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review 2017-10-16 17:27
Use of Weapons / Iain M. Banks
Use of Weapons - Iain M. Banks

Cheradenine is an ex-special circumstance agent who had been raised to eminence by a woman named Diziet. Skaffen-Amtiskaw, the drone, had saved her life and it believes Cheradenine to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence can see the horrors in his past.

 

Somehow, I had come to think of Iain M. Banks’ Culture as a pretty ideal society. This book shattered that somewhat for me, as it contains a lot of war & violence, plus a really cruel twist as the end of the novel. What can you do if you live in the Culture, but you’re not an easily entertained, peace-loving guy? Well, you can sign up for Special Circumstances and become a sort of super-soldier, getting horrifically injured, revived, regenerated, and going off to fight another battle. Even some of the Machine Minds in this one seem to be destructive and cruel.

But Banks accomplished what I think he wanted to—making his readers rethink what the Culture is all about (and maybe rethinking some the assumptions about their own culture). I look forward to tackling State of the Art next.

Book 265 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2017-10-02 14:29
Wild Seed Doesn't Grab Me Like Other Books
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler

Well this one didn't work for me at all. The only saving grace is that it was short. I loved/liked Octavia Butler's other books and this one just made my skin crawl. Reading about almost immortal beings named Anyanwu and Doro through 288 pages of their dysfunction was a little much for me honestly.

 

When Doro comes across Anyanwu (Sun Woman) he is happy to finally meet someone that he thinks can help him with his quest to breed the perfect children. Though Anyanwu is hesitant to be with Doro, she decided that she is tired of being alone more and watching her descendants die along with her husbands. Too late she realizes that Doro is a cruel being who doesn't care about people at all except to make sure that they do his bidding in all things.


They travel from Africa to the New World (America) and are able to change their bodies, color of their skin, and even their sex. I wish that Butler had these two stay African and have to deal with the problems their skin color would have living in the Americas, but that is quickly skated over by people saying how afraid of Doro they are and Doro and his villages are quickly left alone.


I also felt frustrated by Anyanwu since she is really just Doro's doormat. She keeps making all these concessions thinking it is going to keep her children safe and nothing she is doing does that. Doro is cruel and has caused her pain over and over again and she is in a love/hate relationship with him. I thought it was gross how Doro was forcing Anywanwu to breed with who he said since he wanted children off of her. I kept hoping someone would kill Doro.


The writing was good, I just lost interest in it after a while. This is not another Xenogenesis series where you can see the debates about consent going back and forth and gray areas. There is just simply Doro being awful and getting away with it for centuries. 

 

The flow as upside down too though. Nothing goes on forever it seems besides reading about how Doro is trying to breed people and then we come to an end which I assume sets up the next book in the series. I plan on skipping that. 

 

 

 

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review 2017-09-29 18:03
The Vor Game / Lois McMaster Bujold
The Vor Game - Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles Vorkosigan graduates from the Academy, joins a mutiny, is placed under house arrest, goes on a secret mission, reconnects with his loyal Dendarii Mercenaries, rescues his Emperor, and thwarts an interstellar war. Situation normal, if you're Miles.

 

“Very good. But your most insidious chronic problem is in the area of . . . how shall I put this precisely . . . subordination. You argue too much.”
“No, I don’t,” Miles began indignantly, then shut his mouth.


Ah, another visit with Miles Vorkosigan/Naismith! That incredible bundle of energy, that intellect struggling to slow down to regular human speed. His problems with being the smartest guy in the room, but with physical limitations.

In many ways, Miles is like a jazz musician—he knows strategy (the melody) inside & out. When a new situation is thrown at him, he is able in incorporate it into his playing and take the strategy song to new places.

My favourite line? One of his captors at one point asks, “How many people are you?”

Book 264 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2017-09-28 23:12
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler

I am reading this for the "Supernatural" square.

 

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review 2017-09-26 16:19
The Island of Dr. Moreau / H.G. Wells.
The Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells
  I’ve been cataloguing an enormous collection of H.G. Wells for the special collections division of our library, and as a result I’m thinking I need to read a little more Wells. Just looking at the wide spread of his interests is fascinating! It was an interesting exercise to read this tale, which I read in school at about Grade 5, I think, and see how different the experience was.

Wells was a very dedicated socialist and didn’t have much time for religion (although he went through a phase of flirting with the spiritual). I don’t think there’s any doubt that he had read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species before he wrote this story (it was published in 1859 and Moreau in 1896).

Dr. Moreau has set himself up as God on this little island and he has handed down his commandments to the Beast-Men that he has created. Edward Prendick watches as their essential nature pulls the Beast-Men back to their original state—but he sees the same in people, suggesting the Darwinist view that humans are animals too. Moreau never gives any rationale for what he is doing, rather like the Christian God, who has left his creation to its own devices.

The Island of Dr. Moreau seems rather prophetic today, in our days of bioengineering and genetic modification. I’ll be interested to see what other tidbits await me in Wells’ prolific writings.

 

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