More Bob? Yes please! Filled with loads of geeky references that had me grinning as I read them, the Laundry series is one in which I get really excited about a new book. And this one pays off. Continuing right off the back of the last novel (like another series I like, the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry, Bob is having a right bad year.. Of course the implication in this series is that things are only going to get worse as the world steady heads toward Code Nightmare Green, which is basically the Apocalypse) Bob is continuing on his track up the management trail at the Laundry. After being selected for management training he is quickly detailed to a previously unknown organization, External Affairs.
Bob and the contractors that he is assigned as oversight have to deal with the latest problem that has concerned the denizens of Mahagony Row, a tele-evangalist who is getting far too cozy with the upper echelons of British Government. So off to America (Colorado) they go. And not too shortly after that everything goes to shit. Turns out the preacher is being mislead and is working with the big scary things on the other plane and Bob and team have shown up near the end game.
A lot more of the underlying world is dribbled out in this book, giving us a better view of the how the Laundry fits into the world (hint, it isn't as important as it thinks it is...).
Solid and engaging SF. One of the things I respected about this book is that it shows the future as a messy place. Sure, they have FTL travel and communications but everything is not hunky-dory at home. Earth is a messed up place that seems only to be getting worse, science is still operating on a shoestring budget, the military/government is still stepping on peoples toes and the universe is a big scary place.
Spanning 5 separate planets, this tale is good (generally what I have come to expect from Jack McDevitt). We have the stars but they are a fairly lonely place. Only one alive race has been found (the are technologically around the WWI level), another never got off their planet and died out and a third was engaged in a game of clue, placing structures near all three races (they left a statue near us an weirdly empty city on a moon of another race).
The main characters are mostly archaeologists, who only seem to have exciting jobs in the stories that are written (like Indiana Jones) who are trying to put all the pieces together. There is action scenes scattered all around story as well as high tech action. I am really looking forward to the next book!
Ah, redshirts. It seems to be a sign of a true SF geek to immediately get the reference, vs those would stare at you blankly if you referenced it. But what if you suddenly realized that you weren't the main character in the reality that you inhabit. Worse, you come to the suspicion that your part in the show may be to become just interesting enough to make the audiences feel some emotional loss when you died. And everyone around you is dying at a rate unheard of for any other ship in the fleet.
Well, this is what happened to the main characters of this story. And after living through a dreaded away mission (except for their dramatically lost friend ironically) they finally figure out what is going on and even when their show is being written (though of course via divergent universes there is no reference to their show). After kidnapping a main character (one of the best ways to ensure that they don't die off-screen) they are off to the past to try and stop the writers from killing them and their compatriots.
Overall a fun book, with entertaining characters and a sly wink to a bunch of in-jokes. It may not be a book I ever go back to re-read but it was an interesting story.
Treading water. When you get a series that has such breadth and scope such as the Safehold series (in particular when you are talking about a book that spans the entire world where the fastest objects are moving at around 20mph) you sometimes have a book where most of the story is spent getting things tidied up from the last book and preparing the ground for the next. Midst Toil and Tribulation is one of those rebuilding books.
Sure, some things happened. Fights occurred, progress was made, troops were moving across the world. But in the end you find yourself wanting, waiting for the next book because that is when the interesting stuff is going to happen. I appreciate the series and look forward to the next but this book just whets your appetite for the next book, leaving you unfulfilled and wanting.
This may have been the only "pure" fantasy (vs urban fantasy) books I have read in a long while. I have read Weber's Reef series but that has a serious SF element. Not that I haven't read fantasy ever (100's of books disagree with that estimate) but it's not my primary genre.
I gotta say that I liked this book. The story kept me interested the whole way through and I turned around and bought the next book in the series right after finishing this one.
As to the story? It helps that it is an interesting world, populated by both the standard races (humans, dwarves, elves) as well as the unique (like our lead character and sidekick, who are hridani, a tall human like people with different ears). Bahzell is at his core a good guy, and therein lays the problem, as his tendency to do good gets him into deeper and deeper trouble. And then the Gods and Mages get involved....
I very much look forward to reading the next book.
Given that I grew up in the days when the Russians (or Soviets) were a driving force, this novel felt familiar. This is basically an alternate future book, where a message from space shows that Aliens are out there and motivates the world to head outwards to greet those aliens on a more equal footing.
Star is basically a construction manager / captain of the still developing L5 community being put together by the Western alliance (US, Japan, Mexico, Canada) on a grand scale (miles long rotating habitat meant to house 1 million people? That's the definition of grand scale!). Of course, there are a lot of issues. The potential of a hostile takeover, construction delays, solar flares and, yes, aliens all make this book an entertaining read.
Amazingly for a book written 2 decades ago, the book holds up fairly well (other than the geo-political aspects). I had to go back see when it was written and was quite surprised at the date.
What a great spinoff concept. Prior to this book the Syndicate, controlled by nefarious CEO's, were nothing more than relative stick figures. In this case we get to delve deeper into Syndicate society in the post-Geary age. The main characters were tangentially introduced in the main series, but now we have a chance to see the desperate fight of the leadership of Midway to separate themselves from the central control of the Syndicate.
This is much more of a political novel than the Lost Fleet books. Yes, there is space combat as well as ground combat, but a lot of the book is devoted to the truly twisted political realm of the CEO's, where you cannot trust anyone. Even though they must work together to wring a small hole of safety for both themselves and the people of Midway, the sheer level of scheming is intense (where every move is never taken at face value and no one is what they seem to be). But the two leaders, Drakon and Iceni, seem to see the value of cooperation and realize that the system that they were born into needs to be changed (but realizing that it cannot be done overnight).
A very solid book and I very much look forward to the next (with a cliffhanger like Jack dropped at the end of the book, it is a given that there needs to be another book).
While a few of the concepts of the future world are a bit dated (though one could argue that as most of the story is from the perspective of a man who died in the 1970's) it overall is an interesting romp that covers an impressive scope of time (not just throwing us hundreds of years into the future, but millions!!!).
Corbell begins this tale as a corpsicle, frozen on the off chance getting revived in the future. And lucky for him he does... sorta. Waking up in a new body he finds he is merely fodder for the "State", his old body is ground up to extract his memories and tied into a body of a criminal who has been wiped. Slated to be a operator of a ramscoop ship, he eventually has his own ideas and ends up hijacking it and eventually returning to the Earth 3 million years after he left. Afterward he spends the rest of the book on the prowl for a special treatment that will make him young again.
This is the style of SF that I grew up on. I guess that is why I have read the past 9 books, making this one a no-brainer.
In a lot of ways this is perhaps the most boring of the series. No cataclismic fight against overwhelming odds and very little fleet action (even the ground fighting/espionage, another big factor for this series, was tame). Mainly just a bunch of hiding/escaping from pursuers, a break in, more fleeing and then a courtroom drama (set in the Japanese empire, which is entertaining). And oddly enough, more romance than we have seen in almost the entire series combined.
Kris starts the story exiled, stuck on a planet far away, seperated from most of her friends (except Abbie). After yet another assaination attempt coupled with some key intel that needs to be resolved back in Wardhaven, she promptly escapes. Making things difficult for her is that her father and her grandfather have both sworn out warrants against her, and her other grandfather locks her out of her massive funds.
Overall entertaining popcorn novel. The most frustrating part of the book was the end, which so horribly teases the next book I was kind of annoyed......
Still not sure how I missed finding Jonathan Maberry before but I am hooked. This book seems to keep up his Zombie theme, with more of the classic outbreak/beginning story. Providing one of the better back stories for how the infection came to be than most books, the book kept me glued until the end.
When a mad-scientist doctor injects a death row serial killer with something other than what the government wants, untold horror is unleashed on a little county in Pennsylvania. Most of the story is told from the perspective of the reporter, Trout, and his on-again, off-again girlfriend Dez. Trout gets the full story from the prison doc, while Dez must slowly figure out the danger she is in bit by bit and only through trial and error is she able to learn how to fight correctly. It is a solid story that keeps you involved for the entire novel, as you try to figure out where the story will end.
This book was kind of a slog to get through. I continue to enjoy reading stories involving Kitty, but this story seemed somewhat adrift and not anchored like the first two books. It also had the odd feel that there were basically two stories in this book that are combined. The mystery of who is harassing Kitty during her self-enforced isolation and the part where she deals with the aftereffects of the first story.
Overall we get a better understanding of the world that Kitty lives in (with the expansion of new types of supernatural creatures and of magic) as well as better understanding of the two men who dominate her life, her lawyer, Ben, and her occasional hunter ally Cormic.
I really do enjoy the tone (the voice) of Kitty, she remains an engaging character and I have hopes for the next book. It helps that in the end she is back where she belongs, behind the mic.
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