Adult Book Reviews by Genre: Science Fiction

Fitzpatrick's War
Judson, Theodore
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is a steampunky, military sci-fi novel that takes place in the 25th century and chronicles the life of Sir Robert Mayfair Bruce, an military engineer working for the United Yukon Confederacy, a vast empire that controls all of North America and large parts of the rest of the world. The book is written as a historical memoir/biography that has come under scrutiny for supposedly lying about the life of one the Confederacy's greatest leaders, an Alexander the Great-like young man named Fitzpatrick who is viewed as a hero many years after the events in Robert Bruce's publication. The novel is made even more intriguing by the fact that it is "annotated" by a fictional scholar who frequently refutes the facts described by Bruce. This begs the question "Do we want the 'nice' version of history, or the truth?"

Bruce is as excellent narrator, generally engaging and observant, and it is easy to see why he is so charmed by Fitzpatrick. His motivations are clear and his interactions with other characters are authentic and believable. That said, it is occasionally annoying that he lets his love interest, Charlotte, boss him around so much, but other than that, he is likable and real. (If you like Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby, you'll probably like Bruce.) Speaking of Charlotte, I think she was one of this book's only major weaknesses. She seems unrealistically perfect -- intelligent, witty, independent, defiant, feisty, and not much else. She has an unhealthy amount of control over Bruce to the point that the reader questions his abilities as a leader since he seems to have no backbone when it comes to Charlotte's manipulation and he does everything she tells him without question, in spite of the fact that she isn't terribly likable. Fitzpatrick himself was well-done. His charismatic, megalomaniacal character develops subtly over the course of the book, and his rise and fall, involving a descent into moral depravity and possibly madness, is fascinating. Likewise, secondary characters are also well-developed.

This book moves rather slowly (the "War" of the title takes about 300 pages to begin), and occasionally the author gives excessive detail to things that don't need it while omitting other details that could have fleshed out the world, so suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy some things. Otherwise, the alternate reality is well-developed and appropriately detailed, with an intriguing history, society, and politics. If you don't like long books with minimal action, don't read this. But if you enjoy an intellectual steampunk adventure with good characters that raises interesting points concerning how history should be portrayed, I recommend trying Fitzpatrick's War.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 is a story about a future where people have become dull and lifeless. I liked the authors prediction of technology and how it takes over in the modern age. If you have to read it for school or if just for fun it shows the decent of peoples individuality when they are enamored by distraction all day long. Science fiction highly recommend.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Diego C.
Book Review: The Darwin Elevator
Hough, Jason M.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Any fan of adventure, aliens, sci-fi, Australia, daring innovations, zombie-like creatures, characters some could easily relate to, flying ships, and an interesting plot is sure to love this book. I randomly checked out this book for the summer and was surprised to enjoy it; unlike other books where it takes a few chapters to get to the point and books with boring dialogue, this book can take any reader to another world which, in a couple of decades and some imagination, a reader can understand happening for real.

Reviewer's Name: Caitlyn
Card, Orson Scott
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

If you can suffer through the prose, the story is quite fascinating. Scott Card's psychological storyline is very interesting, and the ending was unexpected. It's worth trekking through the poor word choices and mucky muck of what is supposed to be "adult conversation" just to see how it all ends.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Weir, Andy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Well, of course, since one of the Mars rovers plays a significant part in the story! Mark Watney is marooned on Mars, the victim of a violent sand storm that sent his astronaut colleagues scrambling back to Earth, convinced that he was dead. Now it's all about survival, getting back home, and not going crazy when the only music available is one of the other astronaut's disco collection! Mark is one resourceful guy - kind of a Macgyver on Mars - and he's pretty good with a one-liner as well. He'll need all his skills, because Mars is a very dangerous place. Most of the book is in the form of log entries and they can be kind of technical. Just go with the flow and enjoy the twists and turns. Weir is obviously very conversant with space jargon and procedures and has produced a really authentic description of what could be a fanciful situation. Here's hoping that someone who reads this will be inspired to actually take us there!

Reviewer's Name: Alan
Adams, Douglas
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I finished 3 of the 5 books. Books 1 and 2 were AWESOME, 5 stars for sure, but Book 3 got a bit convoluted. But I love Hitchhikers, especially the bizarre jokes that manifest themselves throughout the book. Great bits include the bovine animal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe that tries to tempt Dent and friends with various parts of its body for dinner; Slartibartfast and his award-winning fjords; The planet that tricked its mid-level personnel to leave it for Earth; The fact that Earth is actually a giant computer made by mice to determine the Question to the Answer of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Good stuff. Very, very funny.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Card, Orson Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

While some may despise this terrific sci-fi novel, I absolutely loved it.
Sure it is a bit mature, but it is really for a understanding audience. I enjoyed the battle games and Ender's resourcefulness. This is perhaps one of the best sci-fi novel I have ever read

Reviewer's Name: Scaddi
Card, Orson Scott
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

I despised this book. Although I respect Card's mastery in the sci-fi genre, this was not one of his wonder-books. He failed to capture the personality of the childrens' ages, and parts of it were beyond gruesome, especially after you realized it was a 6-11 year old participating in those actions. The time-frame was speedy; the child went from 6 to eleven years old within 100 pages. Also, the Locke and Demosthenes part was plain confusing. Not a fan.

Reviewer's Name: JBird
Crouch, Blake
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Pines is the story of Special Agent Ethan Burke, who has found himself in the creepy little town of Wayward Pines, Idaho. He wakes with an injury and temporary amnesia. And as he starts to put the pieces together about how he got in a place that is a little too Norman Rockwell for its own good, well, things get really strange. And scary. An action-packed story that is equal parts horror, thriller and science fiction, Pines will keep you up all night turning the pages. Extra kudos because this author is from Colorado. Watch for the TV Series that will be based on this story

Reviewer's Name: Kirk
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Classic literature. This book deeply engages the issue of intellectual freedom.

Reviewer's Name: James
Strugatskiĭ, Arkadiĭ Natanovich
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Aliens have visited the Earth, and departed, leaving behind a number of artifacts of their incomprehensibly advanced technology. The places where such artifacts were left behind are areas of great danger, known as "Zones."
The Zones are laid out in a pattern which suggests that they resulted from the impact of an influence from space which struck repeatedly from the same direction, striking different places as the Earth rotated on its axis.

A frontier culture arises along the margins of these Zones, peopled by "stalkers" who risk their lives in illegal expeditions to recover these artifacts, which do not obey known physical laws. The one most sought after, the "golden sphere", is rumored to have the power to fulfill the deepest human wishes.

Written during the height of the Soviet rein of Russia, the Strugatsky brothers spin a tale that philosophically looks at what true freedom is and the price some are willing to pay for that freedom. One of the best sci-fi novels of its time and a true favorite of mine.

Reviewer's Name: Dr. Badd
Cline, Ernest
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I read most of it. I was listening to it on eAudio, but it was so long I just couldn't make it to the end. I think this book is aimed at an audience to which I do not belong. Mainly, gamers. I liked the 80s references, but I just couldn't get into the book. Meh. Others may like it, it just wasn't my taste.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Herbert, Frank
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is my all time favorite book. To quote the book. plots with in plots. Every time I read it (6 times) I find more and more subtly plot lines.

Reviewer's Name: Eric
Karpyshyn, Drew
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A very gripping Star Wars Novel that provides insight and historical background into the origins of the Sith. Written in a suspenseful manner, this is the first of a 3 book series that is one of my favorites in the Star Wars universe.

Reviewer's Name: Chris

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