Under the Dome takes place in Chester’s Mill, Maine, a town King uses in his novels from time to time. The lives of the people of this small quaint town are abruptly torn apart when a giant dome falls over their town. No way in and no way out and it’s worse if the dome came down upon you. Like caged animals, you learn the true nature of your fellow neighbor when there is no place to hide. How did the dome come to life? Is it a government study or maybe aliens…man made or mass hysteria…read and find out.
I’ve been reading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, the first in the series by the same name. It is, as expected, fantastic. Fans of hard sci fi and character-driven sci fi are sure to love it.
Scalzi, the mind behind Star Gate Universe, successfully blends the cold logic of military science fiction with the emotionally driven character drama he brought to SGU. This is a mix that could go horribly wrong, but Scalzi gets it right. The only thing I would change is the long build-up, but even that isn’t terrible.
Old Man’s War is a fantastic story. It combines action, adventure, war, friendship, exploration and even love. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
This book is a compilation of two previous anthologies: “Give Me Liberty” and “Visions of Liberty,” containing 17 short stories in total. They contain a mixture of old classics by renowned science fiction writers, and newer stories with the same theme: the pursuit of freedom and liberty in the near and distant future, both on Earth and in outer space. The stories tend towards a libertarian or anarchist outlook, though are not limited to those philosophies. Some of the stories show how a truly free and cooperative society could operate, and these speculations, though not always practical in the real world, are intriguing. Other stories show how a “primitive” society could successfully resist a large Empire.
Most of these stories were new to me, though several of them (“And Then There Were None” by Eric Frank Russell, and “The Weapon Shop” by A.E. van Vogt) are old favorites and are some of my favorite stories of all time. The quality of the stories in this collection is consistently high, and other featured authors include Lloyd Biggle, Jr., Vernor Vinge, Murray Leinster, Frank Herbert, Robert Sawyer, Michael Stackpole, Jack Williamson, and James P. Hogan. I highly recommend this collection!
This is the premise for Fallout by Todd Strasser. The neighbors think Scott’s dad is crazy when he installs a bomb shelter under a new addition to the house, but when the bombs start dropping everyone wants in. In the end, several neighbors manage to push their way into the shelter with Scott’s family. His mom gets hurt in the process. So now the shelter, which was meant for four, holds ten and tensions are on the rise. There isn’t enough food or water or air for everyone. One of the other men keeps pushing at Scott’s dad and his mom is suffering from a head injury. They have no idea what has happened above or who has even survived.
The story is told in alternating chapters with the current events in the bomb shelter and the events leading up to the present. Scott and his friends are normal kids at that time. His friend Ronnie is all about the girls…he is only interested in girls and boobs and Playboys. He and his mom and dad have made it into the shelter. The one girl on the block also made it in with her dad (who is causing all the tension), but her mom and brother did not. Scott’s brother and their housekeeper are also present. After who knows how many days, they are out of food, too tired to do anything and running out of time. They must get out, but is it safe above?
I really enjoyed this book. It seemed very true to the time with the paranoia and indifference. I thought the tension in the shelter was spot on. These people were confined in too tight quarters with not enough supplies and no idea what is happening in the outside world. Tensions are bound to rise. I think my only complaint, and it is a minor one, was the names for the neighborhood kids. Besides Scott and Ronnie, no one has a normal name! They have names like: Freak O’ Nature, Sparky, Why Can’t You Be More Like Johnny, Puddin’ Belly Wright and so forth. Seriously! It got confusing and old. Other than that I really liked the book. It is set up as a series as this one ends on a question mark.
I received this book from the Publishers on Netgalley.com. Thanks!
Emerald Green is the final book in this wonderful trilogy. It picks up soon after the events of the last book, Sapphire Blue. Gwen and Gideon, partners in time travel, are going through a rough patch in the love department. Gideon has broken Gwen’s heart all because of a scheme by the Count. They still have to figure out what the Count is up to and what he plans to do when the Circle is closed. They also have to figure out the mystery of why Paul and Lucy ran away. They enlist the help of Gwen’s friend Lesley and Gideon’s brother Raphael to solve all these mysteries; along the way truths are revealed that show Gwen to her foundation.
I really enjoyed this series. It is smart and fun and very entertaining. Gwen and Gideon are complex characters who you can’t help but love. I have to admit the Xermerius, the ghost demon, actually stole most of the scenes, but he is a ghost demon and quite funny. I like the time travel aspect of these books and how they have to make sure they don’t run into themselves in the past. Everything in the trilogy was basically a lead up to the big showdown with the Count and I was a little disappointed in how that ended. However, the twist with Gideon and Gwen at the end was very interesting. I almost want another book just to see how that plays out.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher at ALA 2013. Thank you!
Some books you read and you know what is going to happen from the beginning; some books you figure out half way through; and some books you finish and really have no idea what is going on. That is the case with Sylo. I read it and the entire time I was thinking “what the heck is happening here? what is going on?”. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t fun and entertaining, because it was. It just didn’t explain enough for me. I have no idea who the bad guys were, who the good guys where, who is fighting who? It is all very confusing.
Basically, the story takes place on an island off the coast of Maine. There are mysterious deaths and a weird off-islander pushing a new drug (ruby dust that makes you superhuman and might kill you). Then the Navy arrives and quarantines the island. Everyone is stuck and the Sylo guys mean it when they say no one leaves the island. They will stop at nothing (including murder) to make sure the quarantine holds. Then there are these mysterious flying objects and air battles with the Navy ships. The Sylo group also starts rounding people up and putting them in camps. It all seems to be connected to the strange “Ruby” that has appeared on the island. I am not going to give away the ending because it is a huge plot twist but it basically sets this up as a series. I sincerely hope future books give a little more explanation, because this one leave you scratching your head.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.
Tom, a fourteen-year-old genius at virtual reality games, is recruited by the United States military to begin training at the Pentagon Spire as a combatant in World War III, controlling the mechanized drones that do the actual fighting off-planet.
In this futuristic view, the world is controlled by conglomerates and wars are fought in space through virtual reality game playing teens. I like science fiction and the thought that businesses could completely control our world seems more of a reality when you look at what happens in politics today. The thought that war could be fought in space with no loss of life and destruction of the planet is really appealing but definitely fictional. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to explore science fiction as it doesn’t really dive too deeply into technical terminology or seem too futuristic to be believable.
At some point in the future, war and disease have decimated the planet. Humanity is forced into a few mountain cities to survive. Rebuilding is expensive so in order for the poor to live in this new society they must go into massive debt and become the “proxy” for a wealthy patron. What does a proxy do? They are punished in the place of their patron. So if the patron destroys property, the proxy takes the punishment. Syd is an orphan and a proxy who lives in the Valve (the slums). He is constantly reminded of his debt because his patron Knox is always getting into trouble. This time it is more than just a little trouble; this time Knox steals a car and kills a girl during a joy ride. So Syd is punished and sentenced to hard labor. Syd was also forced to give blood so that Knox could have a life saving transfusion. The transfusion not only saved Knox’s life it revealed just how special Syd really his. Seems he has a virus in his blood that can wipe out all the systems of debt and free everyone from its control. The only problem is that Syd has to survive in order to release the virus and right now he is a wanted man.
What a fascinating world. Alex London has done a wonderful job creating a world that is different and unique. He has also created two truly different characters. Knox is obnoxious, privileged and self-indulgent, but he does have a heart and he really just wants his father’s attention. Syd just wants to survive. He wants to make it to 18 to life out his debt. He keeps his head down and his profile low and he has no respect or time for his patron. Unfortunately, in order for Syd to survive he has to rely on Knox and others in a way he never dreamed. They must outwit the system and escape the city, survive bandits and the wild, and make it to the resistance to release the virus. Along the way they get to know each other and themselves. They mature (at least Knox does) and become who they are meant to be. I even liked the ending of the book.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Variant ended with Benson and Becky escaping the school and running for their lives as their friends died at the fence. Feedback picks up right where Variant left off. Becky is hurt and Benson has found the farm. The farm is populated by students from the school who have doubles (androids). All of these people know what is going on because they can feel what their “double” feels. They choose to hide Becky and Benson, but it has consequences. The farm is overseen by Iceman and Mrs. Vaughn just like the school and everyone with a double also has an implant that can knock them out, cause pain, and kill. Benson is still determined to save everyone and bring down Maxfield even at the expense of others lives.
So everything I enjoyed about Variant is present in this book, but so is everything I disliked. I really enjoy how action packed and entertaining this story is. However, Benson is still a douche who thinks he is doing good for others but is really only thinking about himself. He is one of the most self-motivated characters I have read about in a while. Not only does he put people in danger whilly-nilly, he is also wishy-washy in the girl department. I really did not need the love triangle of Becky, Benson and Lily. As the big reveal in Variant left me scratching my head, this one is even worse. Not surprising as I kind of guessed it was going that direction after we got the Maxfield history, but still a bit of a copout.
Some kind of disaster has befallen the world and humanity must be saved. So the Builders create Ember, a city deep underground. They create instructions for the citizens to follow once it is safe to emerge. Unfortunately, the instructions are lost and the people of Ember never know there is a world outside of their small community. The expiration date is coming due on Ember; the power is failing and they are running out of supplies. No one seems that worried however, except Lina and Doon. Lina finds the instructions, unfortunately after her baby sister Poppy has eaten part of them. As Lina and Doon try to decipher the Instructions, they also uncover corruption and greed in Ember. In order to safe everyone they must find a way out of Ember.
I really enjoyed this book and my bookclub kids did as well. I also thought they did a really good job on the movie as well; one of the few times when I actually liked a movie made from a book. Lina and Doon are really interesting characters who are actively pursuing something unlike the majority of the characters in this book who are stagnant and just want to continue with the status quo. I liked the mystery of trying to figure out what exactly the Instructions were saying and I thought the adventurous escape was thrill a minute. However, my favorite part had to be the end where Doon, Lina and Poppy discover a world they have only dreamed of. This book won the Missouri Mark Twain award.
I’m going to admit right up front that I have a bit of a soft spot for Larry Niven’s Known Space books. When I was 13 years old, I found Protector on a dusty shelf in a library, and thus discovered my love of science fiction. Niven opened universes to me.
Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld (reportedly) wraps up Niven’s classic Ringworld series and Niven and Lerner’s Fleet of Worlds series, which functioned as a sort of sister series to the Ringworld series. The Fleet of Worlds books never quite achieved what the Ringworld managed. They were a bit too clever for their own good, required too much back story and lacked the straightforwardness of the Ringworld books. Perhaps that was Lerner’s influence, or perhaps both Niven and Lerner were a bit too ambitious in their plotting, but Fleet of Worlds never lived up to the brilliance of the Ringworld series.
With that said, they were required reading for Known Space junkies like myself. The treachery of the Puppeteers, the surprising variety of aliens caught in the Puppeteers’ plans and the fantastic exploration of space kept me reading. Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld had all of the brilliance I expected of it and yet suffered from the same ills of the rest of the Fleet of Worlds series. The first half of the book is largely back story. To call it a slow burner would be generous, but with 40-some years between the first Ringworld book and this (apparent) end to the series, there was a lot of back story to cover. That said, once the story was sufficiently set up, it progressed quickly. This was a coming together of the many characters who spanned the series. Even those long-dead got a cameo appearance. And when the story ended, I had a tear in my eye.
Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld will not have wide appeal. Those new to the series would be quite lost. But for Known Space fans, it is sure to be required reading. With a wink and a nod to all that came before, Niven and Lerner have wrapped up 40-some-odd years of stories in fan-pleasing style.
Something has decimated our world in the future. This caused a reorganization of countries and governments. North America is now the RUNA and the place to live. It is civilized where the rest of the world is still a little wild. Mae is one of the super soldiers of the RUNA; this gives her super strength and speed. But unlike her fellow soldiers Mae is sometimes too strong and too fast. Justin has been exiled from RUNA and is now living in Panama. He was once a brilliant investigator for RUNA but did something that got him kicked out of the country. Mae is sent to retrieve Justin and bring him back to investigate a series of murders. Their first meeting is all mistaken identities, violence and hot sex, which makes it pretty awkward when they are actually introduced and puts a strain on their relationship. Together they investigate these bizarre murders and discover something their religion-despising country definitely does not want known.
This is an intriguing world that Mead has created. I wasn’t really sure what was going on for a lot of the book since she takes her time explaining, but it was always interesting. Mae and Justin are fascinating characters with rich backstories and intriguing futures. This series is probably going to deal with actual gods and their interference in everyday life. I wish we would have learned more about the gods and how they actually came to manifest, but hopefully that will be explained in future books. This is a pretty entertaining and intriguing starter to this series.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Benson is excited to be escaping foster care and joining the Maxfield Academy. But when he gets there his excitement quickly disappears. He is dropped off at the doors after traveling through two fences to get to the school. Immediately he is warned not to trust some of the students and he finds out why when he has his orientation. Turns out there are no teachers, groundkeepers, cafeteria workers, administrators or really any adults at the school. It is run by three gangs, who joined together because of some serious violence in the past. The Society runs the admin, medical and security portion of the school; Havoc takes care of food service and grounds; Variant are the janitors. Of course Benson joins the Variant group. He is determined to escape this strange school even if everyone else seems content to follow the rules and keep their heads down. Because of course if you break the rules you get detention which apparently means death. Benson keeps pushing and one night he finds out one of the schools big secrets which changes everything. Now he must force the others to realize what is going on and try to get out of there.
The premise of this book is really interesting. Very much a Lord of the Flies mentality. Unfortunately the execution is a little sloppy and filled with holes. Benson isn’t the most likable character in the world. I like that he kept questioning the system, but he continued to do it at the expense of others. He had really no regard for those around him or for the history of the school. He had been there a day and was already trying to escape and within a couple of weeks he is starting a gang war. I really wish the author would have spent a little more time filling in the holes of this story. The entire school system just screamed questions with no answers. And then you had the big mystery/plot twist….What!??!? There was no explanation for that and the ending was horrible. It basically forces you to read the next book in the hopes that it will answer your questions. I literally was left trying to figure out what just happened, which is not a good thing when you have just finished the book. Even with all the problems, this book was fun in parts and a very fast read.
In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 40 feet below the basement level of his house, Captain Lee Harden of the United States Army waits. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, Captain Harden will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his very simple mission: Subvenire Refectus.
To Rescue and Rebuild.
Jeff Smith is the award winning author of BONE. In the RASL series he takes a dramatically different turn with a high-paced, adrenaline flowing mystery. Our hero is an art thief who travels different dimensions to steal art, when he stumbles across a mystery. The mystery has others following him through the dimensions trying find his secrets, putting himself and everyone else in peril. Using the works of Tesla and other scientist the mystery starts to unravel.
RASL Romance at the Speed of Light is volume three of the series about an art thief who jumps from one dimension to another to find a big score. In each dimension he sets up a new life with people he new from the other dimensions but of course, do not know him. He is being pursued by lizard looking man who believes this younger man processes the scientific journals of Telsa.
RASL The Fire of St George is the second book in series of a genius art thief who use technology to jump from dimension to dimension to steal art and set up different lives. A lizard looking spy is chasing the young thief believing he knows more about the technology then he lets on. He is also kills the girlfriends of the art thief in each dimension. The story is fast paced and very satisfying.
Ariane Tucker is not like ordinary girls. She has a secret that she and her father work very hard to conceal. Ariane isn’t quite human. She was born in a lab at GTX and spent the first six years of her life as a guinea pig. Her adopted father broke her out of the lab and has been raising her ever since. He has given Ariane a set of rules to live by, which basically means she has to be average and not stick out. That works just fine until she and her one friend Jenna become the target of mean girl Rachel. Suddenly everyone is noticing Ariane including cute boy Zane. Can Ariane keep her secret and survive high school?
This was a fun scifi story. Ariane is an alien/human hybrid with telekinesis. She can move things and make lights flicker. She is kind of Carrieish in the way her powers act up. The science behind how she was made and what exactly the her purpose will be is kind of glossed over. It is hinted that she came from the Roswell crash, but we really don’t get a lot of information about it. I actually like that Ariane isn’t your typical alien beauty. She is weird and looks a little off. I found the romance between Ariane and Zane fairly believable and interesting; however, most of the other characters were pretty one dimensional. This is the start of a series so I am sure some of the unanswered questions will be resolved in future books.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.