Reviews written on books by other authors (mostly Science Fiction)

Review of "The Well of Ascension" by Brandon Sanderson, Nova - Ediciones B

He "Well of Ascension"It is the second installment of the saga"Mistborn"Brandon Sanderson and is as addictive as the first ... even though not science fiction but fantasy.The Well of Ascension Brandon Sanderson

As in the first part, the story takes place in a world in which the last thousand years has been falling ash as a rain (for reasons still unknown but are linked in some way to the rise to power of the Lord Ruler) and every night impenetrable mist covers your world.

The society describes Sanderson is divided between skaa (Slaves) and nobles who often have powers Allomancers allowing their bodies to burn certain metals for special skills. The Allomancy It is an inherited trait but not dominant. By extravagances of genetics, some characters in our history have the concentration of all these powers and become "Mistborn"Beings capable of burning any kind of metal Allomancer and get skills that becomes almost invincible against conventional armies.

In the book first we saw the fall of the Lord Ruler after a thousand years of absolute rule through terror and control Allomancy. The Lord is defeated by a whole group of characters formed by a band of "thieves" and their allies, both of noble birth and origin skaa, Led by Kelsier, who dies at the last moment to liberate the people skaa. En esta segunda entrega, el libro trata sobre cómo los protagonistas de la historia (ya sin Kelsier) sobreviven a las consecuencias de la caída del Lord Legislador y a todo el caos económico y social en el que queda sumido el mundo tras mil años de estabilidad.

El sistema de magia que nos va explicando el autor a lo largo de éstos dos libros está bien construido y hasta llega a ser creíble desde un punto de vista científico si pasamos por alto ciertas premisas que sólo son aceptables en el género fantástico. Aún así, el autor nos los explica siempre desde un punto de vista químico y no mágico, cosa que se agradece. Diferentes metales, actuando siempre en pares opuestos, otorgan poderes a quienes tienen la capacidad de quemarlos en el interior de su cuerpo. Por ejemplo, la quema de zinc permite encender las emociones de quienes nos rodean, y la quema de latón (una aleación de zinc y cobre) permite aplacar las emociones. La quema de cobre oculta la alomancia, y la quema de bronce (aleación de cobre y estaño) descubre la alomancia. Existen 12 metales con poder alomántico y por lo tanto, 12 habilidades extraordinarias.

Some characters that do not have these powers, they can also use skills storing bracelets and rings (the author calls ferruquímia). These characters can build physical strength, speed, heat, mental speed, etc. depending on the metal of the ring or cuff is composed.

Los personajes están bien construidos y adquieren profundidad. Algunos de ellos llegan a hacerse entrañables y en muchos casos llegas a desear conocerlos más a fondo. Entre estos personajes destacaría a un cambiador de formas que pertenece a una especie llamada kandra, que vive en cadáveres (no tienen porqué ser cadáveres humanos) y que son profesionales imitando a la perfección la forma y la personalidad de quien toman el cuerpo. La relación entre estos kandra y los humanos se rige por un curioso contrato que vamos conociendo mejor a lo largo de ésta segunda entrega. Espero que en la tercera entrega volvamos a encontrar a uno de estos personajes y el autor desarrolle más la sociedad que forma esta especie.

2009-08-17 12:56:14

Review of "UNINHABITED SPACE" Jerry Oltion - Quantum, Ed Via Magna.

Uninhabited spaceUninhabited space I could not tell if a science fiction book or not ...

The book consists of two distinct parts, one part type Dutchman mixed with science fiction novel, then, clearly a part of Fantasy and semi novel Epic. So it becomes difficult to classify in a single genre.

El argumento nos presenta un astronauta desencantado con el plan actual de exploración espacial (que se limita a enviar astronautas a la Estación Espacial Internacional) y que sueña con poder volar algún día a la Luna. La acción se sitúa unos años en el futuro y todo empieza el día siguiente del funeral de Neil Amstrong, cuando un cohete fantasma, idéntico a un Saturno V, aparece en Cabo Cañaveral y despega hacia la Luna. Esto se repite de forma fija durante tres meses, hasta que nuestro astronauta decide entrar en una de estas naves fantasma e ir a la Luna en ella… pasando antes por la Estación Espacial Internacional a recoger a una “amiga”. En el viaje a la Luna descubren que cuando la humanidad tiene interés en la nave, la nave funciona, y cuando la humanidad pierde interés, la nave se vuelve invisible. Así que les queda claro, que la realidad la crea el pensamiento conjunto de la humanidad y que por lo tanto tienen que canalizar la voluntad de la humanidad (todo muy Zen hasta aquí… y a mí me hubiera gustado que desarrollase más esta parte desde un punto de vista científico).

Cuando regresan a la Tierra, la novela da un giro total hacía la Fantasía y se explora cómo sería nuestra sociedad si con el pensamiento se puediera crear la realidad… lo malo es que no lo analiza desde una perspectiva científica, sino desde la fantástica… hasta crean dragones voladores a partir de la voluntad de la gente y hacen aparecer el Rey Arturo… por suerte, también tenemos la CIA que desea controlar los poderes canalizadores/creadores que poseen nuestros protagonistas, y hacia al final, aparece también un dictador en Europa que intenta conquistar el continente con un ejército creado con la mente de su pueblo y canalizando su voluntad a través de él. Por lo que a mí respecta, pierde interés a partir del momento en el que los astronautas regresan a la Tierra, aunque es un libro que he leído en 3 días porque engancha, está bien escrito y es imaginativo.

The book is based on a novella Jerry Oltion who won the Nebula Award in 1997 and bearing the same title as this: "Abandon in Place". About the author, I recognize that he did not know and had never heard of him. In the review on it that is included in the book he is said to have been a gardener, stonemason, carpenter, oil, Ranger, Surveyor, disk jockey rock, typesetter, proofreader, editor, computer specialist, an extra in films, excretory and driver garbage truck ... also indicates that the author of a hundred short stories and a dozen novels.

Overall a weekend book, which does not think much (beyond the issue of whether actually create reality with our thoughts), but it is entertaining and can be read well is. 100% recommended if you do not have high expectations.

Review of "TITAN" Ben Bova, the Factory of Ideas

This is a book of science fiction classic that will appeal to fans of the books of CF is lifelong. In him we have space exploration, descriptions of new worlds, sense of wonder that spreads the reader, sociological analysis of companies subject to the restrictions that entails life in a small habitat, etc.Titan Ben Bova

Read a book like this, from time to time, is comforting, but at the same time, is remind a how much has changed science fiction, and therefore how long it takes reading novels of this genre ... and unequivocally, it always ends remembering how old a ... but ... let's leave this issue and focus on "Titan".

Reading "Titan" dirías que estás leyendo una novela escrita en tiempos de los dos grandes maestros ya difuntos: Asimov y Clarke. Pero no… Ben Bova la escribió en 2006. Una vez conoces este dato, no puedes evitar pensar si este Ben Bova, será o no será el mismo Ben Bova editor de Asimov y de otros muchos autores de Ciencia Ficción, ganador de un sinfín de premios y mítico en el mundo de la CF… y resulta que sí, que es el mismo. Lo que nos lleva a pensar ¿qué edad debe tener Ben Bova? Menos mal que tenemos a Wikipedia que nos saca de estos apuros y nos ofrece este tipo de información. Así que descubrimos que Ben Bova nació en 1932, que por lo tanto, tiene 77 años (Ver ficha de Ben Bova in Wikipedia) And that indeed is the same Ben Bova who have spent years following through the books we read, but which, as far as I'm concerned, there was a silence that has lasted nearly a decade.

It is not surprising then that the book written by this author seems out mismamente an open fracture time in our library. It really is from another time.

Bromas aparte, el libro está bien escrito y la narración tiene ritmo. Se lee muy rápido, excepto quizás algún trozo que hace referencia a una campaña electoral en el hábitat en el que viven nuestros protagonistas (y que imagino que no es culpa del autor, sino de la saturación en campañas electorales que sufrimos los lectores), y deja buen sabor de boca.

El argumento nos narra las aventuras de varios personajes que viven en una gigantesca nave colonia (que recuerda mucho a las naves de los diversos libros de Rama de Clarke) y que orbita en el espacio próximo a Saturno. En esta nave encontramos a científicos que están estudiando a Titán (uno de los satélites de Saturno), encontramos a científicos que están estudiando los anillos de Saturno, encontramos a astronautas jubilados, a un administrador del hábitat que no tiene escrúpulos a la hora de perpetuar su poder en el mismo, a exiliados políticos, y a un sinfín de personajes secundarios que dan dimensión al resto de personajes y crean un contexto en el que puede desarrollarse una historia creíble e interesante.

The book without hesitation, is 100% recommended.

I read somewhere that this book had been written taking advantage of the interest generated by Titan following the landing of the European spacecraft Huygens, who was traveling inside the NASA spacecraft Cassini and reached Titan in January 2005. It is possible so be it, although the Castilian version of this novel has come a little late to Spain and here in 2009, almost no one remembers or Huygens and Cassini as names of spacecraft and space missions, but as scientists who they took their name.

While writing these lines I realized that I knew nothing of these ships for some time and I have sought information. I discovered that no news about them since July 2008 ... I guess Huygens should be abandoned on the surface of Titan and Cassini should be orbiting Saturn sending data to NASA ... so ESA is concerned, the mission ended in 2008.

For those who want to refresh your memory on these ships, here are the links:

We talk to each other.

Review of "HEAVENS REFLECTED" by David J. Williams, Ed Via Magna. - Quantum

Skies Reflected a different book. It is a novel of Science fiction fresh and entertaining tells stories that intertwine 3 and lead both the Earth-Moon system and through cyberspace.Mirrored heavens

Its author, David J. Williams, debuts with this novel and is perhaps why it has something special that is not found in other books: the approaches are different and both scientific and social developments are also different. So, it's so interesting both for the story that tells how the atmosphere.

The book tells us three stories mechs Y razors (In some cases the same sex, in others of the opposite sex), which have different missions and end up converging on an unexpected end.

The mechs They are more or less what would be an elite commando, someone with special training missions high physical violence.

The razors They are more or less the same, but trained to work in cyberspace and enter through any network to hack all kinds of systems and information legally or illegally.

The mechs and the razors They can work together or separately, and both the former and the others have no qualms about killing ordinary citizens.

Society in which pass the adventures of our five protagonists is a company located in the XXII century in which humanity has already built a space elevator (hopefully not be necessary to wait as long as in the book) but contrary to what we believe would be an advanced society, this is not an idyllic society in which nations are understood, but quite the opposite: in the first chapters of an unknown faction lift loads and shows how weak were the foundations of peace which it had led to the construction of this great engineering work.

The mission of some of the protagonists will be to discover the saboteurs of the space elevator, the other is fleeing for reasons unknown to us, and which is decoupled is killing someone who will make the balance of power runs decanting by one of the sides involved in the game that we discover along the narrative.

In this story we have colonies on the moon, spacecraft, transport of all types, combat drones on Earth ... and we have great metropolis in which there is a span without building and whole areas that are post apocalyptic. Some of the players have contributed to the destruction of any of these major cities. The world is divided into two parts, the Western and Asian (Europe is part of Asian side), and both a part and the other coexist affluence and misery.

Overall, this is a novel that keeps pace and engaging, although initially a bit disconcerting. The action scenes involved in our mechs Y razors They are well told. The chapters are very short and will explain the three stories that intersect on up, it forces the reader to be attentive and watch carefully what happens every time. It is a good book and easy to read despite its 590 pages.

100% recommendable.

There is a website where you can learn more about this work and recreating society: http://cielosreflejados.com/

Review of "Philip K. Dick, TALES COMPLETE V" by Philip K. Dick - Ed Minotauro.

This is the fifth installment of this collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick. Each and every one of them worth being read, and this is no exception.Philip K Dick, V Full Story

All short stories by Philip K. Dick have something special ... something that only this author is able to get from the first paragraphs of his stories: a promise that something big will happen and he will tell us. As an example here's the first paragraph of one of the 24 stories included in this release, the story is entitled "I hope to arrive soon”:

After takeoff, the ship routinely checked the status of the sixty people who slept in cryogenic tanks. It appeared an anomaly in the subject number nine. His electroencephalogram showed brain activity.
Shit << >>, said the ship
.”

These four lines are enough to stay hooked and want to read more. It is not surprising that the author is of the opinion that "what matters it is not what happened, but how to tell the tale". Dick is a master telling stories.

Although as Thomas M. Disch indicated in the introduction of this release, the books of Philip K. Dick are written for writers, not readers. Thomas M. Disch refers to the fact that at the end of reading the stories of this author have the feeling that there would a very good novel "long". And in fact films like Minority Report, Total Recall (I do not remember his name ... is Castilian Schwarzenegger on Mars) or Blade RunnerThey are based on short stories by Philip K. Dick. All these stories appear in the collection of 5 short stories deliveries of the latter book is part. Specifically in this fifth installment stories written between 1963 and 1980 are collected.

Some of the stories are hilarious, others leave you bemused, others are worthy psychedelic stories, so typical of this author ... and there are even some of them that surprises with its hardness. I am referring to "Las Prepersonas"A story that chronicles the lives of members of a society in which abortion is permitted up to 12 year old children. That is, parents have the option of "abort"Freely until the children reach age 12 and are no longer"pre-persons"To become people with rights. A story that makes one wonder.

At the end of the book, the same Philip K. Dick says each of the narratives and helps place them in their creative context.

The book is 100% recommended.

Review of "Neuropathy" by R. Scott Bakker - Ed Minotauro.

NeuropataI do not usually speak ill of the books I read before buying because I make sure that I liked ... this will be the exception that proves the rule. What a roll of a book!

The title and the synopsis on the back cover promised a science fiction novel, based on biotechnology and mind control. "Manipulating the human brain is easier than you think"Indicates the cover ... but no. Not science fiction. It is a story about "neuras"A psychologist talking with a neurosurgeon friend, whom some futuristic touches are given to look like science fiction.

It may be my fault ... and maybe someone with training in psychology may find the book fascinating. To me it made me endless. I almost left half ... I got the feeling that a lot of subplots are straw to fill pages of a book that purports to be a scientific basis supported by recent discoveries in consciousness research, but does not engage, I do not understand and whose characters have no depth (except the 2 main characters).

La historia va sobre un psicólogo, profesor universitario, que es un fracaso en la mayor parte de aspectos de su vida (hijos, matrimonio, carrera…). Todo cambia cuando una noche un antiguo amigo llama a su puerta y le confiesa que ha estado trabajando éstos últimos años en un proyecto gubernamental orientado a la neuromanipulación. A partir de ahí, la trama se lía con subtramas y con personajes secundarios que no pintan ni cortan nada. Los diálogos entre el psicólogo y su amigo se hacen interminables. Se pasan páginas enteras discutiendo sobre lo que es realidad y lo que es ilusión en nuestros pensamientos y en nuestras vidas… y encima utilizando frases del tipo "(...) we adapted from the neurorradioquirúrgicos stereotactic devices themselves, which are used for superimposing particle beam to burn tumors.”

Anyway ... only recommend if that is not anything better to read, or if psychologist is ...

Reseña de “TARDOR D’ESTIU”, de Mònica Esbert – Ed. Columna

Tardor d'EstiuTardor d’Estiu es un libro que se lee de una sola tirada y en menos de 3 horas. Está bien narrado y los personajes tienen profundidad. Cuando terminas la lectura, no puedes evitar preguntarte qué será de su vida, cómo les irá fuera del libro. Esto no es fácil en una novela corta.

Esta es la primera novela corta escrita por Mónica Esbert, aunque me consta que ha escrito otras. También ha escrito obras de teatro y relatos cortos.

La autora nos narra la historia de una joven que siente que la persiguen por la calle y que en un momento dado intenta establecer contacto con su perseguidor y entender quién es y qué lo motiva a seguirla. La obra está narrada en primera persona y nos habla de amor, odio, muerte y todo un sinfín de aspectos de la vida que pasan por la cabeza de la protagonista mientas conversa con su enigmático seguidor e intenta saber más sobre él.

Es una obra de ficción que resulta creíble y que consigue recrear escenas de la vida con las que somos capaces de identificarnos, y es precisamente ésta verosimilitud la que convierte la historia en un drama que hace reflexionar y hace que nos preguntemos qué haríamos nosotros si fuésemos la protagonista de esta historia.

La novela le valió a Mónica Esbert el Premio Valldaura de Novela Corta en el año 2001.

El relato es original y el final inesperado. 100% recomendable.

Review of "HARVEST OF CENTAUR" by Eduardo Gallego and Guillem Sanchez - NOVA Ed B.

As every year, the Nova Collection Ediciones B publishes the winning book Short Novel prize UPC Science Fiction. This year's winning book is "Harvest Centauri"Eduardo Gallego and Guillem Sanchez.Harvest Centauri

Like all books NOVA Collection, the book includes a presentation of Miquel Barceló (without detracting from the content of the books, the presentation of Miquel Barceló is one of the best things about this collection). In this book also it gave the conference included Lois McMaster Bujold in the ceremony of the UPC awards. Still, I've missed you too advertize any of the finalists and the winning play section UPC students ... are usually interesting and different works, and in previous editions published them in the same book by the winning work ... What will the crisis?

Let's talk about the book:
La trama transcurre en un futuro lejano en el que nuestra galaxia está colonizada por humanos, pero por dos grupos separados que habían perdido contacto entre sí. Los de un brazo están más desarrollados en ingeniería y disponen de buenas naves espaciales, larga vida y androides de combate (con sentimientos) y que físicamente son indistinguibles de los humanos. En el otro brazo de la galaxia es la biología la ciencia que se ha desarrollado más, y sus habitantes son capaces de crear edificios a partir del desarrollo natural de árboles y plantas, son pacíficos y sociables, y aun a pesar de ser capaces de colonizar planetas de distintos sistemas, no disponen de naves que rivalicen con las de los humanos del otro brazo.

Only by developing the "first encounter" and the subsequent relationship between the two groups of settlers of the two arms, the book and promised to be interesting, but the authors have not been satisfied with this and have included in the plot to a powerful alien species it is dedicated to plant life different planets, and then returns to "pick up" their harvest.

Following this argument, some of the remaining planets to collect, are located in the human site arm which has developed more biology, and the imminent danger that leads to the appearance of these aliens causes the representatives of the two companies human unite to collaborate and solve the mystery of harvested planets.

As this is a short novel, the book is read in a couple of days and leaves you wanting to know more about human colonies and the interaction between them.

About the Authors: Eduardo Gallego is a biologist and professor of mycology at the University of Almería. Guillem Sánchez He is an economist and military history buff. Together they make a good tandem. I had not read anything about them so far, even though Miquel Barceló indicates in his preface that both are known in the world of Science Fiction Spanish, so we'll look to amend my mistake and read more books by these authors.

In short, a book 100% recommended, which leaves a good taste and makes for a fun weekend.

Review of "ATLANTIS: A short history of a Platonic myth" by Pierre Vidal-Naquet - Ediciones Akal

Unlike the books I've been writing reviews, Atlantis: A short history of a Platonic myth It is not a book of science fiction. This is an essay written by Pierre Vidal-Naquet walking and analyzes the emergence of the myth of Atlantis in the Western world literature.Atlantis Pierre Vidal-Naquet

The book begins with Plato in 355 B.C. when Atlantis appointment and described both his work Timeo like in Critias. The author comes to our present time, via Rome, the Renaissance, for the works of Jules Verne, and even our Mn. Cinto Verdaguer which speaks of Atlantis in his eponymous poem.

Among other issues, also it analyzes how the Hitler era Germans take over the item and include it in their mythology, becoming the Aryan race, the race of the descendants of the Atlanteans. From this premise part of the argument of many science fiction books I've been chronicling in this blog.

After analyzing all available information about Atlantis, the opinion of Pierre Vidal-Naquet is that the myth of Atlantis was literally "invented" by Plato as a metaphor to illustrate an imaginary and utopian Athens, and that eventually the myth and history are mixed giving rise to numerous speculations about the origin of this lost continent, the descendants of the Atlanteans and the evolution of language and the Atlantean culture.

In the book, the author uses to include many interesting antique prints with maps of possible sites of Atlantis that have been published over the last 2000 years.

In general, a scholarly book, with lots of footnotes page (sometimes the note occupies almost the entire page) but we read with little effort to the minimum that a certain interest in the subject is taken. 100% recommended if you want to know more about Atlantis.

Review of "invasive treatment" of Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston - Nova

After reading the penultimate sequel Ender's GameI promised myself not to read anything more than Orson Scott Card. When from Nova published the latest sequel, I did not buy it, even though I bought all the books published this collection. Not that I have anything against Orson Scott Card (I met him in Mataro Hispacon in 97 and I've read almost everything published his Nova de Ediciones B). But he was sick of sequels to Ender and books aimed at an increasingly young audience and without any grace or orientation toward science fiction.Invader treatment, Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

When I saw that Nova published Invader treatmentI was tempted to not not buy it, but reading the back I saw that was not set in the Ender universe and perhaps could give another chance to CSOs. I'm glad to have given it ... although I'm not sure that this book can be attributed to CSOs. I explain:

As indicated the same as OSC and makes Miquel Barceló in his foreword, the book was written by Aaron Johnston from a story published in Analog CSO in 1976. So although the characters are typical of CSOs, the rest of the book it is not.

Make no mistake, the book is written by Aaron Joshnston not by CSOs. Although CSO hand can be seen in the plot and setting.

¿Es o no es un libro de OSC? ¿O es un libro escrito a medias como indican en la portada al mostrar los dos autores?… yo pienso que no, que es una novela escrita por Aaron Joshnton (un guionista amigo de OSC), basando el argumento en una narración de OSC, supervisado todo por OSC, y utilizando el nombre de OSC para vender más… pero bueno… eso no quita que el libro está bien, aunque para empezar, además de no ser OSC el autor, tampoco se trata de un libro de Ciencia Ficción aunque se publique en la colección Nova de Ediciones B, si no que es un Thriler Biolotecnológico, por más que Miquel Barceló quiera justificarlo en el prólogo.

The plot tells the story of several characters and mysterious "healers" who are biologically enhanced. These healers have a virus that adapts to individual genetics for which has been created, and allow any genetic disease cure the person to whom he inoculated. So in theory, they have the cure for many diseases until today mortals. The bad thing about this virus is that for a few days, is deadly to other humans who are close to the sick, which makes it extremely dangerous. And the bad thing is that the curators believe in a new religious cult invented by its leader, promising them "happy world"And above all healthier.

We must acknowledge that even though there is a clear protagonist, all characters are treated in depth and acquire the dimension that gets to empathize with some and hate others. This is something that CSOs often do well in their books and this has certainly veiled it so well.

También vemos la mano de OSC en los dilemas que se plantean los personajes en temas como la ingeniería genética y la evolución de los humanos. Se trata de saber si los virus que modifican nuestro genoma son o no son la respuesta a nuestros problemas, o sobre qué consecuencias puede tener para una sociedad el que se investigue más sobre este campo, con el fin de poder modificar nuestra especie.

Aquí, como en otras cosas, discrepo de OSC y por lo tanto la mayor parte del libro me la he pasado estando a favor de “los malos”. Para mí no hay duda en que en algún momento tendremos que modificar el genoma humano y adaptarlo al medio en el que nos encontremos en cada momento. De lo contrario la colonización de Marte o las largas estancias en el espacio no van a ser posibles… pero ya sabemos que las creencias de OSC le impiden aceptar esto, así que el libro acaba postulando en contra de la investigación en ciertos campos de la ingeniería genética y el autor pone los virus que reparan el ADN en manos de un desequilibrado megalómano que quiere conquistar el mundo, advirtiéndonos así, de los peligros de disponer de este tipo de tecnología.

Overall, the book is well written, can be read well, engages, has pace and ultimately, a book that makes you think it is. So my verdict is a book by Orson Scott Card and Aaron is Joshnston, is that it is 100% recommended.