The end

No Flight Without the Shatter: A Tor.com OriginalNo Flight Without the Shatter: A Tor.com Original by Brooke Bolander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very different to the last two stories I read by her. Apocalyptic, end of the world. A requiem for all the species we extinguished with our greed and incomprehension. We meet the Dodo and the Tasmanian Devil and other long gone animals. One human is there to witness it all, till the bitter end. And like she said, „it‘s…. all so…. dumb.“

Interesting. Not really my kind of thing, but full of deeper meaning, messages between the lines, maybe a little preachy. True, though. We just don‘t listen.

Here to be found for free:
https://www.tor.com/2018/08/15/no-fli…

Author‘s webpage: http://brookebolander.com

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Under the surface

Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A tale of three generations of an African-American family, segregation and racism, Tarzan movies, swimming, glimpses of an underwater world and maybe the Creature of the Black Lagoon.

Difficult to rate, as it wasn‘t what I expected. More historical than speculative fiction.

A HUGO and Nebula Award Nominee, winner of an World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. “Ranging from the late 1930s to the present day, “Wakulla Springs” is a tour de force of the human, the strange, and the miraculous.“

I expected a Fantasy story, maybe some creative and unusual underwater monsters. There was very little of the strange, and the miraculous.“ Mostly it was of the human condition and how people are treated unfairly because of the colour of their skin. And Hollywood.

I did some entertaining research on Wakulla Springs, the lodge, Tarzan movies and Johnny Weissmueller in the process. The story did provide me with some great imagery, above and below the water surface. Very poetic ending. I want to get a flat-bottomed boat now and do some paddling and swimming.

If Wakulla Springs interests you, have a look here: http://www.floridasprings.org/expedit…

Thanks to Tor for providing this for free.

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Sassy bot is back

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I tried hard to keep this free of spoilers, but I might have failed a little.

“There needs to be an error code that means ‘I received your request but decided to ignore you.‘“
Sassy bot is back! This newest novella is full of increasing levels of snark, sarcasm and mental eye rolls by one of the most engaging AIs I have met so far.

“Who knew being a heartless killing machine would present so many moral dilemmas.“
Murderbot is still struggling with… emerging emotions? Becoming more human? Trying and failing to understand those pesky humans? And really getting fed up with pretending to be one.

I really liked Murderbot‘s interactions with other bots, from remembering and missing ART to meeting transport bots that are either too demanding or too simple and unaware to present adequate sparring partners.

I really liked the combat bots, too. Wells painted a great picture with her description of them. And how smart to put the main processing units where they are. Makes perfect sense.

“I hate caring about stuff. But apparently once you start, you can‘t just stop.“
As if hacking yourself and running away isn‘t bad enough, now there is also caring for pesky humans (again!) and their pets.

Miki was an interesting addition. Not as fun as ART, but a great exploration of where intelligence can take you and how treatment by others can shape your personality. Nature or nurture. And envy and anger. Murderbot is learning more every day.

Great addition to the series, can‘t wait for the next one and I am really looking forward to the full-length novel!

I received this free, uncorrected digital galley from Tor via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!

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I‘m puzzled

HexagrammatonHexagrammaton by Hanuš Seiner
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hard SciFi, very hefty for a short story, with impressive world building.

Something for people who love mathematics and cryptology.

The author lost me somewhere during one of the lengthy info dumps. I skimmed a little, which is probably not a good sign in a short story. Quite clever, but it wasn‘t really my cup of tea, 2.5 stars.

Can be found here:
Http://www.tor.com/2017/05/10/hexagra…

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In a flash

The Awakening of InsectsThe Awakening of Insects by Bobby Sun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was right down my alley. Colonists on a planet, where animals consist of species resembling insects and mollusks. Strange phenomena lead to a spectacular finding.

This makes a nice prologue, where is the rest of the novel? Great world building, good plot, well written.

Worth reading. I would pick up something else by the author, if I could find anything… Go on, mate, write something!

Can be found here:
https://www.tor.com/2017/04/26/the-aw…

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It‘s scary to be conscious and have free will…

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A quick read. Which annoys me even more considering the ridiculously high price of the ebook. I even considered docking a star of the rating for that, but it wouldn‘t be fair to the story.

It was good, but not as good as the first installment. I found it a bit thinner on plot and suspense, although I liked the way our murderbot keeps exploring its non-humanity. The addition of ART was fun. The bad guy was not very bad or scary. Regardless, I read it in two sittings and I am craving more. Good entertainment.

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The wife is the astronaut this time

The Lady Astronaut of MarsThe Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A prequel, or rather a bitter-sweet epilogue, read as a teaser to an upcoming new series about a female astronaut in the 1950s, Mars and an alternate timeline.

I liked it very much. I almost cried at the end. Written in first person, with a clear, concise prose. I could relate, I felt with her and I am pretty sure I will pick up the first full-length novel of this world.

To find for free here at Tor.com:
https://www.tor.com/2013/09/11/the-la…

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