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Category: Fiction

Starship: Mutiny by Mike Resnick

I bought this book from Audible and listened to it using the Audible iPhone app.

The Starship collection of novels are Mike Resick’s go at military science fiction, it is along the lines of Honor Harrington.

This book did not blow me away, it held my attention, but I am a big fan of Mike Resnick and I felt a little let down by this book. It doesn’t have the sense of humor or suspense that I enjoy so much from him and I found much of the story to be obvious and uninspired.

But… there is a reason to read this book, so that you can move on to the second book in the series Starship: Pirate which a solid work of fiction and brings in a little more of Resnick’s sense of humor.

From the publisher:

The date is 1966 of the Galactic Era, almost three thousand years from now, and the Republic, created by the human race – but not yet dominated by it – finds itself in an all-out war.

They stand against the Teroni Federation, an alliance of races that resent Man’s growing military and economic power. The main battles are taking place in the Spiral Arm and toward the Core. But far out on the Rim, the Theodore Roosevelt is one of three ships charged with protecting the Phoenix Cluster – a group of 73 inhabited worlds.

Old, battered, some of its weapon systems outmoded, the Teddy R. is a ship that would have been decommissioned years ago if weren’t for the war. Its crew is composed of retreads, discipline cases, and a few raw recruits. But a new officer has been transferred to the Teddy R. His name is Wilson Cole, and he comes with a reputation for heroics and disobedience. Will the galaxy ever be the same?

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by author Mike Resnick.
©2005 by Mike Resnick; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

I rate this book a 5 out of 10 and recommend you read it for the background of Starship: Pirate.


The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

I bought this book from Audible.

The world that Paolo Bacigalupi has created is a fantastical one, capturing the world in the midst of great change. In it we are shown how even though everything is changing culture does not change as fast as the world around it.

Jonathan Davis does an amazing job narrating this story; I am totally blown away by his performance. He fills the characters with so much life, making them each a vivid character with their own desires and fears. His ability to create a palpable difference between the different Asian cultures is fantastic.

I really enjoyed the science fiction aspects of this story, the new words, the blending of different languages, new creatures, and most of all interaction between the different characters. Every character expresses their desires and fears as the story moves along at a perfect pace, almost all of the characters are both hero and villain, living in some shade of gray. Good stuff.

There are some very brutal scenes in this book where I feel the author went WAY overboard, to the point that I almost stopped listening and deleted the book, but instead I turned the player up to 3x speed and got past them, it was worth it (but I think it would be a better story leaving some things to the imagination instead of spelling them out in horrifying detail.)

From the publisher:

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories.

There, he encounters Emiko…Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

What happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism’s genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? In The Windup Girl, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi returns to the world of The Calorie Man (Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2006) and Yellow Card Man (Hugo Award nominee, 2007) in order to address these poignant questions.

©2009 Paolo Bacigalupi; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10 and the performance a 10 out of 10. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction.


The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison

I listened to this from an old recording narrated by John Polk.

Harry Harrison died on August 15, 2012 at 87 years old. I decided to listen to The Stainless Steel Rat in his memory.

Harry Harrison is one of the few writers who I would seek out and buy every book they produced. Harry never disappointed me. From The Stainless Steel Rat to Make Room! Make Room! to Bill the Galactic Hero to The Turing Option. I love them all and re-read many of them every couple of years.

I think I am going to sprinkle in the rest of the Stainless Steel Rat series into my reading and listening over the next 6 months.

About the most recent recording available on Audible:

DiGriz is caught during one of his crimes and recruited into the Special Corps. Boring, routine desk work during his probationary period results in his discovering that someone is building a battleship, thinly disguised as an industrial vessel. In the peaceful League no one has battleships anymore, so the builder of this one would be unstoppable.

DiGriz’ hunt for the guilty becomes a personal battle between himself and the beautiful but deadly Angelina, who his planning a coup on one of the feudal worlds. DiGriz’ dilemma is whether he will turn Angelina over to the Special Corps, or join with her, since he has fallen in love with her.

©2010 Harry Harrison (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

I rate this book a 10 out of 10 for lovers of humorous science fiction.


The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi

I bought this audiobook from Audible.

I got this book because Wil Wheaton narrates it and it is rated extremely high on the web site; there are not many books that are rated so high, 4.5 stars in "Overall," "Performance," and "Story," with around 500 total reviews.

I like that Wil Wheaton narrated this story. I was surprised to learn how many books he has narrated, 18 of them currently listed on Audible. But I feel that his performance did not really bring the story to life, it left me kind of flat.

The story is a good one though, full of humor, politics, and action. It was a fun read that I would have listened to in one sitting if I had the time.

I look forward reading more John Scalzi books, I have my eye on Fuzzy Nation.

From the Publisher:

A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth’s government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android’s Dream"), used in the alien race’s coronation ceremony.

To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire, who with the help of Brian Javna, a childhood friend turned artificial intelligence, scours the earth looking for the rare creature. And they find it, in the unknowing form of Robin Baker, pet store owner, whose genes contain traces of the sheep DNA. But there are others with plans for the sheep as well: Mercenaries employed by the military. Adherents of a secret religion based on the writings of a 21st century science-fiction author. And alien races, eager to start a revolution on their home world and a war on Earth.

To keep our planet from being enslaved, Harry will have to pull off the greatest diplomatic coup in history, a grand gambit that will take him from the halls of power to the lava-strewn battlefields of alien worlds. There’s only one chance to get it right, to save the life of Robin Baker – and to protect the future of humanity.

&copy2006 John Scalzi (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

I rate this book an 8 out of 10, a very good read for lovers of humorous science fiction.