Castle Librarian

Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

Disappointing Department 19

In Book Review on September 12, 2015 at 4:02 am

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Department 19

Will teen age boys like this? Yes. Will I donate it to my library? Yes. Will I recommend it? Unlikely. Is it good writing? No, most definitely, not.

It seems more like Mr. Hill was trying to write an action film. An action film that went on, and on, and on. It is a string of wild goose chases (and cliches). By page 275, I had figured out who the traitor was, but had to slog through 176 more pages for the reveal. Then, it was a Dr. Evil “blah, blah, blah” style explanation of how he had betrayed them and why repeating everything that the reader already knew.

I’m a bit surprised that it didn’t start with “It was a dark and stormy night…” It did have phases like “blood soaked room” and a three paragraph long description of a helicopter landing. There is a great deal of unnecessary description which I found tedious. Description was often lame. “Standing over Stevenson was a huge grey wolf, as large as a small car.” He seemed to think that the reader needed to know the gender and age of minor vampires at the moment they were staked. “The projectile flew high, tearing off the upper half of the head of a vampire man in his twenties.” How is that relevant information?

During the last 100 pages, I became convinced that Mr. Hill hadn’t read his own writing. During the discovery of the aftermath of the attack on the Russian base, he describes how the blood has soaked through the snow that has fallen since the attack, but the Director stumbles on the first corpse which is covered by snow which has somehow NOT been soaked with the blood of the corpse below it, even though the blood is pooled around the corpse. Which is it?

There was an interesting story hidden in there, but a serious editing would have helped. Unfortunately, it seems that editors at publishing houses don’t actually edit anything. A good story requires interesting ideas, but the execution should result in a pleasant reading experience. This was not pleasant.

However, teenage boys who like monsters, action and shoot-em-up plot lines will love this.

Earth Girl

In Book Review on December 13, 2014 at 10:43 am

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Earth Girl

Jarra lives 800 years in the future. The world has changed significantly due to the invention of teleportation. Earth has been nearly depopulated. Most residents moved off world to populate many planets more hospitable than Earth. However, not everyone can live off-world. One in a thousand children are born with immune system problems that make it impossible for them to live anywhere but Earth. Our heroine is one of these children.

The primary career tracks on Earth are history/archaeology or the health care/education system related to the children who are “handicapped” by their immune systems. Jarra has a strong interest in history, but she also has a bit of a rebellious spirit and a chip on her shoulder. She doesn’t want to just go to an Earth university to study archaeology with other handicapped students. She wants to prove a point. She wants to stick it to those “exos” who look down on “apes” like her. Therefore, she applies to an off-world university planning only to attend for the first year, the classes of which are held on Earth. A long string of adventures ensue.

I enjoyed this book. It actually took a few unpredictable twists that I didn’t expect, which is unusual. I was able to sympathize with the main character.

The future world was interesting. The ability to teleport between Earth cities, as well as between worlds, made land and air transport nearly non-existent. The archaeology teams used slow moving hover vehicles for excavation and transport, but high speed automobiles were antiquated. Small two person airplanes were still being used for arial surveying, but airliners were a thing of the distant past.

The future world that Edwards builds is very civilized, to the point of being a bit unbelievable. The timeline includes a 100 year period called the Exodus when most of the population left Earth. Some didn’t want to go off-world, but were motivated by the increasing crime and gang violence. Somewhere between the Exodus and the time of our heroine, the crime and gangs disappeared. As the characters worked to excavate the ruins of New York, I expected them to encounter some renegades living in the subways. Surely, there would be some outsiders. Despite the utter disruption of life on Earth, everyone has turned out to be civilized and happy to conform. The military was completely de-politicized, objective, and ethical. Their sole functions were to explore and secure future worlds for colonization and to run all the solar power generation facilities. It was refreshing that this book wasn’t another dystopia (ala Hunger Games or Divergent), but the lack of discord was a bit hard to believe.

This book satisfied my interest in science fiction and archaeology, although the archaeology is more like search and rescue than historical discovery. It was worth reading and I enjoyed it. I will read the sequels and any others that follow.

Edwards, Janet. Earth Girl. London: Harper Voyager, 2012. Print. 978-0007443499