Written by Hugh Howey.
Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds.
Ronnie is a Congressman in the influence sphere of one Senator Thurmond of Georgia. The Senator has a view of the world coming to an end and Ronnie becomes an unwitting instrument in his plan to accelerate it. It appears that DNA tuned attack nanites are the big scare of tomorrow therefore the survivors must live in Silos underground when they are not cryogenically suspended with the help of other nanites.
When Silos become unmanageable they are…reset. This is an excellent piece of literature painting a vision of how a few men controlling too much power can send us all swirling down the toilet bowl. I thoroughly enjoyed this work. Five out of Five.
The Twelve: A Novel, Book 2 of The Passage
Written by Justin Cronin.
Narrated by Scott Brick.
The original virals from The Passage are still making the rounds a century later with a type of human, Red Eyes, helping them. These Red Eyes, aka collaborators shortened to Cols are a special type of depravity. The sacrifice their own species for snippets of power.
In Texas, the Expeditionary is about run out of wind for the hunt and destroy missions. The government there feels that it is almost more important to keep the fossil fuel sources protected than to go on the offensive against the remainder of the Twelve. There are some dissenters however. Survivors of The Colony, Amy the ageless hybrid, Alicia Denardio – protégé of Col. Coffey and others. They know there can be no end until patient zero and the eleven other original virals are ended.
Book 2 is quite a bit more raw than the Passage in some respects but you knew it would have to be. The blending of fiction and science to paint this post-vampire-apocalypse North American quarantine zone is top notch world building. One detractor for me was the author trying to juggle so many story-lines at once that the reader, or listener, can easily become confused in time and place.
This one gets four out of five entertainment units of your choice. Enjoy!
City of Golden Shadow: Otherland Book 1
Written by Tad Williams.
Narrated by George Newbern.
Stephen is a South African kid of doing what twelve year olds through thirty year olds do now in their recreational time. He plays MMO games only the rigs are more VR and neural connecting than anything common right now. His sister Irene or Reny tries to get him to cut back on his usage even though she makes her living teach Virtual programming at the Durbin Polytechnic.
On the other side of the planet in an enclave in California, a fourteen year old is trapped in a body that is aging at an accelerated rate. His only road of escape is to live in a virtual world only now he and his friend are trapped in that virtual world.
Beings envisioning themselves as reincarnations of the gods of old are crossing from the Virtual World into the Real World. They’re doing real damage. A handicapped old Air Force guy is waging a war to try and free up the net; and stave off the mental damage a group called the Grail Brotherhood seems to be doing to ten thousand or more teenagers in vegetative state.
Maybe the more gripping thread in this is the story of Paul Jonahs, seemingly killed in the trenches of WW I then swallowed by a steam-punk Giant. Paul is enchanted by a woman who is in a gilded cage with wings, then he meets her again in what appears to be an Edgar Rice Burroughs vision of Mars. All the time he finds himself pursued by nasties including apes with snake heads…yuck.
If I’ve spoiled this for you then you would not have had the patience to enjoy this work of art. This is cyberpunk and it even has its own jargon like the works of William Gibson. The insight into a possible future where our actions and fortunes are controlled because some powerful group of beings can trap our minds on the net is frightening yet well told. World picture here is bleak but there are heroes and the struggle comes across as real. Four out of five Entertainment Units are thus awarded.
Written by Ernest Cline.
Narrated by Will Wheaton.
Zachary Ulysses Lightman, you better tell me right now you are not going out there to fight those aliens again. That’s something you don’t hear every day and neither had Zach for most of his eighteen years of life. That is until the day he showed up in an emergency wearing his disheveled EDA (Earth Defense Alliance) coveralls trying to get his mom to help him aid a wounded pilot.
Most of Zach’s life he had spent playing the latest versions of Battlefield and Armada, escaping from bullies calling him Zach-Attack and feeling self achievement build as he climbed the ranks of the games until one day they came and recruited him similar to ‘The Last Starfighter’. Enough spoilers.
Like Ready Player One, Ernest Cline has spun a tale that is a delight to consume for roughly ninety nine percent of the work. My exceptions are the brief periods when Zach acts like a “whiny little bitch” verbatim from his mentor. Loved the book and the delivery. Especially liked the Raid the Arcade play-list which kind of dates me…a bit. This is one huge fun conspiracy. Giving it a four point five out of five. Knock off the whining Zach!
Dune: House Atreides
House Trilogy Book #1
Written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
Narrated by Scott Brick.
I had avoided the off shoot series created by Frank Herbert’s son and Kevin J. Anderson for quite some years because I really enjoyed the original series and I was concerned that the image would tarnish if these works were executed poorly. Oh man, was I pleasantly surprised.
Old Duke Paulson Atreides is a fine figure of an honorable leader who has learned his life lessons, not just read them in a book. His maxim ‘Never marry for love as it will surely be the downfall of our house’ is something young Leto Atreides will learn from example.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Imperium, an Emperor schemes to bring down a great house in order to get an edge on spice riches; A sadistic bastard hunts little children through archology tunnels then forests in order to feel…bigger; a planetologist dreams of reforming the planet Dune; The Bene Gesirit and the Bene Tleilax follow their own plans and machinations to shape the Universe. Yep, DUNE lives!
The character building of Leto Atreides going from teenager to inheriting the mantle of Duke of Atreides is artfully crafted. Definitely a set up for Dune. How the Baron becomes the extremely heinous character he is in Frank Herbert’s original Dune is really entertaining. Brian and Kevin may have painted Raban with slightly too much brains in this one but it is easy to see how his depravity kills that edge.
One thing that was lacking in other works of this franchise that I really enjoyed here was the ship to ship combat. I don’t want to spoil it for the reader or listener but this is a good addition.
Alright guys, I’m sold. Going to consume the rest of them in due course now. This was a audible product with excellent narration which I’m coming to expect from Random House Audio. Five entertainment points out of five is the best I can do for you here, Sorry!
RAI: Welcome to New Japan
Written by Matt Kindt
Penciled and colored by Clayton Crain.
The year is 4001 A.D. – led by the artificial intelligence called “Father,” the island nation of Japan has expanded out of the Paciﬁc and into geosynchronous orbit with the ravaged Earth below. With billions to feed and protect, it has fallen to one solitary guardian to enforce the law of Father’s empire – the mysterious folk hero known as Rai. They say he can appear out of nowhere. They say he is a spirit…the ghost of Japan. But when the ﬁrst murder in a thousand years threatens to topple Father’s benevolent reign, Rai will be forced to confront the true face of a nation transformed…and his own long-lost humanity
This trade paper back volume includes the first 4 issues of Rai, the protector of new Japan and embodiment of Father’s policies. I think the story is fabulously complex for a comic arc and the art is extremely entertaining. Even though Rai is the main protagonist, I have to say I’m enjoying the character building going into Spylocke. Both are ruthless implementors of violence in their views of the greater good. Four out of five enjoyment stars for this and I hope to read more. Got my copy from Valiant’s booth at Denver Comic Con 2015.
If one must Amazon then here is the link. Try and buy local though if you can.
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4
Written by Zack Whedon.
Artwork by Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Laura Martin and Michael Heisler.
My staying on top of this series amongst all the other things in ADD-land is sketchy but let’s reel the canon back into the fold. This story is after the movie Serenity and some things have happened…duh! Apparently, the crew has had more adventures, the operative is now on the same side as Mal’s folks, there is a New Resistance and Gorram-it Zoe has been captured by those galactic assholes called the Alliance.
In this installment Zoe establishes some order in the prisoner playground while the crew of Serenity discover that she is not where they expected her to be. Something else is and they…should run.
Got to say I’m really enjoying this and now I will make an effort to track down more of the issues. I really do prefer volumes, oh well. I’m giving this installment four out of five entertainment points because I would rather pay a little more and have a volume than a trade paper back. Enjoy!