Archive for March, 2017

The Steel Remains

Posted: March 28, 2017 in Book Reviews

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

392 pages

This is the frist time I have read anything by Richard Morgan. I picked up a couple of his books when I saw them listed on a top ten list somewhere. I don’t recal where but I do remember thinking this looks like it will be a good read. I will let you read to the end before you find out if it met my expectations or not.

The story takes place some years after a brutal war with what is referred to as the lizard people who came from the oceans. Our 3 main Characters, Ringil, Hero of Gallos Gap, Archeth, the last of her race and Egar Dragonbane, steppe nomad.

Ringil is a gay man who is simply mad at the world. There are very few interactions within this story where he is not angry, yelling, mad at someone or something. He is an outcast and despised by his society. He is looked down on and looked on as beneath contempt by all but a few. Often referred to as faggot, degenerate etc..

Egar Dragon Bane is leader of his tribe. He is a scared veteran of the war and tends to spend his time drinking having sex. He is viewed, along with his people as essentially pagans as they do not follow the state religion but the religion of the conquered northlands. His faith is barely tolerated by the Emperor

Archeth, the last of her race. Fierce warrior and subject and advisor to the Emperor. She is described as simply black. Her people are the Kiriath. She is described as being not human but a separate race all together. Beyond that we do not know much about her.

The common enemy of all 3 of our main characters is the Dwenda, A mysterious people who can move in and out of time and thus appear anywhere, anytime and are a fierce fighting force. When they appear they kill without remorse all who stand in their way, but they are mortal and can be killed the same as men, if you lucky enough to survive an encounter that is and kil them first.

Ringil is sent by his mother to rescue his cousin, Sherin, who has been taken captive by slave traders due to her husbands failure to pay off his debts. He must find her and bring her home.

Egar Dragonbane is warned of a plot to kill him and sent off through the marshlands after his lone suriviving assailant.

Archeth is sent off by the Emperor to learn the truth about what happened in the port city of khangset where she learns of the Dwenda attack and threat.

Eventually all 3 of our characters paths meet up where they must fight off the Dwenda together or die trying.

This book starts of quite slow I found. Through almost the entire first half our characters barley progressed at all in the story line and spent about as much time having flashbacks as they did in actual story progression. At some points I was beginning to wonder if the story would actually get started but thankfully it finally did.

Ringil sexual escapades got a bit much and overly done I found as well. The graphic descriptions of his sexuality and sexual encounters seemed to be over the top and went beyond what was really necessary for relevance to the story line and plot. I can appreciate that sex can play a role in any story, I feel like having sex involved needs to demonstrate some relevance to plot progression. For example a seductress using sex to distract her enemy and obtain an advantage. Within the book it is suggested that this is exactly what Ringil did however while reading through the book it comes off as a lame excuse and attempted cover story by the character more than anything else. His encounters with the Dwenda who held him captive and later escape did not seem to be the result of him plotting and using sex to his advantage but more like Ringil was in fact more of a sex slave to the Dwenda.

The conceptual design of the book and story line were really good and imaginative. Once the story gets going it really takes off in a fast paced high energy read with quick plot progression and high energy battle scenes. Everything comes together at the end in an epic clash and battle against the fearsome Dwenda. However as we learn at the end it comes a price no one, not even Ringil thought was possible and his story leaves off with his dawning realization of the price he has paid for this battle. The next book the Cold Commands I expect will pick up where this one leaves off.

Overall my impressions of this book are not bad, but not great. It seems to be written more for shock value than story value overall. Lots of sex, lots of violence in vivid graphic details. I rarely give up on an author after one read however because I realized that sometimes it can be hit or miss with some of their writing. As an introduction to Richard Morgan he was not so bad I could not stand to read any more and will give his second book The cold Commands a chance to improve upon The Steel Remains.

Overall I give this book 5/10 bookworms. Could have been much better, lets hop the second book is.

 

HUNTERS RUN

Posted: March 18, 2017 in Book Reviews

Hunters Run

By George R R Martin, Gardner Dozois and Danile Abraham

276 pages

This book is a collaboration of 3 different authors over a 30 year period. All of the authors were young at the time they made their contrubutions and by the Time it was done George R R Martin was an old fart writing Game of Thrones. And come on who is with me on this, how long is it going to take for that guy to write that series. We are waiting George if your reading this come on. Anyway let’s get onto the review of Hunters Run.

So we have this guy named Ramon. He is from Earth. Mexico to be more precise. He took off on a alien space ship with a bunch of colonist to settle a world name Sao Paulo. This world was settled by Brazilians originally so it was named after the city in Brazil.

Ramon is your stereo typical mexican bad ass. He is always getting bar fights, and fighting with his girlfriend. You know a real tough guy. He has a problem in that he gets drunk and gets in fights. Big trouble maker. he is a independent prospecter and spends his times looking for resources. Well one day he picks a fight in a bar and ends up killing an ambassador. Now he is on the run for his life.  He decides to pack up and leave town and goes well beyond where anyone has previously explored on Sao Paulo.

While he is out prospecting he stumbles upon something no one else knows exist. There are these aliens that have been hiding on the planet all the this time. And they do not want to be found. They are hiding from an even greater threat to their species. So what do they do, of course they try to prevent Ramon from getting back to civilization and telling everyone about them. So naturally being a bad ass he gets in a fight with these aliens.

Next thing you know, he is waking up in this strange place. He does not know what happened, how he got there or where he is. Its dark, black and seeming nothingness. Before he knows it he has been leashed by these aliens and is now effectively their hunting dog. They have full control of him and he is told that he must hunt the other guy who is on his way back to civilization. Ramon just figures that the guy he is hunting is a cop who had tracked him down and was looking for him.

It turns out that Ramon is not Ramon but in fact a clone and he has been hunting himself. He is forced in a very real and psychological sense to come to terms with who he is and his own identity. He must work with himself but also sees all the things he hates about himself. His very survival is dependent on conquering himself and accepting who he is. His face to face struggle is a great analogy for our own internal struggle.

I found this to be a great concept for this book. I love how well this worked in the book. It could have very well been expanded and could have easily gone beyond a single book. The concept of our own internal struggle put into a real physical fight for survival in which our biggest barrier and struggle to our survival is ourselves. This was a fascinating way to explore this issue and I really liked how it came together.

Overall I give this book a 6/10 book worms. A good read.

TUF VOYAGING

Posted: March 12, 2017 in Book Reviews

Tuf Voyaging by George R R Martin

440 pages

Tuf voyaging is divided into approximately 8 chapters. Each chapter however can be read as a stand alone short story by itself.

The story is about a guy named Havilund Tuf who has this ecological seed ship which was originally designed for ecological warfare across the galaxy. It’s an ancient ship, about 1,000 years old and he manages to get his hands on it and become the sole ecological engineer in the galaxy.

He comes across this planet called Sulthan. Sulthan has this problem in that its people are obsessed with sex. All they care about is making babies. It’s a part of their religion, making babies, and more babies, and more babies and they just won’t stop. They are running out of food. They cannot seem to grow enough food fast enough. Haviland Tuf comes along and he has proposed all kinds of solutions to their problem. Finally he has had enough and he cannot stand how these people are. He is saying just stop having so much sex all the time, stop making babies. That however would be sacrilege to these people. So it follows Havilund Tuf and his proposed solutions but it also goes beyond that.

He goes to other planets in each segment of the book.  But everywhere he goes he is met with distrust, fear and hostility. Everyone wants to take his ship and take control of him. All this time he is presenting himself as just a humble ecological engineer, who only cares about helping people and collecting his fees which he sees as reasonable. He does not understand why he is met with mistrust everywhere

His sole companions are his cats. Cats he says are psychic and have powers to sense others emotions and thoughts. Tuf’s relationship with his cats, for me at least is a funny part of the book. It makes him a humorous and unique character. Kind of like¬† the crazy cat lady but he is a crazy cat man instead. They serve as comfort and companionship.

Ultimately the question is this. Is Havilund Tuf who he really claims to be? This ship of his has given him godlike powers. Is he really the humble guy he is or is he just an expert and manipulating those he deals with? That my friends you will have to decide for yourself when you read it.

I really enjoyed it, I think it was a really fun novel to read. I love how it broke it down into short stories which by itself it could be standalone but still nicely ties into a greater whole story. Which I thought was done really well. But overall a really good book and I really enjoyed it. I would give this a 8/10 book worms.