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Posted on Apr 21, 2012 10:43:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 21, 2012 10:45:08 PM PDT
Antony Chow says:
Chromosome 4: a Science Fiction, Science Fiction Thriller

The Fix is In, 4 Stars

Chromosome 4 refers to a part of a gene that regulates aging, and the wife of the protagonist, Roger Winston, is a researcher with access to new research that can extend human life. The government wants it. A rival company wants it. Thus Roger and Paula Winston are targets.

Inexplicably, the Winston's decide to embark on a cruise on a spaceship. When I piece together this story, I was scratching my head. If your life is in danger, why would you go on a cruise? But not everything is as it seems.

Our protagonist has an exit strategy to sell the research and make a boatload of money. The only question is who else is in on the con?

The author puts together a nice story, and eventually reveals the players involved. My only concern with this novella is the lack of background information on the characters, in particular Roger Winston.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2012 10:50:48 PM PDT
Tom Rogers says:
@PS, you should at least find the collections educational. I really miss the flood of anthologies we had back in the day.

Posted on Apr 23, 2012 5:15:31 PM PDT
If you love the voice, you'll love the book, November 2, 2011

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Vast White (The Murderer's Edge) (Kindle Edition)
This is a fantasy novel where a Europeanish or Romanish mercenary army is attacking an Arabian Knightish city, although it isn't set on Earth. I could tell you more about the plot, but if you love the narrators voice you will love the novel, but if you don't it won't steady down.

The narrator is a cynical soldier who may possibly have a few ideals deep down. He inherited his position as record keeper from it's previous occupant, who died. He breaks all the official rules of writing, digresses, jumps around, gives info dumps which the narrators voice makes interesting. He insults the reader at great length, who he assumes is or will be an anonymous imperial functionary who may read his work after he is dead, if at all. It's not confusing or hard to follow or stream of consciousness, it's like he's talking to you, when he forgets you are an anonymous government official who he hates.

I loved it. Often you download a free sample of a kindle book, and the rest of the novel isn't as good as the hook - or you might even miss a good book because of a mediocre hook. Not so this. Download the sample, what you see is what you get.

The Vast White (The Murderer's Edge)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 5:22:08 PM PDT
Broken Planet9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Broken Planet September 21, 2007
By Jude
Judith Roycroft New Zealand

Earth is a broken planet. One thousand of Earth's finest minds must leave the dying embers of their planet behind to seek a new future for humankind. Most of the human refugees make a new home on Luna Base. A handful choose to join their alien brothers on Argo, one of three Foundation starships and set sail for the stars where they meet up with the enemy that destroyed Earth. Attempting to break the Drog blockade, Argo gets separated from her two sister ships. With communication down and a deviation from its programmed flight path, it's discovered that Argo is headed for a cosmic drain. Millions of years have passed since the mass of intense density last embraced anything larger than a few random atoms. With Argo in its web, its patience is about to be rewarded. Beyond the dying embers of Earth, beyond the deepest reaches of the galaxy, beyond the most vaulting of imagination, the handful of refugees, along with their alien brothers meet up with a strange entity at the very edge of the black hole's event horizon.
Broken Planet is a very worthy sequel to Footprints in the Dust, and like its predecessor it is fast paced and woven with real science. A strong and exciting tale that will leave you breathless. It has all the ingredients of good science fiction. Great concepts, unpredictability,, strong characterization, space battle and romance as the crew of Argo journey into the unknown.

Posted on May 2, 2012 6:49:51 AM PDT
BADWATER (The Forensic Geology Series)
This book is also near future science fiction - about an attempted terrorist attack involving nuclear materials. I know my review is short, but sometimes a short review covers everything except what the reader will learn by reading the firts pages.

Who moved my nuclear waste?, October 24, 2011

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BADWATER (The Forensic Geology Series) (Kindle Edition)
Casks full of nuclear waste have been stolen, and the evidence is building that the thief plans to disseminate it widely, contaminating a lot of people and water. This book is both a mystery and a thriller. I liked it, I came quickly to empathize with Cassie the forensic geologist, and her older partner Walter with his heart problem. Good writing and a viewpoint character you care about make a good start. I always like it when a mystery author has done interesting real life research, and this one has studied both forensic geology and the handling and disposal of nuclear waste.

Posted on May 11, 2012 1:27:45 PM PDT
The Bluffington Four (Kindle Edition)

This was a pretty straight forward internally consistent time loop story where four 20-somethings accidentally discover a mechanism in a house that transports them back to the 1950s, and have a hard time getting back to their present. I was torn between rating this a 3 star or a 4 star as it seemed to oscillate between these ratings for me.

First, this was a long novel -- 9472 locations on my Kindle. The beginning part of it was mostly the setup of the characters and their situation, and I was a bit bored. But, at 10% one of the main characters says that she will explain how it all came about. Good, I thought. Well, it wasn't until 25% where the time travel aspect starts, and at around 30% where it gets interesting. From there until the end of the book the story moves at a nice pace. I would say that you should speed read the beginning of the book.

The actual time travel part had a creepy feel, similar to the Langoliers. I liked that, but that was only in a small part of the novel when they first time travel. From then on, it was pretty much how the characters figure out where they are, how to use the mechanism, and how to feed themselves since they have no appropriate money from that time period.

Their solution to how to get money is pretty dumb and you could tell it was going to go wrong, and they keep running into themselves as they go back to the same exact time.

The book was very well edited with only a couple of typos, though it did have two few funny ones: "I think he's in a comma" and "the German's one a war".

Ultimately, I only gave this a 3-star since it never fully explained exactly how the house time mechanism was originally set up by the inventor, how exactly it worked, nor how the inventor recognizes the time-travellers at one point near the end. Also, it bugged me a bit that everything they have on, including glasses, disintegrates passing through from one time to another, but their fillings don't fall out? It also bugged me a bit that eventually they come out of the loop just by hanging around for a few days.

I did like that at the beginning a man was found hanging in the house, and that this was solved at the end without hitting you on the head with it.

So I would say speed read the beginning, don't get too hung up on how exactly the thing works or was set up, and you'll have a nice 4-star consistent looping time travel story (for 99 cents).

Posted on May 12, 2012 11:08:34 AM PDT
I just finished an entertaining sci-fi read, "RODS" by Deb Hoag, based on the Roswell, NM "rods" creatures supposedly discovered by Jose Escamilla. Discovery of the phenomenon has been a controversial subject worldwide since 1994 when they were filmed over Midway and Roswell, New Mexico. An excellent book you can get in both Kindle and paperback!

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 7:48:14 AM PDT
2theD says:
Last week, I put up three reviews of three free 1956 novelettes from Milton Lesser:
(1) A World Called Crimson by Darius John Granger [Milton Lesser]
(2) A Place in the Sun by C.H. Thames [Milton Lesser]
(3) My Shipmate-Columbus by Stephen Wilder [Milton Lesser]

Posted on Jul 6, 2012 11:52:33 AM PDT
Mary Fan says:
I've reviewed 4 sci-fi novels on Amazon so far, and I love 'em all, so I'm picking one at random:

The Ultimate Inferior Beings by Mark Roman
The Ultimate Inferior Beings takes place in the distant future in which humans have colonized space. The story begins when a starship that had been making the journey from Earth to one of its most remote colonies, Tenalp, arrives with all of its crewmembers mysteriously deceased. As explained in the book's brief introduction, the residents of Tenalp are hilariously bad at everything. Therefore, after much deliberation, the Tenalp government determines that the best way to find out what happened is to send another starship on an identical mission.

jixX is a landscape architect who happens to be appointed captain of The Night Ripple, the ship that is sent on this mission. Although he repeatedly protests that his "flight experience" consists of him sitting on his pilot father's lap as a child, he is given little choice in the matter. jixX is very much the everyman--not especially bright but smart enough to realize how ridiculous the circumstances are, making him likable and easy to sympathize with. His personality and physical features are left intentionally vague, and in some ways he represents the reader's position in the story. He is the only somewhat normal character in this world of oddities.

The rest of the cast is a downright madhouse of colorful, peculiar personalities. And then there's LEP, the ship's highly incompetent central computer with an entertainingly lame sense of humor and no sense of direction. It is LEP that suggests the name "Mamm aliens" for the race of slimy green blobs that jixX and his crew stumble upon. The Mamms' civilization is centered around the almighty brick, and among them is a group of religious fanatics who believe in the Ultimate Inferior Beings--a race of beings so bad at everything that they will one day destroy the universe. One of these fanatics, Jeremy, uses circuitous reasoning to determine that humans are these beings and that he is the Chosen One who must destroy them, and it is up to jixX to stop him and save humankind.

Given what we are shown of the Tenalp civilization, Jeremy, despite his erroneous thinking, probably has a point. The bulk of the book's humor comes from watching just how incredibly daft the characters, especially those in positions of authority, can be while still believing in their own flawed logic and inherent superiority. And then there are the scientist's "discoveries" in the English language--messages found in the Periodic Table that convince him that he is getting closer to finding proof of God's existence.

The Ultimate Inferior Beings is written with a very distinctive attitude, and at times it feels as though the narrator himself is a character in the story, making quips about the situation as he describes it. And yet this voice never gets in the way of the story itself--rather, it lends to the book's offbeat atmosphere. While verisimilitude isn't a priority in a story that features green blobs with posh Oxbridge accents, the universe is nevertheless believable in its own quirky way. It is easy to become immersed in the story's many absurdities and to become quite attached to its wonderfully eccentric style. Original, clever, and droll, Roman has created a thoroughly enjoyable work of science fiction comedy that will appeal to anyone who appreciates intelligent humor.

[This is a condensed version of a full review on my blog: zigzagtl dot blogspot dot com]

Posted on Aug 10, 2012 4:46:35 AM PDT
2theD says:
It's been a busy week for reading and reviewing for me... finished four books since Saturday and posted reviews for each:
(1) Joanna Russ's And Chaos Died (1970)
(2) Eric Brown's Helix (2007)
(3) William Golding's Lord of the Flies (1954)
(4) James Blish's Vor (1958)

Posted on Aug 30, 2012 7:18:25 PM PDT
2theD says:
It's been an industrious week of reading for me!
Monday: John Brunner's Productions of Time
Tuesday: John Morressy's The Extraterritorial
Wednesday: Poul Anderson's Vault of the Ages
Thursday: Richard Cowper's Out There Where the Big Ships Go

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 1:03:25 AM PDT
Red Moon

my review (from July 2001):

Part secret/alternate history, part near-future Lunar exploration, part political intrigue past and future, this superb novel had me riveted through its 617 pages. If you've ever wondered how the Soviets came to lose the Moon race in the 1960s, you'll find Red Moon compelling and irresistible. Scenes of launches scrubbed because of bad weather, of cosmonauts dying unknown, were heartbreaking -- Michaels shows these (possible) catastrophes as failures for all humanity, not just Communism. At the same time, he convincingly shows how Soviet paranoia shot itself in the foot and worse. Meanwhile, these and other threads in the novel are told and tied together via richly human stories. This is not just among the best first novels I've read in years; it's among the best novels, period. David Michaels' Red Moon is a masterpiece.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 1:34:30 PM PST
I just attended an event outside of Gainesville, FL at a Bat Reserve. It is opened to the public only one day a year. I actually bought a painting done by a bat (paid $25) and it's not bad. Apparently they dip brushes into different colored paints and the bats grasp the brush with their tiny claws and dribble and dab paint on the canvas. Mine is bright green and purple and the two colors have a little iridescence to them. I'm not kidding. I'm going to spray the painting with a special coating to keep the board and paints clean. All money made at the event is used for the bat research. They had many events involving other endangered animals but it as primarily all about bats. I find them cute and them seemed quite intelligent. Interesting way of getting around their netted ceiling using their little claws and they don't appear to get stuck on the netting but if they do there are researchers to assist them.

Posted on Dec 4, 2012 8:28:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2012 8:30:21 PM PST
R. E. Conary says:
David F. Weisman: Resistance 4-Stars

Brett Johnson, a Federated Planets Space Force lieutenant and skilled neurosurgeon, is abhorred by the atrocities of war that devastated the agricultural world Roundhouse; presumedly brought about through the planet Oceania's nanotechnology and hive mind collective. It will take Space Force ten years to reach Oceania and Johnson, who believes that Oceania's technology and groupthink are a threat to individuality and humanity, intends to be there when it happens.

On the eve of probable war with Oceania, now Major Brett Johnson suddenly finds himself part of the diplomatic team that can either negotiate peace or destroy Oceania. As an integral part of that team, Johnson begins to wonder just which side is manipulating him -- Oceania and its hive mind or his own Federation -- and why?

The hive mind, groupthink, supermind, group mind, overmind, collective mind ability brought about through the use of nanoprobes (microscopic machines) within the body and bloodstream and the fears and paranoia of loss of identity and individualism this generates makes it hard not to compare RESISTANCE (formerly titled ABSORPTION) with the "you will be assimilated" Borg of STAR TREK and think of this as a knock-off or pastiche.

However, Weisman offers a fresh perspective more in keeping with authors like Olaf Stapleton (1930s), Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End--1950s), and Dan Morgan (The New Minds--1960s) who viewed the supermind collective as part of the natural evolution of humanity, rather than with those like John Wyndham (The Midwich Cuckoos--1950s) and the STAR TREK writers who saw it as something alien and inhuman.

Weisman's is a human populated galaxy--no aliens--somewhere in the far future. How far is not explicitly stated, but several thousand years are mentioned for humans to establish not only colonies but full-blown civilizations without any "space opera" FTL or "warp" drives or wormholes or whatever to fling us about the galaxy. Weisman lets the reader extrapolate most of the technological advances needed and gets on with his story which is more about human interaction and emotions in the traditions of Heinlein and Bradbury.

A decent science fiction political thinker instead of a space opera roller coaster ride.

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 10:36:58 PM PST
Jed Fisher says:
A list of my reviews:
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  30
Total posts:  65
Initial post:  Jan 6, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 7, 2012

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