"This one took a bit of getting into. At first, it seemed like one trip too many to the well, but it pulled together and ended up being quite a powerful and effective conclusion to the trilogy, the other volumes of which I read over the previous couple of years. Overall, this is a very strong series, recommended."
"I agree with Tim above. I usually finish a Pratchett book in 2 days - this one took me 2 weeks. I kept putting it down.
I love the books with Granny Weatherwax in them - but the Vampyres just _weren't_ interesting enough. Or funny enough. And trying to figure out what Igor was saying (the lisping Frankenstein-like servant) was too difficult most of the time."
"Katmer Al Shei is co-owner (with her brother-in-law) of the trade ship, Pasadena. They each use the ship for a certain amount of time and have their own crews. Evelyn Dobbs is the ship's Fool -- a crew member whose job is to act as a pressure valve for the rest of the crew during long flights. Jemina Yerusha is a Freer. Freers live in space, and they don't like going down to any planet. They believe that AI's are reincarnated human souls. It is about 500 years in the future, and there is still a lot of hate and prejudice, especially against AI's, who seem to wreck planets when they are ‘born' as self-aware life forms.
As the Pasadena leaves, she is immediately hit by Murphy's Law ... until they figure out they have a virus onboard. The reader figures out very quickly that our Fool has secrets, but from then on the story just rolls along. I was initially put off by the book because of its CP aspects, but I was sucked in by the characterization and the imagination of it. And there's a Slinky in the story! :-)
The novel is based on her short story, FOOL'S ERRAND in Analog 1995. Thumbs up. A keeper!"
"Halfway around the world, finally in possession of the Ra'ira, they promptly lose it because of political intrigue. To get it back, they must find something as strong or stronger than the gem. Off on another quest!
This time to find a potent historical symbol, a sword made of iron (Gandalara is an iron-poor planet). The major problem is that it was last seen in the city of Ka, and Ka disappeared a long time ago. An interesting side story in this book is about Keeshah and his decision to start a family The sha'ums conversations always make me smile.
The book was origanally released a three short novels, 'The Well of Darkness', The Search for Ka', and 'Return to Eddarta'."
"Ricardo Carillo, an aging language professor, is on a Mediterranean cruise ship when it is hit by a meteor. He wakes up in a blinding hot desert, sharing the body and some of the memories of a young man named Markasett. Not quite human - supraorbital ridges around the eyes and large canine teeth.
The first being he encounters is a huge cat, bigger than a horse, called a sha'um. The sha'um's name is Keeshah, and recognizes Carillo as Markasett. Carillo discovers that the 2 of them are linked telepathically, after being scared half to death.
They make their way back to 'civilization', where he is accused of murder and theft of the Ra'ira, a precious gem. With the help of Tarani, an illusionist, they set out on a quest to recover the gem and clear his new name.
Vivid characters, sword play, great giant cats, and a desert world called Gandalara....sort of like Arabian Nights? :) The book was originally released as 3 short novels, 'The Steel of Raithskar', 'The Glass of Dyskornis', and 'The Bronze of Eddarta'."
"What if Neanderthals built a civilization and all that was left of the Homo Sapiens was bones? What would modern Neanderthal society be like? Sawyer gives us a chance to look at ourselves through Neanderthal eyes (shades of Star Trek!) -- with environmental issues, ethical and privacy issues and religion vs. science.
Ponter and his partner, Adikor, are building a Quantum computer underground. When Ponter and Adikor tell it to factor a huge number, the computer's demand for parallel computers go off into another universe -- ours. Ponter is standing near the machine while it is processing, and he disappears into thin air. In his place are puddles of heavy water.
Meanwhile in our world, 2 kilometers beneath the surface at the Neutrino Observatory in Canada, an explosion rocks a sealed water tank. The scientists find a man floating unconscious -- wearing bizarre clothes and a biotech implant on his arm. They save him, rush him to a hospital and X-rays of the man's head say that he's a Neanderthal.
Which introduces our third character -- a DNA expert, Mary Vaughan (introduced by way of a HORRIFIC rape scene) is brought in to authenticate what is indeed a Neanderthal. And a physicist at that.
Back in the Neanderthal world, Adikor is accused of the murder of Ponter. The biotech implants record everyone's activities and locations, storing the records in a main city computer, but they can't record or get a fix on people deep underground. Innocence must be proven -- the Neanderthals have no trust for what hasn't been recorded. Their society, overseen by revered elders, has bred out aggression. Violence is a genetic defect in their society -- and the sentence for violence is an overdose of chlorine in the gene pool.
On our earth Ponter's implant (named Hak) has become a translator, and Ponter is learning about our world. The mammoths are gone. Men and women live together. Overpopulation and hunger. Air pollution -- which is a major problem with his great nose. Crime. War. And a thing called 'God'. The reader starts liking Ponter's Neanderthal society -- but Gliksins (his name for humans) have been to space and walked on the moon.
Then Ponter gets sick -- bringing about the quarantine of Ponter, Mary and 2 other scientists. The media is pounding on the door. Governments around the world are arguing about Ponter's immigration status. Dave Letterman does a Top Ten List. And Adikor cannot explain Ponter's disappearance.
Sawyer develops the Neanderthal world well, on what little is known about them. He focuses on his characters, but throws in plenty of science that is understandable and not boring. I would really like to sit on Ponter and Adikor's patio at sunrise, watching the mammoths wander by. I liked the bio-implants and wish someone would actually invent them, but I don't have a problem with privacy the way some people do. I had trouble with Mary's character -- but Sawyer may have wanted her emotions to be on a roller coaster.
There is an introduction in which he explains the issues concerning the Neanderthal and Neandertal spellings and pronunciations.
The book is the first of a trilogy. It stands on its own, but I couldn't wait for Book Two.
"An alien craft arrives on Earth, and human-alien relations seem to be going well, until one of the aliens apparently murders one of the humans. And then it gets more complex. This hybrid of SF and courtroom thriller is pretty solid. The story is interesting; though the dialogue is somewhat clunky at times, and some of the key points are a bit dodgy (a 400,000-year hibernation cycle seems pretty implausible, for instance)."
"The SFBC sent this to me by mistake and never billed me ... I would have been disappointed if I had picked and paid for it. I'm not a fan of Resnick's African planet stories, so it languished on the bottom of the reading pile, until I needed something short and quick to read (178 pages). Surprise, surprise, it's short stories put together as one story........
Xavier William Lennox is an obnoxious and arrogant travel writer. He is fascinated by the Fireflies of Medina, golden-skinned bipedal natives with vestigial wings. He tries to infiltrate their society, gets caught, and they mutilate him.
Back home, the Department of Alien Affairs offers to alter him surgically to become a Firefly, if he can negotiate a treaty for the ‘diamond pipes' of Medina. His brain, central nervous system and his heart will remain unchanged. Adventures follow, adventures over by page 110. The rest of the book is three more aliens, and the obvious ending. You never come to care for this man at all....greedy, self-centered. Although Resnick tries to show that he's changed, it doesn't work."
Lt. (Jr. Grade) Esmay Suiza just wants to be left alone. She's happy in the service, she never wants to go home again, and she's competent in her job as a techy. Everything would be perfect, if it wasn't for her nightmares. As the book opens, she has become the youngest and lowest ranking office ever to win a battle, after committing mutiny against a traitorous Captain.
The military (being the military) puts her on trial for mutiny. (Her total confusion and feelings of guilt are conveyed remarkably well by Moon.) She is exonerated of any and all crimes, although the VIP's can't understand how a technical-track officer acted like a Commander. As her ‘reward', first they send her home (more nightmares) and then she is sent out to the North 40 to a gargantuan shipyard in space, the R.S.S. Koskiusko.
Her notoriety is a pain and she just wants to be left alone. The lower officers idolize her and the higher officers don't trust her. To make things worse, a relative of the Serrano family is on board. The nightmares have gotten better, but not gone away.
The villains in this book are called The Bloodhorde. They want warships, with lots of weapons. They can't build them, or buy them, and haven't been able to capture them. What better place to get warships, and upgrades for their own shuttle-size ships, than a shipyard?
Great characterizations, corridor battles and space combat, EVA, FTL, sabotage, political and military back-biting, a touch of romance, horses, rock-climbing....what a book. Esmay becomes so real, you just want to SHAKE her when she acts so insecure and timid. I read this one at redlights, at work, in the MacDonald's drive-thru, and had red-eyes in the AM from staying up too late reading. I loved it. :-)"
Basically one big cautionary tale with the foreword (Newt Gingrinch), the novel itself, and the afterword (Capt. Bill Sanders) about the possibility of EMP catastrophe and its effects on a North Carolina college town and its residents.
As a (very) long time reader of SF and post-apocalytic tales, I saw lots of cliches. Lots of characters with no common sense or survival sense. I really don't understand why it got so many 5 star reviews on Amazon - there are so many more better written books out there. I should have paid more attention to the review that said, "It read like a novelization of a Lifetime Television disaster-movie-of-the-week."
I would suggest that readers new to this type of books read "Lucifer's Hammer" by Niven and Pournelle, or "The Postman" by Brin, or "Emergence" by Palmer, or even "The Stand" by King."
"I don't know. It's well-written, has well-realized characters, all that good stuff, but this novel of an America fallen into a sort of third-world status and run by a Christian demagogue seems to meander, bog down, and then accelerate to an unlikely conclusion. Butler tends to be highly praised, and this novel is (I think) regarded as one of her best, but it didn't do much for me."
"The conclusion to the Gandalara Cycle ... Ricardon and Tarani live through a massive quake and volcano eruption, save the wild Sha'ums from being poisoned and solve the problem of the lack of Sha'um riders, track down the evil one for the last time, and the secret of Gandalara is ..... :)
A side note on the authors of these books: As a married couple, they completed a broad outline on the entire Cycle and almost finished the draft of 'The Steel of Raithskar' when R. Garrett was seriously and permanently injured in the mid 70's. She finished the books in his memory. Glancing back through these books, I realized that I liked the Big Cats much better than Tarani."
"In Rollback, technology allowing people to reverse aging now exists. A billionaire tries to roll back an old woman because she's the best bet to decipher a message from aliens, having cracked the first message 38 years earlier. It's a moderately engaging read. The conclusion, with cloned aliens being raised by human parents is more an interesting than a successful idea."
"Edited by Rick Horton
Carolyn Ives Gilman
Robert Charles Wilson
Walter Jon Williams
The cover of the mass market paperback lists the names "Joe Haldeman, Alastair Reynolds, Michael Swanwick." Yet none of those authors are represented in the book."
"Just finished Haldeman's A Separate War & Other Stories.
Good. Very Good.
While reading 2 of the stories, my brain was telling me, "This is his Chameleon universe. It has to be." Then I read the author notes at the end of the book and found out that's where the book came from.
The title story of the collection tells of Marygay Potter - kind of a bridge between Forever War and Forever Peace. Excellent.
"The Earth is enclosed in some sort of membrane and time outside passes at the rate of thousands of years per year on Earth. What unimaginable force has the power to do such a thing, and why? This book bored me to tears."