It’s a tough thing to admit when you pick up a book you’ve been really looking forward to and it doesn’t hit the spot. Yet that’s what happened with Scott Meyer’s Run Program, his latest book in a new setting, and one that looks at what a child-like A.I. will do when given access to the internet and the chance to escape its confines. Continue reading “Run Program by Scott Meyer”
July and August have been, quite simply, batcrap crazy. Life stuff has meant that I’ve not done anything on the blogging and reviewing front, and not much of reading either.
I was on track to end July well, with a lot of stuff done and planned, but I was then involved in a car accident where I got rear-ended. From there life just turned the dial up to 11 and there’s been no let-up since. There’s the obvious post-accident issues I’ve had to deal with, and the injury I sustained has made life even more difficult at a time when I needed a break. But there we go.
Another reason for the silence is a house move. We bought our first home together, completing at the very end of July. With help from friends we got moved in at the start of August and then proceeded to re-decorate some rooms (again, thanks to family and friends – I’ve been pretty useless!) in time for my wife’s surgery and recovery. Now there’s a small downtime to let her recuperate before the decorators are in again to finish off what was started.
It’s been a hell of a couple of months! Continue reading “July & August 2017”
Another review I neglected to put up when it went up on SFFWorld in May. But still, Neal Asher’s The Line of Polity was much more enjoyable for me on the re-read. Reviews for the other three in the series are being finalised and should be going live this month too – remember to check back for them
The Line of Polity is the second novel in Neal Asher’s Cormac series, preceded by Gridlinked(review) and picking up events a short while after its conclusion. As I approached the Cormac re-read this was the one book I didn’t know how I’d like this time around. When I initially tried to read it I was put off by my view of the setting and somewhat strong religion-bashing theme that is rather heavy handed during the early chapters. However, for my second attempt I managed to put these to one side and I powered through it, enjoying the story that Asher told. This third time, some 6 years after reading it, I was aware of my first impression all that time back, yet I knew that what awaits me after this book pushed me through without any qualms. And I found that there was much more to enjoy than my faulty memory allowed…
Overall I enjoyed The Line of Polity enough not to let that one issue affect my feelings about the book too much. It’s got more of Asher’s hallmarks present that we didn’t entirely see in Gridlinked, in the weird and lethal wildlife of Masada. It’s also, in hindsight, one of the more important books in Asher’s Polity milieu (for reasons/spoilers that I won’t go into here). With a good focus on both the big picture and events on the ground it’s hard to fault much, though the distinct lack of answers from the end of Gridlinked still lingers. Regardless, a solid entry in the series and a damn good SF novel. Recommended.
June was honeymoon month, something I’ve been looking forward to since the wedding last year. The cruise was great and we visited some amazing places (Oporto, Barcelona, Villefrance/Monaco, Rome, Naples/Pompeii, Cartagena, Gibraltar), but it was also quite tiring and non-stop on the port days. I did manage to get a fair amount of reading done, and the balcony view (see featured image) was an amazing place to relax. Continue reading “June 2017”
A new kickstarter campaign is up and running that readers of this site may find interesting: Improbable Botany, an anthology about alien plant invasions and botanical futures from ten leading science fiction authors. Have a read on for more information.
Improbable Botany is a brand-new science fiction anthology about alien plant conquests, fantastical ecosystems, benevolent dictatorships and techno-utopias.
This is the book plants don’t want you to read…
Improbable Botany features newly commissioned short stories by ten multi-award winning science fiction authors:
Ken MacLeod, Cherith Baldry, Eric Brown, Simon Morden, Adam Roberts, James Kennedy, Stephen Palmer, Justina Robson, Tricia Sullivan and Lisa Tuttle.
In support of the authors’ contributions, the book has been edited by Gary Dalkin, a former judge of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and former editor of Vector: The Critical Journal of the British Science Fiction Association.
We are delighted to say that Improbable Botany features incredibly rich and evocative jacket artwork, along with six full-colour illustrations, by Jonathan Burton – whose outstanding body of work has been featured by The Folio Society, Penguin Books, BAFTA, HarperCollins, Random House and The New York Times.
The book is being produced by Wayward, a London-based landscape, art and architecture practice – an award-winning collective of designers, artists and urban growers. Since 2006, we have transformed derelict sites into large-scale, design-driven spaces for local communities.
(I should have posted this at the start of the month, but got caught up in sorting the holiday. Oops!).
Another busy month in May, and with the weather getting nicer I’m managing to get out for more walks, which in turn means I’m getting to listen to some more audiobooks. It also means I’m not staying in watching as many movies/TV shows or playing as many games… Continue reading “May 2017”
While getting my review for Neal Asher’s The Line of Polity ready I realised I never posted a link to the first in the Cormac series, Gridlinked. So, without further ado, here it is
I’ve been a fan of Neal Asher’s work for many years, though I can’t remember which of his books I first picked up. However, I do know that it wasn’t his debut, Gridlinked, the first Agent Cormacnovel – this book came a little after discovering Asher’s work. As time has passed I’ve made my way through all of his releases, the majority of which are set in his vividly realised and completely packed Polity universe. While there are a couple of stories outside of this setting – notably hisOwner trilogy – Asher will always be best known for the Polity. I decided that it was high time to revisit these books and go back to the beginning…
So, Gridlinked is the kind of novel that should appeal to many sci-fi readers. It’s got action, intrigue, strange aliens, and powerful AI’s, but it also has some interesting characters that drive the plot forward at speed, all the while making you want to find out just what happens next. As his debut novel, Gridlinked is the perfect place to start with Asher’s work, and most definitely recommended.
The newest novel in Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet universe hit the shelves this week, and to mark such an occasion my review is up at SFFWorld! This entry is slightly different given it’s a prequel to the Lost Fleet books, and set hundreds of years earlier prior to the formation of the Alliance and Syndicate Worlds. A great read, good for fans and newcomers alike!
With the introduction of the jump drive humanity have started spreading out further amongst the stars, leaving Earth and the Old Colonies – those settled by sub-ftl means – many light years away. Glenlyon is one such colony, a new venture by those wanting to start out anew. But all is not smooth sailing, for other colonies in that area of space are not so civil, striking out at these newer colonies and trying to assert power over them, either by blackmail or force. When this happens to Glenlyon they are not left with much choice, though a former Navy lieutenant, Robert Geary, is called on for advice and to help out if he can. Along with computer whiz Lyn ‘Ninja’ Meltzer, Glenlyon are able to not only fend off the attack, but also capture the starship sent to threaten them. What follows is a look at how these new colonies deal with the threats they face, and just how far these forces are willing to go to subvert planets to their control.
I love the Lost Fleet books. In fact, I love Jack Campbell’s book, both under this pseudonym and as John G Hemry (his JAG in Space books are criminally underrated). Vanguard is another winner for me, both as a prequel series and as a fresh start. It’s got that excellent readability that is present in all Campbell’s novels, and when the story is itself engrossing you just can’t lose. Vanguard also has the added benefit of being a great place for newcomers to join, as well as ticking off many of the much-needed points for Lost Fleet fans. In short, highly recommended.
Last week my review of Dan Koboldt’s The Island Deception went up over at SFFWorld. It’s not perfect, but it’s a highly enjoyable novel – I’d definitely recommend reading this series!
The Island Deception is Dan Koboldt’s follow up to his 2016 debut, The Rogue Retrieval (review), and the second novel in his Gateways to Alissia trilogy. I enjoyed The Rogue Retrieval very much when I read it last year, so much so that it made my top 10 books of the year. To therefore say I was looking forward to The Island Deception is an understatement – I couldn’t wait to get back to Alissia and see where Koboldt’s imagination would take me. And I wasn’t disappointed, for within the electronic pages I was carried away to another world, one where magic is real, but so is the danger…
So, my final thoughts on The Island Deception are quite simple: I liked it. A lot. Is it perfect? No, but it does address some issues from the first novel while building a solid base on which to deliver the finale. The short chapters, entertaining characters, and witty dialog certainly helped the pages turn long into the night, and when I finally finished only one thought came to mind: when’s the next one out? In my eyes, when a book leaves you with that feeling you know you’ve got a winner. Recommended.
I’m more or less back into the swing of things now after a slow February and March. Still not 100% back up to speed, certainly as far as exercising goes, but getting there! Continue reading “April 2017”