RSS

Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Ship Breaker: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Audible Studios, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 9 hours and 8 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook, Version: Unabridged, Audible.com Release Date: May 4, 2010, ASIN: B003KWL65SBook Review

In a dystopic society set in the future where the gap between the wealthy and the poor is vast and impassible, and the world has been depleted of natural resources, life for the poor is almost unbearable. Nailer, a fifteen year old boy, tries to exist working as a ship breaker on the south-east coast of North America. He, along with his crew mates, scavenge abandoned oil tankers for anything of value. It is imperative they meet the quota set by their bosses, or they could end up discarded, and become beach rats with nothing. Nailer not only has to deliver the goods, but he has to do this while avoiding his drug-crazed and violent father. So what will Nailer do when faced with a choice between killing a beautiful but helpless rich girl his own age, or letting the swank live and watch his chance for the easy life slip away?

Paolo Bacigalupi has been nominated, and has won, many awards for his work. For Ship Breaker he won the Michael L. Printz Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2011. Bacigalupi has written 5 novels including Ship Breaker, with a 6th one on its way, and he has written numerous short stories. He writes primarily biopunk, science fiction, and young-adult stories. Ship Breaker is a young-adult science fiction story told in a third-person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Nailer.

There are many fascinating aspects to this story. The setting is well thought out and the characters are well developed. The reader is immediately drawn into the story right from the first page when Nailer is introduced climbing through a service duct tugging at copper wire. The story shows both the depth of despair that the people working on the salvage rigs face, as well as the intensity of the connection between the people working together as crew.

This is a dystopian society that takes place many years in the future, yet it is also a story about people. I really enjoyed this novel, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading YA dystopian stories. I rate this book as a very good read, and I am looking forward to reading more stories by Palol Bacigalupi.

 

 

To purchase Ship Breaker from Amazon, click here

 

Tags: , , , ,

Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (July 17, 2012); Reissue edition (July 17, 2012), Paperback: 256 pages, ISBN-10: 0547572255, ISBN-13: 978-0547572253

Book Review

Book Review

Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said is set in a dystopic future where everyone does drugs, genetic modification exists, and the police have supreme power. In one moment Jason Taverner has it all. He, along with a select few, has been genetically modified to be the perfect human. He is a famous singer and television personality. He has charisma, grace, good looks, extreme intelligence, and plenty of luck. Until one day when his luck runs out, and he wakes up with nothing. He not only has no identification on him, but now no one knows his name, and he is a nobody. He risks facing death or ending up in a forced labour camp unless he can prove who he really is, but is that even possible?  Taverner goes on a race against time and the authorities to discover what happened.

Philip K. Dick was a prolific writer, having published 49 novels and over a hundred short stories, and all were primarily science fiction. Much of his work concerns altered realities and drug use, and Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, certainly delivers these and more. This book is a science fiction novel that includes drug use and an alternative universe. Interesting enough several of my favourite science fictions movies, like The Adjustment Bureau, Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, and Total Recall have all been based on stories by Philip K. Dick. Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said is written using a third person point of view, primarily from the point of view of Jason Taverner, but also at times moving into the point of view of the Police General Felix Buckman.

There is some really incredible writing in this story, but there are also a few areas which do not make sense and contradict what previously occurred. It is possible that these were intentional, and perhaps support the premise of the book, because their existence could explain movement between alternate realities. Like for example on page 26, when Eddy, the police informant, exits the building leaving Jason alone with Kathy so she can prepare forged identification documents for Jason. Then on page 32, suddenly Eddie is in the room with them, and Eddy “lurked in the background, smoking a fake Havana cigar; he had nothing to say or do, but for some obscure reason he hung around.”

At times the writing alludes to unknowable past events while at the same time pulls the reader into the story. Like on page 6, “Forty-five beautiful years ago, when the world was young and droplets of rain still clung to the now-gone Japanese cherry trees in Washington, D.C. And the smell of spring that had hovered over the noble experiment.” While this is never explicitly explained, the story itself points to past events that may have lead up to the current dystopic society. The characters in the story are interesting and well drawn. The plot is intriguing and the reader is immediately pulled into the story. If you like science fiction stories, then I recommend Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said as a very good read.

 


To purchase: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said from Amazon, click here

 

Tags: ,

Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Silo
Book Review

Book Review

Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) – 3 Treasure Boxes
Books 1 – 5 in the Silo SeriesPublisher: Broad Reach Publishing (January 25, 2012), Kindle edition File Size: 711 KB, Print Length: 550 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1469984202, ASIN: B0071XO8RA

The outside world is uninhabitable and humanity has moved underground. The livable world is now encased by a silo that starts at ground level and extends far into the earth. This existence has continued for hundreds of years, and numerous strict rules ensure the maintenance of the current lifestyle. However the worst offense an inhabitant can make is to talk about going outside. If anyone suggests or even implies an interest in the outside, they are forced out, and end up dying within steps of the silo. Until one day when Juliette is sent out, but doesn’t die. Instead she goes beyond the sightline of the silo and survives. But what she finds, and the reason she was put out are very surprising.

Wool is a science fiction story that is told in a third person narrative. It comprises five short stories that have been combined to create Wool. Currently there are two more books in the series, the next one is called Shift, and it comprises three stories. Shift is a prequel to the events in Wool. The final book in the Silo Series is Dust and it immediately follows the events in Wool.

Wool is an interesting story with a curious title. It took me awhile to figure out why Howey called the book Wool. There are numerous possibilities. There are several references in the story to knitting—including the titles of the middle three sections of the book. There is a reference to pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Regardless, I believe the meaning implies something deeper. I believe the title refers to humans as sheep, and suggests that when one person jumps off the cliff all the others will follow.

Wool is a dystopian story that deals with human nature, and it poses the question: can we learn from our past mistakes, or are we destined to continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over? Initially, the plot line appears to suggest that as humans we are destined to continually make the same mistakes. Yet the end of story seems to point in a new direction. I am curious to see where Howey is going with this and I am planning on reading the next two installments in the series.

The characters are well defined and the world that is created in fascinating. The nature of society, and of time itself is at issue. There is both a sense immediacy and delay, and the story sparks many questions, causing the reader to question humanity. I enjoyed this book and I recommend it as a very good read.

 

 

To purchase Wool from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Tags: , ,

The Passage: A Novel by Justin Cronin

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series The Passage Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Passage: 2 Treasure Boxes First book in The Passage Trilogy

Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 36 hours and 52 minutes (785 pages), ASIN: B003QL14NC

The Passage is a vampire story. It is about blood sucking abominations that man-kind created while developing  a serum in the hopes of  discovering immortality. But instead of  infinite healing potential, they invented an illness that resulted in humans transforming into immortal monsters. Their experiment created millions of vampires while at the same time killing off billions of humans. While the army was secreting developing the virus they injected a special composition of it into six year old Amy, and due to her young age, she was altered in a different manner. She would have been considered a success, if the virus did not abolish the majority of mankind.  She seemingly became immortal and after 93 years appears to have only aged 10 years, she retains most of her humanity and did not become a vampire, yet she has a connection to them. She is able to communicate with them telepathically. The Passage details the development and the devastating effect of the virus during the 93 years since its inception. This book shows what has happened to mankind, and how a small group of humans are fighting back.

Justin Cronin has to date, written four novels, two of them in The Passage trilogy. The third book in the series, The city of Mirrors, is supposed to be released sometime in 2014. Cronin has won numerous awards for his writing. The Passage is a horror story, and it is told in a third person narrative using several different tactics including diary entries. I found the switch between third person narrative and diary readings to be confusing, especially when some of those diary entries were 1000 years after the events in the book. There are numerous protagonists throughout the novel, but Amy seems to be the constant.

The story was interesting and original. I really enjoyed the beginning, which I thought was well written and engaging. However, I found the middle of the book to drag a bit, and to be a bit boring. I understand that Cronin wanted to fill in some information to gap the years between the onset of the virus and year 93, but I did not enjoy how he did it. I did not like the use of the diary entries. I did think that Cronin’s concept of the vampire was fascinating. I also liked the characters that he focused on, and I thought his character development was well done. I recommend this book as a good read, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I liked how this book ended, and I could see the potential for a future story.

 

To purchase The Passage: A Novel from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series MaddAddam Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: 3 Treasure Boxes

Second Book of the MaddAddam Trilogy
Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 14 hours and 4 minutes, ASIN: B002Q1IUNK


The Year of the Flood begins in a post-apocalyptic world with Snowman living alone and yet somehow connected with a group of human-like creatures. As Snowman stumbles through his life, the events that lead up the ruination of the world are slowly revealed through flashbacks. Snowman is the same character as Jimmie from Oryx and Crake and both stories run in parallel. I liked how The Year of the Flood explained the ending of  Oryx and Crake, because I felt that ending was a bit too open.

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian writer born in 1937, and she has written numerous books, short stories, books of poetry and essays. She has won more than 55 awards, both Canadian as well as international. The Year of the Flood is speculative fiction and the story is told in the first person narrative by the main protagonist, Snowman.

This trilogy presents a grim view of the havoc that genetic engineering could cause. I thought the characters were great and I liked where the story went, but at times I thought it was a bit too much preachy. I was listening to the audio book and didn’t care for the religious songs.   I am looking forward to reading the final book in the series to see where this trilogy is headed. 

I recommend this book as a very good read, but it is important to read Oryx and Crake first.

Favourite Quote: “But I prefer to say, ‘We are what we wish’. Because if you can’t wish, why bother?”

(Ch 73@5:48) Track 11 ch 2

 

 

Tags: , , , ,

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series MaddAddam Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book review of MaddAddam: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book three of the MaddAddam trilogy
Publisher: Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 13 hours and 23 minutes, ASIN: B00E7YHASU

The world has been remade, because most of mankind has been deliberately eliminated and many new species have been developed. Before he died, Crake developed what he thought was the perfect humanoid, a new species of people that are beautiful, yet socially very different—they do not wear any clothing and they eat nothing but leaves—they are referred to as the Crakers. Now, all that remains in the world are a handful of humans—both good and bad, the Crakers, some sly new creatures including pigoons, pigs who have been spliced with human stem cells to enable the creation of human organs, and the resurgence of vegetation.

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian writer born in 1937, and she has written numerous books, short stories, books of poetry and essays. She has won more than 55 awards, both Canadian as well as international. MaddAddam is speculative, dystopian fiction and the story is told primarily in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, Toby, a woman who has survived the waterless flood and the end of mankind. Much of the book is presented in the form of stories that Toby relates to the Crakers about various events that have occurred both before and after the flood.

MaddAddam is much lighter, and included quite a bit more humour than the previous two books in the series. The story is well told and I really enjoyed it. This book continues immediately after the events in The Year of the Flood. Jimmy the Snowman is very ill, the two psychotic paintballers are still on the loose and Adam One is nowhere to be found. The Crakers have relocated themselves along with Jimmy to stay with the group who were once known as God’s Gardeners. Due to Jimmy’s illness, Toby has replaced him in the role of storyteller to the Crakers.

Through and because of the stories, much of Zeb’s past is revealed, which I found intriguing and a bit surprising. It was also interesting to watch the development of the Crakers, and even though Crake created them to be without art or religion, the human need to create and to connect seems to override what Crake intended.  It seems to me, that in light of the potential damage from genetic modifications, that this is an important tale to tell, and it comes across without being preachy, yet it also leaves the reader with an overall feeling of hope.

I recommend this book, as a very good read. However, to truly appreciate the story it is important to read all the books in the series in order which I recommend to anyone who enjoys speculative, dystopian fiction.

 

 

To Purchase: MaddAddam from Amazon, click here or on picture above


Happy Holidays! Download a FREE audiobook today!

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Lorien Legacies
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Power of Six: 2 Treasure Boxes
Book Two of the Lorien Legacies

 

John, AKA Number Four, has joined forces with Six and now the charm is broken, they are no longer protected. Instead, with the help of John’s human best friend, Sam and his shape-shifting dog, they are devising a plan to defeat the Mogadorians. But first they need to evade the evil aliens, who seem to be everywhere. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Number Seven, AKA Marina of the Sea, has her own problems but she is certain that John is Loric and is desperately trying to figure out how to contact him.

The Power of Six was much better than the first book, I Am Number Four. There were more characters, which made the story more interesting, and we learned a bit more about the deeper story. Also there was lots of action, which was exciting. I recommend The Power of Six as a good read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Rise of Nine.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series MaddAddam Trilogy
3 Treasure Boxes - Very Good Book

3 Treasure Boxes – Very Good Book

Book Review of Oryx and Crake: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in the MaddAddam Trilogy
Publisher: Random House Audio, Listening Length: 10 hours and 29 minutes (464 pages), ASIN: B00009OYYN


The world as we know it has been deliberately destroyed by an epidemic, and genetically modified “superior” humanoids have been invented. These new people call themselves “Crakers,” and only one other person seems to remain, Jimmy. Now he is known as Snowman, and he is crazy. He has also become a God figure for the new human race.

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian writer born in 1937, and she has written numerous books, short stories, books of poetry and essays. She has won more than 55 awards, both Canadian as well as international. Oryx and Crake is speculative fiction and the story is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, Snowman. He is also known as Jimmy. The story starts in a post-apocalyptic world with Snowman living alone and yet somehow connected to a group of human-like creatures. As Snowman stumbles through his life, the events that lead up the ruination of the world are slowly revealed through flashbacks.

This was an interesting look at what potentially could happen if and when humans start to modify human, animal and plant genetics without any code of ethics. It shows what could happen if people and corporations believed they had the power to act as God.  This is a rather dismal view of humanity and the misuse of power, but the characters are really well drawn and fascinating.

I recommend this book as a very good read. This is a standalone story with a satisfying if somewhat open ended and yet unique ending that leaves the reader thinking. It allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.  The ending leads nicely into the next book in the series, The Year of the Flood which was written after Oryx and Crake but with events that occur simultaneously.

Questions to ponder:

    • What did you think of the ending, and what do you think is the next step for mankind in this story?
    • Do you feel that our current human genetic research is good or bad?
    • How far should human genetic research and manipulation go?

To Purchase: “Oryx and Crake” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

 

Tags: , , , ,

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Book Review of Fahrenheit 451: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 5 hours and 8 minutes (179 pages), ASIN: B000BUMW3M

Guy Montag is a fireman, and his job is to burn down houses that contain books. One day after work, he meets Clarissa a young woman who is full of vitality and he starts to realize how empty his life is, he starts to realize there are wisdom in words. As Guy begins questioning his life, his life starts to fall apart.

Ray Bradbury was an American author of science fiction, dystopia, fantasy and horror. His most famous work was “Fahrenheit 451”, but he is also known for “The Martian Chronicles” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” He wrote “Fahrenheit 451” in 1953, and the story is a dystopian science fiction novel told in a third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Guy Montag.

This is a prophetic view of where our society is heading. Young people spend hours a day texting, tweeting, searching the web, watching Youtube, playing video games and on Facebook, but they do not have enough time to read any books. In “Fahrenheit 451”, books have been outlawed, not because the government wants to control people, but because people are not interested in reading. Slowly, over time, people stopped attending the arts departments at university and creativity became extinct. The people in this story, just like people today, do not have time, and are consumed doing meaningless activities.

The story follows Guy Montag as he slowly becomes aware of his hollow life. He awakens from the trance he is in and he awkwardly tries to right the wrongs he has done. The story moves at a good pace with some surprising and exciting scenes. The ending shows how humanity’s apathy negatively affects the world but it also leaves the reader with a feeling of hope.

I recommend “Fahrenheit 451,” as a very good book. It is a standalone story, with a thought provoking ending. The writing is phenomenal and the word usage and descriptions are genius.

My favourite quotes: 

“As he stood there the sky over the house screamed. There was a tremendous ripping sound as if two giant hands had torn ten thousand miles of black linen down the seam. Montag was cut in half. He felt his chest chopped down and split apart. The jet-bombs going over, going over, going over, one two, one two, one two, six of them, nine of them, twelve of them, one and one and one and another and another and another, did all the screaming for him. He opened his own mouth and let their shriek come down and out between his bared teeth. The house shook. The flare went out in his hand. The moonstones vanished. He felt his hand plunge toward the telephone. “(pg 9)

“Without turning on the light he imagined how this room would look. His wife stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of a tomb, her eyes fixed to the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind. The room was indeed empty. Every night the waves came in and bore her off on their great tides of sound, floating her, wide-eyed, toward morning. There had been no night in the last two years that Mildred had not swum that sea, had not gladly gone down in it for the third time.” (Pg 8)

To Purchase: “Fahrenheit 451” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

 

Tags: , , , , ,

1984 by George Orwell

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Listening Length: 11 hours and 26 minutes, (328 Pages), ASIN: B000Q6ZLOI

Winston Smith, a member of the party, has been taught to hate. Everywhere around him are the thought police and he leads a life filled with drudgery, until he meets Julia. This novel shows one man’s struggle to try to overcome the oppression of “Big Brother”.

Mr. Orwell wrote numerous narrative documentaries and novels. His two most renowned works include 1984 and Animal Farm. 1984 is dystopian fiction and it is told in a third person narrative by the main protagonist. The story was first published in 1949.

The impact of World War II is clearly reflected in this storyline. Mr. Orwell shows his view of what our world would be like if democracy had been abolished and if an authoritarian government became the predominant force.  The book shows how “Big Brother” controls not only the media, but all print, and through this controls the people.  Mr. Orwell was opposed to totalitarianism, and this is reflected in his writing. He paints a depressing view of life, showing a dismal picture of how people can treat each other when power corrupts. At times the writing was amazing. I thought the contrast between a bird singing and the darkness of the story was very moving.

This book portrays how a few people can become power hungry and through control and manipulation can totally destroy humanity.  However, I do not think the human spirit can so easily be overcome.  I do not believe the grim view that Mr. Orwell portrays could ever come about.  I think the human spirit would triumph.

This is a standalone story that starts out great but leads the reader down through gloomy and desolate steps into a form of hell.  I recommend the story as a great read.

Favorite Quotes:

A thrush had alighted on a bough not five metres away, almost at the level of their faces. Perhaps it had not seen them. It was in the sun, they in the shade. It spread out its wings, fitted them carefully into place again, ducked its head for a moment, as though making a sort of obeisance to the sun, and then began to pour forth a torrent of song. In the afternoon hush the volume of sound was startling. Winston and Julia clung together, fascinated. The music went on and on, minute after minute, with astonishing variations, never once repeating itself, almost as though the bird were deliberately showing off it virtuosity.

Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past, and the denial of objective reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said that she never paid any attention to that kind of thing. One knew that was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo, and that was all one needed.

To Purchase: “1984” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

 

Tags: , , , ,