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Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

(The Murderbot Diaries #4.5)

A very, very short story (17 pages) used a bridge between The Murderbot Diaries 4: Exit Strategy and her new book that just came out The Murderbot Diaries 5: Network Effect.

I'm not sure why I keep coming back to this series. Well, I guess I do know. I like the smart-ass robot who has to keep saving those pitiful humans who are living in their fragile meat sacs. They are short, and action packed too. I like to read Murderbot in between other hard, and difficult books. The series is familiar, and easy to read.

Now that this is finished, I can move onto the new full-length novel, Network Effect! I hope it is still as good as the other 4.5 books in the series. Onward!

Rating: ★★★ Book #71 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #MurderbotDiaries #MarthaWells #SciFi #robots

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

What a thrilling book! It had a diabolical premise of corporations being the rulers of the world, who have their own armies. They have a technology that can turn soldiers into a light beam and send them anywhere they desire to fight their wars for them. I really liked to political backdrop of the story with: ghouls (those without residency or citizenship rights), residents, and citizens. The scary part of this story is how some parts of it are quite plausible, and not that far fetched.

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This turned out to be a huge disappointment. It wasn't a total loss because the last two stories were Liu in his true form, but the other 8 or 10 stories felt like filler. Was Liu short on money? Was publisher forcing him to publish something? Was he digging out old stories he had never gotten published before?

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Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

(Foundation #2)

Another solid entry in the Foundation series. This one is about the expansion of the Foundation and it meeting its greatest nemesis yet, a military commander that wasn't forseen by Hari Seldon. It's more of the same with Foundation, and that is perfectly fine because the formula is great, and the plot moves into new territory that is very cool.

PS This book feels like a more substantial version of what John Scalzi seems to be trying to do with his Collapsing Empire series, but his series can't touch this masterpiece from the 50s. Scalzi focuses too much on lightweight banter that doesn't move the world forward. It feels like he's stretching out his story to sell more books. It's fine, but it shouldn't feel like that when reading it.

I'm already reading Foundation #3 now. It still sizzles!

Rating: ★★★★ Book #57 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #SciFi #IsaacAsimov #SpaceOpera

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Foundation #1

This is a huge novel in scope. This is a sci-fi, political thriller that deals with civilization and the maneuvering that goes on at the highest levels. Are the characters 1 dimensional? Yes. Does it matter? No. It's amazing the world he builds with only ideas. Every sentence is required, he is not one for superfluous plot points or description. This is the essentials stripped down, and it's beautiful.

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China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh

Cool book. Strange title. It's an alternative future where USA went through a 'Communist revolution'. China is looked up to for their well run society. The main character is 'bent' (homosexual). Some of the stories take place on the communes on Earth, and others in New York and in China. There are a few characters that are sort of interlinked in these stories. They were very interesting vignettes of life in a world dominated by 'Communism' where USA is not the global hegemon.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #24 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #China #Mars #SciFi #MaureenFMcHugh #SpeculativeFiction

Recursion by Blake Crouch

What if you could go back in 'time' and fix something in your life – would you do it? To save your child? To become wealthy?

This book is about a scientist who invents such a machine to go back in 'time' and how this utterly fucks up our world. Why do I keep typing 'time' in quotes? This machine actually transplants the consciousness of the person into an earlier memory. Of course this sort of 'time' travel is not without its side effects.

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Old Man's War by John Scalzi

(Old Man's War #1)

Whenever I read Scalzi's books, I feel like I'm reading a movie script; the books are easy to read, the dialogue feels like movie lines, and the premise of the stories is interesting but never fleshed out all that much.

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Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

(Mighty Jack #1)

A playful re-telling of the Jack and the Beanstalk story. I enjoyed this new series that Hatke has started. It has a trio of different characters, fun vegetation/aliens. I had a good feeling reading this, just like when I read Zita the Spacegirl #1.

I am curious to see where he'll take this story in the future. I noticed that Mighty Jack #2 and 3 team up with some characters he's made in the past including the Goblin King and even my beloved Zita the Spacegirl.

PS if you look carefully you might spot some characters from Hatke's other books!

Rating: ★★★★ Book #10 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #BenHatke #GraphicNovel #SciFi

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

(Zita the Spacegirl #3)

The conclusion to the Zita series follows the conventions of most sequels, in that each subsequent sequel is a little bit worse than the one before it. It still has the fun graphics, playful aliens, and characters you love but the story in this one isn't as strong as Zita the Spacegirl #1, or even #2.

I understand an artist needs to publish to make money, but I hope Hatke can come up with some new exciting characters and keep things fresh. As I've said before, I hope he tries doing some more children's books because my daughter and I enjoyed Nobody Likes a Goblin and Julia's House for Lost Creatures immensely.

Rating: ★★★ Book #9 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #BenHatke #GraphicNovel #SciFi