Category Archives: SciFi

Book Review: Diving into the Wreck

Diving into the Wreck

Diving into the Wreck, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Set in the distant future, Boss is a professional wreck diver, who salvages valuables from abandoned spacecrafts. When she comes across a mysterious and ancient ship, her curiosity is overwhelming. But an unknown danger waits inside. The ancient ship contains stealth technology that has yet to be perfected. Years ago, Boss lost her mother to similar technology. After the death of several comrades, Boss is faced with the moral dilemma of whether or not to leave the stealth technology in the hands of the military, potentially endangering countless more lives.

Written in first person narrative, readers experience everything from Boss’ point of view. Boss is a recluse, never fully trusting anyone. And we are shown the reason why during flashbacks of Boss’ past. The story focuses more on the plot and events, rather than character development. But what it lacks in character depth, Rusch makes up for in creating suspense and making readers think. I also give praise to Rusch as well for not overdoing the details for stealth technology. Enough information is given to make imaginations flare, but not enough to burden the story.

I have read several of Rusch’s media tie-in novels, but this is the first original novel of hers that I have read. I now consider myself a fan. Full of adventure, danger, intrigue, and futuristic tech, this is what scifi readers, like me, crave. Science fiction fans should definitely check out this latest release by Rusch.

Book Review: The 4400: Promises Broken

The 4400: Promises Broken

The 4400: Promises Broken, by David Mack

Following the events in The 4400: Welcome to Promise City, tension is escalating between the US government and Jordan Collier promicin-positive followers. And the 4400’s greatest foe, the Marked, have devised a plan to wipe out the p-positive, but countless innocents will die as well.

David Mack and Pocket Books have finally given fans of the show the resolution we have been waiting for, since its untimely cancellation. The characters have changed and developed, but not beyond reason. And suspenseful as ever, this latest installment has Agents Baldwin and Skouris making the most difficult decisions of their lives. They must choose sides and risk everything. And, ultimately, Kyle’s prediction of the fate of the world lying with Tom Baldwin comes to a head.

With all of the characters we’ve come to know and love, Mack has skillfully rendered each with believability and soul. The story is gripping and fast-paced, with a climatic ending that no 4400 fan should miss. And while there is a satisfying ending to the overall story arc, there is plenty left open for future accounts and other avenues to explore. This was a fantastic conclusion to an incredible series. And I, for one, would love to see it continue on in further novels, particularly if the same authors return.

Book Review: Star Trek: Voyager: Unworthy

Voyager Unworthy

Star Trek: Voyager: Unworthy, by Kirsten Beyer

When Seven has a mental breakdown after hearing about the death of her beloved aunt, Chakotay resigns his commission to take care of her. He decides to take her back to Voyager to join a fleet heading back to the Delta quadrant, searching for answers to the recent Borg assimilation by the Caeliar. Shortly after arriving, the fleet comes across a cooperative of races that idolize the Borg. To make matters worse, there seems to be a saboteur on board, with an unknown agenda.

Besides Chakotay and Seven, several other original Voyager characters return. Tom Paris, Harry Kim, and the Doctor have joined the fleet. And B’Elanna Torres and her daughter have planned a rendezvous with Paris that goes awry. Following the aftermath of the Borg invasion and Janeway’s death, spirits are low. But when the remaining former crew members meet up again, it soon begins to feel like old times. Though, there were quite a few new characters, of which I sometimes lost track.

Since there has been a revamp to the Star Trek universe (and of course, Voyager found it’s way home), this is a different crew than the one we’re all familiar with from the show. But there is no less mystery and adventure. The story is complex with quite a bit of emotional turmoil involving several characters. But race relations and exploration remain at the forefront, leaving this Star Trek fan satisfied and excited about where Voyager ventures next.

Book Review: Flashforward

Flashforward

Flashforward, by Robert J. Sawyer, is the basis for the new hit show on ABC.

In an experiment gone awry, the entire population of the world loses consciousness for two minutes and has a vision 21 years in the future. Then the world wakes up to chaos. As a result of the world-wide blackout, there were countless accidents and deaths. And it seems that scientists Lloyd and Theo from CERN are responsible. In Lloyd’s vision, he is married to a different woman than his current fiancé. And Theo didn’t have a vision at all. Which leads people to believe that he will be dead within the next 21 years. When someone steps forward to say they have information on his death, Theo begins an investigation into his own future murder.

This story is so unique, that I had no idea what to expect. The main characters are completely wrapped up in worrying about their own futures, even though that future is quite far off. Guilt about the aftermath of the Flashforward seems to be secondary to everyone involved. In a lame attempt at shifting blame, Lloyd insists that there is no free will, and that the future will happen no matter what.

It will certainly make readers think and ponder over the future and reality. Those not into physics, may gloss over at some of the long descriptions. But overall, the story is suspenseful and complex. The jump to 21 years later, at the end of the book, seemed abrupt. But the threads of the story were wrapped up. And with a few interesting twists to the story, I thoroughly enjoyed this distinctive science fiction tale.

Book Review: Century: Ring of Fire

Century: Ring of Fire

Century: Ring of Fire, by Pierdomenico Baccalario, is the first of four books in the Century series.

“Every hundred years, four kids from four cities must save the world.”

On December 29th, three families arrive at a small hotel in Rome. Due to an error with reservations, Elettra’s family finds themselves overbooked. But that night, four children from different countries discover a strange coincidence. They all share the same, rare birthday: February 29th. When a blackout occurs, the children wander outside and encounter an odd man who hands them a briefcase. Later, they discover that the man was murdered. Elettra and her new friends must follow the clues inside the briefcase before the evil killer can catch up to them and stop them from finding the mysterious Ring of Fire.

Written for pre-teens, the story is short and very fast-paced. The mystery/mission is a bit muddled. It’s still not clear why the children need to be from different cities, why there need to be four of them, what the significance is of their birthdays, and why there is an evil presence trying to stop them (since their supposedly saving the world in some manner). Hopefully, these things are explained in the later books. As it is, this first episode is very suspenseful, to say the least. A menacing assassin is at their heels, and the children are never sure who they can trust.

The characters are larger than life, some comical. But readers are left in the dark about certain key characters and their motivations, for now. This definitely had the feel of a “Da Vinci Code for young readers” but with quite a bit more at stake. Ring of Fire is certainly a fun and exciting start to a series with certain potential.

Book Review: The 4400: Welcome to Promise City

The 4400: Welcome to Promise City

The 4400: Welcome to Promise City, by Greg Cox

The 4400: Welcome to Promise City picks up the storyline where the TV series ended. After the promiacin outbreak, thousands died in Seattle, and the surviving thousands were left with new abilities. And Jordan Collier stepped up as leader of the city. A group of mysterious undercover operatives have made it their mission to bring down Collier and stop the spread of promiacin. Meanwhile, Tom Baldwin and Diana Skouris try to track down who stole the body of Tom’s nephew, the catalyst of the recent outbreak of promiacin. NTAC is worried that someone may be using the diseased boy’s body to further spread promiacin to the unsuspecting world.

As a big fan of the TV show, I was ecstatic to hear that the novels would be continuing the story. And this latest book was a wonderful addition. All of the characters are fighting the same struggles: Tom debating on whether or not to take the shot, Kyle’s hallucinatory ability and struggling between loyalty to Jordan and his father, and Richard dealing with vengeance over the death of his daughter.

With ample suspense, action, and intrigue, fans of The 4400 will not be disappointed. A complex storyline involves all of the main characters, and offers some shocking surprises along the way. The characters have all the depth and conflicts that we’ve come to know. The danger of Collier’s followers and the opposing faction is coming to a head. And I loved every minute of it.

Book Review: Leviathan

Leviathan

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld

In an alternate history, Europe is headed towards a Word War. The Germanic Clankers, with their advanced machinery, face off against the British Darwinists, with their crossbred animals. The Darwinists have a new weapon, the Leviathan, a flying whale ship. Deryn Sharp is new to the service and is on the Leviathan for her first assignment. But only males are allowed to be in the service, so she must hide her identity from everyone, and disguise herself as a boy.

Meanwhile, Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand is woken in the middle of the night and forced to flee his home. With only a small group of men, Aleksandar faces foes at every turn. When the Leviathan lands near Aleksandar, he meets young Deryn, and their fates intertwine.

In this latest young adult novel from Scott Westerfeld, he has created an alternate history in a steampunk version of World War I. It’s a fantastic world of elaborate machines and bizarre, unnatural animals. In addition to the unique world and fascinating story, the characters are just as absorbing and are the driving force behind the story. Aleksandar is spoiled, but very bright and capable. And Deryn is brave, talented, and humble. The two are from different worlds and seems as if the reader is viewing to drastically different stories, until the two worlds collide.

There is no lack of suspense and action in this steampunk adventure. As a growing niche in the science fiction genre, this novel is sure to be popular amidst youth and adults alike. With events culminating in a climactic ending, there is room left open for a sequel, which I certainly am hoping for. It’s a fun, fresh and decidedly unique tale. Don’t miss this one.


Leviathan releases from Simon Pulse on October 6, 2009.

Book Review: Pulse

Pulse: A Chess Team Adventure

Pulse: A Chess Team Adventure, by Jeremy Robinson

An elite team of agents, each named after chess pieces, are called in to assist one of their own in Peru. When the remains of the legendary Hydra creature are found, a ruthless entrepreneur seeks to use its genes to create a means of regeneration and immortality. But the initial tests, cause nasty side effects in their experiments, creating monstrous killing machines.

Pulse combines advanced genetics and mythology, to make a thrilling adventure of massive proportions. The story is fast-paced and action-packed. It read a bit like watching an action film, not much character depth but plenty of gun, explosions, killing, and dismemberment.

I picked this one up for a change of pace from my usual science fiction/fantasy stock, and was more than impressed with Robinson’s writing style and flare for suspense. Fans of James Rollins and similar thriller writers should enjoy this edge-of-your-seat adventure. The Chess Team is off to a great start.