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text 2017-04-14 22:58
Reading progress update: I've read 114 out of 358 pages.
The Thing Itself - Adam Roberts

challenging, near-intimidating "Big" SF concepts on display--what is Reality, as opposed to how our senses (possibly narrowly) perceive Reality. can we break through to...beyond our senses? but the headbending stuff is being filtered through an accessible narrative, focused through an engaging Everyman (well, okay, an Everyman who used to be an astrophysicist, but is now more of a twit...). at this point I just want to meet Peta--the mystery-woman oft hinted-at...except I think she's the AI who is going to fold, spindle and mutilate Reality! maybe I shouldn't meet her.

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text 2017-04-14 16:43
Reading progress update: I've read 47 out of 358 pages.
The Thing Itself - Adam Roberts

hoo-kay, a couple of notes, as I cue this book up: (a) I guess it's my fault the cover image is so small; I think I added the picture, and yet, look at the mess I made. too small. I feel lousy about it (EDIT/UPDATE: okay, it doesn't come up as that teeny when I Comment) (b) it's just coincidence that I'm reading two books in a row that have the word "Thing" in the title. I think. unless there's forces at work... (c) I had meant to make Salt the first Adam Roberts novel I ever read, but as you can see, it's not going down like that; as for The Thing Itself--not far into it yet, but it feels a bit like those Felix Palma novels I read, and it references the John Carpenter movie The Thing--both on the back cover and in some of the text of the first 47 pages, and it starts in the Antarctic, but it doesn't feel like that movie so far. actually, it feels more like Blindsight by Peter Watts, which is fine, because that's my second-favorite Science Fiction novel. still, I have a feeling this is going to cut its own unique path--definitely weird, probably going to get very weird...

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text 2016-11-01 14:56
Jews vs Zombies
Jews vs Omnibus: Jews vs Aliens and Jews vs Zombies - Naomi Alderman,Daniel Polansky,Sarah Lotz,Shimon Adaf,Rachel Swirsky,Eric Kaplan,Rebecca Levene,Lavie Tidhar,Sarah Anne Langton

So that happened! 

 

For whatever reason, I ending up being assigned a bunch of Jewish science fiction (or science fiction written by Jewish writers, if you prefer) by my editor, which ended up being a fun mini-class. I picked this up as it's edited by the fabulous Lavie Tidhar. His A Man Lies Dreaming is one of those most bananas alt-history pulp meltdowns; it must be seen to be believed. 

 

I only read Jews vs Zombies, but BL doesn't have anything but the omnibus listed. Like most short story collections, it's a mix of better and worse. "Zayinim" by Adam Roberts is a standout, a sly alt-history that could easily keep going to novel length, given the richness of the detail. "The Scapegoat Factory" is funny, which one does not expect from zombie fiction, as is "the Friday People", but there the humor is black as pitch. The real Talmudic ones didn't work for me, too abstruse, but they may work for others. Definitely a better collection than the silly name implies. 

 

Ta da!

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review 2016-07-03 14:12
Just not a good book.
Twenty Trillion Leagues Under The Sea - Mahendra Singh,Adam Roberts

The book is clearly a reference to the famous Verne title but it definitely does not hold up as a good homage to the original. What starts off as the maiden voyage of the Plongeur goes horribly wrong. The ship begins sinking beyond its intended depth and the crew prepares to be crushed by the pressure. Yet, they don't. The ship and crew continue to sink...and sink...and sink....until what?

 

What follows is then a story of murder, horror, madness, Lovecraftian creatures, etc. As a concept it seemed really great. But the writing is quite poor, the characters not well-drawn and there's no one to really root for. The story then goes sideways and the resolution is quite poor and nonsensical. Overall it actually seemed quite the retread of familiar sci-fi/horror tropes that wasn't mashed very well with Verne's original tale. The reader knows the eventual fate of the entire crew but exactly how they get there and the explanation for this is a tired one (beyond the cliche and the very poor construction).

 

There's not much more to say about it. There are illustrations (which intrigued me initially but they don't add much to the book) but not to the point where this could be considered a graphic novel. I'm sorry I bought this. Skip it and/or just stick with Verne's original.

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review 2016-05-14 11:13
The Ding an Sich...
The Thing Itself - Adam Roberts

The three star rating is a temporary rating because this book will definitely need some pondering and possibly a reread or two.I have to admit to getting lost in the philosophical discussions and the several threads didn't help the flow of the novel for me personally. Everything tied up neatly at the end (I think) but this wasn't an easy book by any means.

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