Thumbs down for Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. Science fiction.
It wasn’t the self-proclaimed “violent exploitation” that got to me; frankly, that was just unorginal video-game-style blood and guts. It was the fact that the writing is some of the worst I’ve ever read in a professionally published novel. I don’t know whether it was the author or the translator, but to quote from the book itself: “Damn, this was bad.” And let’s not forget the bouts of utter ridiculousness: apparently the author thinks bulletproof vests make you invincible.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Phoenix Code by Catherine Asaro. Science fiction/romance.
Catherine Asaro is one of my favorite writers, but that said, I cannot recommend this book. While I enjoy her style enough that I never wanted to actually put it down, the beginning was very slow, and after the plot picked up, there were far, far too many times that I thought to myself: “Oh, no way.” The ending is especially unbelievable.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Out by Natsuo Kirino. Suspense.
An unforgettable work of crime fiction with excellent characters – especially the dark but powerful sort-of-heroine Masako, a worker on the night shift at a boxed-lunch factory – and many twisted scenes. I went through cycles of “this is so good, why do I have to put it down to go to work?” and “this is going to no happy ending, I’m realizing I’ve lost my taste for this sort of thing.” The first sense prevailed, however, and what I’m left with is the memory of an excellent book I can recommend to few people.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for 1984 by George Orwell. Science fiction.
I know, you’re shocked I haven’t read this already. Well, I like to shock you now and then. I did in fact read about a third of this back as a teenager when I was “supposed” to read it, but that was on a computer screen and my eyes could only take me so far.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. Science fiction.
To start with, it’s FUNNY. And smart. And, to me as a writer, inspirational, because it has a very simple story arc but is nevertheless brilliant. There are almost no books I wish I’d written, but this comes close. If you like any variety of science fiction, you should run and buy all of Scalzi’s books right now.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Just A Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise by Wil Wheaton. Memoir.
If you are a geek, you just grinned, because you already read WWdN. If you are not a geek, you said to yourself: “Who is Wil Wheaton? And why doesn’t he spell his name with two L’s, like a normal person?” Is okay.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth. Science fiction.
This one was in the top fifteen of a “Best Classic Science Fiction Novels” list I am working through (I need a project in my reading, or else I’ll be too scattered: as you may have noticed). I was sucked in from the first page and read happily all the way through, feeling undistracted by the other fine things in my “current reading” pile, which is a high compliment.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley. Science fiction.
My boyfriend is quite taken with Sheckley right now, and as the bits he read out loud to me seemed highly promising, I was looking forward to trying some out for myself. He recommended this one for a plane ride, and it hit the spot. Smart, quick-paced, and very witty, it reminded me of Douglas Adams and John M.… >> Read more