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review 2017-12-27 19:28
Snakes are mentioned
Terminal Alliance (Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse) - Jim C. Hines

I am the type of person who wonders where the bath rooms are on the Enterprise and the Death Star.  Sure, the Falcon has neat hiding holes, but how are the toilet systems?  Does the head have a seat beat?  And how did Luke go to the bathroom on his way to Cloud City or wherever?  Does the transporter take care of bodily functions? 

 

                IN part this is curiosity, in part this is because I would be the one losing her lunch in the bathroom, so I really want to know.

 

                Hines’ latest book is about those on such famous ships who rarely get mention and never get thought about – the janitors.  In other words, Finn before he got sent to a planet where he didn’t like killing people unless they were people he knew.

 

                (Sorry, I like Finn.  In many ways, his reactions later in the movie are the most realistic, but that beginning sequence does Finn’s character a disservice.  He is cheering killing people he knows).

 

                Mops is a human in charge of a cleaning crew on the Pufferfish (the ships in this novel are named after the deadliest animals in human history).  The human race has go through a collapse, not so much destroying everyone, but turning everyone feral (like zombies but not dead).  The Krakau have developed a cure for this temperament, and humans who are cured work as mercs.  The species has a reputation for stupidity, toughness, and blood thirstiness.  Unfortunately for Pufferfish, on a recent assignment, the majority of the human crew has gone feral.  The only ones who haven’t are Mops and her crew: Kumar, Monroe, and Mozart.  There is also Puffy, who is more of hinderance, and Grom who is like centipede.  Mops is determined to find out what happen and to cure her crewmates, leading to the adventure story that is the book.

 

                Being a Hines book, there is much laughter.  Part of it comes from the use of names, cured humans take names of famous people.  So, Monroe, for instance, is named for Marylin.  There are also the various reactions to human things, such as a dig at erotica.  For the reader, there is the added bonus of reading being forefront in the story.  

 

                Truthfully, at the start the book is a bit slow and one of the big reveals, isn’t really a surprise for the careful reader (and Hines doesn’t treat it as such, to be fair).  Yet, this book is also one of those books that illustrates the strengths of sci-fi, in particular humorous sci-fi.

 

                The treatment of humans in the novel by other alien species is basically any ism that is in society today or in the past.  Some of the comments, for instance, you have seen in the descriptions of Africans by Europeans or white slave owners.  Hines is also getting the reader to think about how knowledge is transmitted or not transmitted; in fact, he tackles several big questions in this book.  By doing so, quite frankly, he cements his place as America’s Terry Pratchett, who also dealt with big questions in funny ways. 

               

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review 2017-12-23 00:18
Terminal Alliance - Jim C. Hines

I confess that if I'd only had the blurb to go by I most likely never would have read this book ... the description made it sound like a lame low-budget space movie from several decades ago (and not one of the so-bad-it's-brilliant ones like "Dark Star"). But, fortunately, it was listed in the Recommended Books column in the November issue of Galaxy's Edge with enthusiasm and a far more appealing description. And Galaxy's Edge didn't lie ... there's a very good, fun novel hiding behind that less-than-appealing blurb (I don't blame the blurb writer ... it's really not a story that's easy to describe well) and I'm certainly going to be reading volume two in the series when it's published. :-)

Guess I need to cruise through my back issues of Galaxy's Edge and see if there's any other hidden gems in the Recommended Books ...
  

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review 2017-11-30 15:53
#Audiobook Review: Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines
Terminal Alliance: Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse Series, Book 1 - Rebecca Mitchell,Jim C. Hines

When a mysterious contagion turns most of the crew of the EMC Ship Pufferfish into feral zombies and kills the rest, Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is left in charge of the few survivors. As a lowly human, she doesn’t have much access to the ship, but when Mops realizes that Krakau command intends to euthanize the human crew rather than try to save them, she commandeers the ship with the help of her minimal crew. Soon Mops uncovers a danger so big, it threatens the entire Krakau alliance, and she is faced with the decision to surrender or discover the truth.

 

Terminal Alliance is an entertaining space adventure with a spunky heroine who uses her brain and instinct when down and out. While there is much going on, the book focuses on Mops and her adventure. She is a great character: one of those underdogs who is destined for more. The David to the EMC’s Goliath. I love how Mops thinks things through and how loyal she is to her crew. She was born to be a great leader and through this series of unfortunate events, she’s coming into her own. I enjoyed sitting back and listening to Mops figure it all out, never second guessing her analysis.

 

The side characters are equally fun and interesting. They each play their part and through Mops’s leadership, form a team and family. And though working as a team under stressful situations, each character grows and matures. Additionally, the story is filled with silly humor and fun pop culture references. I love the historic human names used like Sherlock Holmes, Marilyn Monroe, Carrie Fisher. 

 

The plot of Terminal Alliance itself is engaging. The story evolves as Mops and her crew learn bits and parts behind the bioweapon attack that put her in charge of the Pufferfish. There are many layers that need to be pulled back before Mops and the crew uncover the truth; the final goal and plot. This gradual reveal, complete with twists and turns, kept my interest and pulled me in throughout the entire story.

 

Overall, the performance by Ms. Mitchell is solid and entertaining. She gives just enough variation between the different characters that I was able to know who was speaking just by voice. While the primary narrative voice felt a bit “robotic,” it suited the main character, Mops, as she tried to get through these events. Additionally, the narrator gives each character it’s own suitable flair - the “mechanical” feel of the Grom, no-nonsense from Monroe, calm wonder from Kumar, and guns-blazing Wolff. And although I didn’t find a solid link, the narrator must be Rebecca Estrella from the Princess of Hell series by Eve Langlais. 

 

In the end, I enjoyed this story… trying to uncover each piece, seeing how Mops reacts in so many different situations. To watch the small crew realize they have the potential to be more, and their joy in achieving it. It will be fun to follow the group as they gain momentum and additional support to discover the truth.

 

My Rating: B

Narration: B


Review copy provided by Tantor Audio

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text 2017-10-05 20:50
Halloween Bingo: Magical realism
Codex Born - Jim C. Hines

 

Finding out more about Gutenberg - the supposed creator of libromancy.

Maybe he wasn't so altruistic after all.

We learn more about Lena the dryad.

 

The devourers are getting stronger.

Magic metal bugs and animals, I felt sorry for the wendigos (go figure), and pissed off werewolves.

 

Being able to use the magic of belief contained in books would be the coolest super power ever.

 

I don't like spiders, but I want Smudge.

And maybe a pet miniature dragon.

 

 

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review 2017-09-29 19:58
The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity / edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray
The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity - Jim C. Hines,April Steenburgh,Susan Jett,Kari Sperring,Barbara Ashford,Avery Shade,Shannon Page,Seanan McGuire,Jean Marie Ward,Anton Strout,Kristine Smith,S.C. Butler,Joshua Palmatier,Juliet E. McKenna,Patricia Bray,Jay Lake,Elizabeth Bear

What if the fae were still here, living among us? Perhaps living in secret, doing their best to pass for human? Or perhaps their existence is acknowledged, but they're still struggling to fit in. How have they survived? Are they outcasts clinging to the edges of society, or do their powers ensure success in the mortal realm? Here are fourteen fabulous tales-ranging from humor to dark fantasy-that explore how the creatures of fae are fitting into the modern world.

 

A collection of short stories, mostly to my taste. To my complete surprise, the first story by Seanan McGuire did not come anywhere close to being my favourite of the batch!

Remarkably few of these authors have books listed in my public library catalogue, so I may not run into some of them again, unfortunately. A couple of them seem to have only contributed to anthologies thus far in their careers, some have only a book or two to their credit, and some must just not be on the radar of the acquisitions dept. of our library. I realize that they can’t afford to order everything!

I guess the point is that some of these authors are just starting their writing careers and that we have good things to look forward to, if this collection is any indication.

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