Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/29/2015 05:11:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Wastelands: Stories of the ApocalypseWastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3 stars on my scale is a book I enjoyed, but would not read again.  That is a pretty accurate assessment of my experience with this book.

Most of the stories in this collection were pretty good.  As expected, Stephen King and George R.R. Martin had entries that hit it out of the ball park.  The rest of the stories were intriguing and thought provoking.

Three stories stuck out as being truly sub-par within the context of this collection.

Salvage by Orson Scott Card - The nut of this story is that you shouldn't be surprised if you don't fit in with the dominant group if you don't share the dominant group's religion.  Please, keep religion out of science (fiction).

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth by Cory Doctorow - The nut of this story is that as the world failed, a group of sysadmins kept the internet alive due to their presence in over pressured server farms.  The excess air pressure kept the bug that was killing everyone out.  There were two obvious holes in the plot.  1)  that there would be enough server farms with auxiliary power supplies to maintain some sort of network.  2)  that a bunch of computer geeks writing lengthy treatises could create a better world.

I am those geeks.  Even I know better.

Killers by Carol Emshwiller - Combines all of the worst propaganda about PTSD with the worst propaganda about climate change.  Erg.

Those three stories aside, give this collection a chance.  I'm sure you will find quite a few very thought inspiring stories.



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Armageddon by Leon Uris - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/28/2015 09:21:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

ArmageddonArmageddon by Leon Uris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


5 stars on my scale is a book that I will read again and one that I might buy for someone else to read.

This is a great book.  Leon Uris creates characters and weaves their person stories through the historical events beginning with the end of WWII and proceeding through the difficulties with the Soviet Union blockading Berlin.  He masterfully uses his characters to illustrate the difficulties that come when the victor in a conflict must eventually learn to live with the people they have beaten.  He also shows how difficult it can be for a defeated nation to recover in a positive way.

This story echoed our current difficulties in working with the governments of Iran and Afghanistan as well as their trials in re-building their nations in a positive direction. 

The story also highlights the documented belligerent behavior of the Soviets as was typical throughout the Cold War.

This book works on so many different levels.  It should be considered a "must read" for any serious reader.



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Kenobi by John Jackson Miller - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/28/2015 09:09:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Kenobi (Star Wars)Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3 stars on my scale is a book that I enjoyed, but would not re-read in the future.  This one barely made it to 3 stars.

I have not delved too deeply into the expanded Star Wars universe.  I enjoyed the original movies a great deal and the prequel less.

I thought this might be an interesting insight into the character of Obi-wan Kenobi.  It was a modestly interesting tale that takes placed between Episodes 3 and 4 of the movies.  The book delves a bit into the impact of Anakin Skywalker.  It also sets up a few of the things that we see around Luke Skywalker.

I just didn't get a lot of character development for Obi-wan out of the book.



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Bitten by Kelley Armstrong - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/28/2015 09:03:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1)Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


1 star on my scale is a book that would actively advise against reading.  I did not finish this book.

The book suffered from two primary problems.

1)  A majority of the story occurs within the head of the main character.

2)  As a result, there are lengthy sections of exposition.  And a lot of that was about her "feelings".  The cardinal rule of "show me, don't tell me" comes frequently into play.

I ended up tossing this book because the main character exhibited beliefs that were misandrist and more than just a little bigoted.  Both attitudes were irrational even within the context of the story.

I bought the book because they turned this into a TV series.  The TV show wasn't good enough for me to continue watching.  But in my experience, the book is always better than the movie/TV show.

Except this time.





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Bone Gods - By Caitlin Kittredge - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/28/2015 08:56:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Bone Gods (Black London, #3)Bone Gods by Caitlin Kittredge

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


2 stars on my scale is a book that I didn't enjoy very much.  I did finish this book.

The book suffered from a several of weaknesses, any one of which would not be a problem but in combination undermined my experience of the book.

1)  The plot was a standard fantasy "something really, really evil is coming" plot where the protagonist must uncover the details and foil the Eeville Evil™ from destroying everything™. 

2)  This apparently was book 3 of a series.  That was not apparent based on the cover of the paperback that I bought, or I would not have bought it as I generally avoid series fiction these days.  In any case, this book runs afoul of Dann's Dictum regarding multi-book series.  It fails to deliver a good experience and the reader needs to know about the events in the prior books to make sense of some things.

3)  The story is set in the U.K.  I take it that the author, Caitlin Kittredge is from the U.K.  There is a fair amount of U.K.-centric terminology that is used. 

As with every other SFF fan on the planet, I have no problem with absorbing and understanding terminology that is specific to the setting of a book.  However, given the other issues with the book, this was a minor irritant that just further detracted from my reading experience.  I expect this will not be an issue for readers that are more familiar with U.K.-centric jargon.

4)  Last and most important, the protagonist was weak.  She was supposed to posses some magic power, but it could only be used if some other magic person filled her with magic in the first place.

I tend to enjoy strong female characters.  The protagonist in this case only possessed strength if it was first given to her.  She could not act on her own without someone else acting first.  In this case, it was her erstwhile boyfriend.

Combined, these four factors simply let me with a "why bother" reading experience.  YMMV.



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Edge of Tomrrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/28/2015 08:35:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Edge of TomorrowEdge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3 stars on my scale was a good book, but not one that I would want to read again.  I'm being a little generous with the 3 star rating.

The book seemed to be derivative of John Steakley's Armor as well as R.A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers.  More like the former than the latter.

The endless time loop was obviously repetitive and just a little boring.



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Impaler by Kate Paulk - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/28/2015 08:24:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

ImpalerImpaler by Kate Paulk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A 4 star book on my scale is one that I would want to read again.  3.5 stars is probably a more accurate assessment of my experience with this book.

Impaler by Kate Paulk takes the primary character from the Bram Stoker's Dracula and re-imagines him as a hero defending his land from the invading Turks.  Kate Paulk has re-inserted what little is known about the real-life Vlad Tepes and his family into the story.

If you want your vampires to rise at sunset and to drink blood until a village mob drives a stake through his heart and removes his head, then read something else.

I found the cast of characters to be interesting.  The sole plot perspective on Vlad was a bit tiring. While there were opportunities to examine other characters, those opportunities when unexploited.  A little variety in perspective and this would have made this a solid 4 star book.

The book included a modest amount of military strategy as well as some commentary regarding politics of eastern Europe as the Turkish empire was expanding.  Both were modestly interesting aspects that certainly added to the flavor of the book.



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Mammoth by John Varley - A Goodreads Review

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Posted on : 9/28/2015 08:08:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

MammothMammoth by John Varley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 stars for means that it was a good book, but I wouldn't want to read it again. That is a pretty accurate assessment of my experience with this book.

Essentially, this is a book that is a derivative of a huge chunk of the Michael Crichton catalog. It deals with time travel and critters that have been extinct for thousands of years.

There were some decent twists and turns at the end. The antagonist achieves redemption.

However, the science part of the book steadily gave way to a sort of mysticism so that the cause of the ending is less than clear.

This is a fun little romp, but it isn't anything that I feel compelled to read again in the future.

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