Tag Archives: Sci Fi

The Martian by Andy Weir #review

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I’m stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I’m screwed.

I loved this story. Stranded on Mars and astronaut Mark Watney has the most entertaining journal entries ever. The science may be good bad accurate I don’t know and won’t pretend to know. The character of Mark Watney however is brilliant. Told from his point of view via journal entries and rarely that of Nasa I can’t describe how much of a fan girl of Andy Weir I’ve become. His writing is great, characters also. Funny and witty, he’s a great guy and with McGyver like fix it skills we or at least I became absorbed in Marks journey to survive. I can’t recommend this sci-fi adventure thriller enough.

The Explorer by James Smythe #review

This book as with quite a few recently I blame my fascination on because of blogger Michael of Literary Explorer. Michael has a literary explorer challenge that I’ve joined and as they are genre I had planned to read anyway well I’ve cheated and joined what I like to think/hope will be an easy challenge. I say that but keep failing my reading challenges so we shall see.

Back to the book. Michael has quite interesting taste in his reads and I for one have dubbed him my guru because he has recommended so many wonderful reads to me. Burial Rites which I actually won on his blog was one of my fave reads of last year such brilliant work that when he said this one was great and after reading the blurb well I didn’t argue I checked my library and snatched up my own copy. I’ll be reading book two The Echo very soon.

James Smythe

 

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A tense, claustrophobic and gripping science fiction thriller from the author of The Testimony.

When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers.

But in space, nothing goes according to plan.

The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.

But as the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself alone and spiralling towards his own inevitable death … unless he can do something to stop it.

I enjoyed this one immensely. It is a book about an exploration expedition into space. Go see what is out there. Ahhh how I love this subject. I’d hop on one myself if it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t pay off the Russians, NASA is not doing any missions okay and I’m not an astronaut. Pity.

We have our crew and our protagonist, Cormac. He is a journalist picked to document the journey and blog it, write it, record it and share it with the world. The story is told by Cormac from his experience on board to how the crew got to know each other during training. You really get to know the others as Cormac tells a good story. Then there is an event. Can’t say what it would give a major story line away suffice it to say holy crap! Then well I can’t really say its a book that is hard to review without giving away giant details that you don’t want to share as its what makes it a great read.

You empathise, sympathise, there is shock – awe – disbelief. It is a book that I enjoyed in the beginning then when the “thing” happened that I can’t share I sat there with the book mesmerised I had enjoyed it up till then and from then on I just turned the page faster and faster because the story became amazing. I have read some great reads recently but this book had me mesmerised and that hasn’t happened in quite some time. I just had to know I had to find out Cormac’s story.

If you enjoy literary thrillers, mystery some sci fi read this. Even if that isn’t your usual read I recommend this one because this is a book worth reading. A must for the TBR and in fact bump the others and read this. You will not be sorry.

The Explorer is the first in The Anomaly Quartet series and is available in print and ebook. Book two The Echo is also available

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer review

I wrote quite the gushy review of book one in the Lunar Chronicles series Cinder. An excellent start to a series, it was a sci-fi, YA read with a fairy tale spin. Cinderella like it was but also weaving quite the futuristic tale with excellent characters.

Marissa Meyer

 

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth…

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

 

I was looking forward to Scarlet, what kind of sequel was I in for I wondered. A good one, this however was more Little Red Riding Hood focused. While enjoyable it was no Cinder a hard one to top for sure.

Scarlet has rather slow pacing and being a rather long book it was some time before anything happened. At first I kept wondering who this Scarlet was, where is my Cinder I want to know about her. The perceptive would switch between between the two and in time Scarlet came to grow on me. Her love for her grandmother who had gone missing and then love interest Wolf coming into the picture but again with the pacing I did not blaze through this one.

Cinder was busy escaping from prison and had a new sidekick, Scarlet was trying to figure out where her grand-mere had disappeared to and this happened over about 400 pages. The last 50 or so was finally when the two met up and we got to know exactly how it is that Scarlet was relevant to Cinder’s story.

I enjoyed this one and naturally want to know how book 3 will turn out. Due to the pacing of this one though I shall wait for book 4 which I believe will be the last in the series and then reread the first two followed by book 3 and 4 as the long gaps between sequels makes for the occasional confusing moment.

Marissa Meyer has created an excellent series and I am hooked on the story. Book two is not as good as book one but I shall see the series through because Cinder is a character who’s story I must know.

Ninety-Five Percent Human by Suzanna Williams book tour

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Welcome to the Ninety-Five Percent Human book tour. Written by author Suzanna Williams this book is YA/sci-fi and the first book in a 2 part series. Thank you to Suzanna for the interview.

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Teenager, Joe Kendrick, thinks he’s got problems. The farm he’s looked after since his father’s suicide is failing and his brother wants to sell it, his girlfriend has dumped him and his normally down-to-earth Nan starts muttering about seeing UFO’s. And all Joe wants is to live a ‘normal’ life.

Then he saves suicidal stranger Sarah from drowning. What Joe doesn’t know is that Sarah is a human/alien hybrid, sent to test viability of life on Earth, and, as she’s survived, hostile aliens are already planning their attack.

Ninety-five percent Human is the first in a two book, sci-fi adventure set amongst the Welsh mountains.

 

 

  1. Thanks for taking part in the interrogation Suzanna, can you share something about you that no one know? –

I’m a bit OCD about cleaning my teeth: can’t stand eating and not brushing and I’ve actually worn part of my front tooth away.

  1. What book are you reading now? –

I’m reading ‘A Million Suns’ by Beth Revis. I loved ‘Across the Universe’ and, so far, it isn’t suffering from middle-book syndrome.

  1. What are some of your favourite books and who are your favourite authors? –

Normally, I don’t admit to having a favourite author. Sometimes an author writes a great book I love, sometimes they don’t. But these are the books I’d pack to take on holiday.

Where She Went, by Gayle Forman. Six Years, by Harlan Coben. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.

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  1. What book are you dying to get your hands on? –

I’m excited that Champion, the final book in Marie Lu’s Legend series, is coming out in November. I have to admit I was starting to get a little fed-up with Day’s I’m-not-good-enough-for-June-self-doubt-wingeing in Prodigy and I didn’t like the ending much, but I’m hoping Champion can turn things around and be as great as Legend was.

  1. What is your work space and writing routine like? –

My best writing time is in the morning. I like to get up early and write before I get distracted by boring ‘ordinary life’ stuff, like work. I have a little office with a desk but I mostly sit on my comfy chair with my laptop.

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  1. For those not familiar with your work what do readers have to look forward to? –

I like to imagine all those ‘normal’ people you see in the street everyday have dark secrets and wild talents, so in my books you will find extraordinary things happening in ordinary places. I mean, can you really be sure that your best friend isn’t telepathic and knows exactly what you’re thinking? Or that neighbour who just moved across the street isn’t from another planet?

My book characters need to have a really hard time, fighting impossible physical and mental odds, and I also prefer Romeo and Juliet stories to love triangles.

So that’s what you get, with me.

  1. Do you ever think you’ll try writing a different kind of genre? –

Well, I’ve had an idea for a new book rattling round my head for a while now. The protagonist will be more NA than YA but it’s a sci-fi time-slip adventure. However, I want to finish the series I’m currently writing before I move on. Wish I could write faster.

  1. What kind of reaction do you think you’d have should you meet an alien? Take it to your leader, invite it home for dinner perhaps? –

That would depend on the alien.

If it was a normal-looking, friendly type of alien, I would definitely invite it for dinner and insist it tell me all about the planets it had visited and what it’s like travelling through space. I probably wouldn’t take it to any Earth leader because I couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t want to annihilate it.

However, if it was the ten-feet tall, green, slimy, human-eating sort of creature, I’d probably scream like a girl and head for the hills.

  1. Can you tell me about Ninety-five Percent Human please? –

Ninety-five percent Human is a YA sci-fi about sixteen year old Joe Kendrick, living on a struggling Welsh hill farm, who saves a girl from drowning only to discover that she’s a human/alien hybrid from another planet sent to test the viability of life on Earth. As she’s survived, the aliens are planning their take-over … which kind of makes Joe responsible for the impending invasion and death of the human race … and he thought running the farm after his father’s suicide was tough going.

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  1. What do you have planned next for readers? – 

I am writing notes for the sequel to Ninety-five percent Human. I do a lot of plotting before attempting a first draft. But I am also writing the second book in my ShockWaves trilogy. ShockWaves is action-adventure with a telepathic twist, full of parkour and crazy car chases. I’m having fun with that.

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Suzanna Williams is a perpetually eighteen year old YA author who lives in the wild, wet, Welsh borderlands surrounded by ruined medieval castles and Celtic mythology where she looks for UFO’s amongst the stars and imagines all the people she meets have dark secrets.
When she is not inventing radical problems for her unsuspecting heroes and plotting their escape, Suzanna is a serial collector of random badly paying jobs and has never found a use for her BSc in Psychology whatsoever.
As a child, Suzanna filled notebook after notebook with stories and her first taste of writing success was a poem published in the local newspaper aged just nine years old. She has written and directed several plays and pantomimes before publishing her debut novel, ShockWaves, in 2012.
Suzanna loves sci-fi action adventures, playing the piano, believes Romeo and Juliet should have talked more and considers sarcasm to be the highest form of wit.
She has a daughter who is a drummer, another daughter who is a driving instructor, a son who is a dancer and a ‘nearly’ grandson she’s dying to meet.

Suzanna can be found on her web site / Facebook / Twitter / You Tube

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Author SF Chapman interview

The Ripple In Space Time is a great bit of sci-fi that has received some high praise from readers. I’ve gotten to interview the author and share about him and his book.

 

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Inspector Ryo Trop of the Free City Inquisitor’s Office is called in when the Lunar Ultra Energy Lab is destroyed by a mysterious blast.

Ryo quickly discovers that a complex and sinister scheme is afoot as he searches for clues in the moldering feudal fiefdoms of the Warlords that dominate human affairs in 2445.

As he struggles with the difficult case, the same question keeps popping up: Could the recent wave of space piracy be connected to the disaster?

 

 

What is something about you that no one knows?

Let’s see; something about me that no one knows about yet… I sing to myself when I’m alone, mainly in the car and the shower.

I suspect that I’m not the only one with this habit.

My sixteen-year-old daughter is well aware of my crooning and sometimes we sing duets of old musical numbers when I drive her home from school.

I guess it’s not too strange; my 81 year old mother is a big part of a choral group that performs all over the Bay Area. She’s constantly trying to recruit me into the baritone section.

Who are your favorite authors?

Always a toughie to answer; today I would pick some of the old classic Science Fiction writers such as Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Arthur C. Clarke, Joanna Russ, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, but the list would certainly be different tomorrow.

What are you reading now?

I’m mainly reading my own stuff right now. I am currently editing four different books; one of which, On the Back of the Beast, will publish later this year. I’m sorry to say that there’s not much time to read other people’s work.

I do have a tall stack of books patiently awaiting my attention which includes The Sausage Maker’s Daughters by AGS Johnson, Who’s Your Daddy, Baby by Lisa Pell, several books by AJ Scudiere and many others.

What is your work space and writing routine like?

I nearly always write in the AM hours.

I’m a terrible insomniac and I often awake at 2 in the morning and plunk down on a soft sofa in the living room with my ancient laptop to write for several hours. I have breakfast at 6 which is usually a bowl of Rice Krispies or Cheerios, a tall glass of orange juice and two cups of very strong coffee, which may explain the insomnia.

I read most of the San Francisco Chronicle and tend to laundry and the needs of my various house pets.

I taxi my daughter to high school at 7:15.

At about 9 AM I return to the sofa and write until lunchtime.

I work on editing during most afternoons until 3 or 4.

My giant gray tabby cat watches over my work like a stern overseer from the other end of the sofa.

What is it about sci fi that appeals to you?

I’m quite fond of putting rather ordinary people in to difficult and extraordinary situations. This generally works out to be a good thing in real life as well as in fiction. Most people struggle with the unusual predicaments but eventually become better creatures for it. Nearly everyone changes during the experience.

Science Fiction is an especially good medium to illustrate that transition.

Fave sci fi read?

My favorite Science Fiction novel is Niven and Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer, which fits right in with my love of putting people into perilous predicaments. I’ve also read Steven King’s The Stand many times for the same reason, although I generally skip over several chapters near the end.

What was the inspiration behind The Ripple in Space-Time?

Once in a while a book title pops into my head, The Ripple in Space-Time started out that way. That little string of words looked and sounded fascinating so I decided to write a first chapter befitting that jewel of a title.

Around the same time that I came up with the title, I was watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and a series of video lectures on Physics from Cal Tech called The Mechanical Universe. All of these diverse pieces came together as I started The Ripple in Space-Time. Isaac Asimov’s nonfiction book Atom: A Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos greatly influenced the process as well.

As I wrote, I visualized The Ripple in Space-Time as a stark Film Noir-like tale with lots of action and treachery.

I have an upcoming Science Fiction series that is set in the far future of which I’ve completed three volumes to date. Several of the characters from that series found their way through an unusual twist into The Ripple in Space-Time as a sort of prequel to the future novels.

What do you have planned next for readers to enjoy?

I have a great many books awaiting publication in the next few years.

My next novel On the Back of the Beast is about a natural disaster in the San Francisco Bay Area and how it affects several people. I am currently writing a Literary Fiction account about homelessness called The Missive in the Margins and I’m editing a sequel to The Ripple in Space-Time entitled Torn From On High.

And so the adventure continues….

 

You can find more about The Ripple In Space-Time and SF Chapman

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