It‘s the bioapocalypse…

Behemoth (Rifters, #3)
by Peter Watts

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Prelude: ´lawbreaker

We meet Achilles Desjardins again. And…

“The past receded; the unforgiven present advanced. The world fell apart in time-lapse increments: an apocalyptic microbe rose from the deep sea, hitching a ride in the brackish flesh of some deep-sea diver from N’AmPac. Floundering in its wake, the Powers That Weren’t dubbed it ßehemoth, burned people and property in their frantic, futile attempts to stave off the coming change of regime. North America fell.“

ß-Max

We are at the bottom of the Atlantic. Hiding away, in conjunction with our former enemy.

Very readable, mostly. There are sequences where I don‘t understand a thing… Lenie is a bystander a lot of the time, shunned not only by the other side, but also by her own people. We as readers often do not take part in the action, but look at what‘s happening from the outside, from her POV. I am not a fan of that way of story telling. But it‘s what it is, when reading from limited POVs, I guess.

I am not certain that I really understood what went on in this book. Yes, hiding away, conflict with the opposing inmates, revolution, mutation, a new infestation… Got that. Much head scratching. I also missed a stronger sense of being underwater. It almost did not feel as if they were spending time in the deep sea.

Seppuku

Emerging from the sea… This one more linear and with more traditional story telling at first. I really liked the new character, Taka.

Trigger warning: <spoiler>Torture, mutilation, rape</spoiler>

I could have done without that part. It added nothing to the plot and made me uncomfortable. Was it just for the shock effect? Because as a plot point it was pretty pointless or at the most served as a tool for a info dump. It actually turned me off so much, that I lost my motivation to keep going. 

Consequently I really struggled with the last 100 pages. I literally lost the plot. I couldn‘t grasp what was going on or why Ken and Lenie did what they were doing.

The big reveal at the end left me rather cold, I was glad to be finished and disappointed with the resolution of this trilogy. Did the final conflict really have to happen in the off? Clarke as a mere bystander did not make me happy either. She devolved into the chick on the side. She really did not gell for me in Seppuku. I understand that characters can change and develop, but I could not relate to Lenie’s progression. 

I really liked the first book, it had a good plot and setting and a strong, convincing main character in Lenie Clarke. Maelstrom and Behemoth (ß-Max & Seppuku) were confusing over long stretches and hard to understand. I admit to skimming quite a bit of the techno babble. I think stopping after the first book would have been best.

How to rate this? Considering that I struggled to finish, had problems to follow the plot, disliked the character inconsistency of Lenie Clake and the gratuitous violence/torture, I can‘t really give this more than two stars.


In my headspace Noomi Rapace took over the role of Lenie Clarke.

A free version of this book(s) can be found here.

Playlist:

  • Georg Friedrich Händel, Water Music
  • Tchaikovsky, Iolanta
  • Sergei Prokofiev
  • Igor Strawinsky

Mathematical SF?

Glory by Greg Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An ingot of metallic hydrogen gleamed in the starlight, a narrow cylinder half a meter long with a mass of about a kilogram.
A very abstract beginning. I skimmed past most of that science-tech babble, I confess. I liked the story that followed the info dump.

However…
“There’s more to life than mathematics,” Joan said. “But not much more.”
Math was always one of my best subjects at school, but still… too much! Math Fiction? Mathematical SF?

It was ok, nice idea of a vaguely Star Trekky set-up without the Prime Directive and more cloning and uploading of consciousness. Plus that hard SF thing with the needle that I skimmed… Did I miss the big reveal, aka Brig Crunch? It probably just flew right over my head.

Glory by Greg Egan can be read for free here: https://outofthiseos.typepad.com/blog…

View all my reviews

Haunted space station?

Substrate PhantomsSubstrate Phantoms by Jessica Reisman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not sure what to make of this book. I liked it, unexpectedly, as it was off to a slow start. It was poetic in parts. Interesting ideas. A fascinating first contact story. It made me feel sad for long stretches. Confused in the beginning. Slow build-up, slow paced, with a twist at the ending that I saw coming, but that worked well.

The beginning was a little difficult to get into. I had to come to grips with the unusual vocabulary and odd grammar. It was a good way to impress the otherness of the setting to me. Hard SciFi, I guess. I liked Termagenti station, but even more so the setting down on Ash, with it’s landscapes, memorable characters and the amazement of the station-born characters at encountering nature.

I liked the idea of the other characters taking up residence inside of Jhinsei. I wish the author had played around with that more. Maybe the book had felt more solid for me, if the author had explored that more deeply. But even so, lots to think about. I am sure this book is going to stay with me for some time.

World building with a lot of potential. I think I would like to pick up a sequel, to find out where the story takes the central characters.

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

View all my reviews