Category: Science Fiction

Soundbite Sunday: The Martian

May 24, 2015 Audiobook, Fiction, Science Fiction 26 ★★★★★

Soundbite Sunday: The MartianTitle: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Source: Blogging for Books, Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: The narrator, the story, the humor – everything was fantastic!

If someone had to be stranded on Mars, Mark Watney was a great choice. Only someone with his mad botany and engineering skills could possibly stay alive, with no way to communicate with Earth and too few supplies to wait on a rescue mission. And only someone with his phenomenal sense of humor could survive the solitude without going insane. These two traits also made him a wonderful protagonist to read about. Being stranded on Mars could make for a depressing, hopeless story. Instead, I spent the whole book laughing or on the edge of my seat rooting for Mark to survive each new challenge.
Read more »


Soundbite Sunday – Embassytown

October 5, 2014 Audiobook, Fiction, Review, Science Fiction 8 ★★★★

Soundbite Sunday – EmbassytownTitle: Embassytown
Author: China Mieville
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads


Like Mieville’s The City and the City, the world building in Embassytown blew me away. It was a bit hard to follow as an audiobook because the world was complex and there was no exposition, but I loved how the author slowly revealed the world as the plot unfolded. The plot itself took a bit of a backseat (inevitable, perhaps, with world building this good) . I was interested in finding out what happened, but I was far less engaged towards the more action-packed ending than I was at the beginning, when I couldn’t wait to piece together more about the world the author created.

Read more »


Soundbite Sunday – Lock In

September 14, 2014 Audiobook, Fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller 8 ★★★★★

Soundbite Sunday – Lock InTitle: Lock In
Author: John Scalzi
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This was a fun, fast-paced thriller which explored interesting ethical dilemmas and fascinating new paths science might take.

Lock In occurs in a not-too-distant future in the aftermath of devastating virus. Most people who get the virus either die or survive with only flu-like symptoms, but some small percentage actually have their brain rewired by the virus. Most of them become “locked in”, still alive but unable to control their bodies. Technological advances allow those who are locked in to control robot-like personal transports or  to borrow the bodies of “integrators”, people whose brains were rewired by the virus in a different way. When new FBI agent Chris Shane discovers a man apparently murdered by an integrator, he must determine if anyone else was using the integrator’s body and whether someone is using integrators’ abilities to get away with an even greater crime. Read more »


Soundbites: World War Z

December 7, 2013 Fiction, Science Fiction, Soundbites 2

117991Title: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
Narrators: Full cast (includes author and Nathan Fillion)
Rating (Story): ★★★☆☆
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

World War Z is the story of the zombie war, told in a series of interviews with the survivors. One of my favorite things about this book was that it starts with the first infections and covers all the details you might possibly want to know about how a zombie outbreak would go down. We start by learning about what the disease is like from a medical perspective. Then we see how different countries reacted politically and eventually militarily to the outbreak. And finally, we get little snippets of how individuals survived. I loved how realistic and believable all these details made the story. I also adored the full cast narration. It was just perfect for this book. The only downside for me was the narrative style and the length of the book. The interview style narrative seemed lazy to me, with the interview questions interrupting the flow of the story and serving as an artificial mechanism to transition between different topics. Due to this narrative style and the short length of the book, I never got particularly attached to any of the characters in the story and the whole thing lacked emotional impact.



Redshirts and Portrait of a Spy – Minireviews

September 28, 2013 Fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller 4

13055592Title: Redshirts
Author: John Scalzi
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I loved the premise of Redshirts, in which the characters realize the following: “(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission” (source). The building of this world is hilarious as Scalzi calls out sci-fi TV shows for all the unbelievable little things they do. Unfortunately, I didn’t think there was much to the plot. It wasn’t especially interesting to me and after the setup, the humor mostly disappeared. The premise was brilliant, the execution largely forgettable. Read more »


Edward Maret – Classics Retold

September 22, 2013 Fiction, Science Fiction 6

658933Title: Edward Maret: A Novel of the Future
Author: Robert I. Katz
Source: bought on amazon
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Although this re-telling lacked the complexity of the original, it was a well written, believable story and the world building was fantastic.

In this futuristic retelling of The Count of Monte CristoEdward Maret is a happy man. He is engaged to a women he loves and destined to inherit a bountiful estate. Little does he know that he has enemies who are prepared to betray him because they covet what he has. Denounced as a revolutionary and condemned by a corrupt judge, Edward is turned into a mindless cyborg and sent to kill any who threaten his world. When he is eventually freed from the mind control, his first thought is of revenge… Read more »


Bookends About Fragments

June 30, 2013 Dystopian, Fiction, Science Fiction 0

13170596Title: Fragments
Author: Dan Wells
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: I still loved the writing and the characters, but the plot suffered from some serious middle-of-a-trilogy lag.

In the first book of this series, Kira discovered that a race of manufactured super humans called the Partials contain the cure to the disease that has been ravaging the human race. Unfortunately, the Partials are facing their own imminent demise, fueling suspicion and prejudices that are pushing humans and Partials closer to another war. In order to bring the sides together, Kira needs to learn more about why they were designed the way they are. She also desperately wants to know what her unique blend of human and partial characteristics make her. Read more »


Another Group Read – Hyperion

June 1, 2012 Fiction, Science Fiction 10

Title: Hyperion
Author: Dan Simmons
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Great, epic sci-fi tale with equally epic imagery.  Lots of world building, which I personally enjoyed, especially in the interesting format of short stories each told from a unique perspectives.

I read Hyperion for the Sword and Laser group on Goodreads and I will definitely be reading with them next month.  This was an awesome pick, some of the best sci-fi world building I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and the discussions were also some of the best I’ve seen.  The story centers on a group of six pilgrims, making the last trip ever to visit a mysterious and probably malevolent creature known as the Shrike.  They all have a past history with the Shrike and the world on which it lives – Hyperion.  In this book, each pilgrim shares their story, slowly building up a picture of the future they inhabit, from its’ politics to its’ technologies. Read more »