Category: Science Fiction
In New York City circa 2034, the city has been devastated by climate change. Coastal areas have been nearly leveled by massive storms. Refugees from low-lying areas have congregated in slums sporting their own money. On the morning of April 19, it is 114 in the shade. Down these mean streets, old-school detective Manning and his junior, and our narrator, female detective Dewey are looking for a massively strong and invisible killer of the 36 Righteous Men.
With two victims in NYC and two in Russia, the killer’s MO is the same. Hold the victim up with one hand by the neck strangling the victim. Toss the victim aside. Somehow cause a branding from the inside on the victim’s forehead. Not appear on any surveillance cameras while doing so. The branding mark is an LV, which is Hebrew for the 36 Righteous Men.
Part science fiction, part hard-boiled detective story, part Christian fiction and part paranormal tale, this book is a near-perfect example of the blending of multiple genres into a coherent and compelling tale. However, I enjoy all these genres on their own. If you only like one or two, the world-building details may just slow down the pace rather than be fascinating in their own right—or vice versa. The Christian paranormal aspects may feel unbelievable. Therefore, I would only recommend this book to people who enjoy all four genres. 4 stars!
What a fine movie this would make! The world could be shown rather than described speeding up the mystery’s pace. Someone, with more money than I have, should scoop up the movie rights quickly. I, for one, can’t wait!
Thanks to W.W. Norton & Company and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Christian, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Paranormal, Science Fiction Tagged with: Nov 5 2019
An interesting collection of twenty hard science-fiction tales selected by the author is located in the Best of Greg Egan.
The longish stories deal with what it means to be human and how technology is going to change both us and our outside environment. They were originally created between 1990 and 2019. Five of them are collected here for the first time. All of them use some intense ideas, science and especially math. It helps if those are your fields. They are not mine but I still enjoyed some of the more psychological stories.
As with all short story collections, some will appeal to you more than others. The author seems to have selected the ones that garnered the most awards and/or reader support so this is a broad look at his style. If you enjoy hard science-fiction stories that have an underlying philosophical question, you will enjoy these tales. With a whopping 736 pages, reading the physical book, as no e-book is planned, will give your arms and upper body a good work-out. 4 stars!
Thanks to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Science Fiction Tagged with: math, Oct 31 2019
Toyo Harada was nine when his world in Hiroshima Japan was blown apart by an atom bomb. His father died during the war and his mother died in the bombing. Harada was somehow saved. But he came back changed in the Life and Death of Toyo Harada.
Harada has new powers of flight and bewitchery. Initially, he uses his powers for good to prevent future wars. Unfortunately, wars and acts of terrorism continue—but who is behind it?
At the beginning, I was slightly confused about the timeline because of a multitude of unlabeled flashbacks. However, if you persist, you will be rewarded with a twisty plot. The amount of research is intense. Space elevators are real technology. There is an orbit of space junk around the earth—no word from our government whether some if it might be alien.
The best part is the artwork. It’s gritty when the plotting reflects it. It’s pretty when it needs to be like in the cosmos parts. The shading and coloring are excellent. The art is always clear and adds meaning to the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed both the plot and the artwork within the Life and Death of Toyo Harada. I believe you will too. 5 stars!
Thanks to Valiant Entertainment and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Oct 22 2019
The Empire of Lies is an incredibly detailed alternative history. What if a time traveler helped the Ottoman Empire win the 1682 Battle of Vienna? How would it impact present-day life?
The answer is it would be a completely different scenario. A Sultan rules over the entire world except in Christian America. Islam is the official faith. Woman are segregated in public. Honor killing of them, for eloping or unmarried pregnancy, are on the rise under the new and more rigid Sultan.
The time traveler returns to our modern-day Paris to receive medical treatment. He kills a man for his clothes and goes to a charity hospital. His doctor is suspicious of the tattoos on his chest that explain how to time travel in an ancient language. The time traveler is pursued by Nisreen, an outspoken female activist; Ramazan, her anesthesiologist husband; and Kamal, the doctor’s brother who has an unrequited love for Nisreen as well as a job finding terrorists for the state. The three decide to use time travel to get civilization back on its original path.
For history buffs, this is clearly a five-star book. For others, like me, it a fun and different take on a science fiction thriller. I especially liked the ending. An intriguing story of what if, Empire of Lies is a compelling read. 4 stars!
Thanks to Forge Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Alternate history, Oct 1 2019
Take a large portion of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, add some additional pure absurdity and bad puns, and whirl madly in the blender of the author’s brain and you have Battle Beyond the Dolestars. A laugh-out-loud novel of when machines take over the world and humanity’s greatest hope is a hairdresser, a pilot impersonating Hans Solo, and a sentient toaster named Pam. What could, and does, go wrong makes for a hilarious journey around the cosmos.
Once again, the Battlestar Suburbia (my review) is trying to gain Earth back from the machines. If you read and enjoyed the first book in the series, this is more of the same joke-y play on science fiction tropes. And RuPaul, which might have something to do with the author’s history of being a burlesque dancer—or not. Still, I love assistant chief Rita telling the Rockettes, who are female and literally going to be pretending to be an asteroid belt, “Gentlemen, start your engines.” Highly recommended! 4 stars!
Thanks to Farrago Books and NetGalley for granting my wish for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Humor, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Sep 19 2019, space travel
An outer space fungus wakes up due to global warming and attempts world takeover. It reads like a cheesy b-movie script and that’s a compliment. Even the characters in Cold Storage seem to be in on the joke.
“What are you, all science-y and shit?”
It takes some time to realize that the author’s tongue is very firmly in his cheek. Once you do, Cold Storage makes for a fun comic read. 4 stars!
Thanks to Ecco Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Humor, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Sep 3 2019
Abbie is beautiful, creative, and smart. But is she the Perfect Wife?
Tim is the intelligent and driven founder of a tech firm designing robots that include state-of-the-art artificial intelligence. First, the robots are used for phone call centers. The next step is shopbots to replace salespeople in high-end clothing stores. Tim is also socially awkward. It surprises his staff when he starts romancing the free-spirited artist-in-residence Abbie. Could Abbie fit into his work-obsessed life?
Wow, just wow. The Perfect Wife is the perfect merging of science fiction, science fact, and thriller. The best thing is not to learn anything about the plot before reading this excellent thriller. However, I can guarantee you will enjoy it so much it will be as difficult to stop reading as it is to stop breathing. Don’t start reading it a half-hour before work begins unless you plan to call in sick. It is that good!
Again, I can’t recommend this tale highly enough. I also enjoyed the expert use of tenses to delineate timeline and foreshadow the extremely clever ending. 5 stars!
Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: AI, Aug 6 2019, robots
There it was—in the middle of the sidewalk. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It was “a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor, its huge barrel chest lifted up to the sky a good four or five feet above my head.”
April May didn’t know what to do. She’s a Millennial graphic artist so of course she had her friend Andy film her interviewing it while calling it Carl. They posted it on YouTube.
The next morning, April May is a viral sensation. The video of New York Carl is eventually watched by 94% of the humans on the planet. It seems she and Andy have caught the tip of a phenomenon. There are at least sixty Carls in cities all over the world. News programs are paying the two $10,000 each per 20 minute interview.
Just when April May starts liking the attention (and the money, of course), she reads some trolling comments on her video. Someone is also impersonating her in a fake, and rude, Twitter account. Worst of all, she discovers that there is something secret and scary about Carl. To continue her fame, she decides to do something about it.
Instagram fame is fleeting unless you are curating your life for others as hard as the Kardashians. April May is caught by a fame she didn’t seek but also doesn’t want to see wane. That moral is the center of this science fiction thriller. Despite being substantially older, I could totally see myself in many of April’s decisions. Not just the fame but also the need to find out who or what Carl is. I think An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is An Absolutely Remarkable Book! Great for teens through seniors with a story with an immediacy rarely seen in novels targeting New Adults. 4.5 stars!
Thanks to Dutton Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Jul 30 2019, New Adult
Jake is slowly losing his memories. Is it mental illness or early-onset Alzheimer’s disease?
On a plane trip to Denver, he meets the Dead Girl in 2A and she seems familiar. The girl, Clara, says the same about Jake. It won’t matter much longer because Clara is going to Colorado to kill herself.
After losing Clara in the airport, Jake desperately tries to discover his connection to her. What he discovers is mind-blowing!
The Dead Girl in 2A is a thriller but its subject is sci-fi horror. A rogue medical experiment gone awry is a great topic for a thriller that hasn’t been used since Robin Cook’s books in the 1980s. The characters seem real and it is easy to empathize with them. This would make a great Netflix series along the lines of Stranger Things. Most thriller readers will enjoy it. However, if you have suicidal thoughts, you should avoid it as it glorifies suicide a bit. 4 stars!
Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Jul 2 2019, medical thriller
With 29 stories, 624 pages, and a recommended reading list, the Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 4 is definitely worth its $13.99 cost.
This collection includes the gamut of subgenres within the field. Hard science, soft space opera, spacemen, aliens, and robots populate these pages. I’m positive that each reader will love, like, and hate each of the stories but no two readers’ rating will be identical. They will also find some new authors to read along the journey. Most of tales can be read during a single fifteen minute break time. 4 stars!
Thanks to Night Shade and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Jul 1 2019, short stories
A collection of fifteen previously published stories plus two new ones fill Flight or Fright.
If you haven’t read Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, or seen the iconic Twilight Zone episode, join one man’s solo terror when he sees a man (or does he?) trying to destroy the wing of his plane.
One of the stories original to this collection is You are Released by Joe Hill. It is a too-close-to-true story about air travelers during a possibly nuclear incident.
Stephen King’s original story, The Turbulence Expert, is about a mysterious organization that perhaps Mr. King is a member of in real life?
The stories are varied enough for most readers’ taste. There are a few stories written when flight was still brand new and are more curiosities than entertaining. There are stories about time travel, terrorism, and even a poem about a real life incident. The majority are horror stories.
Spend an enjoyable few hours reading Flight or Fright and you won’t be sorry. Joe Hill’s story alone is worth picking up the book. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: Jun 4 2019
In Limited Wish, Mark is a busy sixteen-year-old. He is still playing Dungeons & Dragons with his high school buddies. However, now he is a freshman at Cambridge University. He is getting over a breakup and finding a new love. He is battling cancer. All while dealing with time travel, paradoxes, and, of course, saving the universe.
This book is set six months following its predecessor in the Impossible Times trilogy, One Word Kill (reviewed here). The author provides an in depth spoiler-filled synopsis of the prior book in this book’s prologue but the series is best read in order, if possible. If you read the prologue in this book, you will ruin all the surprises in the first book.
Admittedly, math is not my favorite subject despite having taken it through calculus in college. I also never took a physics class anywhere due to my previously mentioned aversion to math. I do like string theory, in theory at least, so the time traveling multiple universe plot was fine. However, the parallel universes did get a bit confusing as the plot was much more complex than One Word Kill. However, there is still some human emotion and humor on hand here too. Overall, Limited Wish is highly recommended for science, math and science fiction fans. For all of us just regular thriller readers, I give it 4 stars and again recommend reading One Word Kill first. Still, I can’t wait for the final book in this series, Dispel Illusion, out in November 2019!
Thanks to 47North and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Kindle Unlimited, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Romance, Science Fiction Tagged with: May 28 2019, time travel
Nick is just trying to survive high school in One Word Kill…literally.
Nick, Simon, John and Elton are best friends, high schoolers, and Dungeons & Dragons fanatics in 1986. Nick also has a crush on their newest player, Mia. Plus Nick has cancer.
Bullies Devis and Rust are rumored to have burned a homeless man to death. What is undeniable is that they have fun taunting the nerds in their high school. Nick’s secret weapon is the mysterious Demus, who appears exactly when he is needed and has strange forecasting powers. The plot just gets better from there.
One Word Kill is a smart, nerdy, many worlds’ hypothesis treat for anyone who loves Back to the Future, 1980s gaming, or physics class. Thirty years after the time period of this book, the nerds clearly have won. Right, Mr. Gates and Mr. Musk? But back in the 80s, the victory wasn’t so assured. That uncertainty is a large part of the charm of this book. If you’re a fan of The Goldbergs on television, I guarantee you will enjoy this book as much as I did. 4 stars!
Thanks to 47North, Amazon Publishing UK, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Kindle Unlimited, Science Fiction Tagged with: May 1 2019
Absolutely beautiful artwork and an intriguing plot enliven Lady Mechanika Vol 5.
Lady Mechanika is again trying to discover who mechanized her when she is interrupted by a new issue. Mr. Lewis, her sidekick, is pulled out of his depression by a new lady love. But is her love for him true? In the meantime, Lady Mechanika runs into a professional hit woman, Mistress Grimm.
I love the new villainess. Her metal mask is truly scary. It will be nice if Mr. Lewis pulls out of his funk and man’s up as Robin to Lady Mechanika’s Batman.
Seriously, the awesome steampunk art here will, I’m sure, inspire amateur seamstresses/metalworkers out there to create some fine clothing. I also like the overt and subtle female empowerment within the plot. Lady Mechanika is obviously an independent woman as well as a take-no prisoners kick-a$$. However, it’s not just the Lady, both young girls in the story are shown in pants and not intimidated by anyone.
Lady Mechanika Vol 5 is a fantastic merging of steampunk and fantasy with a mystery. This series just keeps getting better. 5 stars!
Thanks to Benitez Productions and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: May 14 2019, steampunkish
String City is where the universe’s different strings come together. Oh, mythological creatures like Zeus, monsters like cyclops and golems, and all manner of strangeness live there too. A world full of infinite possibilities makes some strange bedfellows.
An unnamed private investigator is asked by the Titans to look into an explosion in their casino. He is a stringwalker, one who can move directly along the strings. However, the strings seem unsettled. Could it be the end times?
I wanted to love this as much as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, the explanation of string theory and how the world worked seemed overlong and overly complicated. However, if you are okay with extensive world building, you will like String City. The plot and character interactions are clever. 4 stars!
Thanks to Rebellion Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: Mar 5 2019
Jump into nerd culture with the Long Con.
The Long Con is the longest pop culture convention ever. It appears the Convention caused the apocalypse five years previously. Since he survived the Convention’s destruction, reporter Victor is given the assignment to find out what happened.
Slipping back and forth between the post-apocalyptic present and the pre-apocalyptic past, the plot is interesting and includes many details about conventions. I wish that the characterizations were more fleshed out. However, the humor makes up for it. The Long Con is recommended to those who have either been to conventions or wished they had. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Oni Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Tagged with: Feb 12 2019, Nerdy