Review: Angles of Attack

Angles of Attack
Angles of Attack by Marko Kloos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The third installment in a very readable military hard sci-fi (except the Alcubierre drive and the amazing acceleration rates that is) yarn. Having finished everything Marko Kloos has written, now I wait breathlessly for Chains of Command to see how he will work his way out of the trap everyone was put into :)

Our friends find their way back to good old Terra, which is by now all that is left of the nascent interstellar empire. And they are followed. Of course. The last few chapters seque nicely with Measures of Absolution, the second short story set up in the Lankies universe. You might want spent the small amount of money to read that story first, as it rounds out the story quite fine.

I can imagine a few reasons why the gambit from the end of the second book was not used in quite the same way again, but it would have been nice to read it in-universe from the point of view of the actors in the story.

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Review: Lines of Departure

Lines of Departure
Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Similar to the first book in the “Frontlines” series, this book continues in the same hard sci-fi setting. Except of the Alcubierre chutes, which are the only hand-waving ingredient, everything is possible, or at least imaginable.

The last few chapters with the “single missile” (you have to read it, it would be a major spoiler) is also very nicely written, one is left with the feeling that the author really had a scientific advisor and actually listened to his opinions.

The social part, though, is starting to get a bit old. I had to suspend belief quite a bit to follow the yarn about 95% of the population on good old Terra is on starvation levels but that the military can still keep a lid on things. Some people actually have to work in the factories that produce all those weapons that in turn are used against the very same population. A very grim-dark setup indeed.

On the other hand, we see that a nice life is indeed possible for the 1% who survive military service or are otherwise well-connected. Slightly Heinleinesque, this :)

I’m looking forward to the third installation, Angles of Attack and after that, the fourth book, Chains of Command. It will be interesting to see how the author spins the yarn about the near-invincible Lankies and the welfare riots back on Terra.

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Review: Terms of Enlistment

Terms of Enlistment
Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t really remember how I stumbled upon this unexpected gem of military sci-fi yarn but I am very grateful for the coincidence / algorithm that led me to it.

If you enjoyed your Starship Troopers, and want something similar but with modernised setting (believable battlefield automation and communication, anyone) without Heinleins political background which never did really gel with me, HURRY AND FETCH THIS GEM 11!1!!1

Ah, oops, sorry, the excitement getting the best of me again… Now, if you excuse me, I will be in my mancave, enjoying the two short stories in this universe before settling down to read the second book…

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Review: Ansible 15717

Ansible 15717
Ansible 15717 by Stant Litore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

O.k., it’s official, I am a supporter of Stant over at Patreon. His prose deserves nothing less.

Not only does he explore what life could feel like for a plant-like lifeform, he also writes intriguing prose about a life where Islam is portrayed in a positive way. Given how hard I found it to discover good storytelling which does not portray Muslims as towel-heads at worst, and scientific ignoramuses at best, the Ansible series are a very welcome breath of fresh air.

The rest of the story you have to read for yourself, but I would suggest to RUN AND GET YOUR COPY NOW :-)

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Review: The Running of the Tyrannosaurs

The Running of the Tyrannosaurs
The Running of the Tyrannosaurs by Stant Litore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stant did it again… The story is so tightly written that anything about it would be tantamount to spoilers, so I will just stay saying that I was blown away.

Just the right length to fill an extended lunch break, and just the right content to give you things to think about for the next hours. Let me just cite his dedicatation, “for the young women of this generation: no matter what a magazine cover may tell you, you are each more beautiful already than you know”. I can only stand amazed at the time and thoughts that must have went in the story.

Thank you Stant. Thank you so much.

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My Java library for OpenCage Data has been discovered

Over the last six weeks or so, I was writing a frontend to the nice geocoding service at http://www.opencagedata.com/ with the sources being stored at github.

As it always is the case, I never got around to really polishing the library and do a proper release. Imagine my surprise when I saw a post on the opencage data blog and a tweet mentioning me and my library.

Seems like I really have to do a proper release now, but only after my summer vacation… No coding allowed while visiting the relatives :-)

 

Review: I, Zombie

I, Zombie
I, Zombie by Hugh Howey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imagine being in a coma. On a hospital bed, unable to move in any way you would want to. Unable to show the people around you that you are mind still aware of yourself and your surroundings.

Now imagine your body I not on that hospital bed but stumbling on the streets, following that smell of humans alive. Of BRAAAAAAAAAAINS.

Imagine being locked up in a body which pulls intestines from another human, bites pieces of their bodies off, which is at the same time shitting all that human meat out and I crawling with maggots which grow inside your body…

Imagine all that, described from the points of view of a dozen inmates locked up in their former bodies and minds…

And then try to sleep peacefully at night. That’s the powerful prose of Hugh Howey, which for this tale would deserve six stars if I could give them.

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Review: Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this if you like a bit of apocalyptic SCIENCE to go with your post-apocalyptic fiction :-)

Instead of the run-of-the-mill “Oh my god, we’re gonna die in the next fifty years” essays, Annalee Newitz discusses in a very solid and scientific manner how many times in the history of our planet, life went through near-extinction events and flourished again. She also shows how our entire recorded history is nothing more than a blink of the eye compared to all the time earlier non-sentient species existed on our planet.

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Review: Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this if you like a bit of apocalyptic SCIENCE to go with your post-apocalyptic fiction :-)

Instead of the run-of-the-mill “Oh my god, we’re gonna die in the next fifty years” essays, Annalee Newitz discusses in a very solid and scientific manner how many times in the history of our planet, life went through near-extinction events and flourished again. She also shows how our entire recorded history is nothing more than a blink of the eye compared to all the time earlier non-sentient species existed on our planet.

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Review: Vengeful Spirit

Vengeful Spirit
Vengeful Spirit by Graham McNeill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In a very refreshing change from other Black Library books, Vengeful Spirit actually has some traces of science fiction in it. Battles both in space and on the ground are well described, and for the first time, I did not have the feeling that the only use of space ships is to get Marines as fast as possible into hand-to-hand distance.

Also, even Space Marines can die in their dozens when fighting in the general vicinity of Titans, the description of which cuts those transhumans down to a bit more manageable scale.

Overall, well worth the admittedly steep price Black Library is asking for this volume.



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