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review 2017-08-15 19:46
Imago / Octavia Butler
Imago - Octavia E. Butler

In the third book of her Xenogenesis series, Octavia Butler gives us the alien’s perspective.  It makes the Oankali marginally less creepy, but only a tiny bit.  Butler excels at creating truly alien life forms, with wildly different forms of reproduction.

 

The Oankali having stinging cells and tentacles, giving them some resemblance to jellyfish (Cniderians) in our world, but they are upright walking, hand-and-arm-possessing, intelligent life forms.  And, it turns out, they have a three stage metamorphosis like Earth’s insects do.  This installment follows that mysterious third sex, the Ooloi, as one of Lilith’s children matures sexually into the adult form (hence the title, Imago).

 

In the first book, the Oankali have rescued the small remainder of humanity from a disaster of their own creation and have begun combining the two species.  That’s what the Ooankali do and they consider it their payment for their rescue services, but that’s not what it looks like or feels like to humans.  Lilith gradually becomes convinced that she won’t be allowed to live as human and reluctantly gets involved with the aliens, although it is against her true wishes.

 

In the second book, we follow Lilith’s construct child, Akin, who actually has five parents and who understands the relationship between the two species better than either the humans or the Oankali.  He sees the basic incompatibility between the two species but also how they can also become compatible.  Seemingly a paradox, which Akin reveals as a prejudice of the Oankali against humanity—we’ve always known that humans are prejudiced against the aliens.

 

This third installment reveals just how much the Oankali need and long for relationships with humans.  To this point, they have seemed very unemotional, almost clinical, in their desire to revitalize their own DNA through incorporation of the human genome.  Jodahs, who is metamorphosing into one of the mysterious Ooloi, shows us the depth of feeling, the intense sexual need, and indeed the pain of separation that we have been missing so far in the story.

 

Despite gaining understanding, the whole sexual system of the Oankali feels deeply creepy.  The human male and female in the sexual constellation experience repulsion when they touch one another directly, but when joined by an Ooloi, experience intense sexual pleasure.  Pheromones by the Ooloi make the situation addictive—being apart from one’s group becomes torment.

 

Butler is skillful in her refusal to “pick a side.”  She provides logical reasons for the aliens’ behaviour and points out both the logical and totally illogical responses of humanity.  She explores co-operation, coercion, limited choice, and unequal power without making it obvious which species she favours.

 

In some ways, this series makes me think of Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, in that humanity is being absorbed into a genetic continuum, but likely won’t survive on its own ever again.  Do we mourn the loss or celebrate what survives?

 

Book 260 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2017-08-10 00:42
The Field: UFO, Alien Abductions, Science Fiction by Glenn Gillis
The Field: UFO, Alien Abductions, Science Fiction - Glenn Gillis

Got to about 47% through the book and gave up. There were too many grammatical and spelling errors, but the worst of it was the continuity errors. Because of this, the story did not flow well and in the end, I had to stop reading. The book could use a professional editor. Sorry.

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review 2017-08-08 13:26
Damocles by S.G. Redling
Damocles - S.G. Redling

First Contact where we, humanity, are the potentially hostile, terrifyingly alien aliens, with a tiny explorer ship making an unplanned landing on a technologically (and militarily) advanced planet. One that hasn't even thought of looking to the stars yet. You bet they will now though.

 

I did enjoy this, particularly the try at writing an alien race in a way that isn't just humans in a rubber suit, how a different physiology etc. might affect psychology and culture. In this respect it does very well, certainly better than many other such attempts I've read. A lot of the conflict is about trying to build a necessary trust with something you cannot even begin to understand. Redling manages to do it without falling too often into infodump land, but rather letting the differences in thinking and viewpoint tell a lot of the story.

 

I read this way back in March, and it's stuck with me, suggesting it might deserve a higher rating, and yet...

 

There's something just a little too glib about it. It's not that the heroine is a bit too Mary Sue for me, it's that everyone is just a little too... whatever they are. There's not an average person to be found in the entire book. Now that might well be because all the characters belong to the space administration of their respective planets, but still. It's kind of like trying to watch TV with the saturation turned up too high, and I longed for it all to be toned down just a little bit.

 

Still, this is definitely worth a shot if you liked say, Contact, or Arrival (or the Ted Chiang short that was based on - which I for one liked a lot better.) In fact, definitely if you liked Arrival, it clearly shares a lot of DNA.

 

So, as to the rating, it's probably me, book, not you.

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review 2017-08-02 05:06
UNDISCLOSED by Steve Alten
Undisclosed - Steve Alten

I love conspiracy theories and ones dealing with UFO's/ aliens and secret technology, ranks right up there as my favorite.


The author labels this book, not as fiction, but "faction", facts woven into a fiction story. The information comes from Dr. Steven Greer, M.D., and the huge amounts of secret files, documents and witness testimony that he has.


Now, I am not going to sit here and tell you that I agree, or disagree, with all the information contained in this book. That is something that everyone should decide for themselves based on the information and their own research. But, the book was very exciting and just thinking about the possibility...well...it does make one wonder. I thought that the possibilities of zero-point energy and trans-dimensional surgery was pretty amazing.

 

Recommended (especially for all you conspiracy buffs out there, or if you loved the show X-Files)!

The front cover is pretty cool too!

 

 

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review 2017-07-30 21:36
Book Review of Josh Anvil and the Indomitable Power (Josh Anvil #4) by Bruce Arrington
Josh Anvil and the Indomitable Power - Kallie Ennever,John Albers,Bruce E. Arrington

The aliens were right: Josh can’t contain his powers. Not anymore, with his subconscious making monsters he doesn’t control. As Earth’s future looks darker with a catastrophic invasion just around the corner, Josh’s world is torn in two. Weaved in YA fantasy with elements of action and comedy, this fourth book in the Josh Anvil series captures the trials of a high school freshman with powerful abilities at his command.

 

Review 4*

 

This is the fourth book in the Josh Anvil Series. I loved it!

 

Josh Anvil is a fantastic character. I liked him very much from the very first book. He is a smart and curious fourteen (almost fifteen) year old. Unfortunately, he doesn't see himself the same way. He has low self-esteem, which is caused by his dyslexia and being bullied at school. However, he is an excellent story teller and basketball player, has a vivid imagination and incredible powers thanks to the aliens that saved him after an accident in the swamp where he lives. (Read book 1 to find out how that happened).

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author with no expectation of a positive review.

 

The story continues from the end of the third book and sees Josh dealing with the aftermath of the battle with the clones, as well as still struggling to deal with the power given to him and this manifests in a most unusual way. He finds himself having to fight against his own fears which, because of his ability to imagine things into being, begin to eat away at his sanity and confidence and takes on a life of its own. However, that's not the only challenge he faces. He still has to stop the aliens from destroying the earth. Not an easy task by any means.

 

This story is just as fast paced and exciting as the first three books. There are several twists and turns, and a few surprises that kept me hooked from beginning to end. Josh has grown as a character throughout this series. As well as gaining confidence in himself and his abilities, he has begun to believe in himself too. I have enjoyed watching him gain this confidence and it made me feel proud of him. I also liked meeting his friends Troy, Kodi, Lonnie, Libby, Jana, Axel, Sadie and Marty (the latter seven being humanoid aliens he and Troy had befriended in book 2) again. They each have their own personality, which makes them come alive in the story. We also meet Josh's new girlfriend, Lisa, and get to know the FBI agents chasing Josh a little better.

 

There is action, adventure and danger aplenty in this story and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat during some scenes. This book took me on a roller coaster ride of emotion and when I reached the end of the story I felt sad, but this was only because I wanted to keep reading! The story does end in a small cliffhanger, although the story arc seems to be reaching its climax, so I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series as soon as possible.

 

Bruce Arrington has written an exciting fantasy adventure. I love his fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely read more of his books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 10-18, but I also recommend this book to adults who love to read YA fantasy books filled with action, adventure, danger and aliens. - Lynn Worton

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