Monday, April 30, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Official Trailer #3 [HD]

REVIEW: Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Publishing Information: Kindle
Publisher: Tor; 10 May 2011
ISBN 10: 0765328542
ISBN 13: 978-0765328540
Copy: Out of pocket
Reviewer: Tyson

Synopsis:""Jack Holloway works alone. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known."

There are very few authors that you can always count on to entertain you and also tell a darn good tale. John Scalzi is one of those authors. Fuzzy Nation was originally conceived by an author named H. Beam Piper in a three book series entitled Fuzzy. The first novel Little Fuzzy and its two sequels were the inspiration for Scalzi's novel. A side project that benefits fans of the author. While I have not read the original series and cannot comment on it, I am told that this story is as much similar to the original as it is different.

Fuzzy Nation tells the story of Jack Holloway is somewhat of a loner working as a speculator on the planet Zarathustra that is for all intents and purposes going to be stripped mined for its various precious elements. That is until a a little creature comes into his shed/house and changes his life and the status of the planet. As with all of Scalzi's work the story is infused with lots of humor and interesting situations. Which in the case of this novel, usually deal with either the Fuzzies or Holloway's dog. There are several other interesting characters and of a greedy corporation that is the pain in Holloway's side.

I think the reason I enjoyed the novel so much is that it is really paced well and the humor is in all of the right places. Add to the fact that the story is not far-fetched and you have a lovable group of aliens make for a great book. Holloway is also someone that you can sympathize with. Anyone who has read and enjoyed any of Scalzi's previous work will love this one as well.

Plot 9/10
Characters 9/10
Style 9/10

Overall 9/10

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Author: Janet Edwards 
Title: Earth Girl
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (16 Aug 2012)
ISBN-10: 0007443498
ISBN-13: 978-0007443499

"Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter."

I usually don't read YA novels. It's not because I am opinionated about them (I hope I'm not), it's simply because there are too many books to read and I end up being picky about what book I choose from the tall pile standing in my study (or from the virtual pile of e-books). However, if I have, in my hands, a book by an author whom I'm not familiar with, I quickly read a chapter or two to get a feel for her style and her story.

Earth Girl is told in the first person, through the eyes of Jarra, its teenage protagonist. It's late 28th century and portal technology has been around for more than six centuries. Since mankind stepped onto another planet a century after the discovery of the technology, babies incapable of supporting interplanetary portal travel have been condemned to live on earth abandoned by their parents. They are considered handicapped and labelled as "ape"s because of their genetic differences. By the 28th century, this makes Earth a planet nobody cares about and inhabited by people who cannot do otherwise.

This gives the author a very good way of introducing the setting to the reader. Because people are uninterested to know about life on Earth and the conditions of its inhabitants, the fact that Jarra goes through some of the details of life on Earth becomes natural. She even makes the reader feel guilty of not knowing such details.

All Jarra wants is to feel normal and travel to any planet just like the "norm"s (or "exo"s) do. As she is of age to decide what she's going to study at university, she tells her ProMum about her plan to take a course run by an off-world university.

Even though I've only read a couple of pages, Earth Girl strikes me as a book that I would like to read more. I simply would like to hear more about Jarra. I also think that Janet Edwards created a very interesting setting which contributes to my curiosity.

Monday, April 23, 2012

REVIEW: Vonnegut and Douglas Adams rewrite Brave New World and find The Future Perfect by Kirk Mustard

Vonnegut and Douglas Adams rewrite Brave New World and find The Future Perfect by Kirk Mustard
Publishing Information: Kindle; 350 pages
Publisher: Kirk Mustard
Copy: Given by author
Reviewer: Tyson

Synopsis: "The Future Perfect is the hot new satire of the future. A funny, imaginative, provocative look a things to come.

San Francisco TV reviewer Joe Soko called it one of the best satires ever. It's a brilliant portrait of mankind - for anyone, sci-fi fan or not, who loves to laugh at or explore the absurdity, magic and mystery of human existence.

It's been called the next Brave New World, with a touch of Kurt Vonnegut and a hint of Douglas Adams. You won’t be able to put it down."

It is no secret that I am a fan of Kurt Vonnegut. Not so much of Adams, but I do appreciate his works. That said, when I was offered the chance to read a book that was said to be in the same vain of the two authors I took the opportunity. Sadly, the book just does not do either author any justice.

The characters are written in the same vein as Vonnegut; however, the author never quite got any of them right. You quickly find yourself not caring about any of the characters which is what Vonnegut does well. Mustard does not. That is perhaps the reason why I had little to no interest an the book or its resolution. The characters were absolutely boring and unlikable.

On the Adams' side, Mustard attempts to write dialogue and situations that you would find in an Adams' novel. Here he is a little more successful but the end result is still not very pretty.

The second issue I had with the book were all of the misspellings and other grammatical errors. I am a teacher by day and there were a lot of double commas and other issues which were glaring mistakes. We all make mistakes (I am sure there may even be one or two in this review), however this was a final draft and one that is out there for the public to read and to not have someone edit the book for you before you publish goes to show you that you do not care for your audience or your work in general.

These two issues were the main problems that I had with the book and why I cannot recommend the novel. There is one other problem, the cover. Bad does not even begin to describe the cover of the book.

Plot 5/10
Characters 3/10
Style 5/10

Overall 4/10