Book review: Finna by Nino Cipri

This Hugo-nominated novella doesn’t know what it wants to be.  Is it a multiverse-spanning adventure?  Or maybe a satire of our consumerist society?  Or perhaps it’s a redemption story of a failed relationship.  As soon as the reader thinks he figured out the tone of the story, it abruptly changes.  This, coupled with a simplistic language and bad grammar, results in a forgettable experience, which should not have been nominated for the award.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book review: Heaven’s River (Bobiverse 4) by Dennis E. Taylor

Taylor’s books are a more mature version of John Scalzi’s space operas.  The characters are a little more believable, the plot and story slightly more plausible.  On the other hand, the writing style and language are just as pedestrian.  The Bobiverse may not be groundbreaking, but it remains one of my guilty pleasures.  After the original trilogy concluded with no lose ends, I didn’t expect or crave another book, and so I was very pleasantly surprised with what I personally consider the best of the series.  In addition to the expected alien encounters and large-scale building projects, this book also comments on current cultural events and delves into the philosophy of morality.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Book review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

This Hugo nominee for the best novella is remarkable in only one aspect: it’s wholly unremarkable.  The best I can say about this book is that it provides a pleasant short read, devoid of any immediate conflict or anything that could even hint at an established narrative structure.  Unfortunately, this makes it so bland that I had to sit down to write the review within a few short days after reading the story, before I forgot all about it.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Classic review: City by Clifford Simak

Even after seventy years, City is a divisive work.  Some readers may love it, while others won’t care about it too much.  I not only fall into the first category, but I unashamedly admit that I look down at people who don’t like City, or more accurately, don’t comprehend it enough to like it.  The book may be difficult to understand.  The modern version contains nine largely disconnected stories, spanning some twelve thousand years, is heavy on exposition and focuses on human and animal evolution.  It is, in essence, a more digestible younger brother of Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men.  It is also very gentle, introspective and a pleasure to read.  Its ideas and concepts not only aged well, but they still serve as inspiration for modern science fiction.  This book is genuinely a classic.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Book review: The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

Let’s start by saying that this book is quite different from the author’s Hugo Award winning Broken Earth trilogy.  Those who liked her previous work may be disappointed, but they shouldn’t.  Objectively speaking, this is a much more mature work, with no good or evil, only different shades of gray.  There’s no angst and very little anger; instead there are characters who do what they must, at a personal and societal cost.  Ultimately, everyone is relatable to some degree, which makes the book a pleasure to read.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book review: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

The fifth book in the Wayward Children delivers more easy reading, simple plot and amazing worldbuilding.  Who cares that the internal logic is broken, as long as the readers can experience one of the most inventive fantasy worlds of the recent years?  This book delivers the latter, and I am completely content with it.  I’ve had a fun filled long night exploring the land of the Moors.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Hugos | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

I don’t know what makes this little book so appealing.  Maybe it’s the very pleasant protagonist.  Or perhaps the visuals.  Or the writing, which prepares you for tedium and disappointment in the first act, only to explode into a fascinating story with twists that are usually expected, but still inexplicably satisfying.  Ultimately, Piranesi is a cute little story that feels inconsequential within its large and strange universe.  It’s a very human story with an eminently likable protagonist and fascinating worldbuilding.  It’s been a true pleasure to read this book.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Hugos | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book review: Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

More necromancers in space!  Leviathan-sized beasts that can’t be killed by anything short of a black hole!  Ghosts, revenants, possessed corpses, hyperspace that looks more like a river full of floating corpses, a space station full of skeletons and planet-killing magic!  Even some fun characters that died in the previous book show up again.  What’s not to love?  Perhaps the convoluted narration, grotesque exposition and unsatisfactory ending.  Those who enjoyed Gideon the Ninth will be excited when they reach the final act but will likely put this book down before they get to that point.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Book review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

The highly anticipated third novel by Andy Weirs checks all the right boxes.  It’s educational, highly entertaining, upbeat and easy to read.  All characters are eminently likeable.  The story may sound far-fetched but is plausible.  Weir mixes in just the right amount of humor at the right time to score laughs, and just enough emotion to keep the reader invested.  This is a well-crafted book that’s fun to read and doesn’t tax the audience too much.

Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Movie review: The Tomorrow War (2021)

The Tomorrow War is this generation’s Independence Day.  It’s intense, amazing, with great action sequences, a little bit of humor and emotion.  All characters are relatable, and the outcome is happy.  It is also dumb as heck, with logical holes you could drive a truck through, and it’s completely unapologetic about it.  It will separate the wheat from the chaff.  You’ll get people who will feel smart by pointing out the logical fallacies, and then there’ll be those who simply enjoyed two hours of good, honest action.  I’ll be in the latter category.

Continue reading

Posted in Film reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment