Red Moon – Kim Stanley Robinson

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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

 

Star Wars Catalyst – James Luceno

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This book is sort of a prequel to Rogue One, in which we see the prcoess in how the death star was constructed and the troubles along the way. We follow krennic as he manipulates Galen Orso into helping power the weapon. Outside of being  a prelude to Rogue One it doesn’t really add anything into the mythology of Star Wars.  It is a rather poor story when it stands on its own, plus there are no Jedi in it! It obviously serves as a necessary source of info for Rogue One since that movie introduces a lot of new faces that we have never met and portrays alot of information and back story that can’t be placed into a movies flashback scenes

I just failed to really get hooked by this book, which is disapointing as im a big star wars fan. Further cementing my view that movie tie-ins are never a good idea

Odessa Sea – Clive Cussler

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Picking up a book by your favourite author is like sliding into a warm bed in winter or that first sip of beer on a hot Australian summer day, its just fantastic. Speaking of which it is 42 ° C   (or 107 F) to you crazy yanks.

Another solid entry into the Dirk Pitt series (its number 24 by the way) It ha been 2 years since out last adventure with these heroes and after the first few pages it feels like no time has passed at all. With the introduction of his long lost kids a few books back they pretty much are in all the books now and its sticks to the same formula, the kids have one plot and Pitt has another but by the end it turns out they are intertwined. This is normally done well but this time each plot for me just felt forced, like they each could have been their own book since the connection wasn’t that strong at all, each could function without the other.

It was however refreshing to see that the crew on the NUMA vessel’s which normally are treated like red shirts from star trek (ie canon fodder) were actually treated like people for once and not just killed off.

I do like how his books always seem to include some real life event in them kind of ties them down to a specific time frame. For this one we deal with the Russian invasion and take over of the Crimea Peninsula
With his multitude of series running and it is no surprise that sometimes things feel “familiar” but that doesn’t deter you from enjoying the ride. Bring on book #25

Vostok – By Steve Alten

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Vostok is the sequel to the loch, which in turn was a spin off from the Meg series. This book is a crossover story with the characters from the Loch returning but also involving the main characters from the Meg series as well. This book is also a prequel to the 5th book in the Meg series.

The sad reality is this book was so bad I think i’ll be breaking my mantra of always finishing a series I start. It was so bad I cant even bring myself to keep it on my bookshelf. The book starts off not too bad and based on the real world. Follows on from the discovery of a lake underneath Antarctica (lake Vostok is actually real) The main character from the Loch is called in to go down and explore this lake and see what is down there. Everything continues on much like any adventure novel but then halfway its like the author had a stroke and everything changes.

We go from exploring a underground lake to dealing with aliens and time travel abilities, like what?  I can only image the author went on an acid trip halfway through writing this. Nothing can explain the so sudden and abrupt change in story, the pace, theme and concept is just thrown out the window so the author can go on a conspiracy nut job wet dream exposition of secret governments and aliens in collusion with them.  Even now as I sit here writing this I cant even understand how his publisher agreed to print this. Its was so bad, and not like a “B” grade movie, where they are so bad its good, this was so bad its bad. If there could be a surgery where I can remove the memories of me reading this book I would do it in a heart beat. I just cant explain enough just how crazy and messed up this book was. If anyone out there even considers buying this book all i can suggest is rip it in half, the first half is good,  The second half can be used as toilet paper.
All I wanted was a nice “scary sea monster” read. I most certainly did not in any way want the acid trip of  gobbledegook that this book turned into

Steve Alten you are now barred from my bookshelves, please don’t write any more books until you get checked out by a doctor

Star Wars Aftermath:Life Debt – Chuck Wendig

Star Wars Aftermath:Life Debt – Chuck Wendig

The second part of a trilogy set months after Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. While the story isn’t to bad, this book trilogy plus the many others released since Disney took over really shows the new direction Disney is taking Star Wars.

Star Wars used to be for all ages, there were the movies of course but then there were the two Ewok movies for kids/families, plenty of computer games and numerous expanded universe books. These books were detailed and many were parts of series. It didn’t matter your age, there was something to cater to your star wars needs

But with Disney taking over if you want your Star Wars fix you have the choice of the following

Rebel cartoon series

Children’s adventure stories – letting you know what the main characters got up to between Ep 6-7

Numerous young adult novels

They have been a few books released for adults but all of them just like this read more like young adult novels, the level of detail and depth just isn’t there anymore. This saddens me, it shows Disney sees Star Wars as a kids market only.

I have nothing against the young adult genre, i just personally don’t like it not just because i’m not a teenager but because i crave books with detail and young adults books don’t have that, they are short in length much like a teenagers attention span. While i crave tomes like Tom Clancy novels or A Song of Ice and Fire.

I just wish Disney would stop dumbing down Star Wars and Release some decent Adult level Fiction

 

 

Star Wars: Bloodline – Claudia Gray

Star Wars: Bloodline – Claudia Gray
Was hyped up as a huge release, yet in my mind falls short. Doesn’t have any big revelations that you would hope for due to the massive time gap between Episode 6 and 7 i need more info than this book offers. The book is set 6 years prior to Episode 7 and follows Princess Leia as she deals with threats inside and external to the Republic. First of all how is she still a Princess if her entire planet is destroyed? She is a senator and begins to suspect of a plot to destroy the Republic which leads her down a path which by the end of the book creates The Resistance, as seen in Episode 7
It seems their plan is to offer info up over a slow feed of books over the coming months. This is immensely frustrating but a i guess they see it as a good marketing ploy as it forces me to buy all their books. This just furthers my dislike of Disney as i already see them as an evil  money hungry greedy capitalist monstrosity. I really wish they would stop trying to dumb down Star Wars into some damn teenage drama, i want my violence and severed limbs back and i want the timeline of events between Episode 6 and 7 filled in , not slowly added to over 3 years #rantover

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Alan Dean Foster, Greg Rucka

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Alan Dean Foster, Greg Rucka
Much like everyone else who is a fan of Star Wars after seeing Episode 7 we were left with a lot of questions. I knew of their big marketing push on books called “The journey to Force Awakens” and had already bought one from that lineup “Aftermath” but the problem i faced was it didn’t answer anything from the movie since it was set 29 years before the movie. It was the ONLY novel in the initial release as well, The rest were children short stories, comics, graphic novels and young adult fiction. Nothing for adults so i was immensely disappointed. The Episode 7 novelization wasn’t due out for a few more weeks so i bit my pride and bought the young adult book “Before the Awakening” and it was rubbish!
The book explained nothing, we learnt nothing,  it was merely just a filler with no useful information so disappointing. I remember being a teenager when the prequels came out and even my teenage self wouldn’t of liked this “Before the Awakening” book.
So disappointed with this range of books, i seriously hope now that the movie is over we start getting some good adult books i know “Aftermath” has a release date for its 2 sequels but i’m worried if we will learn anything more from them too. It just seems Disney has abandoned the Adults that follow star wars in favour of children. Star Wars used to have a wide range of expanded universe fiction, plenty of reading for adults. Now its all just comics, kids books and a few young adult novels. They really are abandoning their key demographic
With that said as soon as the next Adult novel was available i jumped for it. I have only ever had one Star Wars Movie Novelization before and that was of Episode 3. It was good as there was a lot of extra stuff in there so i had high hopes for the Episode 7 novel.
Considering my issues with the rest of the Force Awakens range i was surprised by the Episode 7 novel, as it was quite good at giving us new info and expanding on scenes from the movie, dropped new info and explained a few plot problems away as well. Quite happy with this book and it has made me once again keen for more books from this range