Posts Tagged ‘sci-fi’

Immersion by Colleen Nye

November 18, 2017 - 10:23 pm No Comments

Immersion by Colleen Nye
Published by Blue Deco Publishing on 25th November 2017
268 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


VR is very popular in a lot of households, whether it be used via your mobile phone or game console. In my house it is used to kill zombies or swim in the ocean, but what if the VR system was harming people. Seren lived in a time when VR was taking over people’s lives, they were the must have item. People were killing for them and crime was rife in most major cities. Due to Seren losing her parents at an early age, she was brought up by her grandma, but on her return from London, she came back to her life in danger. A chance meeting with Chase her schoolgirl crush takes her on a cloak and dagger adventure.
Having put her life on hold to look after her grandmother, Seren was a bit of a loner, her only true friend was Aaric who lived in London. She never did anything risky and was very headstrong. Chase had known Seren since school, she was one of the only people not to judge him. He had terrible parents and due to them had a horrific upbringing.
From the start the author described a world of woe and you could understand why people were drawn to the VRs. When Seren and Chase hooked up I was surprised as this was out of character for Seren, however the author with their back story explained their connection. The story is compelling, as you follow Seren on her dangerous adventure. The more I read, the more I could not believe how much Seren could go through physically and mentally. When I thought I was on the right track and was positive what was happening next, the author threw curveball that took the story down another direction
This book ticks many genre boxes and whilst it will appeal to Sci-fi and dystopian lovers, Thriller lovers will also like this book. A stand-alone novel which kept me reading into the night.

The Bastard Legion by Gavin G Smith

November 15, 2017 - 7:41 pm No Comments

The Bastard Legion
Author: Gavin G Smith
Published by: Gollancz, 5th October 2017
ISBN: 978-1-473-21725-6
322 pages
Reviewer: Ken Norman

The title is enough to make most teenage boys snigger, and I guess that is the point. It’s a book that seems to be aimed squarely at that young adult male sector of the market.
This space-war-opera revolves around a hard hitting, gun-toting slip of a girl called Miska who’s lost her Mummy and her Daddy’s a simulation, as he’s been toasted by persons unknown. She used to be a soldier in her youth, so she’s nicked a prison barge full of dangerous lifers and has decided that a mercenary’s life on the frontiers of the law is a winner, especially as barge has provided her with a private supply of grunts to send into conflict to die. If they don’t die quick enough, or look at her in a funny way, she blows their head off with a remote controlled neck collar. The problem is, she’s got a bit of an existential crisis going on, and worse, can’t quite work out what to call her band of brothers (they’re all dudes). Oddly, there’s almost no other women in the story, apart from the odd evil executive or about-to-be-cannon-fodder adversary. However, she’s going to kill a bunch of bad people and find out who killed her Daddy whilst getting paid for whatever mercenary activities can be found in the nearest G-class star.

There’s a voluminous whiff of fantasy here – mainly the authors’. Gavin Smith would appear to have a bit of a crush on Miska, as she’s a bit of a murderous villain, a bit vulnerable and a bit sexy all at the same time. She’s something of a superhero too, with a big bag of techy upgrades to her personal self. It’s the sort of universe where you’d hope humanity would have overcome some of the issues happening in the book, but you apparently never run out of the need for a printed AK-47, even when you’ve got FTL travel. If anything, there’s too much in this first volume – too many ideas about what’s cool, fun, possible (or not) all thrown into the pot to create a future world that’s not quite consistent.

It’s a fun read, if you like a good battle scene, or your inner male mental age has settled around 15. The fast and loose mix of ideas from left, right and centre is a bit confused, but that might settle down in the next installment. The book’s title tries to keeps you guessing right to the end, but in the end, it’s pretty obvious.

 

The Change 1-3 by Guy Adams

October 20, 2017 - 7:59 pm No Comments

The Change 1: London: Orbital by Guy Adams
Published by Solaris on 13th July 2017
122 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


The world has changed, after an appearance in the sky, what it was no one knows. Howard wakes up on the road to London, with no memory of who he is or what has happened. Hubcap comes to his aid after rescuing him from a pigeon attack, where the pigeons had black tentacles. This was the start of a special friendship.
As the story progresses you get introduced to the group that Hubcap lived with and they were a very diverse group. Tank and Tiger leaders of the group were not what you expect and they ideas for Banquet night were ingenious. Whilst they lived in a dystopian world the group have camaraderie and fun. Whilst there are hints to what is attacking the people, it is near the end when the monster is introduced. With its mixture of steampunk and sci-fi, it attacks brutally and without guilt. An added touch was the back story on how the monster developed.
This story is fast paced and from the moment Howard wakes you are captivated, as you want to know what happened to the world. A good start to what is going to be an interesting series

The Change 2: New York: The Queen of Coney Island
Published by Solaris on 13th July 2017
127 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


Moving to another country, this story follows Grace as she journeys through New York. Her goal is to get to Rickers island, but she needs the permission from the Queen to cross the river.
Most of the people she encountered on her journey to Coney Island were dangerous and she went out of her way to avoid them, but when she met an eccentric man who thought he was God, her instincts told her was harmless and, yet another strange friendship was formed.
When Grace and God arrived at Coney Island it was like some strange carnival and freak show all rolled into one. The descriptive writing gave you a clear idea on how Coney Island had developed since the change. One favourite scene was Grace’s fine dining on the rollercoaster. The Queen reminded me of the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland). When Grace had to do her quest in Dreamland, there was something eerie about the place, and as the story progressed you learnt more about the strange group of people that lived there.
This series is just getting better and better

The Change 3: Paris: A City of Fools by Guy Adams
Published by Solaris on 13th July 2017
102 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


The 3rd in the series and we are whisked off to Paris. Loic is a homeless man living in the sewers. Since rescuing Adrian a young boy, he has someone else to look after and at times he fears the responsibility. There is a strong bond with everyone who lives in the sewer and they all watch out for each other. As well as trying to feed everyone living there, they also must protect themselves from the Impressionist, a very colourful liquid monster. It was not till Adrian was kidnapped do we find out more about these monsters. However, they were not the only weird creatures roaming around Paris, Loic also comes across an eccentric opera singer and her partner. The sadistic owner at the Grand Guignol had an audience to entertain and plenty of people wandering around to become unwilling victims. Written from Loic POV, you could sense his loneliness and despair with the world. Some of the scenes were darker than the first 2 books and I felt that with this book the style of writing change. Whilst there were quite a few minor characters, the author just glanced over them and whilst Loic story was interesting there was not the backstories that the other 2 books had.
Each story can be read as a standalone book. They are a quick read and with each book you will either have a favourite character or monster. Whilst reading these stories, I was amazed at the authors imagination. With a mixture between dystopian, horror, Sci-Fi and fantasy, these will please teenager and adults alike. There are a further 3 books in this series

Roboteer by Alex Lamb

October 14, 2017 - 7:09 am No Comments

ROBOTEER by Alex Lamb. Gollancz, London. £8.99 paperback. 426 pages. ISBN: 978-1-473-20609-0
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

There is a sub-set of science fiction which is Military SF and written by such exponents as David Weber and David Drake. I was once told that SF was Mills & Boon for boys (I converted that person by giving her Marge Piercy to read) and to a certain extent, that is what this kind of SF is. It is for readers who have a fascination for hardware and like to read about blowing things up.
Alex Lamb’s debut novel, Roboteer, is a well thought out, military space opera. In this very far future, Earth has succumbed to pollution and the mass of humanity lives mostly on the product of prote farms. The planet is united under the auspices of the Prophet of the Truist religion. Other faiths are tolerated but can never rise to ultimate status. As far as enlightenment is concerned, the clock has been turned back millennia. Girls are not educated and the mass humanity, the Followers are illiterate. Yet they are scooped up and sent to fight for their planet. The enemy are the Galateans. Initially human colonists, they have embraced genetic modification to compensate for lack of personnel and help terraform the colony worlds. By the decree of Earth’s spiritual leader this modification is an abomination in God’s eyes. Also there are no aliens. The reason for the war between the two factions is to wipe out the abominations and to acquire what is believed to be fertile worlds to feed Earth’s population. His Honesty the Prophet is mistaken on several counts.
The story is told from three points of view enabling the situation to be seen from both sides. Will is the Roboteer of the title. He is modified to be able to remotely control various aspects of the war ship including torpedoes and drones. He has a bit more initiative than the average roboteer but when he disobeys an order and saves his ship from destruction he is transferred to the Ariel. This has a six man crew and they are given a spy mission to try and find out where the new technology the Earthers have suddenly acquired comes from. Ira is the captain of the Ariel. The third view point character is the Earther scientist Gustav. The new suntap device is his project. He didn’t invent it. He acquired it from an alien artefact known as the Relic.
Ira is able to follow Gustav’s ship to the Relic but when they are discovered, the aliens hack Will’s mods and download information into him. Aliens do indeed exist and they are giving humanity a choice. It is up to Will to prove that humanity is not a disease that has to be wiped out.
The pace of this novel is relentless and the characters have to endure betrayal, despair and torture before a resolution is reached. For most readers, it will not matter that they are dumped into the middle of the action without any explanation as to how the situation has arisen. For Will and Ira, politics are for others, while Gustav finds politics thwarting him as he tries to do the best for his planet. These three are perhaps nobler examples of humanity and not enough space is given to the mistaken, politically ambitious or nasty characters that always exist in any society. These readers will not mind that the space ships can move between star systems at a tremendous rate or be able to visualise the technology. If they are fans of military SF, they will enjoy this.

 

VRES: Digital Quest by Zoe Adams

August 27, 2017 - 6:52 pm No Comments

VRES: Digital Quest by Zoe Adams

Released by Zombie Cupcake Press on 13th August 2017

150 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I downloaded this on Kindle Unlimited.

 As technology progresses, many of us have heard of Virtual Reality or VR, a new way of playing a game where you feel that you are immersed in the game. Kamada-kun have created a brand-new game VRES a fantasy game, that no other game could compare to. Like all new games they required BETA testers, Felix and Erica both big gaming enthusiast both volunteer for an experience that would change their lives.

As the main character were gamers, they both had that need to conquer and win. Playing online you can be who you want to be and with Erica and Felix they were completely different. Felix in the real world was unemployed and a bit down in life and in the virtual world he was confident and adept with his fighting skills, but in both worlds, he was a really nice guy. Erica was in a nasty relationship in the real world and had lost all confidence, but when she put on that headset, she was like a woman possessed. Excellent blade skills, played dirty to get what she wanted. That was until she ran into Felix.

As a lover of gaming the minor details in the story really sold it to me. The problem of not having enough gold to upgrade your weapons, needing a health or stamina boost and it did have a touch of Skyrim about it. Throughout the story you follow the development of Erica and Felix’s relationship. This is a standalone story and it is well written, as it is only 150 pages I did read it in one sitting. I loved the idea that much of the story was set in the game.

I cannot wait to see where this author will take us next.