Sunday, March 08, 2015

Grandpa Consiglio

quiet yet strong
meticulous family man
consummate signore

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Review: The Martian

The Martian The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best books I've read in the last year or two. Extremely engaging. I was hesitant at first, thinking that I would be bored with the focus on only one character. However, that one character was really inspiring. Also I loved all the the science.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a solid, enjoyable science fiction book that was recommended to me by a friend. While in the process of consuming it, I did not have the "Oh my gosh, I just love this" feeling, but it was pleasant enough that I have started reading the second book in the series.

First, I must admit that the setting was right up my alley. It is far enough in the future to have many aspects of everyday human life be very different than what we experience now. But it is not so far that you couldn't imagine things actually progressing in that direction. A lot of the action takes place on space ships or space stations, yet it is always described in ways that made me feel like I could fit right in.

Second, I did enjoy several of the main characters. They had some depth and surprises to them that kept me interested, despite the fact that they didn't always make the right decisions.

However, the small downside for me was that there were not quite enough characters. Or maybe just not enough factions involved to completely dazzle me. Don't get me wrong; as I mentioned, there were some surprises along the way. But the overall plot moved in a fairly predictable direction, with things ending pretty much the way I would have expected.

I really want to give this book only 4.5 stars, but this site doesn't allow for half-stars. It falls just short of what I'd consider a "top" rating because I don't think that I would read this book over and over again. However, I'm letting my rating sit at the full 5 level, since science fiction is my favorite genre and this is definitely a story I would recommend to a friend.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: Great North Road

Great North Road Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book because it wasn't quite what I was expecting. It has a number of interesting characters and world details that entice me to read it again sometime in the future.

I'm familiar enough with Peter F. Hamilton to expect his science fiction to be based in an interesting setting and filled with lots and lots of characters. In fact, it was with a certain amount of dread that I avoided this book for awhile because I wasn't ready to dive into an epic story. After consuming several chapters, I began to realize that this particular book is not quite as expansive as some of his other tales, and I was pleasantly surprised at being able to jump into the narrative quickly.

Also, although this is set in the future with many familiar aspects of science fiction (space travel, colonization, DNA manipulation, miniature computer technology), the heart of the story is a murder mystery. That small twist on the theme kept me really intrigued through the first two-thirds of the book. Once the killer was revealed, I experienced a small let-down, but still enjoyed the rest since by that point I was invested in many of the characters and their stories.

The biggest 'problem' I had with this book has to do with the fact that I didn't actually read it; I listened to it in audio format. The reader did a good job overall with the narration and even a decent job with the character voices, however, he had a strong accent (Scottish maybe?) that made it hard for me to understand him from time to time. I found myself confused by names a few times and getting locations mixed up in my head. However, since the book was so long, rather than rewind and listen to a portion again, I would just let the story continue on and figure things out after a few more paragraphs. This is part of the reason I want to 'read' it again -- hopefully the next time I'll pick up on some details that I may have missed, especially since I know now where the action is headed.

One final plus for this particular story: it was nice to have a heroine with my first name.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Redshirts

Redshirts Redshirts by John Scalzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Basically this book is just average. It is averagely written, with average humor, average characters and average humor. I was hoping for something like the movie 'Galaxy Quest', but this didn't quite live up to that. It wasn't all completely bad, but I've forgotten most of the details already.

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Review: Year Zero

Year Zero Year Zero by Rob Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, then you'll like this book. It has that same, "people of Earth are silly and manage to avoid planetary destruction through inadvertent ineptitude" feel to it. There are a few key differences, first that the author is American, not British, so this story is set in New York and has a slightly different humor to it. Another difference from HHGG is that it was written recently, so it includes some very modern references that were refreshing. Finally, although the main characters are not heroes per se, they are also a bit more competent that their counterparts in HHGG, which means they actually end up using their wits a little more than blind luck to win out in the end.

Definitely a book I would recommend.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Old Man's War

Old Man's War Old Man's War by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't have much to say about this book. It didn't really pull on me strongly in any one direction. I thought the writing was well-done and the story-telling was very well structured. The universe felt kind of "Star Trek" to me though -- you know, like a late 70's or early 80's TV show. Although there is a lot going on in the background, the focus was just on the main character and his small group of friends. And they had very little impact on the world at large. Furthermore, the "science" to this fictional story seemed a little too good to be true, while at the same time having just the right sort of limitations for an interesting drama. Not serious drama mind you; just a little bit of interesting drama.

In the end, I'll probably come back and read more of the series when I don't have anything else grabbing my attention, but it can wait.

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