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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-17 07:36
War Robot-Manning Persons, Fighting Dukes, and Bioengineered Religious Soldiers — A Review of The Warriors Anthology Edited by G. R. R. Martin
Warriors - George R. R. Martin (Editor), Gardner Dozois (Editor)

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on January 17, 2018.

 

 

The King of Norway by Cecelia Holland

 

3 Stars

A Viking adventure with all the gore and blood that you could ask for. If only I could have been made to care for the characters…

 

Forever Bound by Joe Haldeman

 

3 Stars

Soldiers learning to maneuver robots in the war have to do as part of a hive mind. Pretty soon, real life cannot compare with the virtual one that they lead with the other members of the hive.

 

The Triumph by Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb

 

 

4 Stars

A retelling of the myth of Marcus Atilius Regulus, a Roman Consul. In the story, he is tortured by Carthaginians before his death. Everything in the story is actually setting up the reader for the way he dies.

 

Clean Slate by Lawrence Block

 

3 Stars

An abused child grows up into a sociopath. You can guess what happens next!

 

And Ministers of Grace by Tad Williams

 

3 Stars

It isn’t that bioengineered soldiers haven’t been done before. Here though the author makes it all about religion.

 

Soldierin’ by Joe R. Lansdale

 

4 Stars

A black man joins the army in the eradication of Native Americans. The story remains localized and makes no claims about the big picture.

 

Dirae by Peter S. Beagle

 

3 Stars

A coma patient becomes an avenging spirit with a special soft place in her heart for kids.

 

The Custom of the Army by Diana Gabaldon

 

4 Stars

I have been wondering if I would like Gabaldon’s writing and I wonder no more. This story is based on a skirmish between the French and English soldiers on Canadian soil.

 

Seven Years from Home by Naomi Novik

 

4 Stars

Nature and “people” come together in this story to save the land. I liked this one because plants featured in it.

 

The Eagle and the Rabbit by Steven Saylor

 

3 Stars

POVs change as we see Carthage fall and a Roman general plays mind games with the Carthaginians he will be selling off to slavery.

 

The Pit by James Clemens/James Rollins

 

4 Stars

Canine gladiators and sibling love made this story one of my faves!

 

Out of the Dark by David Weber

 

4 Stars

An alien race tries to take over the planet and humans band together to stop that from happening. They also have help from the unlikeliest of sources.

 

 

The Girls from Avenger by Carrie Vaughn

 

3 Stars

Women have faced discrimination whenever they have dared to step into a profession. Flying planes during a war isn’t any different.

 

Ancient Ways by S. M. Stirling

 

 

4 Stars

A mercenary is hired to rescue a princess who didn’t really need to be rescued. The princess was a pleasant surprise.

 

Ninieslando by Howard Waldrop

 

3 Stars

A utopian dream to unite the world while a war goes on outside. Didn’t take too long for it to unravel.

 

Recidivist by Gardner Dozois

 

4 Stars

AIs rule the world. Humans don’t stand a chance against them yet they won’t give up fighting back or remembering how life used to be.

 

 

My Name is Legion by David Morrell

 

3 Stars

Sometimes, the enemy on the other side of the border is your friend. In this story, soldiers who trained together are forced to fight against each other when France daren’t go against Germany.

 

Defenders of the Frontier by Robert Silverberg

 

3 Stars

Soldiers have been manning an entry point into their empire for years now. No reinforcements have arrived for some time. The absence of enemies starts to make them think. Does the empire they have been defending even exist anymore?

 

The Scroll by David Ball

 

3 Stars

A bully of an emperor keeps an architect alive just to torture him. The ending was a letdown.

 

The Mystery Knight: A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin

 

3 Stars

A tale of Egg, the squire who isn’t a squire, and the knight he serves.

 

I’d say, you won’t be missing much if you didn’t read this anthology. But that’s just me…

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review 2018-01-04 13:42
Downward To The Earth - Robert Silverber... Downward To The Earth - Robert Silverberg
There have been many excellent reviews of this book and I agree with every one of them. Very good read and highly recommended.
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text 2017-12-28 19:18
On Sale: 80% off (mostly under $1.50 Kindle Monthly Deals) Science Fiction
Across a Billion Years - Robert Silverberg
The Dispatcher - John Scalzi
The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch
Cast in Chaos - Michelle Sagara,Michelle Sagara West
Blood Kissed - Keri Arthur
Bannerless (The Bannerless Saga) - Carrie Vaughn
A Fall of Moondust (Arthur C. Clarke Collection) - Arthur C. Clarke
Fortress of Ice - C.J. Cherryh

36 SF genre books; highlighted above are just ones by authors I recognize.

 

Blood Kissed (The Lizzie Grace Series Book 1) - Keri Arthur  is likely to be more Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy than Science Fiction genre.

 

Fortress of Ice - C.J. Cherryh is a truly excellent series.

 

On sale in he SF section of kindle monthly deals (special offer that showed on my kindle device) .

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-07-31 06:21
The Book of Skulls - Robert Silverberg

As some reviewers have already mentioned, this book is hard to ascribe to any one genre. I wouldn't call it truly science fiction, but neither would I call it horror, as some have. And it doesn't truly fit the mold for fantasy. I would argue that is has elements of all three. One reviewer described it as speculative fiction.

 

Either way, to the story itself. This is a story about four college buddies and roomates (a Jew, a jock, a rich kid and a homosexual) on a road trip across the country in hopes of finding immortality. The trip is all based on a manuscript, the Book of Skulls, one of them, Eli, found and translated in the library. They are seeking the Brotherhood of the Skull monastery, which is reportedly located just outside Pheonix, Arizona. The idea is that a group of four is required, but the catch is one must commit suicide and one must be murdered in order for the other two to attain immortality.

 

The story is told as quick snippets from the viewpoint of each of the four main protagonists. For some reason, I really liked this style of storytelling although the story wasn't what I was expecting. Up until the end the story was all about the soul searching spiritual journey of the four protagonists. There was a surprise ending to the story, at least to me.

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review 2017-01-27 19:12
Thebes of the Hundred Gates
Thebes of the Hundred Gates - Robert Silverberg

 A short novel – 30,000 words or so, hardly more than a novella – by one of the grand masters of the genre.

 

In Thebes of the Hundred Gates, the Time Service in Home Era (like NOW) sends a young "volunteer" (none of the more experienced operatives will touch it) back to ancient Egypt in search of two of their own who overshot the mark and got lost in time a year and a half earlier. Now Service investigators have managed to pinpoint them in Thebes – Thebes at the height of its splendour, under Amenhotep III. That's the pharaoh whose son, Amenhotep IV, is better known as the great heretic Akhenaten, husband of Nefertiti. (I have a couple of books about those two I want to review here some time.)

 

Edward Davis materialises in the heat and dirt of a secluded back alley and immediately falls ill. Not because of the filth ...

 

Two donkeys stood just in front of him, chewing on straw, studying him with no great curiosity. A dozen yards or so behind him was some sort of rubble-heap, filling the alley almost completely. His sandal-clad left foot was inches from a row of warm green turds that one of the donkeys must have laid down not very long before. To the right flowed a thin runnel of brownish water so foul that it seemed to him he could make out the movements of giant microorganisms in it, huge amoebas and paramecia, grim predatory rotifers swimming amgrily against the tide.

 

But he had been innoculated against anything Thebes might come up with. No, it was temporal shock – it's like "a parachute jump without the parachute", they had told him, jumping so far uptime, "but if you live through the first five minutes you'll be okay." He had been back 600 years before, but never anything like this.

 

He loses consciousness, and when he wakes up, finds himself in a temple, and in the capable hands of Nefret, Priestess of Isis. However, she seems only to want to be rid of him. As soon as he recovers, she arranges for him to live and work among the embalmers, the mummifiers, in the necropolis on the other side of the Nile.

 

A refuge, yes. But he is little more than a slave there, and he has only thirty days – twenty-eight left now – before his rendez-vous for pick-up at exactly midday back in that alley. How can he hope to track down the missing time travellers from there, on the wrong side of the river?

 

A wonderful glimpse, not only of the world of the future where people travel uptime and back downtime – it is still, obviously, the early days of time travel – but also of the past, of Thebes of the Hundred Gates, teeming with people, all of them, in the childhood of the world, concerned with only one thing: death, and the afterlife; and reincarnation.

 

This little book is perfect.

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