Monday, October 1, 2018

Bellwether (1996) Connie Willis

Bellwether(1996) Connie Willis

Well this is easy. Connie Willis is one of my very favorite authors.  I stumbled upon her when I found To Say Nothing of The Dog.  It was a real gem.  Full of the fun of time travel and a little bit of a love story.  Then on to the Doomsday BookBlackout, and All Clear.

Bellwether is not in this time travel series.  Fear not – it is still in the “fun” series.  Dr. Sandra Foster is a researcher for Hi-Tek company where she is studying fads.  She wants to find the origin of fads such as hair bobbing.  The goal is a serious one – if you know what causes fads maybe you go prevent the toxic ones from happening.  The whole thing is a take on Robert Browning’sPippa Passes(Check it out).  The Pippa in this book is a glorified mail clerk named Flip who unconsciously drives the plot.  Meanwhile “Love is in the air” between Dr. Foster and her colleague Dr. Riley and a flock of contrary lambs. I can be pretty cynical but not with Connie Willis who is the real deal.  Very thoughtful, put together stories that combine a bit of sci fi, some great characters, and a lot of fun. Do NOT stop!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Book Review:Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicone Valley Startup (2018) John Carreyrou

Bad Blood:  Secrets and Lies in a Silicone Valley Startup  (2018) John Carreyrou

Thomas Edison must be rolling over in his grave.  Elizabeth Holmes had a lot of hubris to name her miserable lab tester after the great inventor.  Well, turns out she lied about everything else too.  John Carryrou’s book is riveting.   It still does not answer the question of how does a smart Stanford drop out presume to create a start up reinventing the complicated enterprise of laboratory medicine.  When I first heard of Theranos I figured that they had created an algorithm to convert results based on fingerstick to that with venipuncture – two different sorts of solutions.  Turns out they never even considered the differences and just worked on trying to miniaturize the process to create a unity that could be placed in a patient’s home.

Anyway, many people were hurt – patients, employees, investors.   Other than Holmes and her boyfriend others should be accountable - specifically the Board of Directors who were all ignorant of health care and were mostly retired politicians.  Go figure.

Read the book.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Book Review: Reboot (2013) Amy Tintera

Reboot   (2013)   Amy Tintera

Reboot (or is it Reboot 1?) is a variant zombie story.   The virus that brings people back does not necessarily create a zombie however.  In this book, a super human is created.  Stronger, faster, super healing.  The only thing that stops them is a severe brain trauma (like a bullet).  The longer they are dead before they “reboot”  the more powerful and less human they are.  Are hero,  Wren 178, was out 178 minutes before rebooting.  Her paramour, Callum 22,  only 22 minutes.  HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation)  owns the reboots and uses them to police the remaining humans (After the Human vs Reboot war).   HARC is experimenting on the below 60 Reboots essentially turning them into real zombies who want to eat humans.   Callum is one of these so Wren plans an escape…..

Interesting twist on the zombie story that is everywhere right now.  Of course it is the start of a series.  Hopefully,  there will be some surprises – but do not hold your breath.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Only Human (2018) Sylvain Neuvel

Only Human(2018) Sylvain Neuvel

Book three of Neuval’s Themis Files series.  My least favorite. (Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods)  This is basically a family affair with Victor and Eva (and Rose as a surrogate mother) trying to work out what actually happened on the world of Esat Ekt.  Eva’s alien boyfriend, Ekim, becomes a casualty of their escape back to Earth with itself has become a world dominated by the remaining giant robot, Lapetus, which the USA is using to dominate the rest of the world.  When Victor, Rose, and Eva return with Themis it is the Russians that take control of them and it is game on.  Of course Rose figures it out with the help of Mr. Burns who is not in jail for his sin of alien heritage.  

It is an interesting concept but I had hoped for a little more imagination in books two and three rather then just dragging out a really good book one idea.  Of course the is the standard for SF now a days.  Take a good book and stretch it to 3 -  maybe 5 or 6.   Hopefully Sylvain Neuval will come out with something new soon. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Containment (2010) Christian Cantrell

Containment(2010) Christian Cantrell

Arik awakes from a coma to face a puzzle that he had set for himself.  Solving it will reveal what he was made to forget about their Venus Colony that will rock their world.  He was taught as a child that the Earth had survived many challenges to become a vibrant space-faring community that had started a colony on Venus as their first step to the cosmos.   Not likely!  

A great story with a nice twist.  Arik is nicely developed but none of the other characters are.  Hopefully in future books of this series we can get to know others.  The idea of the “homeless”  is very interesting and lends itself to more explanation.  It has a zombie sense about it.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Super Sales on Super Heroes - 2 - William D. Brand

Super Sales on Super Heroes -  Book 2(2018)  
William D. Arand

Creative title – “Book 2”.   I liked “Book 1” a lot but had a problem with the slavery theme.  Fortunately Arand goes a long way toward getting rid of that in this book.  A lot of the book is a rehash of the first one.  He develops the Andrea / Myriad character much more in this book. We also learn more about Miu.   She is insane and jealous of anyone who cares for Felix.  She kills Andreas over and over.  Fortunately they have amazing recovery skills.  In this book we see Felix run for governor and we meet Skippy from Skipper City.  

We finally see Felix the CEO thrown into a desperate situation when he must survive without all of his entourage.  I found this the most interesting part.  Of course, there will be a “Book 3” (come on William!).   I will read it whatever it is called.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons  (2014) Sam Kean

What happens when you get a rod of iron exploding  through your brain?  Do you believe there are people that can see smells and taste sounds?  What happens when you the corpus callosum is intentionally severed breaking the main connection between the two halves of the brain?

Sam Kean weaves the answers to these questions along with the history of neuroscience and an interesting series of strange cases that illustrate each chapter. 

Same Kean is terrific and bringing dry science to life.  I highly recommend this as well as Caesar’s Last Breath.