Red Moon – Kim Stanley Robinson


Any time I hear Kim has a new book it’s an auto purchase for me, no need to even read the blurb. After so many hits I just know whatever story he tackles next will be great and this book is no exception.

An interesting observation I noticed while reading this book was that I do find it quite interesting how books and movies and their choices in protagonists change over the years. Back in the 80s, the baddies were always Russians but now we see the Chinese being used more and more, no doubt a reflection of US politics. This change is a mixed bag in my mind, while I do enjoy the chance to explore characters of different backgrounds, it’s the names I struggle with. I’m completely clueless when it comes to their naming conventions and pronunciations, which leaves me unable to fully immerse myself in the characters. Hopefully, increased exposure to these types of characters may sort that out but only time will tell.

The best part of Kim’s stories is that they are always dosed with a touch of reality, the stories really feel like they could happen. I can fully see the Chinese sending people to the moon and that in turn starting another space race with the USA, so for the book to have this idea as the backbone of the story was great and easy to digest.

A simple technician (Fred) on an almost routine trip to deliver a product to the moon gets involved unknowingly in an assassination plot. Colour me intrigued. From there it’s a quick jump into political instability, power struggle and coup-de-tats, which seems more important than one of the main characters who might be the first to give birth on the moon, Chan Qi. While I thought Fred and Chan Qi were the main characters the events back on earth seem to overshadow the idea of a human born on the moon, with that story being given only a few lines, to my great annoyance.

That aside I really loved the political flavour of this story, trying to figure out along with the main characters what was going on and who was involved was quite a bit of fun. Definitely more of a political thriller than a sci-fi story but a great read nonetheless. I might even have a look at trying to read some more political thrillers now


Ascendance – John Birmingham

Ascendance – John Birmingham

Since i found out the author wrote these books at the same time, it stands to reason i should read them at the same time. The story flows from one book directly into the next. i was initially worried that this book would wrap up the series and that would be the end. which would be a shame as i have really enjoyed this story. As funny as it seems i really like the main character Dave, Don’t get me wrong he is a womanizing lowlife who should treat his wife better.but i think its something about how he isn’t the perfect hero, he is just an ordinary man with ordinary problems and suddenly becoming a superhero doesn’t wash them away

Dave screws up big time and allows a high level Government agent to get captured, The Hunn (they are pretty much orcs) then use his knowledge to launch an attack on civilian populations around the world. In New York Dave finds another like him a Russian spy who’s magical weapon is a samurai sword. As the Hunn’s tactics get smarter Dave begins to understand their goal. Realizing his family is in trouble he heads off to save them with his superhero friend in tow

The battle that follows as he tries to save his family has quite a surprising conclusion and it really leaves the door open for more Dave Hooper books well at least i hope so!

Resistance – John Birmingham

Resistance – John Birmingham

Just couldn’t put down the previous book in this series, so i thought there was no point mucking around and dived right into the next one. The story picks up pretty much right after the previous one with Dave still coming to terms with his new superhero status. Monsters and orcs are nothing compared to his next foe….. a divorce lawyer. With the world under attack with multiple sites of Orc attacking cities, his wife still finds time to get a divorce lawyer. i guess thats a priority for some people. but before Dave can deal with that situation he is called upon to help break a siege

The orcs are camped outside of Omaha but aren’t attacking they wish to negotiate? Military commanders just want to decimate the group of orcs just sitting out in the open, but their leaders are curious as to what the orcs want. On a separate note these military commanders aren’t as gung-ho as i thought they would be. they seem quite rational. and on a separate even more puzzling note it is mentioned that China asked the US to nuke a city under attack by Orcs. Doesn’t china have nukes? why would they get the US to do it. No surprise the US is happy to abligde

Everything is complicated further when Dragons start popping up. well not really dragons they have some other name but essentially a dragon. they even take down the Vice presidents plane. Its another great read with lots of humour no thanks to Dave’s new lawyer who not only deals with the divorce issue, but smashes out movie deals and and arranges dinner with brad pit to discuss the role.

Going to jump straight into the next one for sure

Emergence – John Birmingham

Emergence – John Birmingham
I picked this up not just because of the cool cover but because i’m a fan of some of the authors other works. However i found out quite quickly this book inst quite in the same vein as his others
Here we have a story of Dave an alcoholic, womanizing, almost divorcee who works on an oil rig. Dealing with a major hangover he is being flown back to the rig after enjoying some time off.
When he gets to the rig he finds it under attack by orcs ( for the lack of a better word). They are actually called the Hunn but the description pretty much matches any fantasy story’s Orc. And in the process of killing his first orc which turns out to be the leader he somehow gets that’s orcs memories and gets turned into a super hero.
Don’t laugh, i’m not joking that’s what happens. Now he is thrust into the spotlight due to his powers gaining quite a media spotlight but when the orcs come back for more what will Dave do.
As weird as it sounds its actually a great read. Quite different from his other works but still worth it. In fact it’s the start of a series so i have already bought the next 2

Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes

Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes

Oh man what a read this was. Some people get so touchy on this subject but damn it was a funny read. Hitler wakes up in a field in Germany in 2011, still in his uniform with no recollection of his last moments in the bunker in 1945.

What then follows is Hitler’s discovery of the modern Germany and surprise surprise he doesn’t like it and starts on his usual rhetoric. However this time instead of flat out blaming the Jews he targets more modern enemies. Soon people start to take notice but here’s the kicker instead of taking him seriously they think he is a satirical comedian and praise him as such. Soon he has his own TV show and YouTube channel.

Sometimes the topic of Hitler can be taboo as some people quite naturally are very sensitive to this topic but i find that its the Germans who crack the best Hitler jokes and this book is right up there. So many funny fish out of water moments, like Hitler discovering the joys of Wikipedia and the internet to him struggling  to decide a ring tone  for his phone.

What adds realism to this story is the author has done his research quite thoroughly the names, places and events Hitler talks about are real and factual. There is even a section in the back of the book that lists all the Nazis Hitler refers to in this book and describes them and when/if the were trialed at Nuremberg.

To be honest there are people who will be offended by this book in fact the author inserts one of these people into the story. But sometimes peoples hate blinds them so much from the truth. The truth is The author isn’t glamorizing Hitler. He isn’t saying he was good or asking us to forget the past.  He is simply putting an historical person in modern day times and letting the madness ensue

Great unique read. in fact i just couldn’t put it down. Dont read this if you don’t have a sense of humour