As I said in a previous review, Charles Sheffield wrote HARD sci-fi (His passing is a loss for the Science Fiction Community). His worlds and aliens are detailed and different. He didn't simply take common events and give them strange names, or swap guns for "Lasers". His Characters and planets have depth and detail.
He also sticks to the laws of physics, and when he DOES breaks those laws, it's with explanations about why it may be broken in this case.
Being an Engineer, I like that in a good Sci-fi story. Sheffield was also VERY in touch with human nature, and didn't shy away from controversial topics.
Again, Each book in this series is better than the last, and the narration is VERY well done. I also like the occasional paraphrases from some of Heinlein's Works.
It doesn't matter if I read it from my old hard-back edition, or listen to it from Audible via my iPhone, "The book is the way the Movie should have been made".
There's very few books I care to go through twice, but this is one of those few.
I was excited to find a new book by Michael Z. Williamson! I'm friends with a few hundred other Sci-Fi fans online and FTF, spread out completely around the world; many being deployed military at the moment... Many more of us are X-Military, and in the modern age of the internet we keep the deployed guys and gals company online; we also try to take care of little things here at home for them while they're away, keep them up to date on current events, which includes taunting them about a new Freehold book they haven't got yet!!! I mean, the Freehold stuff is considered "A Must Have Read" for any true Military Sci-Fi buff!!
So I grabbed this latest, slapped it on the iPhone (It kinda rattled around in the 51.5 GIGS left on this phone... I know she loves me, but 64 GIGS in a phone? Seriously??) and then I prepared to listen and be ready to really rub it in hard on the deployed friends... "What? You had incoming half the night and broke your docking cable?? Awwwww! Too bad dude! You have NO idea what you're missing! Word of advice Bro, Shells or no shells, You'll quit breaking those docking cords if you'll take your headphones off BEFORE grabbing your gear and trying to rush off to your post... just thought I'd mention that!"...
...and I promptly got bogged down in visiting guests, and relatives, and grandchildren (OK, exception made for the Grandkids!) and other things, and couldn't listen to it!! But I am aggressive, motivated, and determined! I had some friends stop by unexpectedly last night, So I connected the Phone to the Bose and fired it up.. We have just now finished it in one 12 hour long listening spree! I LOVE books like that! They come along so rarely!
Points of interest for me: It started out a bit weird, and I got some sideways glances, but thankfully that moved on briskly! Then much later I actually felt sorry for the Main Characters, far in the future, having to deal with Earth's insane "this will make us safer" laws.. except those insane, arbitrary, knee-jerk laws aren't the "Far in the Future Sci-Fi Part"!! Sadly, most of those are real right now! Highly succulent. One friend commented that his assistant kept pulling everything they needed out of thin air... we all stared at her a second before shouting "HELLO?? SCI-FI BOOK!?!?" (Geeze... There's one in every crowd!)
The book seemed to drag a little with about 5.5 hours left to go, but I can't say that's Mr. Williamson's fault; as I said, we were listening to it all at once without a break, So it's probably just me in this case, no one else mentioned it. Either way, it seemed to pick up again almost right away, and I'd rather have more Williamson than less!
The Narrator does a good job! He keeps the book moving along without it sounding "pushed", and he sounds good on larger speakers!
WELL worth the Credit, but more importantly it's well worth 11 and a half hours of your time to listen to! I'll get maxed out on Credits again at the end of the month, our "time" is something we don't get more of, so I try to keep that in mind while recommending books.
When I read "Altered Carbon" I said it was the New book by which I would judge all others. Morgan just keeps writing excellent books in the "Used Future", and not just the same books with the same characters (which I actually wouldn't mind seeing with the Takeshi Kovacs series), but different people in different settings in different time periods... he constantly proves he's multi-talented and can write on any level. He writes the way I wish *I* could.
I researched Morgan a bit and found out we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and I was probably misreading the social commentary written into his work, or maybe not, because as I have said before, "If the Left could accept guns, and the Right could accept drugs, we'd all be closer to the middle than most people think".
"Thirteen", was another of those books that I couldn't put down. "MP3 player in the pocket until it was done", etc... and then I had to reflect on it a few days to let it soak in before writing a review.
The Sex is hardcore, NOT for the Kiddies, but it's not just stuck in there "out of place". I didn't think it detracted from the story any.
I don't know if Morgan actually shoots a lot or not (Probably not, being an academic in the U.K.), or if he just sticks in "people being blown backward by gun shots" because people expect it due to TV (I suspect this is the case)... "Stopping power" is a myth (do the math, F=MA) except with artillery shells and the like, and Morgan knows that a table won't stop bullets (on TV people can hide behind cardboard boxes safely), but then he talks about people being blown out doors and windows from being hit by a slug. Still, minor technicalities aside (for whatever reason they are in the book) it's an EXCELLENT book.
I wish I could give it 4.5 stars, and the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because it wasn't quite "Altered Carbon", however it was better than Market Forces, IMHO.
I think the Heinlein book others are referring to is actually, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"… and there ARE many similarities to that book (AND to "Citizen of the Galaxy" also, I guess).
MANY of us grew up on Heinlein,. There's "young Heinlein" (directed mostly at kids, about kids).. and there's the "Older Heinlein" that is more adult oriented.
However, the genius in Pournelle's work is that he knows "people".
MANY of us that actually grew up to be Professional Engineers (and such) remember "Young Heinlein" and we went back to re-read those books as adults at some point, and then we are kind of disappointed at how "young an audience" those books were actually written for. Pournelle has taken a "Young Heinlein TYPE" of story, and written it for Adults. NO ONE likes thinking about their favorite TYPES of stories being "For kids"… Pournelle has bridged the gap.. many have tried to do it over the years (probably without knowing themselves what they were trying to do), but Pournelle has actually DONE IT (and probably KNOWS he did it).
Kudos Pournelle!!!! I'd give it 5 stars, but it's not "the book I judge all others by"… however, I've already sold 8 more friends on buying it to read (or listen to)… It's that good.
There's just no GOOD way to explain the essence of the story itself except to say, "it's the Heinlein-type book you THOUGHT you were going back to re-read as an adult"…
OBVIOUSLY written in the 60's... "canals on Mars bringing water to the settlements" etc.. the "Theories a la carte".. Not Too bad if you don't mind things "in the future" not having actually happened, Like "the colonists landing on mars in the 70's", and the "Far distant 1990's when Mars' human civilization is at it's peak"... when in reality it's now 2007 and we're still just DISCUSSING a moon base to mine Helium 3 for Fusion power.
That kinda stuff...
Grover Gardner does his usual EXCELLENT job of narration, which makes this book tolerable... but to be honest, not something I'd have chosen if I didn't think it had been revamped and updated from the tag line in the Book review Blurb "Renewed in 1992"... the COPYRIGHT was renewed in 1992, not the story.. My Duh.
I admit I am to the point of downloading ANYTHING that catches my eye as "new" since I've read everything of interest by now, and have credits piling up.
We all know by now that the books were here out of order, but that's been corrected and all four books are now here at Audible.. Audible picked up the other books VERY fast.
"March to the Sea" chronicles Prince Roger and the Bronze Barbarian's (and some real barbarian's) march to the point where they will cross the sea to reach the "Empire of Man's space port".
More "Out of the Box thinking" from Weber and Ringo (I had the pleasure of talking to Ringo again at the 2006 Dragon*Con), and we get to see Prince Roger transform a bit more from the "Clothes Horse" that he was, into the "Respected Leader" that he will become.
Weber and Ringo consistently give us great Military Sci-fi.
I consider this "one" of Heinlein's Better works... written during his shift from adolescent Sci-fi to more adult Sci-fi. I admit I have a soft spot for Heinlein, having grown up reading his books (and owning ALL of his book, several of which are autographed Hardbacks).
"Citizen Of The Galaxy" is a "Rags to Riches" theme. Heinlein had the gift of being able to take themes and write a book around them, while also instilling "values" to the reader.
Most modern Sci-fi readers have "Outgrown" Heinlein, but we have to remember that he was writing (accurately) about the future of computers and space flight back when such things were considered impossible.
This book also touches on the VERY real subject of the modern day slave trade, and as the book says "Even now people don't believe there's really a slave trade in this day and age"... But yes, there is, and Heinlein explains why the fight against slavery may never totally be won.
Heinlein picked up many of the concerns he wrote about while traveling.. and it seems the things he felt were wrong with society then, are STILL things that are wrong with society today.
A "must have" for any Heinlein Fan's collection.
This book completes the entire "Prince Roger series" here at Audible. I requested this book about 3 weeks ago, and Audible picked it right up.. Audible listens to it's customer's recommendations (Unlike some other audio book sites)
"March to the Stars" is actually book 3 of the complete series, but it was the last one that Audible needed to complete the series here.
Ok, Ok, Ok, about the book itself... some have said "You can only fight so many barbarian hordes and have so much frustrated love", and I agree with that, however, Ringo and Weber pull it off so it doesn't seem like a constant repetition of the same stuff book after book, and book 3 really sets the stage for the final book (We Few).
I talked to John Ringo at this year's Dragon*Con and he told me they were trying to get away from the "March to the Everything" titles, which is why the last book is named "We Few" (Ringo has put out SIX books so far in 2006.. and for us Ringo Fans, I asked him to "Write Faster" ;).
I actually read the reviewer's copy some time back, and then snagged the Audio Book here when it came in, and listened to it... it's good enough to "read" twice.
Some parts can be a bit confusing if you aren't paying attention, especially when many different "Tribes" get involved, but it's Military Sci-fi and "Out of the box thinking" at it's best (Which is what we expect from both Ringo AND Weber)... the fact that the authors can keep all this complicated storyline untangled and understandable speaks to their writing ability.
WELL worth the credit!
I got this book because I have listened to MOST of the Sci-fi books here since I have been a member for a long time.. Basically, I thought I was out of "good" Sci-fi to listen to for a while, but stumbled across the reviews on this one and decided to give it a try.
At first It seemed VERY slow, and I thought "Here's one I won't finish", but a friend said, "Make it through the first hour, it gets a LOT better!"
It got a LOT better!!! So much better that I spent 8 straight hours (all night, until 7 this morning) listening to the rest of it.
It's like the X-files meets every UFO Conspiracy theory ever produced, but the author pulls it off so well that you can give a nod to a "Conspiracy theory" as it passes by, without it damaging the story, in fact it adds more to it.
The Science and philosophy is More than excellent in some areas, but a bit weak in a few spots (Not enough to damage the story though).
I'm sure there will be a second book, now I just have to wait for it (I HATE that part ;).
The book shows it's age.. written in the cold war era, computers take MANY hours to crunch out numbers, Soviet relations are hostile at best, etc.
All of the action seems to happen in the last hour of the book, and the "Threats" build up to an anti-climax. As I said, Things move very slowly, then BAM, everything happens in the last hour or so.
I just kept thinking that if this was supposed to take place even in the "near future" of that time when it was written, Bova would have extrapolated that computers wouldn't be slow and cumbersome and fill whole rooms, and would see the coming Demise of the Soviet union, Which was apparent even back then.
Enjoyable, but not his best effort... certainly not on a par with the Rock Rat series. I give it 3 stars because It's Bova.. written by anyone else and I'd have probably rated it as 2.
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