While one book does not a great, sweeping space opera (usually) make -- this book is a solid foundation for what could be a great series. . .in the tradition of Campbell's "Lost Fleet," or other similar series (Ian Douglas, John Ringo, William Dietz, David Weber, David Drake, John Scalzi). There are really good ideas here, and excellent battles in space. The seeds are also planted for what is coming next -- along with a number of really good "concepts" about technology.
I did not read earlier iterations of this book, just listened to the 'final' Audible version -- which I thoiught was EXCELLENT. The writing is not tight -- but tight is not what I think of as the 'be all and end all' in this type of "writ large"" type of opening salvo. And it seems clear that as this rolls out it will provide an opportunity for greater control of language and syntax. But this is no amateur venture by a mile. This is a fine story well written and well performed.
If you liked the Lost Fleet you will love this. If you enjoyed the Dietz takeoff on the Foreign Legion, you will also appreciate the sinilarities here.
I cannot wait for the next book -- and what more can you say about a new writer and series ????
I normally review SF, although I do read a good bit of detective and spy fiction. (I don't feel I have the breadth to comment on those areas.) But this book is so completely peculiar that I doubt anyone has the right background to provide expert commentary.
My wife insisted I listen to it. I really didn't want to read a Rowling romp. What a moron I am at times. I could not disagree more with those who suggest this is a great "first" effort in the genre. It is a really good book. Period.
This is clever and VERY "meta'" -- brilliantly narrated. It is as though someone had reviewed all detective stories from Chandler on, sat a LONG time digesting the body of work and then written what was supposed to look simple but was really a sly book. The author covers every single base on the "tough but scruffy British police/detective" checklist right out in the open....no pretending it is something else. But each is addressed in new and interesting ways -- and the author supplies all of the mandatory snappy patter. But in the end it becomes just a good story.
It is fun and self-deprecating. It delivers completely I thought.
One of my favorite series of books is Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos, reflecting the poem by John Keats first published in 1818. They are a sweeping, sometimes tortured but epic space opera.
January Dancer is akin to an abridged version of that type of epic. That is not a bad thing....as I wonder how many people actually finish the Cantos. While long and winding in epic style, it is one book. A story within a story, it starts with three themes and uses a good deal of analogy to music. I liked it. A number of clever side trips add to a great ending.
The narration is also quite a bit of fun. Rudnicki's heavy Irish efforts are worth the listen alone.
There are new ideas here -- but it is not so bizarre that it become inaccessible.
Can't put it more clearly than that. It is long, requires a good deal of work and is very tough on the reader in parts. (The Hyperion Cantos include several books.) But you get out what you put in.
Fresh, clever and interesting. In the first couple of chapters I thought this simplistic. As it moves forward, however, it picks up speed, becomes more complex and is a great deal of fun.
Someone said it is Master and Commander crossed with a near-future Martian colony -- but that HARDLY describes what goes on here.
I can't say too much without giving it away -- a wonderful first book ! Well worth the listen !!!!
Superb performances by both Ms. Kalbli and Mr. Clark !
The plot in this is so simple you can describe it in a short paragraph, but that is not the point -- it is about the writing -- about what happens both to the character and with the language. Set in the not-too-distant New England it deals with a nice lady who has her consciousness temporarily moved to a perfect machine body while her "real body" is in stasis awaiting a medical cure. Simple, right?
Nope. Spectrum anxiety disorders are examined, Body identification issues, gender issues -- relationship issues. It is as though someone said: "I want something like the Matrix or inception where all of the flash is in service of some real ideas. Less fascination with the idea of the machine -- and more about the ideas related to the effects of the machine.
This is not a G-rated book. And it addresses issues that, disguised as science fiction, are right now -- as many of the great ones are.
Two other thoughts. First the narration is beyond good. People who want to narrate books should listen to this to learn. Second, even if you are inclined not to -- try this listen.
One of the things that makes it hard to write book reviews is that there is a conflict between wanting to express your own views and a duty to readers. My view is that this is maybe one of the best books I've read. It is Pynchon. It is one of a limited number of science fiction books that qualifies as literature. The author clearly worked this manuscript until it was perfect.
Ok....That was for me -- this is for you. Do not listen to this unless you really want to work on it. There are times it repeats. There are times it is relentlessly dystopian. There are times it is just plain sad and heartbreaking.
It is set in a not too distant post-something New York. Life is hard and not entirely well-balanced. There is a mystery, there is a dark humor. There is aggressive time-loopery. If you get to half way and think you want to kill this reviewer -- stick it out.
It is hard to review this book without giving it away. So here goes the slightly vague review.......This is near future, NASA-loving, science-driven fun. It is not deep or entirely unpredictable -- but it sure was a good time. Someone said MacGyver in space. True, if he had a doctorate in engineering and biology. I would guess the author thought about this for a long time before writing it.
In many books you think: "Oh, for Pete's Sake -- that's impossible." Not here -- the author shows you the math for solving every problem -- and there are a lot of very interesting problems. And as a side-bonus, you get a real up-close and personal travel experience on Mars.
The wry sense of humor is a little like Redshirts. Good narration too.
The book is, quite simply, a revelation. The performance (by the same person who did epics by Hamilton and Reynolds) is breathtaking. it is far better on Audible than when read. It is like going through all three parts of Stoppard's "Coast of Utopia" in one day. It is a wonder.
Don't groan like that. I know, it isn't fair to say an author is "like" another...even if it is Neal Stephenson-like. I get it. But I consider the comparison high praise, and the other reviews of this book focus too much on the 80's video-game aspect. This is much more sophisticated than 80's gamer fan lit. (It is closer to Cryptonomicon or Snow Crash than That 70's Show or Wargames.) Sure there are a lot of 1980's pop-culture references (including gaming) but that isn't all there is here. I wasn't really into either (80's pop-culture or gaming) but I really liked this. Just like Cryptonomicon wasn't about WWII, this isn't ABOUT the 80's or gaming. It is just weird to have SF set in a known place. My dad was a sailor in the Pacific in the war, so I knew about most of the islands and battles in Cryptonomicon. Similarly, I was in my 20's in the 80's....so I knew all of the places here in the same way. Very effective.
One sort of unconnected, random additional observation: When I was a kid reading Heinlein's books for boys, the alienated youth and seekers went to space...went outwards to escape the ordinary and become adults. Now they go deep into the machine in many books. But if it is true that the journey is the important thing -- not the destination, both amount to the same thing.....a journey to find companionship, personal honor, the answer to a mystery and humor. This is a nice job of describing such a journey -- I believe it is well worth the credit and the time. Finally, this is the second time I've liked a Wheaton read. . .which also surprises me. I've always felt he was a little too 'meta,' a bit too much need to be in on the joke to be a good narrator. Not here. (Maybe his appearances on the Big Bang, where he played himself being such a character.....who knows?) But I've got to admit -- I liked him again here...he makes Wade a real person when it would be easy not to.
Another of those science-fiction-set-in-familiar-places-and-times like Halting State. Not centered on space or jump gates -- not even sure it is really science fiction.....but it is GOOD fiction and certainly not based in what we normally think of as reality. Unlike my usual reviews -- I'm not going to say a lot more about this one. No comparisons or discussion. You should listen to it because someone put an awful lot of thought and work into making this fascinating. They did quite the job of it. I also liked the narrator generally, but she has an intra-sentence rhythm that I found hard at times -- just saying for next time.
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