Category: Science Fiction
Great high concept of a world where all animals from ants to humans to elephants one day suddenly can think and speak to one another. The leaders in Animosity Evolution Vol 1 believe that predators must be prevented from killing their natural prey. Only meat from criminals may be eaten after they are killed by the state. The predators form gangs to sell forbidden products. They also attempt to overthrow the state.
The world building within Animosity Evolution Vol 1 is great! The idea of using technology to both save and protect animals is ingenious. My only issue with my advanced review copy was that the muddy artwork sometimes prevented me from determining what was happening. Some of the pages, in particular the two-page close-up of the Leopard’s face, were extremely clear and detailed. Hopefully, the blurriness in the other pages will be corrected in the final version of the product. Still, due to the intriguing plot, I’m looking forward to reading more in the series. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars.
This book contains issues #1 through #5 published October 2017 through April 2018. Thanks to the publisher, Aftershock Comics, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Tagged with: May 30 2018
Ho hum space POW camp story. With this author’s background, it is surprising that Stalag-X contains nothing innovative or even interesting.
A mysterious prisoner, known only as Joe Human, gets swept up in a space battle. Taken prisoner by the alien Krael, the other POWs at Stalag-X hate him for his seemingly special treatment by the science commandant called Mengele by the POW camp. Mengele has a human called Linda, who allows him to feel her emotions willingly. Deacon, a hired assassin, is also trapped on the ravaged planet. Respected by the Krael, she is allowed to move freely around the planet.
The artwork was clear and the writing was acceptable but there is no originality here. The characters are cardboard cutouts drawn so broadly that the reader doesn’t truly connect with anyone. As advertised on the back cover, this is Bridge over the River Kwai redone in comic book form. However, the shortness of the comic medium makes both the plot and the characters not complicated enough to draw the reader in.
Many readers will have a connection with the author, Kevin J. Anderson’s earlier work on Tales of a Jedi and Dune. For those readers, this book is slightly recommended. For all others, Stalag-X is a pass. In a world full of great comics and graphic novels, it is easy to find something more imaginative elsewhere. 2 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Vault Comics, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Tagged with: May 9 2018, space travel
Page-turner is so overused that it has become trite. Here is how I felt about Obscura by Joe Hart. I…COULDN’T…PUT…IT…DOWN! Literally! I was reading my kindle at stop lights, during boring parts of a telephone conference call at work (with my office door closed of course) and when I should really be sleeping. The plot is completely different from what I usually read. It is a mystery but set in the future that included copious comingled science fiction and science fact.
Humans are increasingly becoming victims of a vicious type of dementia that resembles quick onset Alzheimer’s. Dr. Gillian Ryan’s husband falls victim to it. When their daughter also catches it, Dr. Ryan, a neurologist, tries to find a cure using rats. When her funding is cut, she takes a wild gamble on a six-month trip into space to try to find a cure for an even more virulent version of the disease by using human subjects in her trials.
Unfortunately, revealing any more of the plot would be a spoiler. The best part of Obscura are the wild twists in the plot. What is causing the disease to become more intense in space? Will Dr. Ryan find a cure? What will happen to her daughter?
This book is superb. It is recommended to anyone who wants to read an intriguing rollercoaster ride with a scientific bent and a near future setting. 5 stars! At the time of this review, this excellent read was available on Kindle Unlimited. It is definitely worth picking up!
Thanks to the publisher, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Kindle Unlimited, Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: Family, May 8 2018, science, space travel
Dark sci-fi noir set only two years in the future. Magnus: Between Two Worlds pairs fantastic artwork with a unique storyline.
In 2020, Artificial Intelligences (A.I.s) work as butlers, maids, pets and toys. In return, they receive a federally mandated four hours of time off each day. The A.I.s have come together and built a beautiful alternate world called the Cloud where they can live as they wish. But only until their next day of serving humans. Some A.I.s refuse to return to the human world when their four hours are up. The human police send Dr. Kerri Magnus into the Cloud to find and return those rogue A.I.s. Dr. Magnus starts to feel empathy for the A.I.s. She changes professions and becomes an A.I. therapist. She tries to coax AIs to accept their lot in life before they go rogue. However, a mysterious group comes together to fight A.I. oppression. Their methods include murder and mayhem. Can Dr. Magnus stop them before they kill again?
The world building in Magnus: Between Two Worlds is awesome! Two complete worlds of the future are distinct enough to easily tell apart. Dr. Magnus’ back story is slowly revealed as the main detective story is told.
The artwork is innovative with many panes shown vertically rather the standard horizontal layout. Artful blurring and smudging effectively portray the electrical waves supporting the A.I.s’ world.
Magnus: Between Two Worlds is highly recommended for both science fiction and noir fans. It collects issues 1-5 of Magnus. Despite receiving excellent reviews, the series was cancelled so this book contains the entire story of this reboot of the Magnus Robot Hunter comics from the 1960’s and 1990’s. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Dynamite Entertainment, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: Female lead, Mar 27 2018, Reboot
Like light science fiction, fantasy and/or romance? Don’t mind a slow build-up to a fantastic finish? If so, the Coincidence Makers is for you.
Emily, Eric and Guy meet in a 16-month training class for Coincidence Makers (CMs). CMs are secret agents that work for the government. They “are creators of possibilities, givers of hints, winkers of tempting winks, discoverers of options.” Some examples of their work is Lennon meeting Paul McCartney, the development of corn flakes, and the discovery of penicillin. There are other behind-the-scenes government workers too like imaginary friends, dream weavers, luck distributors, etc.
I love the idea of mixing Men in Black with Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwarts. However, the execution was rather sluggish for the first half. I enjoyed the flashbacks to their schooling much more than their jobs immediately after graduation. I think it would have been better as a trilogy of books with the first only showing the training, the second standard CM work and the third book showing the highest level of CM work. With all of those topics put in this relatively short novel, it seems like an opportunity for a more in depth exploration of this world was missed. For the intriguing world, the Coincidence Makers receives 3 stars. However, the excellent ending ups the stars to 4.
The Coincidence Makers is recommended for soft science fiction or fantasy readers that are willing to wait patiently for a big payoff. Don’t quit reading before the halfway mark as the finale is definitely worth a few more hours of your time. If you are not patient, just wait for the sure to be awesome movie (or movies) based on this book.
Thanks to the publisher, St. Martins Press, and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction Tagged with: genre mash-up, Mar 6 2018, original
There are not enough synonyms for fantastic to adequately describe this book. I’ll just stick with awesome and awe-inspiring!
Written in layman’s terms, the Future of Humanity goes from mankind’s move to Mars to its eventual move to a new universe. It discusses what famous science fiction books, television shows and movies got right (surprisingly a lot) and what they got wrong (no fast trips through wormholes or suspended animation in the foreseeable future). The Future of Humanity also contains a brief history of science in tiny easily digestible bites.
The first third of the book talks about what will probably occur by the end of this century. The second part discusses the nut and bolts of how mindless robots, smart artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology will assist the colonization of our universe. It also tells how building a starship could be accomplished (once science solves some mysteries and reduces the price of creating antimatter). The final section discusses long-term travel issues and the changes to Earth and humanity required by the acceleration of the expansion of the universe initially caused by the Big Bang. The pesky problem of extending human life to live long enough to reach a distant planet is described. How humanity may be able to move apart from their physical bodies is investigated. An exploration of the possibilities of extraterrestrials and the string theory of the bubble universe concludes the book.
A enthralling and timely book merging science, pop culture, and intelligent guessing. The Future of Humanity is an intriguing, well-researched look into the future by a beloved scientist. Obviously, the first third is much more likely to occur. As the timeframe lengthens, the odds of prophecy being correct always goes down. However, this is a great peek into mankind’s possible future.
Highly recommended for science-fiction readers and writers. This book contains some great science-based plot ideas. It is also recommended for regular readers who enjoy a great and fact-based story. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Doubleday, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Non-fiction, Science Fiction Tagged with: aging, Feb 20 2018, Robot, space travel
More like Ocean’s Eleven than The Martian but still a 4 star read!
The only similarity between Artemis and The Martian is the main character’s inventive use of science to solve their problems. Jazz is a smuggler on Artemis, the sole city on the moon. She is whip smart but just wants to get rich quick with minimal work. When an opportunity presents itself, Jazz is in. Jazz needs to use all her resources including her intelligence to complete her well-paying scam.
The planning and execution of Jazz’ plan is fascinating due to the use of real science to achieve her goal. Jazz is a great character that feels genuinely different for a caper plot. Some of the science is enthralling–reusable condoms, gizmo Apple Pay/iPad knockoffs, remote-controlled HIB climbing spiders, etc. Overall, a great read for caper fans and a good read for everyone else. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Crown Books, and NetGalley for a review copy.
Posted in Science Fiction Tagged with: moon, science
A non-stop roller-coaster of a read!
Subhuman begins by showing the seemingly disparate specialties of five scientists. Dr. Cade Evans is an archaeologist, who has just discovered a mass grave underneath an existing excavated Egyptian tomb. Within it, Evans finds a mass of animal and human bodies, one with an abnormally large skull. In Nigeria, forensic anthropologist Dr. Jade Liang studies the corpses from a recent massacre to obtain evidence for the UN International Criminal Court. Within the piles of the dead, she sees a young deceased girl with an unusually outsized head. Marvin Roche studies crop circles in the English countryside after an earlier career as a cryptanalyst at the US National Security Agency. Kelly Nolan predicts an earthquake in Oregon by reviewing sub-vocal sounds in the earth’s crust. Anya Fleming exhumes a big skulled man in Russia. All five agree to work for Richards, an enigmatic venture capitalist, who has set up a state-of-art base in Antarctica.
Subhuman is a rollicking read that is hard to stop reading. The first half uses existing pop culture alien theories, Nazi Germany myths, and real science to describe what Richards is researching at the base on Antarctica. The author does an excellent jobs merging these divergent sources into a coherent plot. The second half will seem familiar to viewers of some famous 1980s horror films. Still the novel is a compulsive page-turner anyway. Subhuman is recommended for thriller, hard science fiction and horror readers. I can’t wait for this book to be made into a movie! 4 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Kensington Books, and netgalley for an advanced review copy.
Posted in Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: oct 31, series
An Adult Bedtime Story Sure to Have You Laughing Before Snoring.
I absolutely adored this witty little graphic novel!
The beginning is a parody of the Night before Christmas. It begins like this:
Our little boy Timmy,
Tucked tight into bed,
Looked nervously toward me
And quietly said,
“Daddy, please tell me,
Will everyone die
When asteroids tumble
And fall from on high?
Once the father starts reading, it is an alphabet book parody. One of my favorites is:
I is for ISIS,
They’ll chop off your head,
Then give you no cookies
And send you to bed!
I have to limit myself to just those two quotes because it is tempting to quote the entire book as there is no filler here—everything is funny!
It is rare in a graphic novel to love both the text and the illustrations equally but that is true of my perceptions of this book. When the father is not reading the book, the illustrations are in a photorealistic manner with accurate shadows and colors. When reading the book, the illustrations are three color (black and white and one more primary color) cartoons. The father’s reactions to each page are shown in a small inset at the bottom of each book page. They are also hilarious!
Overall, this book is just hysterical. I highly recommend it to anyone who could use a laugh (except small children, of course). Trump supporters may also want to keep a sense of humor when getting to the T page (or just skip that one).
I want to thank the publisher, authors and netgalley for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published October 10, 2017.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Graphic Novel, Humor, Science Fiction Tagged with: Oct 2017
Great paranormal mystery set in near future New Zealand.
Penny is a scientist who has just opened a her own business. Her first criminal case includes a missing person, a large pool of blood and a ceremonial bowl.
Her brother, Matiu, is her driver in 2040s Auckland where pollution is rampant and few can afford private cars. Luckily, their rich parents run a car service, which is where Matiu works. Matiu has a criminal past and is recently out of prison on probation. Matiu has a special power.
It’s his blessing, his curse, to feel the veil that lies between the worlds, to touch it as it slips and slides in his grasp, rasps along his senses, teases at his dreams.
Matiu and Penny begin to solve the crime–not just do crime scene analysis as Penny has been contracted to do by the police. The clues to the solution are as varied as Rasputin and the Egyptian god Osiris.
The best part of the Hounds of the Underworld is the prickly but humorous sibling dynamics. Setting the novel in near future New Zealand is so brilliant! I’ve never read another novel with that setting so it feels fresh in a genre that frequently feels overused and stale. I also felt that the characters acted in ways that most people would react in similar circumstances.
The ending was engrossing and a real page-turner. However, it did leave a couple of major plot points hanging so I took one star off for that. This is book one in a planned series so I understand the point of having a cliffhanger but I thought this was a bit too much. Hopefully, the next book in the Path to Ra series will be published soon!
I would highly recommend this book to any mystery lover who wants more diverse plot elements than your standard genre book. This novel combines four genres: mystery, fantasy, light science fiction and paranormal. And it does it with style! Just don’t expect all the plot’s skeins to be neatly rolled up at the end.
I received this book in a Librarything giveaway but that has not impacted my review.
Posted in Fantasy, Kindle Unlimited, Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal, Science Fiction Tagged with: near future, New Zealand, Siblings
Genre-bending sci-fi mythological humorous apocalyptical romance.
Holy Crap! The World is Ending! has something for everyone. A woman meets her soulmate in a Barnes & Noble just as an asteroid is about to collide with Earth. There is something otherworldly about his looks but little does our heroine know. He is actually an alien sent to Earth to determine whether humankind can stop battling each other long enough to be moved to another planet.
Okay, the plot I just described seems lame but the book is actually fascinating and humorous. The author throws in hundreds of pop culture references (i.e., Harry Potter, Duck Dodgers, the illuminati, Bigfoot). There are many similarities between the alien names and Sumerian mythology. To say any more would be a spoiler. The romance is heartfelt and believable. The interactions between the heroine’s friends are hilarious. Which would you say is more likely to float-a raft made of Twinkies or Ding Dongs? I have to side with the Ding Dongs personally.
Even though this book is hard to categorize to recommend it for a particular type of reader, that is also its charm. I would highly recommend it to anyone bored of formulaic stories. It would also be a good choice for fans of The Simpsons for its humor and free use of decades of pop culture references. It has some R-rated sex scenes so it wouldn’t be appropriate for readers under 16.
Thanks to the publisher, Alien Abduction Press, and netgalley for an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on September 21, 2017.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Romance, Science Fiction Tagged with: #24in48 Readathon 2017, Alien, Funny, Sept 2017
If the films Metropolis and The Big Sleep had a baby, it would look just like this book’s plot.
Ray Electromatic, the last robot in a world that used to be full of them, was programmed to be a private investigator…but killing pays better. His handler, a computer named Ada, gives him his work orders. She also wipes his memory each night. His most recent job was saving a mafia Don from a restaurant bloodbath a la The Godfather. Once done, he is offered another job by the Don. Ray is then involved in a mysterious scheme involving car chases, fake identities and plenty of murder.
Originally, I thought this was a parody of 1940’s hard-boiled detectives utilizing a kitschy robot. However, it is much more than that. There is real science fiction world building in this novel. It is as if steampunk continued growing until the mid-1960’s. The setting and atmosphere are equally gritty and consistent. The plot has the same exuberance for the future as steampunk stories do. The mystery was good though the resolution was a bit obvious (at least to someone who has read as many mysteries as I have). I loved that, though the main plot line was solved, there was a subplot left to be resolved in the next book in the series. I can’t wait!
I would recommend this book to hard-boiled detective fans but especially to those who enjoy steampunk thrillers like Leviathan and Kraken.
Thanks to the publisher, Tor Books, and netgalley for an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: hardboiled, Robot, steampunkish
Beautiful Illustrations with an Unusual Plot
The world has gone crazy in this well plotted beautifully illustrated graphic novel. Suddenly after the Great Divide, one human touching another kills one of them. The killed live on in the brain of the killer as “riders”. Once a rider is in residence, the killer can no longer read (so you should probably pick this book up soon). Reminiscent of The Walking Dead (but thankfully without the zombies), the hero goes on a trip across the US and meets a thief, a serial killer, a MMA fighter, a military man and a scientist and others all before the first half is over.
There are some nerdy pop culture moments referencing Star Wars, Lost and other movies. The best description ever of sexual orientation:
I’m a little less into Octopussy and a little more into Shaft.
Overall, I adored this graphic novel! It is completely different than the usual post-apocalyptic plot. So if you are as bored with formulaic zombies as I am but you like to imagine how mankind would react after a worldwide disaster, you should read this book.
Just a head’s up that some of the dialogue is in untranslated Spanish. While the Spanish dialogue does add to the reader’s perception of the character’s mood, it is not necessary to understand the main plot of the book.
There is also some light profanity in Spanish. Since humanity can no longer have sex, some graphic graffiti is portrayed in some sections of the book. This novel is definitely just for 17+.
Thanks to the authors, publisher and netgalley for giving me an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Graphic Novel, Horror, Science Fiction Tagged with: 17+
Makes you think what would you do! If you loved Scott Pilgrim, you will love this one more.
I loved this graphic novel. The plot was totally unpredictable. It also mashed together so many genres that it is hard to categorize, which is great. Maybe young adult paranormal mystery sci-fi romance?
I picked up this book because I enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim vs the World books by the same author. However, I believe this book is better and it is not a series so you get the immediate gratification of an ending. The magic mushrooms in the plot make you think about how you would change your mistakes well after you have finished the book.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: do-over