Friday, March 5, 2021

A History of What Comes Next (Take Them to the Stars, #1)A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While the over-story in this is merely pretty okay and the end, well, the less I say about it, the better, I actually enjoyed the grand majority of this novel.

I really enjoyed the mother/daughter stories. Of course, it's not REALLY a mother/daughter kind of thing, but the biological twist, the cloning aspect that carries on for a hundred generations, IS fascinating and the vignettes through time were all a real treat.

But most interesting was the real history of the space race and rocket research by way of WWII, extricating Von Braun out of Germany, and the push and pull spycraft. This was by far the best part of the novel, but mixing this with aliens working their lives to the bone to take us to the stars (and taking themselves with us) is a very, very beautiful idea.

I'm going to enjoy reading all of these. :)



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The Death of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce, #5)The Death of Chaos by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Lerris returns from the first book in this saga. If you've read the series this far, it's an extremely important change in direction.

After all, books 2-4 all happen WAY before Lerris, the extremely modest magician of Order who learns the secret of both Order and Chaos, performs a massive miracle of casting down all those Chaos magicians and their armies.

But now, with the weight of so much very important history and the big bright lightbulb going on as we interweave those old, seemingly ancient characters -- so much history -- into the current tale, the whole thing has taken on a brand new level of importance.

And with a title like that, just assume right here and now that something ENORMOUS happens. Cataclysms seem to happen all the time in these books, but just expect something bigger this time.

I LOVED seeing Justin again. All these characters are something special to me. And I can't rightly disagree with all those teaching methods of those Order wizards. I'm sure it'd piss me off, too, but the wisdom is undeniable.

Great series. Getting even better.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Ruthless (The Completionist Chronicles, #4)Ruthless by Dakota Krout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, the trials and tribulations of natural introverts. Sure, you can study and level up your main class skills, or show all your extrovert friends your ill-advised gumption and MURDER THE WORLD -- oh, wait, maybe that wasn't what you intended to do...

But at least you got some serious street cred for a bookworm.

Muahahahaha this latest LitRPG is so easy to enjoy. I'm flying through these with no hesitation and absolutely no qualms. Ding! Level up. Would you like your third-tier specialization? Class capabilities: Fanboy.







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Robots and Empire (Robot, #4)Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More of a 3.5 stars, really.

I had to balance this one in my head as a re-read from long ago, my impression of humanity's exodus into the stars, my enjoyment of Asimov in general, against a tale compared against all of SF in general.

As a friend points out regularly, one cannot judge a book on ideas alone, even if I do appreciate Asimov for his clarity and ideas. The story, the full novel, is, frankly, kinda boring. At least, I was bored.

On the other hand, I did enjoy getting a full tour of the spacer worlds, getting to know so many kinds of people, and I really enjoyed the discussions between the two awesome robots even if I didn't care all that much about the humans. It still wasn't enough to carry the full tale.

BUT. This is a necessary book for the grand future history that Asimov wrote, from Robots, to Empire, to Foundation, to beyond. I'm willing to ignore the usual complaints as long as it forwards the foundation. :)

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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bibliomancer (The Completionist Chronicles: Wolfman Warlock, #1)Bibliomancer by James A. Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I consider this a side-novel in the series, co-authored with Dakota Trout and in Trout's universe.

Who knows, there might be quite a few more in the future and I am sure I'll enjoy them all. Why? Because while it's formula, it's a very fun formula. LitRPG is sometimes freaking fantastic but even the meh ones are like coming home.

That is, if you're an RPGer, you generally LIVE here anyway, so, you know, YOU KNOW.

And I know. And this is all about hitting those skills and falling into trouble and discovering a super-special mage-class and seeing what kind of trouble you can get into.

In this case, it's becoming an enemy of mankind and doing it with a smile. Gotta love those talking books, too. It's like I'm playing Neir. :)

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Monday, March 1, 2021

Raze (The Completionist Chronicles, #3)Raze by Dakota Krout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's so fun to break things. Stats, buildings, legends. Razing it all can be soooo fun! And punny!

Of course, this is a LitRPG and it's totally snarky, but the details are this: we're up to level 15+ and yet we've got some massive problems, like a massive influx of gamers and a somewhat mad-ish AI controlling the system. The reason for the influx? Oh, Earth is kinda going to a massive lovecraftian hell and there's this easy way to escape it all, free of charge, by hopping in the game.

Bonus for the ones already playing and strong enough to do something good, of course, but all those poor level one people...

Muahahahahaha peons get owned. Fortunately, there is this pretty decent bald chap who is pretty good with ritual magic and he's kinda badass in architecture and creative occultist magic use... and a master-level jump score.

And he was Razed right.


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Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Robots of Dawn (Robot, #3)The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Compared to the first two Robot novels that were written a full 30 years before this third even saw print, I thought it should have been superior. I wanted it to be superior.

Unfortunately, while the exhaustive and thorough uncovering of the robot-murder mystery was pretty interesting, my enjoyment of it was dampened by an equally thorough focus on human sexuality.

Let me be very clear on this: it's not the fact that sexuality is that big a deal in general. It's the fact that it's like reading a '50s viewpoint of stifled sexuality getting such a mild revamping as to say "It's okay, mmmkay," at ALL. As in, yes, people, it's ok to like sex. Really. And have to spend something like half the book focused on it. The sex scene was extremely mild. What's kinda funny about all this is that Asimov does take a modest and relatively scientific view of it all. It's super mild. Even the robots having relationships with humans, as a whole, is super mild.

Now, if there are some undercurrents going on here that we're supposed to read into, I'm sure this is pretty nice and all, but it is extremely dated by now.

All in all, I kinda wish all that was left out and we just have the single touch in the second novel and a reference to it in this, with nothing more than an emotional current without all the thorough philosophizing about why an orgasm is perfectly okay, mmmkay.


I'm laughing here. If I compare this stuff to, say, Heinlein at the same period, in the '80s, or even back in the '60s, the other author is WAY beyond Asimov and superior.

And yet, Asimov still has what he's very good at, and so I shall not complain overmuch. :) He's solid and clear and thorough.

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