Tag Archives: Tor

Re: Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America

Between going to Readercon and staying up late two nights in a row reading Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, by Robert Charles Wilson, I was in serious sleep debt for a week.

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Re: Boneshaker

The prologue is the most exciting part of Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest. In 1863, the Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine went on a rampage. In Seattle, there was a boom when the failed 49ers passed through to strike out for the Yukon. Angling for a commission from the Russians to drill for gold, a mad scientist, Levitus Blue, built a giant drilling machine that undermined the city, just happened to tear out the basements of four banks, and just happened to open a vein of poisonous gas that turns you into a zombie. So they walled up the city.

Sounds like fun.

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Re: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

I found Cory Doctorow’s first novel, “Down and Out in the Magic Kindom,” a fast but annoying read. Fast both because the story rattles along at breakneck speed and because I was reading as fast as I could hoping to figure what the story was about. In the Bitchun Society, a post-Scarcity economy where your reputation is the basis of currency, or Whuffie, Jules swerves from helping his new friend, Keep-A-Movin’ Dan, regain enough Whuffie to off himself, to joining his girlfriend Lil’s ad hoc team of Disneyworld  imagineers, to finding out who assassinated him three months before the book started.

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Re: The Revolution Business

The latest installment in Charles Stross’s Merchant Prince series, The Revolution Business, is, well, it’s the latest installment of a series. You know, the one where mild mannered technology reporter Miriam Bekstein discovers that she’s a lost princess from a Clan of drug-dealing warlords from a parallel world, and now she’s a pawn in their multiversal game. Stuff blows up, revolutions advance, world-walkers walk worlds, and Miriam finally gets to the other side of the chessboard.  Plus, the previous Vice President of the United States is played up so strongly as a baddie, you have to wonder if Dick Cheney has been blitzkrieging the news lately because he thinks he’s part of the book tour.

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Re: Little Brother

In Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, Marcus Yallow is a smartass who delights in playing Harajuku Fun Madness and in evading the security at his high school. He and his friends are caught in the post-bombing sweep after a terrorist attack on San Francisco. After a harrowing interrogation, Marcus is set loose. Though he knows he’s being watched, he also knows how not to be watched. And he’s not going to let Big Brother, the Department of Homeland Security, get away with this.

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Re: Sly Mongoose

I’ve been having a terrible run of luck with fiction the last week, none of them worth talking about, though I was tempted to take a picture of the stack of books I could barely start that went back to the library. To some degree, I managed to break that streak with some kickass Azteca-Caribbean action in Sly Mongoose, by Tobias Buckell, but sadly, I couldn’t finish it.

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Re: The Last Colony

The Last Colony reads like it was written by the same John Scalzi who writes his blog, which is relaxed, humorous, and entertaining. In Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, the prose tends to be stiff, the humor forced, and the story begins only after chapters and chapters of exposition, and is constantly brought to a halt by long philosophical arguments. The sections of really good stuff, such as where Jared Dirac comes alive, only reinforces my impression that the characters are deliberately subordinated to the ideas.

So with this book, we finally get the scenario promised at the end of both the previous books: Jane Sagan and John Perry have settled down with Zoe Boutin in a colony. They are even joined by Savriti, a wise-cracking sidekick who’s amusingly adept at taking Mr. War Hero down a peg. They’re happy, so naturally the Colonial Union recruits them to lead a colony. For absolutely no good reason.
Spoilers follow

Re: The Ghost Brigades

After three chapters of talk and exposition, The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi really wakes up with Jared Dirac. He’s the second clone of the purported traitor Charles Boutin, who shot the first one in order to fake his death. Luckily, Boutin was a researcher in consciousness (sort of a critical field when you’re decanting old minds into new bodies), and the Colonial Union still has Boutin’s last recording of his mind. So they played the tape into Dirac’s brain, hoping to recover Boutin’s memories. Naturally, it doesn’t work quite the way they expect.
Spoilers follow

Re: Old Man’s War

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi really got under my skin! The feeling of the book is Heinleinesque.There’s lots of nifty ideas and some wit in the voice of the hero, John Perry. The premise of giving old people one last chance to make their deaths serve humanity is interesting. But…

Spoilers follow

Re: Territory

It’s a good thing Tombstone, Arizona is a small town, because in Territory, by Emma Bull, you seem to meet all of them. The four Earp brothers, their wives, a daughter, Doc Holliday and his common-law wife, Kate Elder. Ike and Billy Clanton, John Ringo and his various rustler friends. In the first 200 pages, while all these people are being introduced, my feeble social recognition circuits were getting a workout.

In the middle of this, we meet Mildred Benjamin, a widow making her living as a typesetter at one of the local papers and quietly selling tales of Western adventure to magazines back East. Her paths cross with Jesse Fox, a sometime horse trainer, who rode in to find out what happened to the kid who tried to steal his horse. Jesse meets his old friend, Dr. Chow Lung, who insists that Jesse has to stop denying that he can use magic.

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