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review 2018-05-20 21:51
Hunger Makes the Wolf - Alex Wells

Miners and farmers try to survive on a company planet with the changes the planet does to them. And the company tries to stamp out the changes. The ending with the Bone Collector wasn't my favorite. And I'm not sure what I think about Rollins and Coyote. But overall I liked most of the book. 3-1/2 stars.

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review 2018-05-20 09:00
How We End Up- Douglas Wells

     I was swept along by this multi-shaded literary social drama. Even when the colour of life was bright dark shadows always lingered, ready to overwhelm any, or all, of the three main characters. On the face of it, these people have been dealt a more than reasonably favourable hand in life, but none played it out at all well. This is a deep-dredging read full of soul searching, variously damaged character and of the randomness of life’s dice that are never afraid to roll. We see great opportunity contriving to yield far from great results. Sometimes the less than satisfactory play of events, emotions, preferences and addictions are overcome by great strength of character, and yet more often they are compounded by ingrained flaws.

     This book is not only well written, it is also pacey and extremely gripping drama. The characters all feel real to me, being an individual whom can be seen to have perhaps made less of himself than apparent opportunity might suggest. I guess that most people might agree that they’ve underachieved in some key ways, if they are prepared to dissect their lives with brutal honesty. Brutal honesty isn’t something that hides between the lines in this books pages.

     Some readers appear to find some comedy in the characters flaws. I found little of that, apart from an occasional smear of black humour. However, there is certainly cartloads of irony in certain attributes that should/could have given life-long advantage, but which were overwhelmed by deep-running rivers of inherently flawed character. Wells has a deep understanding of intrinsic, often genetic, behaviour that usually dictates life despite rather than because of the paths we are placed on, and the deviations we discover for ourselves. We are what we are. The frog will always be a frog. Dreaming of being a famous poet or a princess may just lead one that way, but even if the path is found, more than often, one’s innate character fails to let one stay on it.

    Finally, on the basis that any news is good for advertising, then Bushmills whisky should do very well out of this book. I wonder if the brand may be the author’s favourite tipple, or perhaps he just has shares in this famous old Northern Ireland Distillery.


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review 2018-05-18 18:45
Artificial Condition - Martha Wells


ARTIFICIAL CONDITION is the second novella length installment of THE MURDERBOT DIARIES.


This one worked better for me than the first. I'm not going to go into the plot as the synopsis and many other reviews already do that. I just wanted to say that the humor seemed more innate this time around, which I appreciated. Murderbot is leaRning more about the massacre that supposedly occurred, (that it partially remembers), and I am interested in learning more along with it.


I'm anxiously awaiting book 3 in the series!


*I obtained my copy from my local library because 1. LIBRARIES RULE!! and 2. $10.00 for the e-book of a novella is a bit too rich for my blood.*

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review 2018-05-16 16:49
"Artificial Condition - Murderbot Diaries #2" by Martha Wells
Artificial Condition - Martha Wells

This continues straight on from Murderbot's decision about his future at the end of "All Systems Red"and carries with it all the strength of Murderbot's not-smart-enough-to-be-AI and not-socially-and-emotionally-mature-enough-to-be-human personality.


Martha Wells' writing remains tight and finely nuanced as she shows us the world through Murderbot's eyes and in the process, make me rethink what I'm seeing and the nature of the person whose eyes I'm seeing it through.


The story gave me two sets of insights into Murderbot, one through watching Murderbot and the AI of a research ship build a relationship that was at once completely credible and totally alien, the other through seeing Murderbot pass as an augmented human amongst a set of emotional, inclusive and completely vulnerable engineers.


In the meantime, a larget picture of power and threat started to emerge and Murderbot continued to grow into someone who is no longer content passively to watch entertainment shows but feels a need to get involved.


Murderbot, the Ship AI and the introduced-for-the-first-time Comfortbots all gave a perspective not just on what it means to be sentient but how poorly we humans treat other sentient beings, including other humans.


 I liked the fact that the title acted as both a description of Murderbot's situation and a reference to the idea that fear is external. It made me think that if fear, one of the most basic emotions, is artificial, then what about us is real? Which makes Murderbot seem more real even though he's artificial.


The only disappointing thing about "Artificial Condition" was that there was so little of it.

OK, so it's a few pages longer than "All Systems Red", the first of the Murderbot Diaries but that set out an entirely new world and ended at a point where I felt a conclusion had been reached. "Artificial Condition" reads more like an episode in a series.


While I'm sure I'll buy and read the next two episodes when they are released later this year, I feel as if the publishers are ripping me off. It would have been more honest to test the waters with "All Systems Red" novella and then follow up with a full-length novel.

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text 2018-05-15 20:32
Reading progress update: I've listened 100 out of 197 minutes.
All Systems Red - Martha Wells

Oh, I'm almost to one of my favorite parts, when everybody finds out

1) that Murderbot hacked its own governor module and 2) tries to wrap their brains around what Murderbot opted to do after that. Gurathin's reaction, in particular, reminds me of all those articles and books based on the idea that AIs and robots will inevitably kill all humans.

(spoiler show)


I'm still iffy about Free's narration. Sometimes he gets the wry humor absolutely perfect, and sometimes he pauses a beat too long in the middle of a sentence for no apparent reason. I can't imagine his Murderbot ever actually murdering someone, even by accident, or getting worked up about Sanctuary Moon characters and storylines. His Murderbot would absolutely take a nap in front of the TV, though.

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