For meat lovers

A Series of SteaksA Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And the winner for odd titles goes to… a very meaty story. Fun. Humorous. Odd. I am not entirely sold on the concepts behind the story, but the world building and characterizations were top-notch for such a short piece. I will be looking up other stuff by the author.

Hugo Awards 2018 Novelette Nominee

Story can be found here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/prasa…

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Little bot and the ratbug

The Secret Life of BotsThe Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Are bot stories a hot, new commodity this year? Not that I am complaining, there just seems to be an abundance of misbehaving, self-aware bots gallivanting through our galaxy.

Not sure why this was nominated for the Hugo, but definitely fun to read. Good thing that Bot 9 was an outdated model with some design flaws…

Hugo Awards 2018 Novelette Nominee

Story can be found here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/palme…

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Mind will rove

Wind Will RoveWind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What can we learn from history? Do we need to learn from history? When do the lessons that we can learn stop mattering for our present lives? And how does life develop, when that history is lost forever and you loose touch with the past and your ancestors?

This felt too much like a mental excercise, a philosophy lesson. I didn‘t care about the characters, the musical evenings or the kids‘ essays.

I read 34 of 66 pages and skimmed the rest. Not my kind of story, it didn‘t work for me. Yes, all good questions about the importance of history, knowing it, learning from it and maybe also distancing yourself from it to create something new and unencumbered. I was bored.

Hugo Awards 2018 Novelette Nominee

Story can be found here:
http://sarahpinsker.com.hostbaby.com/…
And here:
http://www.asimovs.com/assets/1/6/Win…

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A Plague of Characters

A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1)A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Very wordy beginning. 10% into this I am utterly uninterested in the story telling part. Some bits are nicely done, but I would quite like to have some plot. I had looked forward to something similar to his Druid Chronicles, but with a classic fantasy setting. This is not it.

At 18% I am calling it a day. Probably the most boring war I had every the misfortune to read about. Maybe because there was no war, just a never ending row of interchangeable, flat characters, introducing their race, culture, magic system and specific kenning. It felt like reading endless prologues. Why should I care, if I never get to know any of them well enough?

DNF at 18%, which should equal about 118 pages.

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Dystopian mafia, the lady kicks ass…

Lazarus, Vol. 1: FamilyLazarus, Vol. 1: Family by Greg Rucka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strong start, nicely dark imagery, very violent.

I like it very much—the line art, the dark colours, the gorgeous sunsets, interesting plot.

There is enough world building to give a general feel for the setting, but I would like more backstory. How did we come to end up in this world, where a few families rule, supported by a few „serfs“ and a large populace of „waste“, that seems to live in squalor. Despicable, calling the general populace „waste“!

Forever‘s family is all kinds of horrible, too. She seems to be the only person in this with any semblance of a consience. And at this point I am not sure, if she is a person at all. Her family, the devious turds, certainly don‘t think so. Should be fun, when she finds out. I like her, she kicks ass. And her potential love interest is not shabby, either.

Another review compared this to mafia families in a dystopian SF setting, which sums it up very nicely. And makes Forever their enforcer. I am getting a bit of a Romeo and Juliet vibe as well.

I have the next two volumes, so I will definitely dive deeper into this.

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Not so Hidden Figures

The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first glance a story about the apocalypse—a meteor strikes Earth in the 1950s with devastating longterm effects. At second glance this is more an exploration of discrimination against women and persons of colour in that time in the US. And an exploration of the Space Race, this time not against the Russians, but against the end of the world.

A quarter into the book I wasn’t sure, if I liked the book or the main protagonist. Well written, a bit too linear and straight forward for me in this instance and maybe a little bit boring. Good beginning, but seemingly fairly flat story telling. And I just wanted to smack Elma around the head on many occasions. But I guess she is a product of her time, although she wants more. I couldn‘t really see the Elma of the short story in this.

Surprisingly, not a lot of tension at first. Yes, the Earth is about to end, eventually. But that didn‘t really drive the plot forward a lot. Character driven stories are not really my favourite books, and if they are, I want more character development than this. The plot sort of ambled along in a more or less predictable fashion. I had expected something different, after reading the Hugo Award winning novelette Lady Astronaut of Mars.

Nonetheless, it is a well told story with a lot of food for thought and the last chapter was just fabulous. I almost cried. Elma‘s love for flying and space shines through and the writing is very imaginative and poetic at times.

So a well-deserved 4 stars, despite what I wrote above. I didn‘t love it enough for the five star treatment. I will maybe read the next book, because Space! Right? perhaps I‘ll have talked myself into 5 stars soon, if I keep thinking about the book some more.

I recommend reading this article for further inspiration:
https://www.tor.com/2018/07/06/17-boo…

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Comic excerpt

The Furnace: A Graphic NovelThe Furnace: A Graphic Novel by Prentis Rollins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read a 16 page excerpt of this comic and have to say that it didn‘t do anything for me. Based on the excerpt I have no interest in reading the full story. The art was ok, but didn‘t grab me.

And there was too little of the story to make an impact. Something about mobile prisons? Vaguely SF. Something horrible happens and bad choices are made?

Sorry, too short to form a decent opinion.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

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