Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: alternate-realities
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-04-04 14:46
Fun Sci-Fi adventure
The Actuator - James Wymore,Aiden James

*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.


Red McLauren is a Key Hunter and when he’s told to escort a group of Machine Monks out to survey some rocks when The Actuator is getting ready to fire up an event he’s uneasy. Something feels off and when the event happens and everything goes haywire he ends up being a leader even if he doesn’t feel like one. Someone has sabotaged the dampeners and the entire world has changed and not for the better. Eighteen confirmed Machine Monks created pockets of alternate realities and four more unconfirmed means the world is in chaos and people are dying by the millions, possibly by the billions. Those from the base are the only ones who know what happened and they need to put the world back before humanity is wiped out. A task easier stated than done.


I can’t recall having read a book that has a machine that can alter reality in the physical sense. I mean, completely change the world into whatever reality parameters the person has selected. The Machine Monks are addicted to the Actuator and get a high from when it substitutes reality for their own. Each Monk has a favorite genre, be it horror, steampunk, historical romance, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, etc, so when they feed 20 or so fantasies into the Actuator and the dampeners (which restrict the change to a small testing area) fail those fantasies become realities all over the world. It’s chaos and death. The thought of having to find the keys in each reality in order to change it back exhausted me and I wasn’t even one of the people doing the rescuing. :D


Well-written and fast moving the story made me feel as if I was really there. The characters are great even the ones I wanted to bash over the head, but I have to say that I love Red best. There’s something about a reluctant hero, one who never really thought it would come down to him that I really like and Red is very likeable. The multiple POVs really help with the vast scope of the story and make the experience just that more rich. The thought of the world being carved into different sections of fantasies made real just boggles my mind. It got me thinking…if I was a Machine Monk, what would my slice of the world be like? Uh, oh…I have a feeling it would be a very naughty world indeed. *fans self* All-in-all a solid sci-fi adventure.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2014/04/friday-featured-spotlight-curiosity.html
Like Reblog Comment
review 2011-11-06 00:00
Alternate Realities (Alliance-Union Universe) - C.J. Cherryh An omnibus collection of three novels (I'll update this review as I finish the subsequent books - Wave Without a Shore and Voyager in Night):

Wave Without a Shore (read Nov 5-6): "Man, said the inscription, is the measure of all things. 'No,' he said." (p. 516).

The quote pretty much sums up the theme of this novel, and I don't mean that to disparage the book. Before there was Beszel/Ul Qoma, there was Freedom*, a remote planet in Cherryh's Union-Alliance future whose human inhabitants refuse to "see" the native ahnit, or even the occasional human spacer who visits the system. The book is told from the point of view of Herrin Law, an artistic prodigy who, along with Waden Jenks, the antagonist, carries the solipsistic conceits of the planet's human inhabitants to extremes - the only Reality that matters is the one that they build around themselves. When Waden's (the planet's ruler) "reality" collides with the one Herrin inhabits, Herrin is forced to truly "see" the world around him and it precipitates a revolution.

This is easily the best novel of the omnibus, exploring as it does questions of how we (try to) shape reality and how it shapes us. Herrin starts out as one of the most arrogant, self-centered and unlikable persons you're likely to ever meet but the shock that finally opens his eyes and his subsequent transformation are believable.

Like many Cherryh novels, this one slowly builds to a sudden, pell-mell conclusion but the story is short enough that it doesn't drag.

* And before Freedom, there was Jack Vance's Ampridatvir in The Dying Earth.

Rating: 3.25

Voyager in Night (read Oct 15-16): Voyager begins a year or so after the end of the Company Wars (AD 2355). Rafe and Jillan Murray and her husband Paul Gaines are orphans of the War trying to re-establish the Murray clan and return to the starlanes as merchanters.* Unfortunately, their ancient, creaky insystem miner is swept up by an alien starship that passes through the Endeavor system, and they find themselves unwilling guests of Trishanamarandu-kepta, also called "<>". Actually, it's only Rafe who's physically present on the ship, Jillan and Paul having died in the collision, but all three's brains have been copied by <> and they continue to exist (several copies eventually) as hologrammatic memories within the ship.

What struck me when I finished this second book was its similarity to John Varley's Gaea trilogy. Anyone who's read those novels will understand when I say that <>'s nature and problems mirror that of Gaea's to a great degree, though <>'s resolution of <>'s difficulties has a less fatal ending than Gaea's.

I think the near fatal weakness of Voyager is that I can't care about the characters. Rafe, Jillan and Paul never become much more than the insubstantial holograms of their ghosts, and Cherryh goes out of her way to make <> and <>'s passengers utterly inhuman so there's not much to identify with there. There's also too much exposition and not enough action. And by "action" I'm not talking about Han Solo shooting Imperial stormtroopers but the simple process of learning about someone through their actions and dialog. Instead, for example, we're told the nature of the humans' relationship with each other - in fact, they're told about the relationship by <>, who's mapped their minds.

A final cavil, in her effort to make Trishanamarandu-kepta as alien as possible and to avoid pitfalls like thinking of <> as male or female, Cherryh uses a supremely annoying convention of using symbols to refer to the aliens (which I've imitated in the paragraphs above - forgive me gentle readers).** It results in nearly unreadable sentences like:

"Only older," </> returned, gaining more of <>'s territory, </> extended a filament of </>self all about the center, advanced Paul-mind and ==== in their attack. The passengers huddled far and afraid, in what recesses they could, excepting ((())), who had forgotten who had killed ((())), long ago; excepting entities like 2.75

Port Eternity (read Oct 8-9): Like many of her SF novels, Port Eternity is set in the author's Union/Alliance universe, where humanity is divided between the two major eponymous powers. Union sustains a massive colonization effort and rapid expansion of planetary populations by using "azi," cloned humans who are conditioned for obedience, routinely re-educated via tapes, and usually put down around the age of 40. Some of Cherryh's more interesting stories revolve around how azi react when left to themselves or are forced to push the bounds of their conditioning (e.g., [b:Forty Thousand in Gehenna and the Josh Talley thread in Downbelow Station).

This is a less successful effort along those lines. The azi here are named after characters from Arthurian romances - Lancelot, Elaine, Vivien, Lynette, Percival, Gawaine and Modred - and they staff the household of the born-man Dela Kirn. When Dela's starship, The Maid of Astolat, is caught up in a subspace warp from which they can't escape, the azi crew must learn to cope without the certainties of their structured existence.

Rating: 2.5
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?