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SciFi Kindle

I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

Cheshire, CT USA | Member Since 2013

53
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 60 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 262 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
8

  • The Player of Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (490)
    Performance
    (423)
    Story
    (425)

    The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

    Ken says: "Great introduction to The Culture series"
    "Fascinating alien philosophies clash"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved Banks' terrific extrapolations of philosophies & technologies into believable societies. It had the right balance of action and slower, thought-intensive scenes that one would expect in the mind of a professional gamer, such as the protagonist. I do find the omnipotence of The Culture to be a detraction here, as the stakes don't seem to rise very high; there is an unexciting feeling of invulnerability that might be better left in some doubt. I also really enjoyed the ending twists, although many were unguessable due to the 'silver bullet' SF tropes employed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1081)
    Performance
    (991)
    Story
    (994)

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "Love story between the author & the military"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This military SF piece indeed begins indistinguishably from several other ‘new recruit’ stories it has been compared to (Scalzi’s ‘Old Man’ series, Haldeman’s ‘Forever War’ series). A first-person protagonist, Andrew Grayson is recruited into the Space Military (my generic coinage) and goes on to discover that war is Hell. More so that either of those examples, however, this story pays a more muscular respect to the details of military life, and the author’s soldiering history is apparent. Military jargon and abbreviations abound, and the reader truly is immersed in the life. For the first half of the story, however, this presents a risky problem for the reader; many will be drawn to its realism, but many may become disinterested in the dearth of significant SF material to distinguish it from mainstream fiction.

    Around the 60% point of the novel, however, there is a drastic setting change that shifts the balance of tone back into the SF corner while backing away from the military realism. As this portion of the narrative takes place with a naval setting, I’m assuming Kloos’s first-hand knowledge ends with the infantry experience. Details that were thick in the earlier chapters become thinner, and feel abbreviated in the later chapters. Both halves prominently feature a ‘parent-figure’ commanding officer, and both share a can-do-no-wrong, too-good-to-be-true air about them. Sargent Fallon & Lt Commander Campbell are insufficiently flawed characters, I feel, and represent wish-fulfillment. Neither makes any mistakes, and both will go to extremes to defend every individual in their command.

    The plot holds plenty of shoot-em-up action throughout, and the slightly exotic settings of the later chapters provide some SF backdrop, but no new SF concepts or questions are ever presented. Thematically, this is a straightforward love story between the protagonist and the military. The appearance of aliens in the story’s climax arc feel like they are mindless targets inserted to simply provide an enemy for the hero, although things are left vague and mysterious enough to possibly have a more complexly-structured sequel where the reader will presumably learn more about the unfolding threat. Still, ‘Terms of Enlistment’ would make a good summer read, and does entertain even if, like a drill sergeant, it doesn’t ask it’s readers to think for themselves.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Proxima: Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Kyle McCarley
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (32)

    The very far future: The galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, and chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a long-gone age when a more compact universe was full of light... The 27th century: Proxima Centauri, an undistinguished red dwarf star, is the nearest star to our sun. How would it be to live on such a world?

    William says: "could be the start of a good series"
    "Wins on both concepts AND character levels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This well-structured space opera manages to deliver both a engaging character-driven drama as well as some jaw-dropping wonders of an alien BDO (Big Dumb Object). Baxter tells a multi-narrative story from various character perspectives over a lifetime, and divides the action across two star systems.

    One protagonist, a press-ganged colonist named Yuri Eden, is dragged across interstellar space to be abandoned on a hostile new world to establish a human foothold along with a scattering of other unwilling exiles. Their story of survival over several decades brutally demonstrates both the dangers of human psychological isolation as well as an unfamiliar and alien environment. There is some interesting and exotic biota, although he keeps it to only three or four varieties, which I was engaged enough to have wanted more. A good deal of research and calculation must have gone into determining what the conditions of such a world must be, and Baxter goes into convincing depth of detail describing weather, geology, etc.

    Where I thought the story really shined, however, was in the other main narrative back on the Earth, where a catastrophic conflict is brewing between two power blocks. A physicist named Stephanie Kalinski finds herself caught in between the two as the alien artifacts she’s spent her career studying become the central prize that they are contesting. Neither the miracle alien power source nor the alien wormhole gateway are all that unique in SF literature, but Baxter introduces an unexpected twist when Stephanie’s first encounter with one of the artifacts generates a full-grown twin sister, complete with an altered history and memory of this new character for all but Steph herself, who alone recalls her sister-less past timeline. This mid-story twist came quite unexpected, and is among the many teased mysteries left for the subsequent series installment(s) to further address.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gods of Risk: An Expanse Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By James S. A. Corey
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    As tension between Mars and Earth mounts, and terrorism plagues the Martian city of Londres Nova, 16-year-old David Draper is fighting his own lonely war. A gifted chemist vying for a place at the university, David leads a secret life as a manufacturer for a ruthless drug dealer. When his friend Leelee goes missing, leaving signs of the dealer's involvement, David takes it upon himself to save her. But first he must shake his aunt Bobbie Draper, an ex-marine who has been set adrift in her own life after a mysterious series of events nobody is talking about.

    SciFi Kindle says: "This risk wasn't worth it"
    "This risk wasn't worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first of the novellas in the “Expanse-iverse” I’ve read, and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. While the amazing novels are all complex, multi-narrative, loaded with hard SF and trademark dialog, this shorter work was a lot more… terrestrial. The protagonist, teenage chemist David Draper, is fairly archetypical as a nerdy dreamer who falls for the prom queen. However, in this story, she’s a junkie and her boyfriend isn’t the captain of the football team, he’s a drug dealer with a quietly menacing demeanor. Some of the backdrop to the story connects to the larger events of the novels, but very peripherally so. The one crossover character from those books, David’s aunt, Bobbie Draper, is disappointedly underutilized, as she is a fan favorite character who really only has one scene at the climax. The biggest miss for me however, was how completely pedestrian the setting is. One would imagine an author could do a lot of impressive things, setting scenes in a Martian habitat, but here it’s actually very unremarkable, and could be interchangeably substituted for any city. Even the events of the plot could have been written within a contemporary 21st century setting without putting anything out of place. This story really is only recommended for the most devoted Corey fans, but none of these should feel like they’ve missed anything critical if they never get a chance to pick this one up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shift Omnibus Edition: Shift 1-3, Silo Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1519)
    Performance
    (1386)
    Story
    (1398)

    In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened.

    Tango says: "Your ears are in for a real treat"
    "Gripping read, yet detracts from original"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This second story in Howey’s Silo trilogy acts as both a prequel and sidequel to the original, 'Wool’, by braiding the separate narratives in alternating chapters. Howey’s writing superpower is to give pleasingly detailed scenes with an economy of words: “Donald raised his finger and asked him to wait” is a perfectly concise sentence to describe an interruption in the characters' dialogue without ITSELF becoming an interruption to the reader’s enjoyment. Unfortunately, the wider canvas for the setting in this novel actually makes it less interesting for me than the claustrophobia of ‘Wool’, although some of the characters are even more intriguing in this installment. The primary narrative follows one of the Silo system’s principal, though inadvertent, architects, Donald Keene, and provides background and insight into how the Silos came to be. As returning readers will already know the tragedy to follow, there is a delicious tension in reading events build to the inevitable downfall. Even so, I felt the mystery built in the original was stronger than answers provided here. The inner turmoils that Donald faces are very believable and engaging, as are those of Jimmy/Solo from another of the various narratives. The bridging narrative from yet a third protagonist, Mission, was probably the weakest, although its heartbreaking happy ending was a wonderfully unexpected twist exploring the nature of memory. Overall, I enjoyed every page, although like the freed prisoner from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, I find myself wishing I could rush back to my earlier ignorance of the Silo lead-up, which held so much more mystical wonder than the perfectly orderly prehistory laid out in ‘Shift’.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fluency

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Jennifer Foehner Wells
    • Narrated By Susanna Burney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (311)
    Performance
    (281)
    Story
    (285)

    NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960's. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it. Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it's an adventure she can't refuse.

    Striker says: "Great Concept, Loved the Story... I Want More!"
    "Hindered by romance angle, entertaining though"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When NASA’s secret small team of specialist experts reach the derelict alien BDO (Big Dumb Object) in Arthur C. Clarke’s “Rendezvous with Rama”, the reader got a fabulous tour of soaring wonder and possibility. When it happens here, we instead get the inner monologue of an adolescent girl-crush which is frequently interrupted by some space opera. There is a heavy dose of romance in this debut novel, and a lot of wish-fullfillment that makes far too much of the plot predictable as our protagonist, expert (and civilian) linguist Dr. Jane Holloway, overcomes a series of challenges that stem from the less capable (and military) men that accompany her. I found parallels with Gary Gibson’s “Stealing Light", which also features a heroine in psychic possession of an alien derelict starship, as well as James Cameron’s “Aliens”, which had similar survival-horror action scenes. Here in “Fluency”, Jane is too consistently successful for the dramatic tension to build sufficiently, and the other characters seem accessory. The pacing is greatly improved by a second flashback narrative alternating with the main one, providing both exposition into the mission as well as depth for the character. I felt like the opportunity was missed to create a wildly alien culture, finding instead a slightly varied flavor of humanoid Star Trek style beings, although a wider field of cosmic players is alluded to. Foehner Wells’ forthcoming follow-up novel, “Remanence”, will hopefully delve into these more imaginative possibilities, and downplay or even forego the romance altogether.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • METAtropolis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, and others
    • Narrated By Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, and others
    Overall
    (2163)
    Performance
    (1905)
    Story
    (1949)

    Armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology in this exclusive, original production featuring five sci-fi masters and five all-star narrators.

    Anthony says: "Painful"
    "Four appetizers and a home run finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The five stories collected here were of varied quality; unsurprising given that they each had different authors. The shared universe they are set in feels like it was designed by committee, and has a bleak, post-environmental-disaster backdrop, but is otherwise undistinguished from the near-future wrecks I’ve seen elsewhere. The strongest story in the bunch, Karl Schroeder’s “To Hie from Far Celenia,” largely ignores this shared universe in favor of a super-imposed VR one layered on top, which I found a very bold choice, although it may speak unfavorably toward the others.

    “In the Forests of the Night” by Jay Lake was the most poetic and eloquently worded story in the collection. It’s imagery was very deliberate and memorable, making it a great choice to begin the anthology, and provide some exposition. By setting the action in the midst of a community which has taken an extreme response to the ecological devastation of the METAtropolis shared world, Lake has the opportunity to show rather than explain what the aftermath looks like. Although the story ends in a confusing resolution, it nonetheless scores well for its other strengths.

    The next piece, “Stochasti-City” by Tobias Buckell, has some nice character evolution, and some vision for a renewed future. The protagonist, a war veteran named Reginald getting by on his wits and strength, reluctantly dives into an adventure that ultimately brings some purpose for him. The hero’s journey he undertakes tours various community responses to the crisis, and allows Buckell to explore multiple concepts of sustainability in shortage.

    Elizabeth Bear’s “The Red in the Sky is Our Blood” features a subversive society-within-the-society looking for eco-revolution. This theme runs through all the stories, but seems like a contrived way of creating conflict. The establishment society which everyone seems eager to topple is given a voice in the next story, John Scalzi’s “Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis”. The protagonist, Benjy, finds himself defending the city walls from invading barbarians, literally. As in other Scalzi stories, humor features prominently, and the light-hearted tone helped the pacing for the entire collection.

    The concluding story, “To Hie from Far Celenia” by Karl Schroeder, envisions people escaping their bleak lives by retreating into VR subcultures. The story really gets interesting when it’s revealed that even within these communities, there are further levels of sub-subcultures operating with their own economies and distributed dynamic borders. The concepts here were the most imaginative of the collection, and provided a strong finish to the bunch. I think I would have liked to read more from this world than the other dystopia-leaning stories that preceded it, and feel like it brought my overall acceptance of the anthology up a notch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: The Feast Of The Drowned

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen Cole
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (846)
    Performance
    (669)
    Story
    (664)

    When a naval cruiser sinks in mysterious circumstances in the North Sea, all aboard are lost. Rose is saddened to learn that the brother of her friend, Keisha, was among the dead. And yet he appears to them as a ghostly apparition, begging to be saved from the coming feast... the feast of the drowned. As the dead crew haunt loved ones all over London, the Doctor and Rose are drawn into a chilling mystery.

    Amazon Customer says: "Creepy, but good!"
    "Formulaic, but familiar and written for DW fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel follows closely to the television formula: The Doctor and companion are drawn into a mystery set in modern day London, discover an alien invasion plot, and they (well, HE, really) foil it after a few twists and turns. I don’t consider that bit a spoiler, as any licensed material must necessarily deliver all the characters and settings back unaltered by the conclusion- series authors don’t own, they rent. I’ll agree with other reviewers in pointing out the similarities in the story’s villains with those in the television episode “Waters of Mars”. However, I must defend Cole in saying he wrote three years in advance of that episode’s airing. The areas to truly judge a DW story by, I feel, are the peripheral one-off characters that one wouldn’t expect to see return in any other story. These are the few with which the author can take liberties with and write freely; the portion of the whole which is owned and not rented. Most of those appearing in 'Feast of the Drowned' were unremarkable for me, and none experienced any transformative hero’s journey in this story with the possible exception of the scientist Vida. Her transition from opposition figure to team member by story’s end is not spectacularly different from any other such character conversion from the series. Nor are Crayshaw and the other villains all that dissimilar from other would-be alien invaders of Earth who had the poor luck to attempt their plans on the day that The Doctor happened to be passing through the neighborhood. Like the rest of the crowd, he is prone to monologuing his plan to The Doctor in a moment of perceived victory with raspy voice. I was also underwhelmed with the silver-bullet trope of the conclusion, and expect I’m not the only reader who foresaw it in the early pages of the story. None of the complaints should dissuade series fans from reading the book- it’s very familiarities that make it a weaker story in the wider pool of SF literature are the aspects of it that will make it enjoyable to its established audience of Doctor Who fans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Clockwork Rocket

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Greg Egan
    • Narrated By Adam Epstein
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    In Yalda's universe, light has mass, no universal speed, and its creation generates energy. On Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting light into the dark night sky. And time is different: An astronaut might measure decades passing while visiting another star, only to return and find that just weeks have elapsed for her friends. On the farm where she lives, Yalda sees strange meteors that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed...

    SciFi Kindle says: "Noble Math to the rescue; plot & characters follow"
    "Noble Math to the rescue; plot & characters follow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel follows the familiar formula that Egan fans delight in: an alien hero works out fundamental physics to defend his/her/its species in a race against impending cataclysm from natural forces that are not, initially, well understood. Here, the greatest stylistic twist is that there is no counterpoint perspective from a more familiar human or near-human protagonist, nor indeed, any additional first-person characters. The story is told in a sequence of episodes from the lifetime a single creature, our protagonist Yalda. Her planet and species are never named, being alone in their perceived cosmos, so I’ll call them ‘Orthogonals’ in reference to the unique premise that the story stems from. I can’t do any justice to the carefully described mathematics provided at every step of the hero’s journey, but can summarize by saying that her pocket universe has a different, orthogonal geometry from our own, and Egan has extrapolated this to invent a marvelous and internally consistent set of physics for her to discover along with the reader.

    The novel’s theme is also a familiar one: The triumphant of applied science and nobility of those who practice it’s careful pursuit. Egan even pays homage to history’s persecuted and martyred scientists by including a dash of this to the ‘Orthogonal’ civilization he’s created. In his world, however, the selfless scientists manage to escape their adversaries and found a society of their own, where all injustices are banished and the whole community labor together for the common good and a grand project to rescue their planet. Great care is given to the details of each discovery and the particulars of the plot are largely devised in service to this exposition. I feel the story would have been more engaging and the characters more relatable if these narrative priorities could be reversed. I also would have enjoyed more interpersonal conflict and greater moral ambiguity in the characters, who all felt a little too single-minded and one dimensional (no mathematical connotation intended). Yalda particularly, is a bit too righteous, and would have been much more interesting with some dramatic flaw or dark angle. Her one social handicap is an unavoidable accident of nature, completely a faultless situation, that makes her subsequent sufferings at the hands of the unenlightened seem in parallel to historical figures like Alan Turing and other victimized minorities. The story ends with moderate abruptness, although not exactly a cliffhanger, and the largest question tensely unanswered in anticipation of the follow-up novel(s). However on its own, it still stands suitably complete, and will satisfy the reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ancillary Sword

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ann Leckie
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (69)

    With a new ship and a troublesome crew, Breq is ordered to go to the only place in the galaxy she would a agree to go: to Athoek Station to protect the family of a lieutenant she once knew - a lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.

    Alex says: "New narrator mispronounces everything!"
    "Jane Austen in Space"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All of the really novel ideas and concepts here were inherited from the preceding story, Leckie’s multiply-awarded "Ancillary Justice”. With all the potential themes and angles this novel could have delved, I was disappointed to find that it was basically a stationary episode in that regard. Fascinating dimensions to and implications of divided personality were hinted, but never delivered. The stylistic convention of Leckie’s gender-neutral society, The Radch, to use female pronouns exclusively was fascinating when first employed in ‘Justice', but mostly confusing when revisited here. That combined with a slow-moving introspective plot and an overtly etiquette-oriented society often brought to mind sitting-room scenes from Jane Austen. While the climax did redeem my opinion considerably, I found myself really laboring to get through the final third of the book, which before that scene, devoted more pages to describing tea sets than anything martial, militaristic, or remotely violent, despite the majority of the settings and characters all being active-duty Imperial Navy.

    The narrative takes no chronological jumps forward or backward through the timeline, and proceeds in present tense following the events of ‘Justice’. This means that the returning protagonist, Breq, remains a lone fragment of her former multi-bodied self, and can only give a conventional single POV narration, unlike the more elaborate one from ‘Justice’. Despite this, she frequently does have the next best thing through the technological aid of the multi-perspective spaceship under her command. This leads to many sly observations of dispersed characters, and a lot of speculation on their various fluctuating feelings and guesses at inner moods and motivations. With the other multi-bodied character, Anaander Mianaai, largely absent from ‘Sword’, there’s not as much opportunity left to explore this theme.

    I’m also a bit surprised that Leckie didn’t set the reader up for a dramatic twist that involved revealing one or more character genders, after first subtly leading us in the opposite direction. Since there are multiple non-Radch characters who speak plural-gender native languages, this distinction could be delivered via their dialogue and is an example of the power of the written word has over cinema and other storytelling art forms. I think many will be comforted that sufficient intrigue and mysterious threads were left unanswered to fuel subsequent stories in the ‘Ancillaryverse’, but I hope they take broader, riskier leaps in the stakes and consequences.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2213)
    Performance
    (2066)
    Story
    (2067)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Alexis says: "Fun! Things you might want to know:"
    "Great examination of telepresence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A terrific mystery that uses takes the SF concept of telepresence into interesting corners of possibility. While many other authors include the concept in passing without much fanfare (e.g., “Chinging” from Alastair Reynold’s recent Poseidon’s Children series), Scalzi's is the first I’ve come across to so closely examine social and psychological implications associated with it’s frequent, and usually constant, use. ‘Lock In’ patients who have lost all means of voluntary muscle control, but are otherwise fully cognitive, use thought-controlled remote robot bodies to interact with the world, while separately inhabiting a communal virtual reality set aside for their kind. Additionally, rare individuals called Integrators are able to temporarily share their own bodies with Lock-ins for the same purpose, leading to all kinds of opportunity for new and convoluted identity crises. A heavy look at the possibly further extension of this situation to able-bodied and political-economic consequences bring to mind Scalzi’s earlier “Fuzzy Nation”, a re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic "Little Fuzzy” which also added a political-economic dimension. As with Scalzi’s other work, this story suffers/benefits (depending on your opinion) from a ubiquitous witty and clever dialog from all characters, much as in an Aaron Sorkin drama. I find this entertaining, but unrealistic, and would prefer to see a wider spectrum of tone to differentiate the characters. And while the story’s climax and ‘reveal’ is likewise clever, it is delivered in a very snark-heavy, condescending manner. I find there to be more dramatic tension in more evenly-balanced conflicts, and would have liked to see the protagonists at greater disadvantage throughout the narrative. I respect how Scalzi has stated that his personal challenge in writing “Lock-In” was to avoid all use of the semicolon, which he felt he has historically over-relied on. I will here suggest another noble aim for a future story: To use more varied verbs in reporting dialog (i.e. avoiding the frequent use of “said” by substituting alternatives such as “answered”, “responded”, “offered”, etc).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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