There is a lot to like about Redshirts and John Scalzi creates an interesting meta-universe that gives a backstory to all of the disposable extras the filled many an episode of Star Trek. The book pokes fun at a storied television franchise and goes from silly to absurd as the junior crew members do what they can to avoid going on away missions. These crew members are more savvy than the original redshirts and they fully understand their odds of returning from an away mission when they go down to a planet along with more important ship personnel. Seeing things from the perspective of an "extra" is somewhat unique and one inside joke after another keeps things entertaining.
At the crossroads of a gold rush western and science fiction you'll find Alex Lomax, private investigator. Most residents of Mars dream of finding Martian fossils, returning to Earth fabulously wealthy, and virtually immortal in a synthetic body. Alex is a wanted man back on Earth so he's stuck in the one grungy port city Mars has to offer when a dame (synthetic) walks into his office. We have now boarded the roller coaster ride of crosses and double-crosses that makes up Red Planet Blues.
The Furies of Calderon kicks off the Codex Alera series which is an excellent 6 book series written by Jim Butcher. The series follows the life of Tavi, a young boy with no fury-crafting skills, in a world where everyone has access to elemental furies and their magical abilities. The fantasy world of Alera is very interesting and the magic system hooks you in quickly by creating a diverse set of circumstances. Furies are elemental beings (Air, Earth, Fire, Metal, Water or Wood) capable of helping the person who summons them in various ways from small everyday tasks through fighting in combat. As examples, earth furies help lift heavy loads and wind furies help their summoner travel faster. Alerans start to manifest their personal furies as children and by the time they are teenagers they are capable of summoning one or more furies to aid them at will. A person's place in society is often dictated by the strength of their furies.
David Farland has created a world where rulers take advantage of a magical process by which they acquire one or more of the attributes of their subjects, such ..Show More »as strength, stamina, glamour, metabolism, grace, etc. The person that gives up such an endowment is known as a "dedicate" and they are now crippled in that capacity for the rest of their lives so that the receiver can be enhanced. Those who receive endowments are known as Runelords and they each approach the ethics of receiving endowments from different moral perspectives which adds to the richness of the characters. Some are ruthless in their thirst to improve themselves for their own purposes while others pledge their lives to making the world better on behalf of their dedicates.
Anyone who has ever played a character in an online game or assumed any kind of persona in a virtual world will identify with this book. Serious MMO players in particular understand the challenge of managing the demands of the real world versus a virtual world and know the perils of trying to live in both at the same time. The two have a way of bleeding together with each having the ability to negatively impact success in the other. Ernest Cline take this concept and creates a virtual utopia known as the OASIS and juxtaposes it against a dystopian society that is in near ruins. Many people live in poverty in the"stacks", which are trailer homes vertically stacked on top of each other, and the only grass they ever see is virtual grass when they are online.
The Riyria series has an interesting publishing history that is not very typical. Michael J Sullivan self-published 6 books in this series on his own and they were successful enough to land him a publishing deal with Orbit Books. These 6 books were then re-packaged into a trilogy containing 2 original books each and known as the Riyria Revelations. This is a great trilogy that has a strong story arc containing well written and entertaining characters and it all wraps itself up nicely at the end. What more could you want?
Promise of Blood is what is known as "Flintlock Fantasy" which means it contains a world where guns (musket/flintlock era weapons) exist alongside swords and sorcery. This book introduces the concept of Powder Mages, who are gun using sorcerers that rely on gunpowder to fuel their abilities. Powder Mages can enter a powder trance by ingesting gun powder thus allowing them to manipulate and control bullets as they fly or explode nearby gun powder being carried by their enemies. It is a unique magic system and executed pretty well by Brian McClellan. That concept combined with an interesting story arc carry the series and make up for the characters which I found to be a little uninteresting as a whole.
Mistborn is an excellent series and I thoroughly enjoyed every book in the original trilogy: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. I was completely drawn into Sanderson's world of Allomancers and all of the interesting things they could do right from the start. Allomancy is the art of "burning" a metal that you ingest to enhance your own physical and mental abilities. There are 8 metals that can be burned and most Allomancers can only burn a single one; however, there are rare individuals who can burn all 8 and these are known as Mistborn.
The ToJ website has a new hosting provider and a new look to go with it. I decided not to carry over all of the old baggage from the old site as I switched providers so it is time to try something new.