February 2012

Is War Heroic or Horrible?

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

February's selection in the sci-fi and fantasy book club I belong to was partially inspired by a list I found on NPR a couple of months ago, about the best books in the genre in 2011 -- but it was also partly at the request of my husband, who has read all of the other books by Joe Abercrombie.  This one, The Heroes, follows a number of men (and even a couple of women) through a few days of harsh battle, describing their hopes and fears, and hinting at their pasts.

Star Trek Series At Your Fingertips

I remember the days when Star Trek, it didn't matter what series, was only available by buying the DVD sets or hoping you catch one on television late at night. I love most of the Star Trek series and while I have seen all of The Next Generation, I didn't have the opportunity to watch the entire series of Voyager and Deep Space 9.

 

I would catch one occasionally on television syndication, but without knowing the back story I didn't want to watch it. I also didn't want to shell out the cash to buy each individusl season on DVD. I already have a huge DVD collection and really don't want to add that to it.

Read the Book... Or Wait for the Movie?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Tonight my husband and I went to the bookstore to hang out, something we do at least once a week.  Tonight our table in the cafe was right next to a table stacked at least two feet high with Hunger Games books -- I guess they are expecting a lot of sales, with the movie coming out next month!

Every few minutes, some teenager or young woman would walk by, usually with a companion, and gush over the books.  We heard lots of "I'm so excited!" and "Have you read this yet?"

But... no one ever walked away with a copy of the book.

Science Fiction in 100 Years

Sometimes I can't help but wonder how science fiction will look in 100 or 200 hundred years. If you look at science fiction stories from the past, much of their inventions have actually happened.

 

Sure, we're not all tripping around the centuries in an H.G. Wells Time Machine, but the Nautilus is sure looks like a modern day submarine. We are able to communicate from long distances using our computers and have millions of books and other information at our finger tips.

Which is more entertaining Science Fiction or Science Fact?

When I was in college, I had a professor who enjoyed science fiction, but had a problem with some of the liberties taken by authors. If you are going to be a science fiction writer, then you need to have at least a basic understanding of science, but the whole point is fiction.

 

If you actually saw how scientific advances are made, then it would bore you to tears. Writers created an idea called suspension of disbelief. It's where you are willing to overlook some scientific improprieties for the sake of a good story.

 

I admit that when I began my study of physics, I loved the romantic view of it. It was the Star Trek version I loved and not so much the actual math of it. Real science is made up of complex equations and experiments are much more about slow advancement and repetition than anything else. In science fiction books, advances happen quickly and go from the lab to real world in record time.

WOOL, Hugh Howey

Possibly the best self-published book I have read to date

 

I realize that in my last review I came across as a bit of a hater regarding self-published works and internet fiction. But I'm not, I really am not. As proof of which I offer up this review of WOOL, which is a self-published science fiction novelette.
 
You would think that there would be few entities in the world as feeble, as unable to fight for their survival, as a self-published science fiction novelette. And for the most part, you would be right. But oddly, WOOL has bubbled up to the top of the stack.

Monster Island, David Wellington

It's the first draft of a really great novel
I'm a big fan of the Zombie Apocalypse. Or rather, I'm a big fan of watching or reading about the Zombie Apocalypse from the cozy comforts of my own, non-zombified home. Most of the zombie stuff has been in movie format, so I was pretty excited to learn about a new-to-me zombie book.
 
Monster Island began life as a serialized novel on the internet. It then made the leap to publication, surely one of the few such online novels to do so. As such, I'm sure it has given new hope to millions of not-traditionally-published authors. But having consumed more than my fair share of serialized, podcasted, and otherwise internet-only fiction, I was able to see the flaws inherent in the medium all too clearly.

Just Another YA Dystopian Novel?

Matched by Ally Condie

Dystopian novels are popular in the YA genre -- and some of my favorites fall into this category.  Delirium, which I read last year, was my favorite book of the year, and probably ranks pretty high in my list of all-time favorites, too.  The Giver, of course, is a memorable classic of this genre.  Others come to mind: The House of the Scorpion, for instance, and the more recent Hunger Games.

Matched falls into this category, and is in fact much like Delirium.  There are some significant differences, though.<--break->

Like most dystopian novels, the world Cassia lives in restricts individuals' choices -- the government chooses your job, where you live, whom you marry.  But unlike Delirium, where the focus was on eliminating emotions, especially love, and unlike The Hunger Games, where bloody gladiator-style battles were used to control the less fortunate, the dystopian society in Matched uses statistics and logic to make the optimal choices for everyone, even to predict what color of dress a 17-year-old girl might choose to wear to the biggest event of her life.

Alice in Deadland

There are a lot of zombie books out there these days, but few of them are set in a science fiction setting. For many of is purists, that's a good thing, but Alice in Deadland melds the two genre's together perfectly.

 

The story takes place after the fall of civilization and the creation of a wasteland called The Deadlands. The few humans that are left must fight for for survival against the “biters,” zombie-like creatures that live underground. Alice is a young girl that has grown up in The Deadlands and knows her way around a gun and knife.

 

She follows a biter down a hole one day to find their headquarters and begins and exciting adventure where she discovers the truth about humanities downfall and her part in the future of the biters and humanity. As you might guess, there are many parallels between Alice in Wonderland and Alice in Deadland, but it's not a take on the old tale like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's a tale that fan stand on its own two feet and is actually quite fun and exciting.

Yet Another YA Dystopian Novel...

Matched by Ally Condie

Dystopian novels are popular in the YA genre -- and some of my favorites fall into this category.  Delirium, which I read last year, was my favorite book of the year, and probably ranks pretty high in my list of all-time favorites, too.  The Giver, of course, is a memorable classic of this genre.  Others come to mind: The House of the Scorpion, for instance, and the more recent Hunger Games.

Matched falls into this category, and is in fact much like Delirium.  There are some significant differences, though.