Review: Nightmare Planet by

Publisher: Endeavor Press

Publishing Date: 1976

ISBN: 9780709154495

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.6/5

Publishers Description: A seemingly endless mission…That is, until, an uncharted planetary system appears between them and the Brontus Major Constellation. Why does it not show up on their scanners? And what are the strange missile silos doing around the planetary system? Kyle decides their only course of action is to send out a search party to try to find out what forms of life are there. However, when they lose contact with the search party they realise something must be wrong.

Review: An antiquated style of Science Fiction that is more Pulp Noir than hard science. Hard nosed Captain Kyle is driven on many levels one of which is his huge ego and his ever present “hunches” that seem to save the day for everyone. Except the guards that are killed like the red shirts on Star Trek. The aliens were not very well thought out, especially this invisible hovering presence that is menacing and intelligent. There is a hottie professor that should have been thrown in the brig for her constant inability to follow orders plus the other Space Family Robinson retinue that we have come to expect.

Still it held my attention as the world building is good enough to transport to another place and time. The worst part about this novel is that everyone speaks in exclamation points!!

Review: Zero Hour by Eamon Ambrose

Publisher: Eamon Ambrose

Publishing Date: October 2016

ISBN: 9781540345592

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.6/5

Publishers Description: A sole survivor. A quest for answers. A deadly race against time. Nothing is as it seems, in this daring robo-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure from Irish debut author Eamon Ambrose. Already a bestselling serial, Zero Hour is now collected in a single volume at a reduced price.

Review: A futuristic look down the post-apocalyptic road. Androids and robots with transferred humans residing within and killer robots on the verge of sentience.

This was a pretty fun read. Compelling characters and a quickly paced story line made for a late night.  Get this, you won’t be disappointed.

Review: Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom by Bradley W. Schenck

 

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: June 2017

ISBN: 9780765383297

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: If Fritz Lang’s Metropolis somehow mated with Futurama, their mutant offspring might well be Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom. Inspired by the future imagined in the 1939 World Fair, this hilarious, beautifully illustrated adventure by writer and artist Bradley W. Schenck is utterly unlike anything else in science fiction: a gonzo, totally bonkers, gut-busting look at the World of Tomorrow, populated with dashing, bubble-helmeted heroes, faithful robot sidekicks, mad scientists, plucky rocket engineers, sassy switchboard operators, space pirates, and much, much more—enhanced throughout by two dozen astonishing illustrations.

Review: The writing is pretty good in what I assume may be a series if the ending is any indication. Where the novel falls down is in it’s length. It is overly long and drawn out to the point that you are soon page flipping over the irrelevant parts and focusing on the chapters that have the best characterization.  Aunt Lillian should of had a larger role in the storyline as she was at once interesting and eclectic. The Douglas Adams approach at world building is  quaint and mildly humorous but has been overly done.

Edit out the numerous and unnecessary characters and place the focus on Dash Kent’s escapades and you have a winner.  

Review: Grond The Raven High by Yuri Hamaganov

Publisher: Yuri Hamaganov

Publishing Date: February 2017

ISBN: 9783452740812

Genre: SciFi / YA

Rating: 3.7/5

Publishers Description: In the year 2086, Earth is exhausted. The seas have been emptied, the bedrock and soil stripped of their resources, and the superheated atmosphere churns with terrible storms. Those who can afford to do so live in the limbo of virtual reality, and the billions who suffer in poverty have no work, no clean water, and no security from the chaos.

Review: Olga is super smart, super hot, super athletic and soon to be super rich. She is so fine that she nearly blew my mind (hey Mickey) and all this at the age of 10. An advanced human trained from an early age to run a manufacturing plant in Earth orbit, Olga is everything that you want to be but couldn’t because you suck comparatively. At the ripe old age of 10, Olga has the body of a young 20-something as they grow em fast in space.

So why do I like this novel so much? Refreshing SciFi, like a spring breeze blowing across your body while drinking in the scents of life. Yeah, like that. And dammit, I liked Olga. She was made speshul but those were just circumstances out of her control and behaves accordingly.  She has no feeling for her birth family but loves the cyborg that raised her in space.

I had a good time reading this and wouldn’t hesitate to catch the next in series. Because you just can’t end a novel like that.

Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9781101886724

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.0/5

Publishers Description: As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer now than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Review: I really want to like this series as the writing is really good. It is that dam interview format that rears its head, again, in this robotic installment of a future Earth.

Much like Sleeping Giants, this novel was steeped in heavy dialogue with a sometimes rapid fire exchange without embellishment. This style made for easier reading rather than trudging through the “He said/She mumbled/said softly” phrasing expediters. In the end, I am again ambivalent about this series, yet I have high hopes that the author will connect with the populace in a more visceral way.

Review: Chipped by David Olansky

Publisher: Booklogix

Publishing Date: February 2017

ISBN: 9781610057417

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.6/5

Publishers Description: What if there were a way to become faster, stronger, smarter, better? To achieve every task you’ve ever set your mind to? What if you could finally reach your ideal weight, master any language, or kick that one bad habit that’s been standing in your way—all at the cost of a chip in your brain. With the advent of a revolutionary neurosurgical procedure, the Chipped Program represents all the potential that humanity can achieve—for better and for worse.

Review: If I was a publisher seeking to rebrand this concept, I would first call it “The Burgeoning”. Except it never reaches fruition but rather languishes in an oratory state of incompletion. This compounded narrative that discusses and explains every nuance of chip technology wears on the reader because it is constant and subsumes the entirety of the novel. There are instances where you can breath free of the cloying narrative and endless dialogue but those moments are fleeting.

The opening chapters hook you because the social commentary has some funny moments. The humor soon seems forced and is lacking in brevity. There is a distinct and glaring absence of movement that leaves every character flatter than a roadside squirrel. Because of this, emotional outbursts and over-the-top personalities are used as development vehicles.

While the writing is good and thought provoking, it just wasn’t for me. I would have rated this work really low (1 star), but to be fair I think there is a larger audience that will enjoy it.

Review: The Clock Work Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson

Publisher: Doubleday

Publishing Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9780385541787

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.9/5

Publishers Description: In the rugged landscape of eastern Oregon, a young scientist named June uncovers an exquisite artifact—a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll whose existence seems to validate her obsession with a harrowing story she was told by her grandfather many years earlier. The mechanical doll, June believes, is proof of a living race of automatons that walk undetected among us to this day. Ingeniously hidden inside the ancient doll is a lost message, addressed to the court of Peter the Great, czar of Russia.

Review: Ah June, where is thy sting? Much of this novel is a kind of see-saw through time; World War 1, the era of Catherine the Great, 3,000 B.C. China and on to the present.  Very interesting historical fiction with animated robots infused into the story line. Then onto the present and, well June. You just can’t connect with June for a variety of reasons. She lacks depth in that she never develops outside of her persona as a doll fixer/post-doc something/curious childhood to adult…thing. She is like a blank canvas that was never filled. She rants and says “Fuck” a few times and curls into fetal positions in tense situations but can kill a robot with superhuman strength. Although there is a ton of movement in this novel, June just seems to be along for the ride.

Peter and his world of anima-infused ancient robots was really interesting. Coupled with a great story line, constant movement and Peter’s ability to grow (albeit slowly) with said movement, made for a great read. His life leading up to the present was riveting in that the story told within pinnacle moments of history held you captivated. His constant internal struggle implementing the “Word” drives this novels world building. In a way, he is much like  Frankenstein. While June could have been built better and not just as some piece of fluff expediting the scenes, the rest of the players are riveting as they abide through time recounting their lives.