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review 2019-10-01 16:37
Last Short Story Was a Bust
Randomize - Andy Weir

So this was the shortest of the stories in the "Forward" collection and honestly my least favorite. It was beyond boring and the ending was just a meh moment to me. I wanted something more for a supposed science fiction book. Talking about quantum physics and entanglement didn't do a thing for me.

"Randomize" is at the heart just a boring heist story. We follow a member that plans on stealing from a Las Vegas casino using quantum physics. Yeah, that's a new one on me. It's still boring though. And the last little bit is just a lot of talking about things that made me go huh? Seriously? What is happening? I finally got annoyed though when I realized this was not going to end in a very dull way. I wondered at first if Weir misread what Crouch wanted all of the authors to do when he put forward his premise.

The writing was boring. Unlike with "The Martian" Weir does not make this easy to understand. I am not a stupid person, but nothing that was said even made a little bit of sense. I went back to my "The Martian" review and saw that I did love that book, I also noted that Weir was too technical at times. And boy is he here as well.  


The flow was nonexistent. We go from discussion of heist, heist, and post-heist so fast there's no time to even settle in. There is zero development of characters too which is why I didn't even bring up one of the people we follow. 

The ending felt unrealistic to me. 


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So to wrap up here was how I rated this collection:


Ark by Veronica Roth, 4 stars

Summer Frost by Blake Crouch, 5 stars

Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin, 5 stars

You Have Arrived at Your Destination, by Amor Towles, 4 stars

The Last Conversation, by Paul Remblay, 5 stars

Randomize, by Andy Weir, 2 stars. 

Overall rating 4.5 stars. 

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review 2019-10-01 16:24
The Last Words You Will Hear...
The Last Conversation - Paul Tremblay

Wow. This was a bang up short story in the collection. I loved it. It had a lot of horror elements I thought working for it too. The ending gave my goosebumps.


"The Last Conversation" follows an unnamed person (we never find out if they are male or female which I liked) who wakes up slowly and cannot see. We don't know what has happened, except a person named Doctor Kuhn is the only person that the unnamed person can talk to via an intercom. The unnamed person is run through daily tests and told hints and pieces about their lives, but finds their memory slowly coming back. They want to know though why they can't see Doctor Kuhn or be let out of their room. And when they eventually are, they may wish they never left.


I have to say the unnamed person hit me in the feels. I felt claustrophobic at times in parts of this story. Not being able to see and just having a voice to guide you freaks me out. They are forced to walk on a treadmill, do memory association games, and the only person they can "talk" to is someone named Doctor Kuhn they cannot physically see cause "reasons."


Doctor Kuhn is the only other person you get to interact with in this story which increases the feeling of claustrophobia. 

I thought the writing was very good. I liked how Tremblay takes away any sense of who the unnamed character is and even when Doctor Kuhn is supposedly saying their name you can't read it, it's changed to just this "____". It makes you feel as if you are reading a lab report. Which I assume was done for reasons the ending will make clear later.

The flow was really good too. I wanted to find out more about this world and what went on, but once again you only have Doctor Kuhn's say so on things and if you are like me my "this woman is a liar who should not be trusted" feelers crept up.


The setting to me is definitely dystopian based on what the ending reveals and I liked the horror elements as well. All of this book takes place in a room in a supposed infirmary type place. And then when the setting moves (no spoilers) I felt nothing but apprehension.


The ending was definitely a gut punch and made me want to read more. That to me is the mark of a great short story when you don't want it to end. 


Image result for darkness gif


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review 2019-10-01 16:12
Third Act Weighs Down Short Story
You Have Arrived at Your Destination - Amor Towles

Well not too much to say about this one except the third act one of the characters went on about actually weighed down this book a lot. I loved the concept (able to use an algorithm to choose what path an unborn child will possibly lead) but after the character of Sam lives the corporation the book just got messy. 


"You Have Arrived at Your final Destination" follows Sam whose wife Annie has talked him into having a child via a corporation called Vitek which does "genetic nudging." Vitek can supposedly use enough "science" to lead a couple to determine what type of life a child they will have one day, will experience. Sam starts off skeptical, and then dismayed when he sees what type of life his child could have and what does that mean in the end for free will. 

Sam I liked a lot initially. He was rightfully skeptical when he gets to Vitek. When he is told his wife has already selected three projections of their child's life for Sam to view, he wonders how she came to a decision so quickly. When he is shown the three projections  I had to wonder at why Sam reacted the way he did. And we quickly find out about his past and his father and start asking questions of what parts of those experiences made Sam and what parts were pre-determined? The story talks a lot about his wife Annie, but we never get to "see" her or get her thoughts on things. Based on the ending of the book, one wonders if she was trying to get Sam to some realizations cause those three projections she selected say a lot about her. 


I thought the other character in the novel we stay with the most is Sam's "projection" child and we have that character being the driving force for the choice that Sam makes in the end.

The writing I thought was really good. This reminds me a a bit of Gattaca, but on drugs a bit due to how the genetic nudging works with them able to "view" their child's life. The flow though once we get to "act three" didn't really work. Also one of the character's saying everyone's life goes around three acts like a movie just bugged me. 


The setting of this book seems to be in the not to distant future, though with a lot of things that sounded familiar to me. 


Image result for gattaca gif

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text 2019-10-01 13:40
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
You Have Arrived at Your Destination - Amor Towles

Weird. Don't know why this showed I was done with it yesterday. 


Anyway, everything for the first two acts of this story were great and then the third act dragged. Badly. I liked the overall idea of it with the projections and a man choosing his unborn son's path. After that though it just kind of flailed. Four stars. 

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text 2019-10-01 13:37
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Last Conversation - Paul Tremblay

Holy crap. I don't think I have read Tremblay before, but now I want to read his other books. This was a hair raising short story. No spoilers, but that ending. Yikes. Also this should have been the anchor story to the collection. Maybe Weir's story should have been first. 

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