Review: The Peace War

The Peace WarThe Peace War by Vernor Vinge
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This has been a tough read. Not my favorite Vinge. Based on the idea of bobbles of spacetime of varying sizes, which can be created by human tech, and anything caught inside is trapped there for anywhere from a year to a couple centuries depending on the power put into creating it.

The story revolves around a boy named Wili who is a math genius, and that’s all we really get after developing his character–he does some math magic to save the day. Not an interesting character at all, especially after the buildup. Paul Naismith is sort of the mad scientist who invented the bobbles.

Anyway, the story is about the world being conquered by a science laboratory–by the founder of the lab–after the bobble generator is invented. Whole nations are brought to their knees when Livermore begins bobbling all the militaries and nukes of every nation on Earth. Then they move in and take over, becoming a world empire nearly overnight.

Must be a kind of fantasy of an academic like Vinge, where scientists conquer the world. I’m looking forward to the sequel only to see where the story goes but this one was kind of a dud. I just didn’t care about the characters. The bobbles were kind of boring after a while. Not his best writing. Not very believable.

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Review: Hyperion

HyperionHyperion by Dan Simmons
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m so angry that I wasted so many hours reading this stupid book. It’s one of those stories that has potential so you keep on going, expecting something to happen. I knew there was a problem when there were only 30 pages to go and still nothing was resolving to the level that it needed to.

The ending is an absolute LOAD OF CRAP of the worst kind. Not just bullshit. Bullshit is where someone might actually make a big mistake in plotting. NO, this is horseshit. Horseshit is where the item of interest is utter garbage and the person responsible knows damn well it’s garbage but created it anyway. That’s Dan Simmons’ story and ending: Horseshit.

My periodic progress update comments were spot on. I should have quit reading right away at page 100 when I was scratching my head over it. Or at the 50% mark when I had serious doubts.

2 stars because a couple of the short stories were interesting. They had NOTHING to do with the resolution at the end, but they were creative nonetheless. Note to writers: This is an effective way to put some of your shorts into publishable form. Wrap them in horseshit and the stupid acquisition editors won’t notice the smell.

Add to the AE the tools who voted this rubbish for a Hugo.

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Review: Pavane

PavanePavane by Keith Roberts
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Boring slog. False advertising. Several unrelated short stories in the same alternate history setting. NOT a novel! I finally couldn’t continue and skipped ahead. This was supposed to be an alt-history novel with the premise of how the world might look if the Spanish armada had conquered England during the reign of Elizabeth I. Fascinating premise, right? Well, if you love steam trains, that’s what you’ll get here. The only thing that’s missing is Thomas The Tank Engine.

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Review: Alien: Sea of Sorrows

Alien: Sea of SorrowsAlien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The writing was just abysmally bad, plus there were a lot if stupid mistakes (like calling the year 2500 a “new millennium”). It’s a quick, easy read, with nothing added of value to either the mythos or this series. It is not aligned correctly with the first novel, citing mistakes as if the first novel was not consulted by this writer. It’s OK in the series. Just ok. Like a bad episode of your favorite TV series. But no good on its own.

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Review: Alien: Out of the Shadows

Alien: Out of the ShadowsAlien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very enjoyable sci-fi horror about my favorite series. This authorized novel requires a bit of SoD to accept the premise, and it was a bit contrived (to make it work), but I still enjoyed it very much. The action was nonstop; disgusting at times, terrifying at times, never a dull moment. Having just played the Alien Isolation video game (featuring Ripley’s daughter, Amanda), that made this read especially interesting since it fills in yet another portion of the timeline. I highly recommend this for any fan of Alien or sci-fi in general. It is well written by a very accomplished writer.

I hesitate to take off a star for a VERY few typos, so I think I’ll just leave it at 5. My concern is more about flaws in plot, assuming typos and grammar errors are at a minimum. I counted 3 in this novel, which is okay. Surprising, but not a deal killer for me. I’m sure a reprint will catch them.

I don’t want to create a sub-genre for sci-fi horror since I already have a horror category. But, sci-fi horror is usually quite different from standard horror (ghosts, goblins, UFOs). Just note that this story is VERY terrifying and a real page turner! And, the “sci” in sci-fi is limited.

ps I read this again (audio). I like this story and the tie in with the video game.

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Review: Just Over the Horizon

Just Over the HorizonJust Over the Horizon by Greg Bear
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was disappointed in this first of the three-volume series of Greg Bear’s short fiction. Two stories (novelettes) took up half the book and neither was very good; one was an unused TV episode and the other was some kind of bizarre twist on a fairy tale that didn’t work for me at all. In fact, there was not a single science fiction story in this book. That should be clear to anyone considering this book: this is not sci-fi.

I don’t even know why I’m giving it 2 stars. None of the stories were memorable or interesting. I like Greg Bear but his work sure is inconsistent in quality.

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Review: The Dragon’s Nine Sons

The Dragon's Nine SonsThe Dragon’s Nine Sons by Chris Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d forgotten about this novel and it’s sequel by Chris Roberson. Really fascinating alternate history where China rules Europe and Asia and Aztecs rule the entire New World, NA and SA. It bears another read as I recall it was a fun page turner that played out like a video game with a pretty linear, clear goal and just not very complicated. Sometimes I’m really in the mood for single-threaded military scifi. I somewhat forgot about this after reading Roberson’s surprisingly horrible Further: Beyond the Threshold which IMO was a huge rip-off of Peter Hamilton. But, he’s done well with iZombie so it seems he found his ideal genre.

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Review: Four Frontiers

Four FrontiersFour Frontiers by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Technically, I didn’t read this entire book. I read 3 of the novellas previously and switched to this HC edition to finish Red Planet when the audiobook went on the fritz. Saving this as a record that I read the contents entirely, but did not read the stories twice. The physical HC book is well done and attractive but a bit bland due to being a book club copy. Still, I prefer this over the paperbacks. Many of Heinlein’s old novels/novellas can still be found in mmpb format, but I just don’t want any more of them. Much prefer the HC. And, I intend to pick up the other Heinlein HCs in this series.

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