I got this anthology because it promised 'nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors'. My dad writes fanfic pretty much on this level. Recycled ideas, recycled plots.
RETRIBUTION CLAUSE by ILONA ANDREWS - 4 stars - post-tech world, pretty cool environment, interesting story.
BIGFOOT ON CAMPUS by JIM BUTCHER - 3 stars - I'm not really a fan of Dresden Files, but the story was interesting enough.
HOLLY'S BALM by RACHEL CAINE - 2.5 stars - love conquers all but is not an excuse for bad prose.
SNOW JOB by CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS - ? stars - a story so bland, i'm not even sure what it was about anymore.
OUTSIDE THE BOX by P.N. ELROD - 3.5 stars - in a world where vampires are possible, it's only reasonable that there would be a somewhat bureaucratic agency that registers and processes newly risen bloodsuckers.
HOW DO YOU FEEL by SIMON R. GREEN - 3.5 stars - ok story from a sorta-zombie POV
THERE WILL BE DEMONS by LORI HANDELAND - 2 stars - Dhampirs, skinwalkers, fairies and fallen angels... I just didn't find it interesting.
CHERRY KISSES by ERICA HAYES - 2 stars - self-absorbed magical con artist goes to hell to retrieve something. I think amulet, but it didn't really stick.
THE ARCANE ART OF MISDIRECTION by CARRIE VAUGHN - 4 stars - a blackjack dealer in Vegas who spots a cheater. Pretty good start but kinda sours a little towards the end.
I loved this book - great, multi-dimensional characters, character-driven plot, clever use of point of view, unreliable facts, presented by narrators and unexpected twists. A detective thriller, this novel is elevated in its commentary on the complex relationships that exist between men and women and children and their parents. An entertaining fiction, but there are unexpectedly astute observations on these pages.
The main characters' voices are wonderfully vivid. The language is witty, figurative, and just plain fun.
The ending was a complete surprise. It was so refreshing to see that the author is confident enough not to give the readers what they want, aware, or not. The ending was a perfect fit for the twists and turns of the rest of the book.
Some stories in this compilation are better than others, just like in any compilation.
Some I really hope will carry over into a next compilation in the Apocalypse Triptych.
My rating for individual stories:
The Balm and the Wound by Robin Wasserman - ✪✪✪✪✪ - very enjoyable take on an 'End times' cult scam.
Heaven is a Place on Planet X by Desirina Boskovich - ✪✪✪✪✪ - bitterly clever great short story.
Break! Break! Break! by Charlie Jane Anders - ✪ - no recollection whatsoever.
The Gods Will Not Be Chained by Ken Liu - ✪ - cyber-meh.
Wedding Day by Jake Kerr - ✪✪ - as entertaining as watching someone's wedding video. I was hoping for the comet by the end of the story.
Removal Order by Tananarive Due - ✪ - something to do with an epidemic, not particularly memorable story.
System Reset by Tobias S. Buckell - ✪ - something to do with hackers, I think.
This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces by Jamie Ford - ✪ - no recollection whatsoever.
BRING HER TO ME by Ben H. Winters ✪✪✪✪✪ - i really hope for the continuation of this story
In the Air by Hugh Howey ✪✪✪✪✪ - Silo Trilogy side story
Goodnight Moon by Annie Bellet - ✪✪✪ - Astronauts facing certain death.
Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod by Will McIntosh - ✪✪✪✪ - very well done 'epidemic isolation victim' short story.
Houses Without Air by Megan Arkenberg - ✪ - meh.
The Fifth Day of Deer Camp by Scott Sigler - ✪✪ - protagonist chanced to be away from civilization during the alien attack. Ok, but predictable.
Enjoy the Moment by Jack McDevitt
Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through by Nancy Kress
Spores by Seanan McGuire - ✪✪✪✪ - predictable but well written
She’s Got a Ticket to Ride by Jonathan Maberry - ✪✪✪✪✪ - great approach.
Agent Unknown by David Wellington - ✪✪✪✪✪ - zombie genre for science nerds.
Enlightenment by Matthew Mather - ✪✪✪✪✪ - absolutely horrifying and very believable story.
Shooting the Apocalypse by Paolo Bacigalupi - ✪✪✪✪ - good take on a quite possible water crisis and already-existing revolting sensationalistic reporting.
Love Perverts by Sarah Langan - ✪✪✪ - an apocalypse lottery.
A smart and entertaining criticism of the myth that Homo sapiens is monogamous by nature. While not a manifesto of free love by any standard, this book provides an comparative observation of sex in our primate relatives, different practices in different societies, and current beliefs, including masturbation, monogamy, polyandry and many others. The author contrasts his conclusions and observations of many other scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and evolutionists.
The author's view challenges current beliefs and is very thought-provoking. Allyson Johnson's narration is, like always, beautiful and adds another vibrant dimension to a great read.
I like Christopher Moore. He does not take his writing too seriously. His books have some interesting bits of Science Fiction or Fantasy and some laugh-out-loud moments, approachable and likable characters and the plot that balances well on the edge of silliness.
The ending felt a little cowardly - all loose end swiped under the rug and happily-ever-afters all around. Which is our collective fault as a readers that demand all the sugary happily-ever-afters. Just look at the mountain of angry letters that GRR Martin receives after each of his books come out. But now i'm way of the subject here.
Practical Demonkeeping is hilarious and inventive. Great plot with many twists. Strong,diverse characters make this a pare turner.
The narrator is great.
I would definitely recommend it for a fun summer listen
This book is both a celebration of man's ingenuity and our desire to survive no matter what the odds. And pure geekery.
I don't know how scientifically accurate the book is, but to a layman like myself, the problems encountered seem believable, and the solutions very clever.
Mark Watney (the protagonist) is the kind of hero i enjoy the most - not a superman with unrealistic capabilities, but a very approachable science geek, innovative, funny, brave, resourceful and very, very human.
As a middle-age designer with back problems, my chances for astronaut career are pretty slim, but this book should be a required reading for middle-school children to inspire next generation of scientists, dreamers and space explorers.
Loved the humor, the storytelling style and the overall storyline. This is a book I'll be recommending to friends and family.
Seth Mnookin presents a thoroughly researched and truly balanced look at the so-called "vaccine controversy". He's obviously pro-science, but he doesn't shy away from pointing out mistakes made in the past by vaccine manufacturers and government while promoting vaccination.
The book places the current anti-vaccine/ anti-science plague spreading across America in a historical context - success and shortfalls of earlier vaccination attempts ( like variolation of Continental Army in 1777 and flawed polio trials of mid 20th century ) and how fear of vaccinations has been with us though centuries.
It analyzes cognitive bias (mercury is poison>vaccines have mercury>vaccines are poison), media-fueled fear-mongering, self-interest and willful misrepresentation.
I recommend it.
The formula for this novel is rather simple - take an average,somewhat neurotic but very likable guy, throw him into a boiling world of mythical underworld creatures, ad a dash of spirituality, half of cup of sex jokes and pour humor generously and when almost done sprinkle with some Armageddon -- and you have yourself a delicious and hilarious book
Dirty Job is for people who love Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy, Good Omens, Agent to the Stars and Discworld series.
The narration was great and added color and dimensions to the novel. His tone and inflection were spot-on for these characters.
There's an old Ukranian proverb - 'a pig will find the filth' - that perfectly describes the protagonist of this novel. No matter what is in store for Miriam Black, she will not fail to make the worst possible choice and will go out of the way to alienate very few people that actually care for her and her well-being.
This self-destructing behavior, usually followed by wails of self-pity, is mildly amusing to make one want to finish first book, but having same theme going for the second one is a little lazy, imho.
Characters are rather bland and, in best traditions of B-movies and soap operas, have the need to explain their motives in long sentences. I'm no prude, but it felt that Mr. Wending used some profanity generator that inserted them into text almost at random.
Also, for those for forgot the theme of the first book - "fate is a bitch." It is repeated over and over again, just in case someone didn't get it yet.
The most interesting part about the first book - Observers, or Fate enforcers, or whatever they were called in the first book are completely absent form the second.
overall rating: meh
I'm a big fan of Scalzi's writing style and i know enough Star Trek Mythos to appreciate sharp ironic humor of the story. But some of the joke were little too 'on the nose' and no low-hanging fruit was left uncollected. Still, the story was very entertaining, narration by Wil Wheaton was great, like always, and i would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light beach read. If they read other novels by Jon Scalzi, that is. Not the best novel by him but better than most other Star Trek fanfic.
Report Inappropriate Content