Archive for the 'Science-Fiction' Category


The Economics of Fiction

Via [info]zornhau, Paul Krugman on the NYT Economics blog:

I’m startled at Brad DeLong’s ignorance: he thinks there’s something new about science fiction novels where the science in question is economics.

I’m honestly looking forward to the summer, because if nothing else, I’ll have to pick up on the economics blogs thing.

*eyes Google Reader mournfully*


David Boultbee: The Gender Divide

Ryan Peters is an anomaly. In a world where women live four times as long as men do, Ryan is one of a few men with a similar lifespan. This difference in lifespan has had profound consequences on the world balance of political, economic, and military power and has created a social Gender Divide that threatens to tear the world apart.Determined to close this Gender Divide, Ryan will sacrifice anything to succeed. The Gender Divide has already cost him the one true love of his life and even though he has a second chance, he won’t let that stand in his way. He is even willing to give up his own life … and in a sense he already has.

The Gender Divide isn’t normally my type of science fiction, and I can’t say that it has changed my mind.

It has an interesting set-up. Women live much more longer than men, and as such, instead of a pink ceiling, we have a blue one. Then comes our protagonist, who is the first man to gain an equally long lifespan.

The author expands the concept lucidly, but it all goes downhill at the end. I admit that much of why I think the ending is weak has to do with my personal beliefs. It’s just too pat and too “let’s fix everything so that everybody can have a happy ending.” For me, The Gender Divide simply does not do its premise justice.

The Gender Divide rates 2.5 out of 5.

Full disclosure: the author sent the book to me.


John Scalzi: Old Man’s War

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine—and what he will become is far stranger.

I’m intrigued by this book.

I had to put it down halfway–the parents insisted because we had to have dinner–and I couldn’t wait to get back to it.

But what’s interesting isn’t what I liked about the book as much as why I liked the book despite it’s shortcomings: Old Man’s War a rather flatly written book.

Oh the characterization’s wonderful, the pacing is tight, the worldbuilding intricately executed…but it’s not a book that wows you with sheer impact, and I felt that the book was an almost too even keel.

Still, the protagonist, John Perry, made up for it. He has a wry and sometimes morbid sense of humor that makes his point of view (Old Man’s War is written in first person) a joy to read.

I’m definitely going to pick up the next book…and why did I take so long to pick this one up when I’ve been reading John Scalzi’s blog for so long?

Old Man’s War rates 4 out of 5.


KS Augustin: On Bliss

Hoara Felin thinks she’s in love. The problem is, the man she’s fallen in love with is forbidden to leave the planet. Plus, he’s not quite a man…Sub-Commander Hoara Felin of the Republic Space Fleet has crash-landed on a planet. Her ship is inoperable, her shipmates are dead. The only thing that can make a bad situation worse is finding she has crashed on the notorious prison-planet of Bliss—a place condemned criminals are sent…and never leave.She finds an unexpected ally in Toh, a handsome and caring man who treats her injuries and hides her from those who would hold an officer of the Space Fleet for ransom. But, as Hoara is about to find out, Toh is keeping a terrifying secret of his own.

KS Augustin has managed to pack quite a bit of conflict and worldbuilding into a little short story.

Part of it is simply her writing style, but a bigger part of it is simply that she’s got a knack for only giving us the necessary details that we can fill in the rest on our own.

I think where the book is weak is the romance plot. A lot of it has to do with the fact that Toh is a basically a blank canvas. It’s kind of hard to imagine someone falling in love with a blank canvas.

But I like her voice. I like her voice a lot, and with me, that’s practically be all and end all.

On Bliss rates 4 out of 5.


Megan Hart: Passion Model

When Recreational Intercourse Operative GMMA 03271971 drags a PSSN-M model Pleasurebot to an inspection station to check for a faulty ignition, she doesn’t expect his lovemaking to send her over the edge into the most explosive climax she’s ever had. But what she really doesn’t expect is to find the handsome bot is really a man. Declan has a secret, one that could get Gemma fired from R.I.O, or worse…maybe even killed.

FYI, Passion Model is nothing like Dirty, beyond also being told in first person from the heroine’s point of view. (Jane, you might even like this one, but enough on me harping about Megan Hart already, right? :D)

Gemma’s pretty tough. She got kicked in the teeth, and she got back up.

I had the same problem about the hero. Declan just doesn’t pop off the page, unlike heroine Gemma.

Otherwise, it’s a short, fun read. Oh and I really want to read more about the Keanicans!

This rates 4 out of 5.


SL Viehl: StarDoc

I loved this book. Can I say that again? I loved this book.

And I loved Cherijo.

It took me awhile to start the book. I read the first few pages, and well, there wasn’t anything that made me want to read the book. I mean, woman who’s planning to go on the run? What’s new about that?

But this is written by SL Viehl, after all. 🙂

This rates 5 out of 5.


Jordan Summers: Saber-Tooth

Kegar comes to Earth, and finds that his mate is a woman who thinks he’s a science experiment in the making.I honestly didn’t think it’d work.

But man, it does. Saber-tooth is a hot little novella, and if it was available in print, I’d tell you it make a great stocking stuffer for your best galpal. 😉 Or since it’s the season to spread joy, why not drop it in your best friend’s inbox?

This is for Angie‘s TBR Challenge.

This rates 4 out of 5.

PS This was a contest win.


Catherine Asaro: Primary Inversion

Asaro is one of the few SF novelists whose work I truly enjoy–and possibly the only one who wins or is nominated for awards like the Nebula or the Hugo,

Primary Inversion doesn’t disappoint. Even if I don’t understand the tech part of it–don’t worry, there isn’t much.

I highly recommend this book, whether you’re an SF fan or not. Also, there’s a romantic subplot that ends happily, if that helps you decide.


Vivi Anna: Hell Kat

Note: I have the original version as published by eXtasy Books. I believe the Aphrodisia version is revised.
I wasn’t expecting much from this book. Hot sex scenes loosely connected by a plotline was what I was looking for when I opened the book (or file, if you prefer).

The sex scenes weren’t very hot, the plot was okay and the characters were one-dimensional.

FYI, for those of you who believe romance needs a happy ending, Hell Kat doesn’t have one–my edition doesn’t, anyway.

It’s very sad, because I’ve seen Anna’s other blurbs, and it sounds like stuff I’d love to read.


SL Viehl: Bio Rescue

I’m not sure what the problem is, but it didn’t really work for me–it’s not the Sci-fi thing, since I’ve read Blade Dancer and loved it. I didn’t really ‘get’ Jadaira. It’s okay if I didn’t like her provided I understand her motivations. It’s just that for a soldier, she seems almost…childish and young.

Because of that, the relationship within her and the Guy didn’t quite work for me. Something was…off.

This definitely isn’t my favorite Viehl book.


Gena Showalter: Awaken Me Darkly

I think this book is better than Heart of the Dragon.

It stands out better, perhaps because AMD is written in first person and because Mia has Attitude. I do wish Mia wasn't "I look like a delicate little thing but I'm not" though.

I thought this was going to be a fun and sassy book, which it's not. That's a good thing, because I like darker books like this one much better.

I've read many first person romances where the other half seems two-dimensional next to the one in whose POV the book is written in. Doesn't happen here. 

Kyrin is his own person, not just the guy the author wants Mia to hook up with. I wonder if his sister is going to get her own story. I'd like that. 

And I like how Gena dealt with the soulmate/destiny/we're meant to be forever thing–read the book to find out. Different, but good.

This series is something to look forward to if you're into light SF romance.


Deidre Knight: Parallel Attraction

I don't typically like time machine books (you'll understand when you read it) because there's always the feeling, "if anything goes wrong, you can just try again."

But writing was good enough to distract me from that for the most part. Deidre has studied her craft, and it shows.

And Deidre has a really nifty trick: She describes Kelsey in Jared's POV, which means that she can describe Kelsey as totally gorgeous, without going either "I know I'm gorgeous" or "I know I'm not gorgeous but I actually am" route. Also, this is the second romance in a row when I was more interested in the bad guy than I was in the hero. Luckily, he's the star of the next book.

Which I'm getting, by the way. So if you're a para fan, you probably should get this book. Might not be a keeper, but it's definitely a lot better than some of the paras out there.

PS She is the Knight of The Knight Agency.