Review: Six Wakes


Posted on : 9/09/2018 07:49:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

Six WakesSix Wakes by Mur Lafferty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a 4-star review. That is an accurate description of my experience with this book.

I read this book as it was a finalist for this year's Hugo Awards. While it was very enjoyable, it only made it to third place on my ballot.

The premise of the book is a crew of 6 people that run an interstellar spaceship. It will take generations to get to the destination. The passengers are all packed away in a sort of hypersleep so they won't age during the trip.

The crew are all clones. In this fictional world, only one instance of a person can exist at one time. And if a person gets cloned, then they are not supposed to procreate. Essentially the bargain is that a clone can effectively live forever...once. The technology saves their memories from time to time so that if they die, their memories can be re-uploaded into a new clone and off they go.

The book deals heavily in the idea of what it means to be a person. It also leans into ethical issues such as genetic modifications and hacking of a person's brain (memories, personalities, etc.)

Each of the 6 crew members has a feature that makes them unique as a clone. The book does an excellent job of pacing as these features/histories are revealed.

The bones of the story is that the entire crew wakes up after being re-uploaded into new clones. Their most recent memories are from decades earlier. Yet they can clearly see that their prior clone bodies died in an orgy of violence. The question is...why? This turns into a bit of a murder/mystery as the characters go through a process of eliminating motivations and methods.

No spoilers,  but the ending really undermined all of the work that the author had done throughout the book. After all of the increasing tension and finger pointing, the crew decides to sit down and be nice....for reasons.  It was a good ending...but not a great one.

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Review: Planetfall


Posted on : 9/09/2018 07:33:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Planetfall Planetfall by Emma Newman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a charitable 3 star review. It isn't really at 2 star level, but it isn't really at 3 star level either.

The premise of the book is that Earth is crowded, polluted, and noisy. One of the characters picks up a plant and has a "religious" experience. She claims that she knows where "God" is. A group of followers assemble a spaceship and the technology needed to make the trip to this other planet.

The story after they get there devolves into a murder mystery. This book might be more aptly described as science fantasy than science fiction. The mainline story is engaging enough. Our protagonist is also a hoarder. Her hoarding is related to some of the larger story, so no spoilers.

The plot also involves a lot of discussion about 3D printing. As this technology is pretty old at this point, it just didn't seem to add a futuristic element to the story.

Other elements that seemed a bit off were:

The colony has a lot of advanced tech that ensures a minimal biological footprint. They also enjoy advanced medical technology that allows them to live much longer than humans currently do. Part of the plot is that Earth was rapidly degrading due to a lack of resources/lack of recycling/etc. Yet the colonists leave Earth in possession of all that tech that could have made Earth a better place. The lack of logic here is disappointing.

The colony just exists. They build a little village around the base of a structure where "God" is supposed to be. They don't explore. They just sit there waiting for their leader to come back from "God".

Then there is the ending. If you have ever watched the movie "Mission to Mars", then you've pretty much got the ending.

I've loved other books written by Ms. Newman. This is just a bit too much of a mish-mash to be truely worthwhile.

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Review: The Wandering Inn: Volume 1


Posted on : 9/09/2018 07:32:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

The Wandering Inn: Volume 1 The Wandering Inn: Volume 1 by Pirateaba
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This is a brief, unstarred review. I don't want to influence the average.

This appears to be LitRPG. LitRPG apparently isn't my thing. Reading about characters that are aware of when they level-up isn't very interesting to me. I only made it through a few chapters.

This book first appeared as a series of blog entries. I highly recommend that you read the first few chapters there before buying the book. The premise was interesting enough that I bought the book. The execution just wasn't there.

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Review: Provenance


Posted on : 9/09/2018 07:32:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , , ,

Provenance Provenance by Ann Leckie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a 2-star review for a DNF book.

I read this book due to its being a finalist for the Hugo Awards this year. It ended up below "no award" on my ballot. It was that bad.

The protagonist is an entitled girl who is fixated on showing her adoptive mother that she can be as useful as her other adopted siblings. She has access to wealth and opportunity to pursue anything else. Instead, she wanders from one half-baked "plan" to the next. Why anyone goes along with her plans is mystifying.

There are several secondary characters that seem like they might be interesting. Yet they slide easily out of the story and beyond the reader's attention.

One major plot hole was the number of incidents where characters were confessing their closely guarded secrets to her for no discernable reason. These secrets always involved crimes that for which the characters had not been captured or punished. Our protagonist didn't need the information and didn't use it in any way. The characters weren't put in a position where they had to reveal their secrets. They just did.....reasons I guess.

Dorothy Parker's ghost demanded justice.

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