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review 2017-08-16 02:23
Easy read, love survives through time
Separated from My Love (Linked Across Time) (Volume 7) - Dawn Brower

This is a quick read and part of a series. The characters from other stories do show up and interact, but this story is about Genevieve and Trenton. Through their separation by time, both Genevieve and Trenton realize what is truly important, even through the years they are apart. It kept me turning pages to find out if their love is strong enough to help them make it back together.

I received a copy of this story as a gift, and this is my unsolicited review.

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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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text 2017-08-15 19:26
Micro-Fiction, Text 012: "Go Team Portugal!" by MySelfie

 

Here.

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text 2017-08-14 22:48
Killing is my Business
Killing Is My Business (Ray Electromatic Mysteries) - Adam Christopher

As a huge fan of both hardboiled/noir and science fiction, Adam Christopher's Ray Electromatic series has been a guaranteed hit with me. Raymond (get it?) is the last of the robots from an aborted attempt to replace various public sector jobs with a silicon workforce. Still supposedly with the "Electromatic Detective Agency," his programming has been altered by the amoral supercomputer Ada (get it?) to transform him into a robotic killer-for-hire. Every twenty-four hours, his magnetic tapes run out and his entire memory is removed and wiped clean. Any book involving a robot running around in a trenchcoat and trying to solve a hardboiled mystery pastiche is bound to go over well with me, and Killing is my Business is no exception. This story, which involves a mafia boss, a mad scientist, government agents, and secret plots galore, is as entertaining as it is wacky and engrossing.

 

One of the things that makes this series so unique is the tension between Ray's hitman programming and his innate desire to be a good detective. He is simultaneously brutal and naive, and the longer he goes before his memory is erased, the more human he becomes. Then there's the tension and hope as his clock runs out, and the sudden shock of the newly-hard, cold, memory-erased Ray. it's a very unique take on the "tarnished knight" and chiaroscuro aspects of hardboiled detective fiction and noir. If any of this sounds intriguing, then the Ray Electromatic series is well worth a look.

 

~~I received an advanced reader copy of this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Tor Books, in exchange for my honest review. Thanks!~~

 

Cross-posted on Goodreads.

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review 2017-08-14 05:07
Wow, I've Never Read Anything Like This
Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders

Most amazing narration with 166 different people, stars, musicians, family. Their unique voices and characters make this a most unusual and fascinating story. I admit to being a bit lost in the beginning till the time line clicked in my head and I understood the voices POV. The characters kept referring to the sick boxes, I was so confused till, I got it and then everything clicked. Looking at life from the other side, it made me think.
Fascinating ghost story, filled with dramatic historical events, people along with a great cast of fictional charters to spice it up. I loved each one, each from a different time, each brought something from that time to the story. Some crude, some fearful, some so intense, all entertaining. Even the dialog was tailored to fit the time of the characters. Each in denial, each has a summit to pass. Young Willie Abraham Lincoln's son was just a small drop in the pond, the wave changing each life, or after life. Amazing.
What a movie this book would make.

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance: 
 
Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN
David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III
Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS
George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS
Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD
Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR
Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS
Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS
Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS
Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE
Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON
Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON
Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER
Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE
Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE
Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER
Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX
Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL
Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS
and
Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT
with
Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN,
Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND,
and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator

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