|The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher
Narrated by Euan Morton
|Burning Midnight, by Will McIntosh
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher
via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review
|The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells
Narrated by Greg Wagland
|The Rolling Stones, by Robert A Heinlein
Narrated by Tom Weiner
This is a hard book for me to review, so I’ll keep it short. I’ve only read one other book by Heinlein, A Stranger in a Strange Land, and that was as a teenager, so I expected something a bit more serious and meaningful in this book. Is this what pulp is? I’ve only read one pulp-fiction book, A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, so I’m very inexperienced with the genre. It took me a while to get over the cheese. But I recognize that when you’re reading a book that was written in a style foreign to you, it’s better to view the book within its context rather than comparing it to your usual type. And after I approached the book from this perspective, I began to really enjoy the humor and even became emotionally invested in the characters. I wouldn’t say I highly recommend this book, but I enjoyed my second pulp experience.
|Shada: Doctor Who, the Lost Adventure
By Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts
Narrated by Lalla Ward and John Leeson
|I’m going to have to give this book 3.5 snowflakes because I prefer books that have more characterization and world-building. But I also recognize that this is not what tv novelizations are meant to have.|
|The Martian, by Andy Weir, narrated by R. C. Bray|
|4.5 stars for interest level and superb execution|
Dark Eden demonstrates the irony that change is needed to survive, but change is destructive to survival. It’s not just a book about changing the world. It’s also about how the world changes the individual. The main characters in the book, especially John Redlantern and his lover Tina Spiketree, develop into strikingly different people as they adapt to the changing world. Innocence is replaced with deviousness. Ivory towers collapse, covering all bystanders with dust and grime. This is a story of identity.
I want to give a good review for this book with so much Meaning. I mean, it should have been good. It had Meaning. But a great book has both Meaning and an ability to fascinate even if you don’t see the Meaning. Dark Eden did not. In Dark Eden, the story was lost in the darkness because you were blinded by the bright, shiny Meaning. It was too slow, the hero wasn’t even likable if you considered him an anti-hero, and it was thoroughly uncaptivating. I totally understand why it won the Arthur C Clark award and why it comes so highly recommended. Beckett’s world was unique – colorful and dark at the same time. The setting was unsettling and realistic within the boundaries of science fiction. The lingual drift was a nice, realistic touch. But most of all, the book was slow and Meaningful.
|3.5 snowflakes for unique world building and Meaning|
As an afterthought – I would like to post this Twitter conversation:
Her stories were incredibly creative. They covered important issues like race, slavery, sexuality, and identity, all in the guise of alien occupation or dystopic disease and other dark fantasy themes. Her prose was smooth and eloquent.
The most interesting of the stories was her novella Bloodchild, which is about a child that is about to be “sexually” adopted by some alien worm-thing. The story encompassed the feelings of the boy, his mother, and the alien – providing some very startling insight.
After each story, Butler included a short essay of what she intended the story to mean or background in her life when the story was written. These brought further understanding to the story, though I was a little skeptical when she insisted that she hadn’t intended Bloodchild to be about slavery. But, I guess, sometimes meanings creep in there unintended. And there’s also something to say for the readers’ interpretation regardless of intended meaning. To me, slavery was one of the many underlying themes of the story.
At the end of the book, Butler included a couple of essays about what it was like being an African American science fiction author, and encouraged young people to follow their dreams and become authors. Finally, there were a couple of never-before-published stories.
This little book is well worth your time if you are interested in deeper cultural issues of race, slavery, and sexuality – possibly even if you are not specifically interested in science fiction and fantasy.
|For pure brilliance|
Octavia E. Butler was born in 1947 into an impoverished African American community to a 14-year-old girl. Despite struggling with dyslexia, she had a passion for reading and writing ever since she was very young. As a teenager, she started attempting to publish her stories, despite the extreme difficulty for African Americans publishing science fiction / fantasy. At the time she was one of only a couple African American sci-fi writers. Despite being taken advantage of by money-hungry agents, she finally published Patternmaster in 1976. This book was praised for its powerful prose, and she ended up writing four prequels. She finally became mainstream upon publication of Kindred in 1979. Butler died outside of her home in 2006.
Fire & Ash, by Jonathan Maberry
Reason for reading: This is the fourth and final book in a series that I’ve been reading. I’m making a goal this year to get farther in / finish as many series as possible
Summary: In this fourth and final book in the Rot & Ruin series, Benny, Chong, Lila, and Nix battle the genocidal Reapers while keeping the zombies at bay. But they might have to become monsters to fight monsters. And who is more of a monster: The zombies or the humans?
Thoughts: This book was filled with action and adventure with a dash of intrigue. Like most Maberry books that I’ve read, the action got a little too much at times, to the point of feeling a little B-rate. But Maberry has some interesting plots and his philosophy about who really is the monster is quite interesting. Overall, a good finale. If you liked the first three books, you’ll like this one as well.