11 April 2017

Review: Avengers of the Moon

Avengers of the Moon Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Closer to a 3.5

I think I was 60-70% in when I saw like “wow, this is really pulpy” only to learn after the fact that this is, in fact, a homage/reboot to a pulp classic from generations ago. A modernization of the Captain Future tales of old, this evokes all those same ideas and themes without feeling too old, but I feel as if you really need to have a bit of a context for what this is a tribute to in order to fully appreciate it for what it is.

Beyond that major roadblock, this is a really fun romp. The stakes aren’t too high, and it still works in spite of it being so different from the current crop of science fiction writing out there. Allan Steele has always excelled at being different, and this is true for Avengers of the Moon, too. Worth a look.

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04 April 2017

Review: Winter Tide

Winter Tide Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know there continues to be a bit of a Lovecraftian renaissance happening in terms of some of the fantasy books coming out. Winter Tide takes a historical fiction bent to the proceedings and gives a good, but far from great, attempt at expanding out the Mythos.

The story takes place a while after the eradication of the people and place of Innsmouth. The government effectively destroyed Innsmouth following an attack, and only two people have survived. Now there's concerns that information from Miskatonic University is falling into the wrong hands, and it's now up to the few survivors of the Innsmouth situation to solve the problem.

There's a clear post-internment attitude to this, which is a nice twist for the Mythos itself as well as a cool take on the story. There's a lot of time spent on the research and in the libraries, and that might be the book's downfall - it takes a lot of time in this area, and for questionable benefit. I spent a good deal of time hoping they'd get on with it to the point where the ending of the story was both fulfilling while also being frustrating in its climax.

I have not read "The Litany of Earth," a short story that has some of the same characters, so I may have missed some key points along the way, but overall, I liked but didn't love this story. There have not been any lack of Lovecraft-style tales of late, so I wouldn't bump this to the top of the list, but I would say that it's worth a look for a different style of story. I feel like I might want to read a story like this that focuses more on research aspects, but perhaps without some of the baggage that comes with this sort of tale.

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Review: Waking Gods

Waking Gods Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was supremely impressed by Sleeping Giants, which was a great documentary-style science fiction book about finding the pieces to a giant robot littered across the planet. If Giants was about discovery, Waking Gods is about consequences, and that's what ultimately makes the sequel work. We get to delve even more into the worldwide response to the robots but, more importantly, we get a much more detailed idea as to what the robots might mean.

It's hard to discuss this book without completely spoiling what goes on, but there are more than enough shocking moments throughout that make this into another winning tale and ends in a way that makes me really look forward to what's coming next. As long as the style of the story doesn't take you out of it, this is a series worth watching.

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