Review: Contagious by Scott Sigler (Audio)

Contagious

Scott Sigler

Random House Audio, 2008

Read by Scott Sigler

Infected was one of my surprise favorites when it came out in April of 2008; its cringe inducing scenes of self-mutilation caused several near misses on my daily commute.  Contagious picks up not long after Infected’s ending and continues the battle of Margaret Montoya, Dew Phillips, Clarence Otto, and “Scary” Perry Dawsey against the mysterious blue triangles.  While Contagious lacks some of the more horrific elements that made Infected such a fun read the B-move action sci-fi vibe more than makes up for things.  More impressions after the jump…

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Mini-Review: The Difference a Day Makes by Simon R. Green

The Difference a Day Makes

by Simon R. Green 

from Mean Streets

Roc, 2009

 

While I have heard of Simon R. Green’s Nightside series I have never actually read any of the novels.  The Difference A Day Makes is much better at introducing a new reader to the Nightside than Butcher’s The Warrior was at introducing new readers to Harry Dresden.  While I’m sure there is some spoiler material in the story I was genuinely pleased at Green’s attempt to introduce you to his world at a very deliberate pace.

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Mini-Review: The Warrior by Jim Butcher (from Mean Streets)

The Warrior

Jim Butcher

from Mean Streets

Roc, 2009

 

**Spoilers Ahead!  If you have yet to read Small Favor then stop now!  The Warrior spins directly out of that story. **  

That being said The Warrior is the best Dresden story I’ve read in ages.  I don’t know if it is the shorter format but it felt like Butcher had to really drill down into what makes Dresden such a fun character to read.  The melodrama and angst that had bothered me in some of the later Dresden novels is completely absent here and we get a perfectly realized snarky, sarcastic, down-on-his-luck Harry Dresden.  The story is taught and tense and plays out like a good episode of your favorite television show everything wrapped up in the 45 minutes to hour it takes you to read.  More spoilery stuff after the jump

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Review: Liberation by Brian Francis Slattery

Liberation by Brian Francis SlatteryLiberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America

Brian Francis Slattery

Tor, 2008

From pg. 51:

The building and all its books are still intact, she knows; the employees of the library madea spontaneous pact to defend it as soon as the police force stopped working, and now they just live in the building.  They hauled beds into the offices and corners of the huge reading rooms, put plaid couches against the marble walls.  An army of cats patrols the halls, has litters on the stairs.  She imagines that some of the librarians are fulfilling a long cherished fantasy.  It’s just them and the books now, the stamped serifs, the margins smudged with fingerprints.  You can still go to the library, to the yards of windows casting long stripes of light acrosss the stone floor, the long tables, the wood paneling, the paintings on the walls.  You can still go and read the books.  Except for the large friearms taht the librarians carry, it’s like nothing happened, as if every noon, businessmen are still eating their lunches with the lions. 

I admit that being a librarian that passage resonated quite a bit for me.  The imagery is even further enhanced by the fact that I’ve visited and used the New York Public Library and I have even had lunch with the lions so to speak (though I think Bryant Park is a more ideal lunching spot).  That is the thing about Liberation that despite its near-future setting and ripped-from-the-headlines economic disaster it manages to combine the familiar with the strange to create an eerie resonance (or perhaps disonance).  It blends past and present together in a strange amalgamation to the point where one is frequently indistinguishable from the other.  Read on for more.

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Linguistic Tomfoolery

I caught this on a forum and found it damned interesting:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. 

This was followed by another post by someone else:

Vandalin – that’s why it’s so hard to read anything written in all caps – see below:

I BET IT’S MUCH HARDER TO READ THIS ONE LINE THAN IT WAS TO READ THE POST ABOVE

Eerie how true that is. Anyhoo, just some random stuff I came across while trying to figure out whether dilemma should be spelled dilemna. Hint: It shouldn’t. Where that idea came from is beyond me. Thread is here if you’re interested.

Review: Jedi Twilight by Michael Reeves

Jedi Twilight (Coruscant Nights #1)

Michael Reeves

Del Rey, 2008

I admit that I bought this book because of its cover: its sepia tones and dark inks ooze noir.   A fact that, when combined with glossy purple Star Wars logo, had me nerding out pretty hardcore. The first thing to note is that book takes place in the period immediately following Revenge of the Sith with most of the Jedi Order hunted and killed while those left alive are on the run. Our main character, according to the back of the book, is a Jedi turned Private Investigator named Jax Pavan who receives a message from his dying master leaving Jax to compleete an important mission. Unfortunately, Jax is where this novel starts to have its problems since he is technically a bounty hunter not a private investigator.  Read on for more impressions…

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Review: Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald

Level 7

Mordecai Roshawld

University of Wisconsin Press, 2004 (Reprint, originally published in 1959)

 

Level 7 is a fascinating science fiction story emerging straight out of the fear and anxiety of the Atomic Age/Cold War era.  It details the life and thoughts of push button technician X-127 whose job, deep beneath the surface of the earth, it is to press the button that will unleash nuclear destuction on the enemy.   Level 7 is, at it’s heart, a cautionary tale and a scathing indictment on the type of political and emotional states that existed during the Cold War Era. Read on for more impressions…

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Review: The Suicide Collectors by David Oppegaard

The Suicide Collectors

David Oppegaard

St. Martin’s Press, 2008

 

The Suicide Collectors, David Oppegaard’s debut novel, is set in a near future world decimated by mass suicide via a plague dubbed The Despair.  In the ashes of this future world enigmatic men and women have begun collecting the suicide victims for unknown purpose.  Feared and rivaled by the remaining populous only one man, Florida native Norman, makes a stand to protect the body of his dead wife, killing one of the Collectors in the process.  What follows is a whirlwind trip accross the broken and barren United States to find a possible cure for the Despair and keep one step ahead of the vengence seeking Collectors.

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Review: Storm from the Shadows by David Weber

Storm from the Shadows

David Weber

Baen, March 2009

Storm from the Shadows is David Weber’s latest book set in the “Honorverse.”  A fact that is amusing given that the titular character, only has a marginal pressence in this novel.  Indeed the hero’s point of view belongs to Michelle Henke (amongst others) and focuses on the events in the Talbot Cluster, the newly annexed star cluster that expands the Stark Kingdom of Manitcore into the Star Empire of Manticore.  The book clocks in at a massive 800 pages and, in truth, suffers a bit as a result.  Read on for more….

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