Book Review of “Progress Report” by Roman Lando

progress report

Cover art for the novel “Progress Report”

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Author Roman Lando contacted me not too long ago and asked if I’d be willing to review his science fiction novel Progress Report. I said I was willing and he sent me a file compatible with my old Kindle Fire.

I was in the middle of another book at the time, but finally got a chance to dig into “Progress” starting a few days ago. In print form, it would be only 239 pages, so not a long read.

In broad strokes, the first and last third of the book is an action, adventure, techno-thriller involving an unlikely hero (patterned very much after the author) who is working with an alien and a covert agent to stop other aliens from starting World War III.

Unfortunately, in the middle third, there was a very long, expositional data dump along with a great deal of pseudo-science and psuedo-philosophy that took most of my interest away. Everything is told from the journal entries of the protagonist “Art” and Art is extremely “wordy.”

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Book Review of “Infinity Engine: Transformation Book Three”

infinity engine

Cover art for Neal Asher’s novel “Infinity Engine”

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It’s been three-and-a-half years since I first started this trilogy with Dark Intelligence and almost three years since I read and reviewed part two, War Factory. Now I wrap up Neal Asher’s Transformation trilogy with Infinity Engine.

The hardest part of reading these books is keeping track of all of the characters. In Book One, Thorvald Spear seemed to be the central character and he still receives a lot of the focus, but the Black AI Penny Royal (I love the name) is the intelligence that is manipulating all of the other characters and circumstances to their own ends.

A main component was introduced in the last book, “Room 101,” a former weapons factory orbiting a supergiant star that, according to Penny Royal’s design, is being remade into something radically different.

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“Surge: A Dragon Soul Press Anthology” is Available for Pre-Order Now!

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Promotional image for the Dragon Soul Press anthology “Surge”

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The Dragon Soul Press cyberpunk anthology Surge is now available for pre-order from Amazon for delivery to your kindle device April 30, 2022

From Amazon:

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My Short Story “Dollface” to be Published by Dragon Soul Press

surge

Cover art for the Dragon Soul Press cyberpunk anthology “Surge”

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I am pleased to announce that Dragon Soul Press has accepted my novelette “Dollface” for their cyberpunk anthology Surge.

Here’s the description from the original submissions call:

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Review of “Artificial Condition,” Part 2 in “The Murderbot Diaries”

artificial

Cover art for “Artificial Condition,” part 2 in the Murderbot Diaries

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I was just as delighted in reading Martha Wells’ Artificial Condition, the second part of her “Murderbot Diaries” series, as I was with part one, All Systems Red.

“Artificial” picks up where the previous story leaves off with the “murderbot” on the run, so to speak, after being released by her human clients. Murderbots are considered property, so any independent “unit” is considered a “rogue.”

Murderbots are essentially cyborgs, but controlled by an internal governor, so they have no choice but to obey orders. That said, they do have their own thoughts, will, and preferences (usually not preferring a lot of human contact), but they can’t say “no.”

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The Conclusion of “Woman Under Repair” is Now Available to Read for Free

woman under repair 3

Promotional image for part 3 of “Woman Under Repair.”

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Part 3 of Woman Under Repair is now available in the fifth issue of The Green Shoe Sanctuary. You can also find Part 1 and Part 2 on that page.

This is the conclusion to my short story about Mikiko Jahn, a young nuclear technician who was horribly mutilated and disabled in the worst nuclear power plant accident since Chernobyl. Thanks to a revolutionary technology developed by eccentric genius Dr. Daniel Hunt, six years later, she has not only rebuilt to exactly duplicate her former body, but as the world’s first synthetic woman, she becomes more than human.

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“Homeward” Featured in the Deep Space Vol 2 Anthology

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Promotional image for my short story “Homeward” to be featured in Deep Space volume 2

I finally got the “go ahead” to announce that my nearly 10,000 word count science fiction story “Homeward” is being featured in the Black Hare Press anthology Deep Space Volume 2.

Here’s a wee sample:

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Assault by Sex Toy

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statue of the famous “Sexy Robot” created by Hajime Sorayama

In the past, I’ve written about some rather unusual technological trends we can expect in the near future. One in particular should be very much anticipated, but sometimes too personal to talk about. I’m discussing sex with machines.

My previous commentaries are When Your Sex Toy Tattles on You, An AI Sexbot That Can Love You, and Will People Be Marrying Machines by 2050?.

But compared to what I’ve been reading on the progressively sanctioned twitter and Facebook platforms, frankly, people “marrying” their sexbots by 2050 or sooner actually wouldn’t surprise me. More’s the pity.

However, yesterday, I came across an article on LinkedIn titled Smart sex toys come with Bluetooth and remote hijacking weaknesses.

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Book Review of “All Systems Red”

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Cover art for “All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

First the “official reviews” including praise for the author’s other works:

“I love Murderbot!” ―Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice

“The Murderbot series is a heart-pounding thriller that never lets up, but it’s also one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I’ve ever read. Come for the gunfights on other planets, but stay for the finely drawn portrait of a deadly robot whose smartass goodness will give you hope for the future of humanity.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

“Clever, inventive, brutal when it needs to be, and compassionate without ever being sentimental.” ―Kate Elliott, author of the Spirit Walker trilogy

“Endearing, funny, action-packed, and murderous.” ―Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion

“Not only a fun, fast-paced space-thriller, but also a sharp, sometimes moving character study that will resonate with introverts even if they’re not lethal AI machines.” ―Malka Older, author of Infomocracy

“We are all a little bit Murderbot.”―NPR

“Wells gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review

“I already can’t wait for the next one.” ―The Verge

“Meet your favorite depressed A.I. since Marvin.” ―B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

“A great kick-off for a continuing series.” ―Locus

“Wells imbued Murderbot with extraordinary humanity, and while this is a fun read, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not a profound one.”―LA Times

The Cloud Roads has wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!” ―N. K. Jemisin, author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

And as far as author Martha Wells’ awards:

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Book Review of “War Factory: Transformation Book Two”

Cover image for Neal Asher’s novel “War Factory”

Disclosure: My short story “Joey” appears in the Zombie Pirate Publishing science fiction anthology World War Four. It also features Neal Asher’s novelette Monitor Logan.

Neal Asher’s War Factory is the sequel to his novel Dark Intelligence and the second in his “Transformations” trilogy.

We continue to follow the travails of a plethora of characters, human, Prador, AI, and other, all orchestrated by the dark AI Penny Royal, who has mysterious motivations for manipulating lives and even entire regimes.

Asher remains a top author in the crafting of space operas, interweaving a large cast of players on his interstellar stage, this time upping the game. Penny Royal leads herself, the assassin droid Riss, and Thorvald Spear on a journey to rediscover their beginnings, which for the mechanized members, is a massive space station. “Room 101” was a sapient intelligence who felt a maternal instinct toward her martial creations, and who, when on the verge of destruction, did the unthinkable.

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