Book Review of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s “Children of Time”

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Cover art for “Children of Time”

I decided to read and review Adrian Tchaikovsky’s SciFi novel Children of Time when someone on twitter called him one of the top three living science fiction writers in the world. Wow! That’s quite a testimony. I was curious if that statement was anything close to being accurate.

I asked another person on twitter what would be the best Tchaikovsky novel to start out with. He mentioned a book that is hard to get outside of the UK and then the “spider” tome I just finished.

There are three basic “voices.”

The first is Dr. Avrana Kern who is running an ambitious experiment. With Earth at the height of its technological civilization, we are terraforming exo-planets in the galaxy. Kern’s planet is to be populated with primates and then a nanovirus is supposed to be introduced that will rapidly accelerate their evolution. Another scientist is supposed to wait in stasis in an orbiting platform to periodically wake up and observe their progress.

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Book Review of Joe Haldeman’s “The Accidental Time Machine”

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Cover art for Joe Haldeman’s “The Accidental Time Machine”

In going through my “Facebook memories” the other day, I found I’d posted a full review of Joe Haldeman’s 2008 SciFi novel The Accidental Time Machine way back in 2009. Haldeman is a highly acclaimed, award winning author, but while I enjoyed his earlier works some decades previously, this one made me decide to never read Haldeman again. Like so many other “science fiction luminaries,” not only do they disdain almost all people of faith, but in this case actively mock them. Read my views from thirteen years ago for more.

Surprise. I normally review books on actual and not fictional technology, but I came across the hardcopy version of this book at my local library and, having not read a Haldeman novel in a couple of decades, decided to revisit science fiction as one might revisit an old girlfriend. I wanted to see how much my interest in the genre and specifically Haldeman’s writing, had held up over time. I’m also kind of a sucker for time travel stories.

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My Novella “Ice” is Reviewed

iceI just saw that the blog shared by Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie has reviewed my SciFi/Fantasy novella Ice.

I actually saw it in my twitter notifications. I was checking social media one last time before settling down into bed with a good book and a cup of tea.

Yes, I am an old guy. Sue me.

It’s a very nice review, too. I don’t want to spoil it by quoting it here, but they do use words like “exciting,” “dramatic,” and “gripping” so I’m feeling pretty good about it (please write the same thing on Amazon and Goodreads).

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Book Review of “Hounded” by Kevin Hearne

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Cover art for the mass market paperback edition of “Hounded”

I admit that I only read Kevin Hearne’s novel Hounded because my twelve-year-old grandson enjoyed it along with the rest of the Iron Druid Chronicles.

Actually, for a long time, my grandson and I have played a two-person “role playing” game of one sort or another just for the run of it. In our current game, he based his character very heavily on Hearne’s protagonist Atticus O’Sullivan, a two-thousand year old man and last of the Druids posing as a twenty-year-old bookstore owner in Tempe, Arizona.

I can’t swear to the lore in Hearne’s book, but he did add more than a little whimsy to his tale. Speaking of “tail,” Atticus also has a rather intelligent wolfhound named Oberon who likes sausages and French poodles and the two manage some interesting conversations.

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Book Review of “Upright Women Wanted”

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Cover art for “Upright Women Wanted”

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Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey isn’t the sort of book that I’d usually read. It’s not the sort of book I’d even be slightly interested in buying. But, like books I’ve read before, it was a free download (until Dec 17th) from Tor.com.

I thought I’d given up reading Tor books if, for no other reason, that all the ones I’ve taken a look at seem to have been written for other audiences, written by people who would hate my guts if they knew me, or both.

But the description was interesting enough:

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Review of “Tiamat’s Wrath,” Book Eight in The Expanse Series

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Tiamat’s Wrath is the eighth novel in the Hugo Award winning “The Expanse” book series by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). This book ramps things up quite a bit from its predecessors. While we’ve seen Earth all but destroyed by asteroids, now an artificial neutron star found through one of the rings, throws out an intense gamma radiation burst, destroying everything in the “slow zone” including Medina Station, plus “disappearing” two of the rings.

Holden is being held prisoner on Laconia, Amos has plain disappeared, Bobbie Draper is leading the rebellion in the Sol system with Alex and other dissidents on the stolen Laconian warship Storm, and Naomi is hiding out on various space craft coordinating the over all fight as the underground’s de facto leader.

This novel is just as enjoyable as the others, and sees the return of Elvi and her husband Fayez (last seen in Cibola Burn). The Laconian dictator Duarte and his various henchmen come back, and Duarte’s fourteen-year-old daughter and heir apparent to the empire Teresa is introduced.

The sweep of the novel is no less than epic and the writing remains consistently strong (I admit to a bit of envy). I won’t try to encapsulate the entire drama, but there were a few points.

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Book Review of “End of Men” by Suzanne Strobel

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Cover art for the book “End of Men”

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First of all, after writing The “End of Men” Challenge, I owe Suzanne Strobel an apology. I was expecting a very different book than the one she wrote (click HERE to find it on Amazon).

Part of what gave me that particular expectation was the blog post of hers describing her novel and, quite frankly, her fears of violent men. I can only believe that the book’s protagonist Charley Tennyson is her alter-ego, at least in terms of the depth of her anxiety over “mass shootings.”

However, Tennyson never gives in to the “anti-male” sentiment that many of the other characters embrace and even manages to find love with a man.

Oh, there were flaws to be sure. This is set in a dystopian near future, but the technology is all so perfect and for the most part free. Money is only mentioned once when discussing the activation fees for what is essentially a personal force bubble. Other than that, living in luxurious “havens,” riding around in iCars which carry over your personal settings from your home, and having wrist Surges (think a way amped up smartphone with holographic filming and projecting capacities), seem to be cost free.

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Review of “Persepolis Rising,” Book Seven in the Expanse Series

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Cover art for Persepolis Rising

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I’ve just now finished James S.A. Corey’s (really Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) book Persepolis Rising, the seventh novel in the Expanse series.

This time, the authors decided to jump over about three decades from the previous book, giving time for Earth to heal thanks in part to Martian terraforming technology (now that terraforming Mars has been abandoned).

The Transport Union, run by belters, is in full swing and Jim Holden and the Rocinante are still doing errands for them; an aging crew and an aging ship.

One of the ring colony worlds, Freehold, seems to be run by (probably) how the authors interpret far-right extremists, all conservative attitudes and guns. Drummer, the current President of the Union running things from a “void city” in Sol’s system, orders their gate to be blockaded as a result of them sending a ship through the ring and nearly causing a disaster.

That would mean cutting Freehold off from vital supplies, killing the colony and everyone on the planet. Holden comes up with a different solution (of course) and Drummer is going to rub his nose in it.

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

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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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Review of “Babylon’s Ashes,” Book Six in the Expanse Series

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Cover art for the novel Babylon’s Ashes

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Just finished James S.A. Corey’s (really Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) book Babylon’s Ashes, the sixth in the Expanse series, and I’m still enjoying it. I can tell though, that it’s influenced by the television counterpart since the tales are becoming increasingly episodic.

For instance, this one picks up pretty much where Nemesis Games left off, though mercifully, Jim Holden and the gang, which now includes both Bobbie Draper and Clarissa “Peaches” Mao, are back on board the Rocinante. Earth is an all but unlivable mess after Marco Inaros (although his kid Filip takes credit for it) threw a few “rocks” on it, Mars has been dropped from the terraforming project like a proverbial hot potato, and the so-called “Free Navy” itself are acting more like a bunch of pirates, hijacking ships and cargo headed for the ring and the colony worlds on the other side.

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