inklesspen: (Default)

The Lord of the Sands of Time is one of the first books out from Haika Soru (say it out loud; it sounds like "High Castle", which is intentional), a new imprint featuring Japanese science fiction, edited by [ profile] nihilistic_kid. It's fairly short, coming in at just under 200 pages and at times suffers due to its lack of length. The main gimmick, time travel and alternate worlds, is only loosely explained, but nonetheless manages to contradict itself in several jarring ways.

The heart of the book, though, is the characters and the relationships between them. Again, these could do with better development; many characters are merely hinted at. Nonetheless, there is a definite pattern of the same sort of character recurring in the different time periods, which enables the book to end on a positive note despite the eons of deep time separating the immortal Messenger from the people he cares about.

Overall, I think it's a promising first release from Haika Soru, and I look forward to next month's release of Usurper of the Sun.
inklesspen: (Default)

Hyperion won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. It has a somewhat Rashomon-like structure where the different tales of the Shrike pilgrims explain details of the setting, and then throw twists on those details. It has vividly imaginative environments, like the forest of tesla trees which store and emit electricity.

It also has no ending, which I discovered in an absolutely infuriating moment. I have no objection to books being split into two physical volumes, so long as there is an indication on the cover that this is what has happened.

I have the "sequel" on order. There had better be an ending in this one.

inklesspen: (against the dying of the light - Ico and)

If you have anything more than a passing familiarity with the storyline of NGE, the cover image here has probably alerted you that this is a decidedly different story. Rei is extroverted and upbeat. Shinji and Asuka are childhood friends. And the Evangelions don't appear until the end of the second volume.

I've been reading this and the regular NGE manga at the same time, which certainly does a trick on the plot-following center of the brain. I think I definitely prefer this version of the NGE story. For one thing, it's only four volumes, which is an important factor when volumes cost as much as they do. And it's nice to see the story not stacking the deck against the EVA pilots, for a change.

Recommendation: Buy it if you're familiar with the series.
inklesspen: (classic blunders)

In this book, first of a series, fledgeling captain Honor Harrington makes a mess of things at home and is sent off into "exile" on an old, run down ship, where she discovers military action in the most unlikely of places and saves the day for everyone except a few crew members who had to die before she realized what she had to do.

Oh, wait, sorry. Not Honor Harrington. Actually, her name's Ky Vatta. And since she was kicked out of the military completely, her old run down ship is a trading vessel with no weapons at all. Apart from that, though, this is a story you've read (or at least heard of) before.

Which isn't all bad; I liked the early Honor books, and Moon writes better than Weber at his best. But I'm in no special hurry to pick up the next book in the series.

Recommendation: Borrow from library or buy used
inklesspen: (firefly - wash - science fiction)

I got this book because it was recommended in one of the comments on Scalzi's blog and sounded interesting. It was, more or less, but it wasn't really a compelling read. I had to force myself to finish it, and that's rarely a good thing.

It's an archeological story, like I understand most of McDevitt's are, and it's about the Great Filter — humanity has discovered two worlds that were home to intelligent life, and both of them have had massive extinction-level events. There are also the mysterious Monuments, left behind by yet another race that humanity has yet to find any other trace of. Unlike real-world archeology, attempting to discover the reason behind these events quickly becomes a race against time, with the future of humanity's civilization at stake.

The alien civilizations were well realized, and the particular outside-context problem in this book was excellently described. Unfortunately, the characterization is weak, and at times nonexistent, and as I mentioned above, the plotting belongs strictly in the realm of Hollywood archeology. Read it if you don't mind getting more of a setting than a story.

Recommendation: Borrow from library or buy used
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