Monday, July 15, 2019

Oracle - Book Review

Oracle is a new book by Douglas E. Richards. This one is SF but not a technothriller - it even has aliens.

The basis of the stories is that clairvoyants are real, and there are several alien groups in Earth. One of them believe a clairvoyant can win their war.

It is a bit hard to write about the book without spoilers, but one thing I feel worth mentioning is how Deus Ex Machina a lot of the book is - in the sense that the rules are specifically made so that anything can happen for the story to work. For example (more spoilers ahead!) - the portals appear on an unknown schedule, possibly controlled by other aliens, and they may or may not let tech pass, depending on the convenience for the story. Same for the visions (although that one is common to pretty much any story that has visions).

Overall, good, but feels more contrived than the usual by the author.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Recursion - Book Review

Recursion, by Blake Crouch, is a SF novel.

I find it a little hard to talk about it without spoiling. What I knew coming in, is that suddenly people started having false memories of whole other lives. A cop starts investigating and discovers it is much more than it seems (which should be obvious to most SF readers, although the particularly mechanism seems novel enough).

I pretty much loved it, and it was one of the fastest books I've finished lately.

Maybe it is too much of a giveaway, but it strongly reminded me of Ripples in the Dirac Sea,  a short story that won the 1989 Nebule prize, and that is so haunting that I immediately remembered it even though it has been 30 years since I last read it.

Overall, strongly recommended to any SF fans.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Mighty Fortress - Book Review

A Mighty Fortress, by David Weber, is the 4th book in the SafeHold series.

The SafeHold series is about humanity's last world, which was kept in a primitive state with a custom made religion so that aliens could not find their signals.

In a way that really resembles the Honor Harrington, the nice nation (the Charisian Empire) is getting attacked unfairly by the bad guys (the Church), who now declared Holy War. Also, research is the only thing keeping the good guys alive as the stakes keep increasing. And there are very careful description of the battles. Just on the sea.

Even if it is much like the Honor Harrington series (except that instead of being in space, there are sea battles), it is quite enjoyable. As most Weber books, there is quite a bit of dialog between the battles, which builds the book well even if it really slows down the action.

Overall, recommended to fans of the series.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Deception Well - Book Review

Deception Well, by Linda Nagata is an SF novel that takes place in the same universe as the excellent Bohr Maker.

I actually read this way back, in the 90s, before the Bohr Maker. That made a bit of difference in the re-read, but not that much.

However, I don't if it is the difference in scope, or in the action, but this one felt way less enjoyable than the Bohr maker, which I really liked.

Overall, this one was OK. Some of the ideas were interesting, but the execution wasn't great.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Middle Earth: Shadow of War - PC Game Review

Middle Earth: Shadow of War is a nice update on Shadow of Mordor, and is a third-person view RPG.

(yes, I am phoning it in today).

It plays mostly the same as that one, with a number of added complications. Since it's been a while, I don't quite recall with any certainty what is new and what is not... Certainly there is a lot of stuff, and it gets a bit more complicated than I'd like (for example, the UI can be a bit confusing sometimes, specially with the many maps now and the bunch of things to do).

However, so far I really like it - 6 hours into the game, and certainly there is a lot to do. It is also nice that apparently there was a store component that was removed.

One problem I get sometimes is getting trapped at a corner, and being unable to jump. Pretty annoying when you are being chased by a bunch of orcs.

Overall, looks pretty good so far, although at times the movement feels a little weird.