reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Diplomatic Immunity

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is a reread and one of my favorite books ever.

My Teasers:

They had long agreed they would celebrate the date by starting the children in their uterine replicators. The debate had never been about when, just how many. He still thought his suggestion of doing them all at once had an admirable efficiency. He’d never been serious about twelve; he’d just figured to start with that proposition, and fall back to six.

– Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

science fiction

Fan Art: Ancillary Justice

I can’t draw, but I like looking at other people’s drawings, other people’s ideas of scenes and characters from books.

I found this on deviantart. It shows a scene in the beginning of Ancillary Justice. It is called  A Ship Walks into a Bar by Malicious-Monkey.

I think it is an amazing likeness and pretty much the way I pictured it myself.

reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Ancillary Sword

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

The room was small, three and a half meters square, paneled with a lattice of dark wood. In one corner the wood was missing–probably damaged in last week’s violent dispute between rival parts of Anaader Mianaai herself.

-Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Dorsai

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

“Now’s not the time for that,” she said. “Anyway, it’s not me you’re doing this for. It’s Kultis. He’s not going to use me,” she said fiercely, “to get my world under his thumb!”

– Dorsai by Gordon R. Dickson

Book Review · reading · science fiction

Book Review: Quarantine by Greg Egan

Blurb from GoodReads:

It causes riots and religions. It has people dancing in the streets and leaping off skyscrapers. And it’s all because of the impenetrable gray shield that slid into place around the solar system on the night of November 15, 2034.


Some see the bubble as the revenge of an insane God. Some see it as justice. Some even see it as protection. But one thing is for certain — now there is the universe, and the earth. And never the twain shall meet.

Or so it seems. Until a bio-enhanced PI named Nick Stavrianos takes on a job for an anonymous client: find a girl named Laura who disappeared from a mental institution by the most direct possible method — walking through the walls.

I gave Quarantine three stars on GoodReads. This book was okay, but it didn’t grab me that much and I will never reread.

The main character, Nick, is a PI. He used to be a cop, but now is a PI. He left after his wife  died when his house was destroyed by a terrorist group.

It begins with him hired to find a woman missing from one of those place that takes care of those so mentally challenged they cannot care for themselves. I thought it was going to be a mystery in a science fiction setting.

Sadly, Nick solved the mystery relatively quickly. I wish it had gone on longer, but it didn’t.

I almost bounced off the long explanation of the world rules – what the science is, how it affects life and so on. The writer brought Nick’s past experiences into it, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The science eventually involves quantum mechanics and brain mods.

I am not that into quantum mechanics, but the idea of brain mods is fascinating. Our hero has a brain mod that keeps him from distraction, keeps from feeling anything and others. He even has a mod of his dead wife, to keep him from grief. She pops up at odd moments. (As a side note, if you could have any character as a brain mod and have it show up at odd moments in your life, who would it be?)

So Nick gets caught by the villains and they put a loyalty mod on him. So he basically can’t betray them and can’t save the kidnapped woman.

He – and everyone else the villains have saddled with a loyalty mod – decide no one else can be as loyal to the thing than them, because no one else has a loyalty mod. So there. Lots of mental gymnastics in this and I loved it. This was my favorite part of the book.

The end was a bit odd. It sounds like Nick ends up in a refugee camp. The world is torn apart, under the weight of the quantum mechanics brain mod (that is what the villains were researching). Lots of people in this city end up with it, willing or no, and it rocks the world.

In terms of character arc, there really isn’t one. So that’s a zero. But the plot is interesting. It was a little meh for me, but if you like hard science fiction based on quantum mechanics, this is for you.

reading · science fiction

X is for Xris Cyborg

While searching my WordWeb dictionary for a word starting with X. I didn’t find anything I could use. Why there are so few words starting with X?

But than I recalled a character whose name started with X: Xris Cyborg. 

Xris Cyborg is the cyborg leader of a mercenary group called Mag Force 7. There is a fantastic pilot and a poisoner who spends half his time on recreational drugs and lots more fun characters. The books are by Margaret Weis and Don Perrin.

I really loved them and reread the books every so often – a future mafia, crazy plans to break into a top secret military installation, a man who changed gender to hide from everyone who wants to kill him/her.  It’s lots and lots of fun.

So I Googled Xris Cyborg – I was hoping to find a picture or something someone had drawn. I have no artistic talent, so I could not draw him myself.

But! The Wikipedia listed every book I’d read – plus three more. Three books that had been published previously and apparently feature my favorite cyborg as a minor character.

The Mag Force 7 books I loved were a spin off series, not the original, and all this time I never knew. I don’t know how I missed them, but I am hoping they are still in print.

I think the lesson here is to look at all the books from the writers you like rather more carefully. So you know if the character you love pop up somewhere else, in some other series.

reading · science fiction

G is for Galactic Empires

There are lots of galactic empires in science fiction. Lots and lots. Star Wars, many David Weber books, the Skolian books by Catherina Asaro and the Vorkosigan books by Lois Bujold. I am sure there many, many more that I am forgetting right now.

Today we live in a world where there aren’t that many ruling queens, kings and princes. Even where royal families still exist, the monarchs are usually figure heads.

That is why it is puzzling to me that so much space opera have kings, queens and royals with real power. I mean, we go a hundreds of years in the future and we revert to monarchies?

It just strikes me as a little strange. (But fun!)

General · reading · science fiction

E is for Ecology in Books

Webster defines ecology as:

1: a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments

2: the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment

3: human ecology

4: environment, climate <the moral ecology>; also : an often delicate or intricate system or complex <the ecology of language>

World-building is one of my favorite parts of reading and some authors spend a lot of time on it. They build elaborate worlds, specify plants and animals, how they are all interrelated. Lots of times they focus on definition number two: he totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment

Or at least it feels like some writers spend a lot of time on the ecology. Maybe they don’t; maybe they are just winging and it’s hard to tell.

I loved the creatures in a lot of the books I read as a teenager and how they were all interrelated. It was one of the things that drew me to the books (really, to science fiction and fantasy) in the first place.

They include the Pern books. It has the little dragons that people used to engineer the big dragons, and the seafood they eat, the crevices where they lay their eggs, the oil from the sea birds she used to moisturize their skin. It all fit so wonderfully together. I loved it.

It’s one of the little details I love in books, how all the creatures relate to each other. Weather they use other or use the remains in some odd way or something else. It is still one of the things that I look forward to in books.

And, yeah, lots of times I am disappointed, but looking for that magic is one of the reasons why I keep looking for new books.

 

General · science fiction

Books that you Read because of the Movie

Have you ever seen a movie and then decided to read the book the movie is based on?

Sometimes the movie is so fantastic and you just know the book has to be better! I mean, the book is almost always better. How could it be otherwise? Books have more detail, and more room for all the things that make a story good: character, plot, sorder.

Some movies like that for me include:

1. Interview With A Vampire
I saw Interview With A Vampire on TV and loved it! I found the book in the library and took it out soon after. I loved it, too. They weren’t the same, but they were close and I really liked it, too.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Um . . . Yeah, I started reading the books after the first movie came out. Not sure how I missed them before that. But I’m glad I did, because later on, in future books, I understood things they never explained in the movies.

3. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief wasn’t as awesome as the first Harry Potter movie, but it was still exciting and made me all excited to go find out what really happened. Which I did and really liked.

4. The Bourne Identity
I love love |ove all the Bourne movies! But the book was a disappointment. It was just so dated! And it did not age well! IMHO

I want to read the first James Bond book, but I haven’t managed it yet. I will someday!

General · reading · science fiction

Finished Reading a Truly Excellent Soap Opera

You know that feeling you get when you read a truly good book? The sense of completeness, feeling like emerging from a dark room out into garden drenched with sunlight?

That’s how I feel right now. I’ve just finished A Talent for War by Jack McDevitt. It’s fantastic. More like an Indiana Jones movie than Star Wars, it’s engrossing and engaging and all that. It manages that with hardly any action at all and very few battles. Very few the main character is engaged in anyway; others are described to him.

I wish it wasn’t over. There are other books in this series, but I cannot imagine what it will involve. This story is over.