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Mystery, SciFi, Alternate History—It’s All Here

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Different World: A Gina Stone MysteryThis story is hard to describe. It’s an alternate history story, but it’s set in modern day Seattle. It’s a modern crime investigation, but the deaths are being discovered in the 1800s. It’s science fiction, but it’s also a murder mystery.

I started reading this book and immediately got hooked. The main character, Gina Stone, is engaging and interesting. She presents a believable portrait of a beleaguered police officer who has decided to take a less stressful job in a small town. It’s just that her small town is New Essex and it’s across a portal in a world where the American revolution never happened.

Friends Change—More Great Space Opera

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A few years ago I got to read and review the book Gift of Change by D. T. Sanders (Buy on Amazon). So when the sequel came out, I was intrigued.

From the very first page, Friends Change did not disappoint. It is just as fast-paced and fun as the first book, but with a lot more characterization.

Jason and Fallon Change A Lot

The change in the title of this story is not a misnomer. Jason and Fallon go through momentous changes in this book and come out at the end almost inhumanly different. Their lives are very scary and I would not want to live them, but reading about them sure is a lot of fun!

Finished my Christmas Present—Peacemaker

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is the fifteenth book in the Foreigner series. And the protagonists for this book are Bren Cameron and Cajeiri the heir. It starts almost immediately where Protector leaves off, with a bit extra at the beginning and end.

I read this book as a Kindle ebook, so I realize that a lot of the issues I had were because of poor formatting in that version, but it still made it hard to finish completely.

But let me start at the beginning. The first 12% of the book (according to my Kindle) was exposition explaining how the characters got to the point we were at in the book. I realize that after 14 novels in a series, this type of thing is needed for people who haven’t been reading it since book one, like I have. But let me tell you, exposition gets very boring after a while. I struggled with completing that first section, and considered skimming until there was some action several times. But I did wade through it. If you’re going to skip, I recommend moving to when the train they are on gets to the Bujavid. It’s pretty boring up until that point.

The next portion of the book was the actual story. It jumped between Bren and Cajieri and was basically a build up to Cajieiri’s fortunate ninth birthday. There were three human children from the space station visiting Cajieiri and Jase-aiji was there from the station as well. Meanwhile Bren and his bodyguards are enlisted to clean up the assassins Guild.

If you’re wondering why the description is so sparse, it’s because the book was pretty sparse. There was very little from Jago, and even Bren didn’t have much action. Banichi had been injured in Protector and he was still injured in this book, and so that was repeated many times. Even the hijinks of the kids were pretty tame, as they were all on good behavior. The worst thing to happen was Cajieiri forgetting his birthday speech, and so making one up on the spot. Bren was hit in the head in the Guild operation, but other than being light headed, he was okay too.

The only other excitement was Cajieiri’s mother. But I won’t say what in case you want to read the book.

At the end of the book is another 8% of exposition in the form of a report from Geiji-ji and commented on by Bren. This report is basically a summary of the events leading up to book one in the series and then covering the actions that happened during the series. I honestly don’t know everything it covered, as I got bored again and stopped reading.

However, if you’re not already interested in Bren and Cajieiri, I would give this book a pass. I would have liked it more if there were either more action or less exposition, or best, both!

Fast Paced Indy Space Opera

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One of the things I miss from science fiction these days are the hard core space opera novels My favorites right now are the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, The Lensman series by E. E. “Doc” Smith, and the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. Banks and Bujold are still writing and adding to their series’, but there aren’t a lot of other authors writing space operas right now.

So, when I got the opportunity to read the book Gift of Change by D Sanders (I received a review copy from the author), I was very pleased to get to read true space opera, it’s been a long time waiting.

This Book Has Everything You Love About Space Opera

Gift of Change is set in a huge interstellar civilization, with a large space navy, numerous ports of call, large ships, small ships, an alien race, and a retired naval commander.

The commander has retired from the space navy and is now working as a freighter captain transporting cargo around the civilization and getting blind drunk in every port leaving his pilot to drag him back to the ship and hope he doesn’t kill himself. She stays with him because she is a 40% owner of the business, because she needs the position, but mostly because she loves him.

When he has to take off on a contract without her, he nearly gets killed after blacking out in a mine field. Luckily for him his ships AI is able to prevent a large asteroid from pulverizing the ship and when he comes to he pilots the ship to a nearby asteroid that has the ores he needs to effect repairs. This asteroid sets of a series of events that are both exciting and surprising and changes the captain’s life forever.

Off to a Confusing Start

When I first started the book I found the first few pages confusing. The main character seemed almost insane and his thoughts and reactions were all wrong. Was he at war? Was he commanding a giant naval ship? Or was he just a captain of a tiny ship with no crew other than a computer AI?

But it quickly became clear that the confusion was deliberate. The captain was going insane and the drunken binges were the only thing keeping him sane—well that and Fallon, his pilot and Fred, his AI.

If You’re Looking for Space Opera, Gift of Change is a Good Choice

It is a very fast read, I read this book in two sittings, I did sleep in between but I did nearly nothing else until I was finished. It’s fast and fun and well worth the time to read.

You can buy Gift of Change from Amazon.com: Gift of Change

Existence is hard… Existence by David Brin, that is

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I am really enjoying Existence by David Brin but it is hard to read. Perhaps it’s because I’m reading it late at night, or perhaps it’s just me, but I find I’m only able to read about two pages a day. Which, since the book is 560 pages long, means I’ll probably be still reading it sometime in 2017. As someone who typically reads 2–3 books or more a week, this means that the book is a slog.

But I’m loving it! Don’t get me wrong, this book is really interesting and fun, it’s just hard and slow to read.

My biggest frustration right now is that there are so many POV characters that I get frustrated when the scene switches to someone else — until, that is, I get into their POV again and then I’m frustrated when we switch back to the first character.

There are several engaging characters:

  • there’s Hacker, the rich celeb who spends his time doing crazy and stupid things, but in his latest endeavor ends up finding what might be his life’s work.
  • there’s Hacker’s mom, who is just as wealthy, and finds herself at odds with the rest of her class when she doesn’t really want to become part of a plan to turn Earth feudal again (with her class on top)
  • there’s the Chinese couple who are “shoresteading” in an abandoned and mostly underwater mansion. His wife and son were bit characters for the first few scenes, but now she has taken on a starring role herself
  • there’s the astronaut who discovered a pod apparently sent from aliens
  • there’s the reporter who is in a horrible accident, but still gets the story with the help of the net
  • there are the dolphins who have been uplifted and then left to fend for themselves when the humans who started the project get scared off
  • there are the ’auties’ and ’aspies’ who interject with confusing sections that are almost unintelligible except that they make sense when you let your brain ruminate
  • there are the AIs which don’t seem (so far) to have separate chapters devoted to them, but they do seem to play a significant role in the story
  • and of course there are the aliens, which are, well, alien (or maybe they’re a hoax…)

There may be more but I forget now.

I love the reporter scenes where she uses crowdsourcing and other internet features to get her story out. It’s a fascinating way of looking at the net. And I love the scenes written from the perspective of the autistics who are helped by AIs to interact with the world. They clearly see themselves as superior to their less intellectual cousins, homo sapiens. They are very spooky, in a confusing way.

But all these different POVs and characters and styles makes the book very dense. I suspect I’m going to have to stop mid-stream just to read something light like Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong, just to get my groove back. I know that book won’t take long to read, and it should be fun too.

I like reading Existence, but sometimes I like finishing books too.

Don’t stop thinking

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“To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.”

— Jerry Pournelle

Why I like SciFi

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“I’m a sci-fi girl. If I can have anything in life, I’d want tons of great science-fiction movies and stories. It’s so progressive, beautiful, and imaginative.”

— Zoe Saldana


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“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone