Tag: Science Fiction

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. CareyThe Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Published by Orbit on February 14, 2017
Genres: Sci Fi
Pages: 70
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

Wow. I had no idea how much I was missing “The Girl With All the Gifts” until I read this free extended preview of “The Boy on the Bridge.” This is not a sequel they say, but it takes place in the same post apocalyptic world that Carey wrote about in “The Girl With All The Gifts.”

We seem to be following another team that is out to figure out how to combat the hungries in a changed world. We start off following the POV of a character named Dr. Khan who I imagine is going to be just as important to the boy on the bridge as was Miss Justineau was to Melanie in “The Girl With All the Gifts.” I won’t reveal what I read so far since I don’t want to have spoilers out there for everyone, but I read enough to be demanding even more. I need this book so badly right now. I am worried about Khan and a boy named Stephen Greaves who seems to not be a typical boy who is along with this science team.

The writing was lyrical and sad at times. Carey definitely gets you in the right headspace of a world that is slowly dying and or dead. That humanity is about to be wiped out and there’s nothing that anyone can do to turn the tide. I wonder after the events of “The Girl With All the Gifts” what this new crew of men and women are going to do when they eventually find out about what happened.

I can’t really speak much about flow. I thought this was a bit disjointed, but I am not going to ding this preview for that. It will probably get better when the full version is up for reading. I think I liked being in Khan’s POV much more than Stephen’s. Yes I love the character of Melanie and don’t see how anyone else is going to surpass her.

Image result for the girl with all the gifts gif

five-stars

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake CrouchDark Matter by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown on July 26th 2016
Genres: Sci Fi
Pages: 342
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Honestly I think that for the most part I was bored by this book. I think the fact that I am a girl that has grown up reading Stephen King, none of the plot points in this book were surprising to me.

Dark Matter follows the character of Jason Dessen after he is abducted by a mysterious man in a mask and finds himself in a place that’s familiar but is altogether different than the world he is use to. Jason spends most of the book trying to find his way back to his beloved wife and son. I do wish that I’ve got a better sense of Jason I feel like Crouch did not do a good job developing him. The only thing that this book is focused on is Jason and his family. And I think the way that his wife is elevated into this book into this prize is just a bit off-putting but thank goodness Crouch redeems himself in the end with that whole storyline.

We do get an interesting side character that is Jason’s companion throughout his adventure but then disappears halfway through the book which disappointed me. I had so many questions left about this character and what their ultimate fate was.

Jason’s wife Dani unfortunately wasn’t developed as much as I needed her to be. We get glimmers of this character’s strength, her ability to see beauty, her artistic ability, but I needed more if I had gotten more I think this would have easily been a 4-star book.

I thought that the mysterious man was kind of a joke because I kind of called who this had to be and once again this person’s justifications for what they did was total crap. I kind of rolled my eyes a bunch thousand since all this book did was made me long for Futurama who did better with this same type of dilemma.

I kept waiting for this infamous twist that everybody kept talking about and it just was kind of a joke to me. Anybody that has watch Futurama would have definitely gotten there before the main character did.

 

I do think that though the overall plot was interesting, I wish that Crouch had pushed things a little bit more. I wanted to see more darkness in the story.

The writing was okay I think Crouch tried to explain the science behind this whole book, but I am always of the mindset that you don’t need to over explain things to readers, it just often leaves you with plot holes like I saw by the time I got to the end of this book. The flow was really off after about one third of the book and it didn’t really adjust itself until almost the very end.

The book taking place in Chicago was interesting to me and I really do wish that Crouch had use the setting a little bit better. He initially did use Chicago very well in the first couple of chapters and then it just kind of became a backdrop with nothing behind it. I could almost see this being staged in a theater somewhere and you would see a backdrop and the words with Chicago written on it to represent the city.

The ending is I think supposed to leave you with hope but all I did was leave me with more questions than answers.

three-stars

Wires and Nerve: Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer and Douglas Holgate

Wires and Nerve: Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer and Douglas HolgateWires and Nerves: Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on January 31st 2017
Genres: Sci Fi, Graphic Novels
Pages: 240
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new,action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold.When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, Winter, and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

I never thought a day would come where I would not be fan-girling over a new Marissa Meyer work. Sadly that day is here. I thought about this a lot last night, and I think the biggest issue I have with this graphic novel, is that the characters we have come to love in the books are so flat in graphic novel form. I just honestly didn’t care what was going to happen throughout and found my mind wandering as I did. And some of the characters, like Winter, were just a total letdown. I have no idea what the illustrator was thinking, but her hair bugged me in every freaking panel. It kept getting more and more puffy. I don’t know if it was supposed to be curly or just a bad Afro.

I think that this book takes place before some of the events in “Stars Above.” We have Cinder ruling Luna. After the events of “Winter” we have Cinder and others (mainly Iko) trying to track down the rogue wolf-hybrid soldiers that Queen Levana and her henchmen were responsible for creating. So the comic has a short intro to the characters, the events that put Cinder on the throne, and then we fast forward to Iko being a wolf-hybrid hunter. Then we jump back to Luna. The back and forth was a bit much for me. I wanted more time in Cinder’s head. Instead the main focus of these graphic novels is going to be Iko. I adore Iko. I mean 100 percent adore. And we do get to see Iko thinking about what it means to be an android and how frail humans are inside. It just seemed off to me somehow. The Iko we know from the books was into Kai, clothes, and being kissed. The Iko we get in this one is a bad ass fighter and killer. This one sets up a love interest that many are going to be rooting for I think. But the whole thing just left me a bit cold.

Other characters don’t fare so well either. We barely get any of Wolf or Scarlett. We do get more cutaways and interaction with Captain Thorne and Cress though. We also get a cool scene which shows that Cress is still the smartest person ever.  But, eh. I am just going to reiterate that everyone felt very flat to me. We do finally get to see Thorne’s parents and I think in about five minutes due to Thorne’s actions everything is forgiven between him and his parents?

We get a new big bad in this one. But after Queen Levana I have to say I am not impressed. The big bad’s justifications for doing things was pretty much I am going to stop beating you to death when you give me what you want, oh you can’t? Too bad, going to keep beating you to death. I actually felt a bit bad for Queen Levana in her stand alone book because you get to see how messed up she was due to her family. Though any sympathy for that character gets thrown out the window when you find out what she does.

The writing was okay. I am just going to recommend people not buy this via their Kindle like I did. I have the newest Kindle Fire and as much as I love that thing, I am starting to see that some books or other things I try to read on it are just not a good idea via that method. In order to even read this, I had to turn my Fire sideways. So it felt awkward the whole time. You can still zoom in and zoom out on panels, and good for the instructions that are set up via the Kindle in order for you to practice. However, no one thought or realized maybe, that due to having to turn the Fire sideways, you can’t read the whole panel. So I had lines of text out of line of sight. I ended up getting so annoyed with that I just zoomed totally out of the panel and tried to read very tiny writing. I maybe swore a lot while doing this.

I thought the color scheme was very blah.

Believe me when I say that trying to read very tiny black lettering via a off-blue background was hard after a while. I needed to see some color somewhere.

I was sorry to see that the setting of Earth and Luna don’t come alive at all in this graphic novel. Maybe I could get behind everything in Luna looking cold and blue. But when the action moves to Earth, why can’t that be in color? Or at least pops of color?

The ending leaves things up in the air with possible harm coming to our heroes. I think I will wait before purchasing, and see if this will become available via the library first next time though.

three-stars

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted ChiangStories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Published by Small Beer Press on October 26th 2010
Genres: Sci Fi
Pages: 281
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov's SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer in modern SF.

Now, collected here for the first time are all seven of this extraordinary writer's stories so far-plus an eighth story written especially for this volume.

What if men built a tower from Earth to Heaven-and broke through to Heaven's other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were a routine event on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by the stories of Ted Chiang. Stories of your life . . . and others.

So I got this book via the library and boy was there a long wait. I think the movie “Arrival” is the main reason why this one took so long to get via Overdrive. I saw Arrival right after the elections and seriously, that was the movie I needed to see at that point. In a big theater with several hundred people getting to watch this amazing story that really showcases why words and language are so important. The visuals were great, so was the music, and the ending left me with so many questions. Once I saw the words based on in the end credits, I made a note of the title and author and promptly went home and put in a hold request. The story based on Arrival is in this collection of works by Chiang. But so are some other stories. Some that definitely made me think and wonder. Some that also made me scratch my head. And there was one that left me feeling somewhat odd and needing to go to church soon. I do love that the overall theme though is how important words and language ultimately are to the people in these stories.

For those who are not used to my reviews based on anthologies/collections, I always give each story it’s own rating, and then the overall collection a rating.

“Tower of Babylon” (5 stars)- Who does not know about the Tower of Babylon? I really enjoyed Chiang’s look at the workers who built the tower, and what these men really wanted. They wanted to be in the presence of the Creator and wanted to reach the vault of heaven. You actually feel a little sorry for the characters you meet, because you as the reader know how this story is going to end. However, the ending to this one does not follow the Biblical story. It ends up leaving you with a reminder about those who go in search of the divine.  I absolutely loved the description of this epic tower. The people who lived within it, and what the sun, moon, and stars looked like from the top of the tower.

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“Understand” (5 stars)-This was more science fiction that most of the other stories. Reading about how a man is given an injection that ends up boosting his intelligence is a trope in many movies/books (Flowers for Algernon anyone?) but Chiang goes a step further showing how this man ultimately starts to believe he is above other humans and goes about seeing hat he can do to ultimately be rid of them. There’s just a small flaw in his plan. He may not be the only one out there just like him. The ending was pretty smart I thought.

“Division by Zero” (3.5 stars)- I really didn’t get this one at all. Probably because I have loathed math most of my life and I still have bad flashbacks to Algebra II and Calculus I courses. I didn’t get what was going on with the mathematical theorem in this one, or why the one character was slowly becoming undone by it. It didn’t help that we were going back and forth between two characters this whole story who I was flabbergasted to see were more close than I thought until the end. I don’t know, the ending was odd and I maybe went huh a few times.  Okay a lot.

“Story of Your Life” (5 stars)-This is the story that Arrival was based on. I really enjoyed more in depth information that we got in the book. And I finally understood a few things that had me wondering from the movie. This set-up makes better sense than the movie version. Only because there’s a minor issue with us seeing Amy Adams character teaching others the new alien language, though the book shows that maybe only two characters can read and understand the language. And the story leaves you with a question about divine will and what you would do if you knew you could alter something, and what if you did alter something but things stayed the same, because if something is supposed to happen, won’t it still happen? This is definitely a story that will have you thinking about fate, the meaning of life, and just a ton of other thoughts meant for 3 a.m. when you can’t sleep.

Image result for arrival the movie gifs

“Seventy-Two Letters” (2 stars)-The X-Files did it better. Yeah I said it. Reading about a golem, some weird science fiction explanation that had me scratching my head, and this taking place I think in Victorian times (or another Victorian timeline from our understanding of it) just had me confused.

Image result for the golem x files gif

“The Evolution of Human Science” (2 stars)- I really don’t get what this was supposed to be. It was so short compared to the other stories and pretty much walks you through how there are metahumans and humans and humans should not be worried about being wiped out because of metahumans. I started humming the X-Men cartoon series theme song while reading this.

“Hell is the Absence of God” (5 stars)-This one was fairly long and I loved the idea about it. I take it based on the author notes at the end that Chiang meant this to be a more modern look at Job. And I definitely loved it from beginning to end. I also kind of love a world where angels just randomly appear and people believe in blessings, or some don’t, and the question of salvation and devotion comes up a lot. I was discussing this story with one of my friends who is very devout and he loved the whole story-line. I think I may have caused him to go find this collection because he thought all of the stories sounded interesting.

“Liking What You See: A Documentary” (5 stars) This should seriously be a Black Mirror episode. If I hadn’t binge watched the most reason season I probably would not have thought that, but seriously, this short story would be pretty cool to see on screen. The idea that people have the ability to have something called a calli turned on and off. Calli allows you through something called Spex to view people as if they had cosmetic surgery. In people’s minds, if everyone is equally beautiful this would lead to a utopia since no one would be discriminated against for not being beautiful or having perfect features. This whole thing is messed up and I adored every second of it. I think an article I read a few years ago talked about this about how people are more apt to think a beautiful person is telling the truth than those who are not deemed beautiful. I distrust most people until I know them better, and have had grown men and women look me in the eye and lie to me (and yeah I knew it, sometimes I love my job, other times I just sigh) so I think that depending on your job, beauty doesn’t factor into it much. I tend to look at body language a lot when talking to anyone in order to determine if someone is not being truthful. Anyway, this documentary style story was great. You get to follow several characters and follow a proposal that would enforce all kids who attend one college to always have calli due to many thinking lookism causing a lot of problems in the world.

four-half-stars

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