I can only give David Brin's latest a 3.5 - It models itself on John Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar as a near future exploration of vital topics but the very long mixed together narratives with no character as a central focus for long ended up often putting me to sleep.
Love the ideas, the near-future forecasts, the characters individually, but it doesn't quite become the epic it should be. Most of the threads are amazing, the ideas are amazing, the whole not so much. Disentangling this book might have helped, I would like to hear "Pandora's Cornucopia" and "Aliens, Choose Why You are Silent" and some of the characters stories all in one block. The last third of the book, once people go out into the belt, could also be a great stand alone.
If you like your SF on the intellectual and hard side and are curious about Fermi's Paradox you should really get this book. Not for casual readers or listeners.
This is the story of growing up in the household of two of the first members/leaders of the John Birch Society. While the daughter was able to move out of her views her parents remained devoted fanatics to the cause to the end. It was depressing to realize that this hateful, conspiracy-filled worldview never goes away but just varies in the amount of influence it has in the political system. And shortly after the election of Obama it may have returned to a new peak.
The narration was very good, similar to the author's voice which you can hear in speeches on YouTube.
Teenage bright chemistry student gets himself in over his head after he starts producing drugs part time and meets a beautiful dame with a problem.
Well developed background on the gritty underbelly of Mars. Young naive protagonist and interesting characters stand out but not a classic.
Fun and nerdy wish fulfillment story of amateur hacker who finds a file that enables him to hack reality. He decides it might be safer with those abilities back in the past passing as a wizard. In Merry Olde England he runs into more nerd hackers who also had discovered the master file.
The performance artist can get annoying in a few parts while handling the voices.
The style is something like the Warlock of Gramarye series but more humorous.
If you are a big fan of Lost and Walking Dead this series about what happens to various scattered individuals in the U.S. after the night 99.99% of humanity is mysteriously taken would be right up your alley. The survivors of varying types including one quite unpleasant serial killer cope and seem to be gradually coming together from all across the country. This is only the beginning of the series with some big reveals only near the end. For this type of thing it is done well in the style of several recent cable TV series. This is first developed in online podcasts if you prefer to consume it that way.
Best hard science fiction book I've read in years and I try to read all the Hugo nominees. Very smart and funny and sarcastic botanist/mechanic is trapped alone on Mars after an accident and must survive for many months fixing one problem after another. Impressive that there were never any false notes and the story swept you along and accept for one small detail at the beginning the science and mechanics and equipment and jargon are perfect.
I purchased this on sale because of a meeting I had planned with higher ups where I worked. HR was refusing to compensate me for benefits and pay I was due, which legally they could do as they are a public college and cannot be sued for labor violations which are not based on discrimination.
The book was useful for a strategy. Klaff has been very successful and tells interesting stories, although like a lot of salesmen he has an oversized ego.
The secrets have been mentioned before:
Setting the Frame
Telling the Story
Revealing the Intrigue
Offering the Prize
Nailing the Hookpoint
Getting a Decision
The book was useful and probably the right length.
Damon Knight is one of the masters of the short stories and short novels from the Golden Age of science fiction. His best work like this takes simple bold ideas, what if's, and anchors it in the mundane and practical.
An alien arrives on our plant and injures himself and is captured. What is he doing here? How is he treated? And is there a connection to the strange incidents and possible diseases that are starting to occur. A small newspaper owner is drawn into the story while investigating what is the military doing in a locked down isolated faculty.
This is a classic story for those who think about government and religion and big ideas and what the world would be like if one simple change were made.
Other stories by Damon Knight include Why Do Birds, A For Anything, and The Man in the Tree. He is also known for the short story To Serve Man.
Possible spoiler - this is a screwball comedy romance with all that implies.
In most romances the characters seem made for each other. Here the two leads have very different outlooks and goals in life which makes for a more interesting story and creates problems until the end. This is light weight funny fluff and you know it is going to be wrapped up at the end but there is some funny romance and banter along the way.
Katherine Finn is a recently divorced, dedicated, serious and very time-stressed musician, and David Dodd is a handsome, fit and very easy-going hunk who loves cartoons and toys. He has won the lottery and doesn't have to work but draws cartoons. They live in adjoining townhouses. Something falls out of the sky and smashes through the roof and the third floor to land in Kate's bed on the second floor. Elsie Hawkins shows up from moving out of a nursing home to rent a room.
The chapter about dinner with the parents needs to be on the big screen.
C.J. Critt reads this book and it took me a couple chapters to get into her style. It improves.
As a bonus for Stephanie Plum fans this is the first of four romances to feature Elsie Hawkins, the prototype for Grandma Mazur. The next is Smitten.
This is a paranormal steampunk set in London with a clever premise and much wit. A fun listen.
Alexia has no soul, a rare condition which enables her to negate the powers of other supernaturals. She also has little prospects being a spinster with a dead Italian father which makes her nose a bit too big and her skin a bit too swarthy . She is also a bit too curvy and much too independent and smart. This is a romance, although this mixes in a lot of genres, that starts when a vampire oddly loses his manners and tries to make a meal of her in the drawing room at a party. She is soon drawn into the mystery of why vampires and werewolves have been disappearing around London and into contact with an annoying Alpha werewolf leader in charge of the investigation and Lord Akeldama, who as a vampire knows more than just the latest styles. The different societies, werewolf, vampire and upper crust Victorian human, are well depicted.
Settle in for some comfortable fun listening and learn why a lady is never without her parasol.
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