reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Leviathan Wakes

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 Teaser:

“It’s the beacon we followed. Jesus. The ship’s beacon never even turned on. Someone made a fake one out of that transmitter and hooked it up to a battery,” Holden said quietly, still fighting his panic.

– Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

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

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

Thoughts on: Dorsai! by Gordon R. Dickson

I just finished reading Dorsai! by Gordan R. Dickson. This is an older military science fiction book, first published in 1959.

Note: this is not a review. I will probably do one of those next week. This is just a question I had at the end of the book.

In this world, people have contracts, contracts traded by companies and governments.

The woman in the book, Anea, has a contract that the main character describes so:

It was nothing more — and nothing less — than a five-year employment contract, a social contract, for her services as companion in the entourage of William, Prince, and Chairman of the Board of that very commercial planet Ceta which was the only habitable world circling the sun Tau Ceti. And a very liberal social contract it was, requiring no more than that she accompany William wherever he wished to go and supply her presence at such public and polite social functions as he might require. It was not the liberalness of the contract that surprised him so much — a Select of Kultis would hardly be contracted to perform any but the most delicately moral and ethical of duties — but the fact that she had asked him to destroy it.

Despite that last line, I have to say I assumed she was an expensive, high-class escort. I mean, William dangled her as bait to manipulate other guys, letting them believe they could have her. (But he intended to keep her for himself.)

Plus, she is a paid companion. To me that is short hand for a classy, exclusive call-girl.

But, at the end, there is something about eventual marriage to William, and I am thinking maybe she wasn’t an escort at all. That, plus the single line about “liberal contracts” and “most delicately moral and ethical of duties” makes me think she was never a call-girl. Paid companions with non-liberal contracts might be call-girls.

But now I am confused. What was her job? Girlfriend? Hostess? Housekeeper? A friend that you pay for? (Why would anyone pay for friendship?)

What are the “most delicately  moral and ethical of duties” of a paid companion? I can’t make heads or tails of it.

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

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: The Disappeared

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:

Blood bathed this compartment, rising up along the walls, spattering the ceiling and the floor. The gravity had been on when the killings occurred and it stayed on throughout the entire flight.

– The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

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.

General · reading

S is for Series

Series abound in fantasy and science fiction. There are so many that finding stand alone books can be something of a challenge.

I guess two or three types of series.

  1. episodic series, where each book is an episode and can be read on its own without needing to read anything that came before. I am not sure there are too many pure examples of this type of series. You know, like the James Bond movies.
  2. a long long story broken up into several novels. (Because you can’t publish 50 million words worth of one story all at once!) Like Tolkien or Wheel of Time or Way of Kings. 
  3. I am not sure this counts as a separate type of series, but maybe? Anyway, the kind where the book has a stand alone-ish type plot of its own, so you have a conclusion at the end. But there is also a longer series plot and the episode plot sort of falls neatly into it. Harry Potter is like this. And so are a lot of TV shows. Maybe this is really just a subtype of 1 or 2. I don’t know.

There are also series that start out as episodic and turn into the series-as-a-long-novel. Actually, I think that’s when I fall behind on my reading.

That’s what happened with the Dresden files. That’s why I am so behind in this series, because I feel like, I didn’t get to read the previous book and now I can’t read this new book that just came out because I won’t know what’s going on.

The shift is really quite annoying.

What do you think?

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!)