Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Sundering - Book Review

The Sundering: Dread Empire's Fall, by Walter Jon Williams, is the second book in the Praxis series.

The story continues where it stopped. Thanks to the main heroes (Martinez and Sula) things are not so hopeless for the loyalists, and everything changed in the war.

One of the things that changed is that now they go to full on guerrilla warfare, which is an interesting change of pace from the ship only battles.

Overall, very much fun for military space opera fans.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Praxis - Book Review

The Praxis , by Walter Jon Williams, is the start of a SF series about an interstellar empire.

I've read Impersonations earlier this year and I sort of regretted it reading before this one. It gives away a very big plot point which I might have suspected, but would have been much more fun to find out.

I ended up reading it on Google Play Books, because the author's newsletter warned about a nice discount. While it isn't bad, it feels markedly inferior to Amazon's Kindle app. I had used it before on some EPub books, but most shorter technical volumes.

The plot is interesting. An older race, the Shaa, has forced several races, including humans, into their federation, mostly by bombarding them.

Mildly crazy side note: As a Brazilian, I am conceptually offended that aliens keep bombing Buenos Aires. After all, São Paulo is much bigger. It is not the country's capital though.

The Shaa forbid a lot of things, including AIs, nanotech, immortality, etc, which is kind of convenient for the author if he wants to simplify the tech and stick with classical space opera... While I do like these on my SF, the classical space opera is quite satisfying, specially because a lot of stuff has to be thought out by the author in the battles.

Anyway, the last of the Shaa is dying. Now the Empire will have to rule by committee. As usual, disagreements occur and soon there is a big war.

As is standard in so many space opera series, we follow two relatively down on their luck lower rank military, as they accomplish huge things and climb up. It sounds silly when you mention the formula, but as usual, it works very well and the action was quite satisfying.

Overall, strongly recommended for fans of well thought space opera.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Walkaway - Book Review

Walkaway is a Cory Doctorow SF novel about a future where automation is rampant, the rich are richer than ever and most people can't make a living.

These walk away from default society, and go to make adhoc groups where regular society has given up, such as abandoned areas.

I found that the way it was a dystopia and an utopia (the walkaway) at the same time. Some of the tech is really near future (such as most everything being easily printable if you have the templates) and other is made up.

What I have some difficulty believing is how, generally, everything goes well with a society with no accountability. I really doubt that would work in practice.

It also feels a bit like propaganda against capitalism.

I was reminded of the reputation economy by Charles Stross - I can believe more on that working out as there are actual direct incentives from helping, and it feels harder to game the system.

Overall, very interesting and recommended if you like the author.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Far Cry 4 - Game Review

Far Cry 4 is basically Far Cry 3 with some new stuff.

I can't say I blame them - Far Cry 3 was pretty good and there was little incentive to mess with the formula. Most differences are small, such as new mission types, and minor things like the main protagonist having his own house where you can buy upgrades.

Some new things, like the ability to retake outposts, are quite nice.

Overall, I really like it. I'm not sure if it is better or worse than Far Cry 3, but it is still worth playing, specially at a discount.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Infinity Engine - Book Review

I just finished the third book in Neal Asher's Transformation series - Infinity Engine.

The book takes place in the Polity and mostly concerns the creation, breakdown and ascension of Penny Royal (while showing a whole lot of characters from the other books).

I do now wonder if Asher already had some of this in mind as Penny Royal first appeared in his books...

The series was simply spectacular, and ended very, very well.

It would be very confusing to start from this book, of course, but I strongly recommend it, the Polity series, and the Transformation series.