Monday, March 28, 2016

Created, The Destroyer by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir - BookReport #152

04/15/2016

There is a long history of men's adventure books. Paperback originals that were a quick and mindless distraction. The Destroyer series was unique in that it took a humorous spin on the genre never taking itself too seriously but delivering on the action and adventure.

This is the origin story and I was able to download it from the Kindle store for free.  Like a good drug dealer would do, the first couple of tastes are free.

There were nearly 200 stories written staring Remo Williams and Chiun and they do not need to be read in any order.

The dialog is crisp, funny, irreverent and intense.  The plotting is quick and the bad guys practically twist their mustaches.  It was a fun read.

If you like Bond, Spenser or even MacGyver then you will enjoy this.

Warren Murphy - http://warrenmurphy.com/

Richard Sapir -  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Sapir





Monday, March 21, 2016

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - Book Report #151

03/15/2016

This was another audio book for me in Robinson's Mars trilogy.

Like the last book, I am certain I would have abandoned it if I were reading it.  Robinson has a way of digging into things that, if he were on my couch telling me this story, my eyes would glaze overt.

This time it was even worse.  Although, in the last book, I appreciated all the minute details he went into, this time I found it frustrating.  

I kept thinking "Yes, Mars is wonderful." 

"Yes, the scenery is amazing."

I got all that from the first book. All I wanted from this one was a story.  But every time he moved the plot forward he would spend more time looking under rocks and he would skip over important questions that would come up.

Like, after destroying a large structure in space, I would have been very interested in exploring the reaction from the UNTA, the government in the story.  But he had structured the narrative in such a way that we were limited by seeing events through the eyes of the First 100.

I guess I would have been happier had the book been a bit more aggressively edited.

After finally getting to the end I was left uncertain if I cared enough about this series to complete it.

On the plus side, the book explores just how difficult it would be to create a second planet for human habitation.  The first step is dominated by the engineering; how to get there, land and survive on the surface.  

Once more people start to arrive the problems on Earth are imported to Mars; differing motivations, religious freedoms, political ambitions and corporate influences begin to mix into the realities of life on another planet.

It's all very interesting but gets to be a bit dizzying to encompass it all into a novel, even if it's told over three volumes.  I guess the complaint I have with it is that it is a challenging story.  From the length, the depth of detail and the limited scope of the narration, it is not an easy read.  Or in my case, an easy listen.

Still, I came away from both stories feeling as though I have a much better understanding of the planet and the challenges of the endeavor.  I always come away from the experience feeling that I have spent time with a superior mind.  I guess it should be Robinson complaining about me, instead of the other way around.

Robinson's website -  http://www.kimstanleyrobinson.info/d/




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Analog Magazine March 2016

013/150/2016 - The Coward's Option by Adam-Troy Castro - Wow!  I was first hooked when this looked like a SF court room thriller then the story takes a sinister twist right in the middle, just when I was getting to like the main character too!  The story was exciting, terrifying and so, so satisfying.

I was happy to learn there are more stories with Andrea Cort plus two novels.  I've got to dig into these stories for sure.

http://www.adamtroycastro.com/

014/150/2016 - Unlinkage by Eric Del Carlo - Part military SF part underground sports.  I like the way this story played with the tele-operated/augmented soldier trope and how it turned into something completely unexpected.

 http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?14471

015/150/2016 - The Perfect Bracket by Howard Hendrix and Art Holcomb - This was a fun nearly comical story of scamming the NCAA basketball brackets.  Once the nature of the scam showed itself my head began to swim. But it was lighthearted enough to be mearly an interesting twist and I found myself smiling at the end of it.

Howard Hendrix - http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?1691
Art Holcomb - http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?224628

016/150/2016 - Elderjoy by Gregory Benford - A quick and strange read. How do you keep a health care system funded?  By taxing behavior, of course.  Interesting, even though it's a bit creepy.

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?109

017/150/2016 - Snowbird by Joe M McDermott - I kept feeling like this would be the kind of thing Steven Spielberg would tackle.  The setting is a rural orchard where RVs, driven by AIs, start arriving en mass.  Why?  Why here?

It was very well done.  It provided the sense of there being a much bigger world, just around the other side of the mountain.

018/150/2016 - Drummer by Thomas R Dulski - At first this story of a traveling salesman caught my attention for how unique it was.  I'm always a sucker for a mundane SF tale.  The day-in-the-life kind of thing grabs me.

Here our narrator meets a younger fellow "Drummer", what those in the business are called, in a bar and he engages him in conversation.  After a bit if time he gives the younger man the advice that he might be happier in some other kind of work. 

We then follow our man through the years and to other meetings with with the younger one.  

The story sort if lost cohesion for me as the younger guy kept making more radical moves as our narrator kept progressing in a more natural, tried-and-true career path.  Perhaps that was the point of the story.  Maybe you never know how a conversation, or a chance meeting will pivot a person's life trajectory.

Hmm, just by writing this entry I think I'm coming to understand it more.





Monday, March 7, 2016

Inhuman Garbage by Kristine Kathryn Rush - A Short Story Review.

013/150/2016

Set in the Retrieval Artist universe and available from Asimov's website for free while the readers' choice awards are still in the voting stage.

It is a straight-up murder mystery involving the main characters of her earlier novels plus a crime boss who is the main suspect.

It was well done with a good twist and a surprising conclusion.  It also does the added work of expanding her RA universe.

Not being a reader of the series I can say that it works very well as a stand alone story.