 A

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A Borrowed Man, by Gene Wolfe

Meh. It is a fast read, but nor very involving. the characters are all one dimensional, except for our hero. And he is a mess and full of contradictions. Not in the way that makes cgi more interesting or human, but in the you're not going to suspend disbelief way. The plot is lame, and the concussions is totally off base.
Move along, nothing to see here...

alas, there were some great ideas here, and he is a well noted Fantasy author, but this book pretty well was stiff and stilted. I should have there reviews in Goodreads, instead of amazon before buying the book.

Edited by: JAYMURZ at: 12/15/2015 (11:06)
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12/10/15 1:01 P

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Our Lady Of The Ice, by Cassandra Rose Clarke
I usually go for more of the hard SciFi type reads than this book, but am I ever glad I read it! A very unusual book, cleverly written, and the plot is driven by the characters.
Our setting is in Hope City, which lies in Antartica complete with a town, and a run down amusement park. This particular ark was constructed in the early 1940's, and run mostly by robot and android help. Now, some 20 years later (just go with it) and there are only a few robots left, and the town has it's various factions of politics and crime.
Insert our heroine, Eliana, who is a PI and mostly broke. She gets thrown into a deluge of nasty politics and sordid dealings, nine of which make the rest of the humans there seem honorable in the least.
Then there's Sofia, a robot who dreams of independence, both of her built in programming, and also for all of her robotic brethren. And Lady Luna, who has a secret to keep, and mismanages to do so, in the worst way. And she prays a lot. Which is rather strange considering her real nature.
No spoilers here, but the ending is perfect! You close the book, and wonder what happened next.

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11/14/15 8:55 P

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Get the Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring. By Ford R. Myers.

This book should be given to every college student with their degree (I would've loved it but it came out the year after i got mine, dang it). Still, most of the things in here (other than "resume" and "networking" I'd never really heard of--its bizarre. It pinpointed a lot of the things I'd done wrong when I went on my last job interview--I hit every trap laid out before me, dang it. There's a lot of good methods and some common sense stuff, too, but the resources to focus on making a career vs. just getting that good job or nailing that interview--that's what I needed to hear. I thought this guy was reading my mind when I went through the first part of the book. had I found this book 2 years ago, I would be on my way to a far better job right now instead of what I've got today. I recommend to any college student about to hit the real world (or any high school student trying to figure out what they want for a career) to read this book. I really wish I'd found this one sooner.

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11/9/15 5:37 P

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The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough (the first in a trilogy)
I didn't read this as I (errantly) thought it was just another stupid zombie apocalypse story with lots of blood and gore and no plot or any real characters. Happily, I was very wrong about that! Yes, there are some "subs" that could be likened to zombies, but they don't run around trying to eat people's brains. The are the result of an alien infection, which was brought along by an alien space elevator that landed on Earth (at Darwin, Australia, hence the name) with no announcement from the aliens.
In fact, the aliens are no where to be found, and thus largely ignored. The real story has to do with how we, as a species, react to this sudden intrusion into our lives. At first it seems a boon, a real space elevator that can teach cut so much! But then, after a dozen years, the alien infection wipes out almost all of Humanity. The few souls it doesn't kill, it turns into subhumans... people with very limited cognizance. And a very, very, very small number of folks who are immune to the disease. Altho, ironically, right around Darwin, the disease doesn't take hold?
So you can imagine the world gone into the crapper, and just what happens in Darwin as the Haves and Have Nots clash. And the folks up in the elevator, with farms, trade for food for air and water.
By all accounts a swift story, and well told.

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10/28/15 12:36 P

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Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald
Wow! Once again, Ian McDonald delivers a very well crafted journey. In the near future, the Moon had been thoroughly colonized, and is run by five different families, or "Dragons". Each family seeks advantage over each other, and nothing is off limits for them to achieve it. Out main protagonist is the elderly matriarch of the Cota family, which supplies H3 to Earth for fusion reactors to power plants. Each family has their own speciality in this tale.
So we learn of the Corta's history, along with the current developments, all of which tie together very well.
The characters are driven by a history not of their making, but into a future that is uncertain at best. Add in some love/hate marriages, and some good old boy politicking, and then spice with hatred and revenge. All make for a tale not easily forgotten. The ending is really not what you may want, but it is the only ending possible. Think Greek tragedy, not fairy tale. But do give it a read!

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10/26/15 10:49 A

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Wow... another amazing tale, told well. Neil Gaiman is such a treasure to read. His artful manipulation of reality into myth just seems to always have the right amount of folding and blending of realities. An improbable beginning for a young boy, an exotic place and time in which to grow up, and (as always) a very evil and sinister group to defeat. But then, when you grow up as an orphan in a graveyard, with a bunch of dead people to look after you, what else can you do?

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Proxima by Stephen Baxter

Great follow up to Proxima! This book concludes the journey across many different versions of time, and is truly an epic tale! Stephen Baxter brings us back to the groups that survived the complete destruction of our own Solar system, and somehow finds their ways back to each other. Only now we seem to be in a different universe, and one with a much different past history than ours?!
As the book progresses, and we march along with our splintered and factious groups, you really get a feel for the characters, and their interrelationships with each other. So when the author brings in some new and fresh folks to the mix, he does so with the original sensibilities relatively intact. Good thing as apparently Rome, and the Incas still have their fans?
A worthy ending and a very good and satisfying read.

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10/18/15 9:15 P

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"Great Jobs for History Majors"
not a stretch to wonder why--I need a job where I use my brain more, gorram it.

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10/14/15 10:42 P

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"Honeymoon" by James Patterson

I gotta admit, haven't read the great JP in quite some time, but this book sure didn't disappoint. Not a slow read by any means (my copy had very short chapters and larger print than I thought, so it went fast), and you keep on turning the pages, wondering how it all comes together. definitely not one to spoil for people. Its all about a young interior decorator, Nora, who is essentially a bigamist who's trying to figure out which man in her life she should kill first...then comes some characters I won't spoil who ebb and flow in the story and it all wraps up interestingly together. Great mystery and fun to read.

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

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9/29/15 8:58 P

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The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale, by Art Spiegelman

Great story uniquely told--never thought I'd see the Holocaust in graphic novel form. As much a story of a man who was young and trying to survive the holocaust once as it is the son (and artist) who is trying to get the story and not be driven crazy by his father's eccentricities. Interesting animation and story, the characters are raw and real and you see the events, back and forth as the men converse and the story returns to the 40s. Doesn't take long to read and hooks you in so you get the meaning. This copy is books 1 and 2 rolled into one volume (in case you get confused looking for it).

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

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9/29/15 8:36 P

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The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

the master of good sci-fi short stories, collected in "chronological order" to show humans attempting to land on mars, what happened, and the subsequent colonization and comings and goings. there're lots of possibilities, so the segments aren't really chapters, but well...chronicles of various people.

Worth a read if you love sci-fi, or wouldn't mind wondering what all the fuss was about with this author (Frankly, Fahrenheit 451 is my version of hell...rapidly coming true. eww.). Enjoy!

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

"This is a revolution, dammit. We're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!" --William Daniels as John Adams, "1776"


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9/29/15 9:26 A

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Solarversia by Toby Downtom

For some unknown to me reason, on Twitter, I get a *lot* of new and indie SciFi authors all asking me to please oh please read their book, then shout out about how it was the bestest book I have ever read. Okay, so Toby didn't come on nearly that strong, and I really have nothing against using Social Media for commercial purposes.
And in fact, I did buy this book, and also loved it! Which is kind of strange as I am not a gamers at all! but the pace was swift enough to hold my attention, and the characters (especially Nova) were witty enough to have some laughs along the way.
Clever plot twists and a truly demented evil bad guy all make for a good read. Now bring the game on..

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9/29/15 9:25 A

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Zero World by Jason M. Hough

Thought I wouldn't like this one, and have no idea why I bought it in the first place? But I am very glad I did buy it! A near future techno spy thriller and so much more.
I really eschew any "Alternate Earth" stories as being basically inept and mundane. Yet the author manages to weave a tale that is credible, and also create some very interesting and compelling characters alone the way.
Pick it up, and you won't put it down until you are done!

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9/5/15 11:49 A

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Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman
An interesting read with some very clever places to go to. A journey thru the dark, to discover something within. Our hero is a woman that isn't quite right in the head, even tho she has been "five". Out other hero is another woman that really isn't cut out for this kind of a day job.
let's go discover a new planet, that seems to have a lot of dimensionality to it. Oh, then let's also discover some natives that should not be there at all, and just happen to be blind, and living in a cave. Yet some of these native also seem to be able to go a lot of other places without any technology at all?
The book waves a good story, and the characters are well developed.
It's a nice, quick read.

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9/5/15 11:47 A

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Superposition by David Walton
A fun, well paced, cleverly thought out novel. Set in the 2030's, we find our hero is a college prof that used to be a somebody. But politics got him downcast at his job on the New Jersey Super Collider. Think Hadron, only way bigger, and in Jersey. Anyway, after he left that job to be a mild mannered prof at the local CC, his former coworker pays a visit. And that's where it all goes downhill. Co worker ends up dead, our hero goes down for the rap, and things get really, really, really, "spooky actin at a distance" strange.

Don't worry if you don't have a physics background, the science is explained in a manner that the jury could understand it too. Basically, our twice dead (Yup) coworker has managed to cross the quantum into the macro. So imagine a world where things no longer behave the way you think they should, and could? And oh, seems there is a very twisted Quantum Intelligence that has a sadistic streak to it. Plus a couple of bad love affairs, and a family that seems to occupy more than one state, or position, along the probability wave form field?

This book put Science back into the SciFi, and does it in such a way as to be quite entertaining! David Walton, the author, uses the science to get to the root of the plot, and also ask some profound questions along the way.


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The Flicker Men: A Novel by Ted Kosmatka
Set in the present time (presumably) this is another novel of what happened when the Quantum world bless over into the Macro. The author, Ted Kosmatka, weaves a chilling tale of what happens when a broken, nearly suicidal researcher, Eric Argus, makes a breakthrough by using the Double Slit Experiment. His works proves that it takes consciousness to determine if a photon will act as a wave, or a particle. Or if said probabilities have already taken place, but won't be determined until a conscious person looks at the results. Which means that we could change the past (in some strange way).

The book moves briskly, and the plot is well done. Even as Eric is making these strange and incredible discoveries, other folks have their own uses for his research. And some of these folks are really what you would call Human! But they do seem to want to cause the entire world to collapse!!

Definetly a SciFi thriller, with implications beyond the speculative parts of the fiction. Throw in some good double crosses, and some unusual happenings along the way, and you will be turning each page to get to the next.

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8/25/15 9:47 P

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"Deliver Us: Three decades of murder and redemption in the infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields" by Kathryn Casey

I admit I'm big on true crime and understanding why things happen and whatnot, but it wasn't til recently I'd heard about this whole "Texas Killing Fields" thing between Houston and Galveston (grew up just southeast of Houston). I couldn't believe I'd missed all this stuff, but so had many other people in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Lots of info--not all encompassing just because of the scope of things and the amount of time that's lapsed, but very informative and gives you a ton of side notes. saw the 48 hrs doc on it that told me about it (but seemed they were too intent on talking about the movie to the cops it was supposedly based on--not a bad flick, but definitely different and a little confusing...guess I need to watch it a bit)

Book was good, though--that's for sure.

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

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8/25/15 11:12 A

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Just finished The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu. This is a sequel to The Three Body Problem, and brings us thru 200 years for history up to the time when humanity deals with the incoming probe from the the Trisolarn Fleet.
This story is not so much about harder and ships and battles and such, but is much more about the psychology of what our species might do in the face of a crisis like this. Turns to, that we suck. Who knew?

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8/10/15 10:09 A

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Have heard about "Freakanomics", but never really explored it? I'm exploring some astrobiology by nosing around the sergeant.org website. Lots of neat stuff in there to ponder too?

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8/9/15 9:45 P

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reading "Think Like a Freak: The authors of freakonomics offer to retrain your brain" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Love it so far--heard some of this stuff on their podcasts the past few months (playing major catchup on that front, loved the other books, though), and its got some great info and possibilities I could implement for myself. me likey the idea!

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

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8/5/15 11:17 P

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well, the book didn't make him out to be some sort of pariah like the movie did to up the drama and all (no space nut I know cares for that part, I skip it each time), but there is a great deal of the speculation involved and the mode of thinking that was going on. Gus never wavered from his statements that it "just blew", but there is a lot of spec. As far as they knew from the spacecraft layout an accidental hit on the button could've happened (really cramped and all).

But the book's really good at getting into the pilots, what the right stuff was, all the pilot culture and the wives and their culture and expectations. a lot of pete Conrad at first. you can tell for much of the film dialogue they consulted this book. its definitely worth a read, and even though the subject is by its nature quite technical, Tom Wolfe is really good at making you understand it (or at least try to). Very worth it.

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

"This is a revolution, dammit. We're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!" --William Daniels as John Adams, "1776"


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8/4/15 9:26 P

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I haven the movie several times, but always wondered how the book is? Did you like it? And does the book make Gus Grissom out to be the buffoon they made him in the movie? (I will never forgive them for that).

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8/4/15 8:07 P

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Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff"

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

"This is a revolution, dammit. We're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!" --William Daniels as John Adams, "1776"


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8/2/15 9:55 A

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The Planet Saturn

www.universetoday.com/15298/saturn/

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8/1/15 4:41 P

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Thats some truly classic SciFi!!

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8/1/15 3:04 P

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Plato's "Timaeus and Critias"--small read I've had on the shelf a while, dialogues about the self (of course) and the Platonic version of the Atlantis myth enclosed. one thing I forgot about the man's dialogues--he can go off on a tangent in conversation worse than me. ugh, will be painful to finish if he doesn't get to the point soon, but then I can toss it on the donate pile.

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"--Adm. David G. Farragut.

"Ninja's aren't dangerous. They're more afraid of YOU than you are of them." --The Tick, "The Tick #3"

"This is a revolution, dammit. We're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!" --William Daniels as John Adams, "1776"


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7/31/15 11:13 A

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Just finished Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. A departure from his normal excellent narrative style. But this book has it's own excellent narrative styles! Plenty of great plot, and characters to try and homestead on a Moon of a distant planet that orbits around Tau Ceti.
The dynamic are very real, and the struggles are many and the solutions not easily gained. But a great read and I recommend it highly!

Oh, and Good Omens is great fun to read!

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7/24/15 1:19 P

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I've had Good Omens sitting on my bookshelf for, well, a couple of years now. I think its time to actually read it.

Also have Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson which my daughter (25) loved. Ive enjoyed his other books.

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7/20/15 10:03 A

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Been on a tear with reading lately! I've knocked down two more!! Armada by Ernest Cline which is a fast paced, fun piece of scoff fluff. Our high school geeky hero gets to save the world and all of humanity... join just a few hours! Oh, and he goes to the Moon too. Think about every movie that has been done like this, our hero will reference them all!

Then I burned thru The Fold by Peter Clines. A present day scoff novel that could easily be turned into a movie. A small cadre of mad scientists have created a wormhole. Which is impossible, of course. But they did it. Only problem is that there are some very real problems. Add in a hero with an eidetic memory, and challenge worth of that, and you get a great read!

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7/7/15 10:34 A

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Just finished a pair of good books! Firstly was Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. What a great dens up of the End Times! An angel, and a demon, over the long history of Earth, have become friends, and when Armageddon starts, they really don't want it. The AntiChrist is an 11 year old boy who doesn't know he is the evil one. Oh, and it'a ll, more or less, in some way or other, foretold by Agnus Nutter, Witch. It's set in England, so a lot of Douglas Adams type humor.

Then I read the book Slow Bullets, by Alistair Reynolds. It is just under 200 pages, and I read it in one sitting. Really. Our hero, Scur (who was in the Redemption Space universe) is a soldier who was brutalized, then somehow woke up on a strange ship. Both she, and the ship have some problems. It seems that some of the more hard core dregs of both sides of the war are there, and coming out of hibernation for no apparent reason? Add the tensions of the now over war, and some other problems, and you get the idea.
What you don't get os how they solve their various problems, like survival, and finding out where they are, and how they got there. Another brilliant read to be sure!

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