This book does have B-movie type dialog, which comes off feeling extra strange when the cussing and graphic depictions begin. However, the biggest detraction is actually the narrator. First, something he can't help I realize, but Jeff Pringle just doesn't have the voice for horror. He has more of a
This story starts out well, but after about two hours it goes off track and never really recovers. It becomes more of a soap opera with politics and pseudo science. Maybe it gets better in the end, but I just didn't have the motivation to make it there.
Seems rather dystopian to me, which I generally avoid, but overall still a good story. My only real complaint is with the narrator. The different portions of the story when switching from character to character, and chapter by chapter have little to no space between them, causing one scene to bleed into the next. This is likely how the publisher compiled the audio and nothing the narrator was doing. Also much of the storyline is, by necessity, non-linear, due to an inability to travel faster than light.
In this future it seems as if all of humanity has switched to a feudal or tribal system. (It doesn't specifically say this, but that's how it appears to me.) You never hear about any major governments or even long term alliances. The best technology was developed centuries in the past(ship engines, cache weapons), and the knowledge of how it even works is lost. Most of the existing tech is capable of maintaining itself, so it's still working. There's a lot of nano tech (which is not lost tech), but much of it is compromised by the Melding Plague, a cyber-nano virus who's origin is explained in another story of the same universe. Most technological development has been arrested. A person can spend decades away from a planet and return with little technical change.
Here's a couple of definitions that will make the story easier to follow, without giving anything away. There are Jugglers, or Pattern Jugglers. These are massive lifeforms that encompass whole planets, or at least the oceans. They are essentially ancient massive organic databases, with some debate on how conscious they may or may not be. They can store any kind of information, including whole minds, organic and electronic.
Shrouds or Shrouders. There are multiple Shrouds, area's of highly localized energy and gravitational anomalies. Artificial in nature, their purpose is unknown.
The eighty. In Chasm City there's a shrine to these people. They were the first to try to scan their brains into a computer(which is now common). The scanning process itself was imperfect at the time, and killed them.
I don't know if DiLouie wrote this book first or Infection, but I'm betting it was this one because it doesn't seem as well written. It's an excellent story, but not nearly as good as his Infection books. This story has a lot of similarities to Infection, but I don't believe is executed as well. If you've never read anything by DiLouie, I'd recommend you start with this one, then it should improve from there.
This is an excellent book almost the whole way through. There is a section at the end where it seems as though the editor told Scalzi that the book needed to be longer because it's totally unnecessary. Basically, when the story starts talking from the point of a blog, you can shut it off. Prior to that though it's very good.
I don't read fiction for politics and social commentary. I read them for entertainment. I could only get about an hour in until the author started droning on and on about politics. Not fictional politics that could actually play a roll in the story, but mostly real world stuff and how it could relate distantly to the situation. Maybe it gets better afterward, but my past experience with any fiction is that if it starts to get off on a tangent like this, especially early on, you can look forward to the whole book being that way. I'm glad I could return it. Judging by the reviews from other sites, I saved a lot of time and disappointment. The only zombie book worse than this was "Feed".
I'm torn somewhat about this book. It consists of mostly graphic depictions of torture and mass murder, but like a train wreck it's hard to look away. I found all of it distasteful, but the story did keep moving and the narration was perfect. I suppose my only other complaint is that it had a few places where it could have broken away from the tired old formulas they use to write stories that make each one identical to the last, and try something new. Instead they went with the old "our government is secretly evil" story.
The title doesn't make much sense, as it is only a reference to one portion of the building. An interesting portion, but one that is only visited once. The are a lot of unexplained items at the end, but only in the same sense that a science fiction show won't fully explain the technologies in the story. Story-wise, I'd say it's 99% wrapped up and that's what matters. I couldn't tell when I first bought it, but the book is actually science fiction, whereas I thought it was horror, but I was not disappointed. It takes a while to really get to the meat of the story, but it's a good ride all the way there.
I got over halfway into book and it felt like a death march. Its overall a very slow book, but that alone I could have gotten through. The worst part was that it seemed, at least earlier portions, that every other chapter wasn't even trying to progress the story. Instead, it was a long rambling monolog about life and death of the animal life in the surrounding forests and how "death is needed for life" and on and on about the pattern of life and death. Specifically, it reused the word pattern, so judging by the synopsis I can guess what the broken pattern was. There appears to be some sort of rudimentary supernatural event occurring, but it's nothing even remotely scary and at half way through the book has only just begun. Save your money.
The narration was fine, but I just couldn't get into the story itself. It was trying too hard to be metaphysical. I spent most of my time trying to understand what happened than actually enjoying it. The only thing I could tell you that might help make it more understandable, is that despite all the metal, the ship is actually mostly organic.
The narration was fine, no complaints there. Like most short horror stories, this one ended with no questions answered. I expected that, but my only real complaint is the language. I have no moral stance with it - it has it's place - I just can't take it seriously when used in excess. It takes me out of the foreboding atmosphere it's trying to create and puts me back in middle school where vulgarity was used as a pretense to maturity. Imaging putting the word "car" at the end of every other sentence. It has no meaning.
This actually contains two short stories. Mile 81 and The Dune. The Dune was much shorter, but I think I liked it much better. Like early 20th century horror, it was more subtle, slowly sneaking up instead of trying to shock you.
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