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Posts Tagged ‘Futurism’

Arc of the Scythe bk3: The Toll by Neal Shusterman.

December 9, 2019 Comments off

The TollArc of the Scythe bk3: The Toll by Neal Shusterman. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

The third and final book in this trilogy and the big question is “what will become of the world of Scythes, Tonists and Thunderhead after the sinking of the Scythe Headquarters Endura”?

In a nutshell it is knackered. Chaos reigns. Everything is changing.

Firstly Scythedom is divided and Robert Goddard is now self declared Highblade of the Scythes and is determined to unite Scythes and increase their power over both the Thunderhead and the Tonists. Gleaning or killing is increased to alarming proportions and the fairness and equity of the gleaning is now targeted racism. Highblade Goddard blames Rowan or Scythe Lucifer for the destruction of Endura although Rowan and Citra or Scythe Anastasia died together in the sinking of Endura. In this World in which mortality has been conquered does anybody really die permanently?

Secondly Thunderhead, that AI entity that can process 2 billion actions per second, has withdrawn from the World. Everybody is declared “unsavory” and no longer has direct contact with Thunderhead. Day to day operations are still handled by Thunderhead but personal access has ended. The question is does Thunderhead have a plan for humanity or is it going to be left to destroy itself?

Thirdly the Tonists that wacko group of religious followers of the Tone have a living leader, The Toll who is a character you know from the previous two books and he is the only person that Thunderhead will talk directly to. Some Tonists have turned radical or Sibilant and Anarchy reigns as the Tonists search for their identity in this new World.

Fourthly, Scythe Faraday and his assistant in the last book detected a blind spot for Thunderhead in the South Pacific and they go searching, crash land on an island to make some interesting discoveries.

The action is non stop as each of the player groups reacts to the actions of the other. Has Thunderhead given up on humanity? Will the Scythes under Goddard glean humans out of existence? Do the Tonists have the answers? What of Anastasia, Lucifer and Faraday? Is the South Pacific the answer to their problems?

Stunning writing from Shusterman with an ending that will have you gasping. The best series since Hunger Games and will appeal to a similar audience. An interesting angle is added to this series with the character of Jericho and the personalisation of Thunderhead in human form. Can a machine ever understand humans?

Wonderful stuff, I am still buzzing over it.

 

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James.

March 18, 2019 Comments off

quiet worldThe Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

Is it possible that the human race could become extinct? This is a major theme of this new sci-fi novel from Lauren James and her next after The Loneliest Girl in the Universe also reviewed on this blog.

Shen and Lowrie are 16 & 17 and are the only humans left on the planet. A virus years before rendered humans infertile and once the storehouse of eggs and sperm was used up no more humans were born. Shen and Lowrie are the last and they are yet to discover the truth.

They live in London which has a population of only three hundred and spend their lives in a hi-tech world run by androids and robots with their parents. Their parents have not told them everything and as the book evolves the whole truth comes out and it is mind-blowing.

While exploring an old Tube station Lowrie discovers a wallet belonging to someone called Maya who lived through the period when humans became infertile. They read her Posts on a social web site as some old sites are still available, and find out what happened and how humans reacted.

Humans became lonely without children so created their own robotic children in a programme called Babygrow. For a while living humans and Babygrow children existed together and how they related makes for interesting reading.

Then a helicopter accident sparks off a series of events that reveals the astonishing truth. Read the novel and find out what.

Excellent science fiction that feels like normal life. But is it? Well structured with old facebook and Twitter like comments from Maya and friends feeding the historical information. Great environmental message for the future

Senior and young adult fiction. Confident intermediates could handle it too.

DRY by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman.

October 14, 2018 Comments off

dryDRY by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

One of the most readible, action packed and futuristic novels I have read for some time. It is about survival when the water runs dry and human beings have a melt down causing the total disintegration of society.

William Golding in Lord of the Flies wrote about the thin veneer of civilisation that covers mankind and how quickly it erodes under pressure. When the Governor of Arizona cuts the flow of the Colorado river into Southern California and stops the water supply to everybody, all hell breaks loose.

Teenager Alyssa and her younger brother Garrett are as under prepared as everybody. When their parents go missing while looking for water they team up reluctantly with the boy next door, Kelton whose father has prepared for this moment all of his life. Kelton has too and he is one tough customer.

As rioting and looting pervade in every community, it becomes dog eat dog with people doing anything for water. The kids meet up with a street wise hell cat Jacqui and a mercenary capitalist, Henry, who sees opportunity for money in the whole scenario and would sell his grandmother if there was a profit in it. The snappy dialogue between the characters excels when Henry is on board.

The group travel through the wasteland of bone dry, lawless, California as authorities grapple with the catastrophe that is around them. For the group tomorrow has to wait a while and yesterday is irrelevant. Survival is the only game in town.

I couldn’t put it down. Brilliantly written and conceived. Totally believable. Miss this and you will kick yourself. For teenagers and young adults.

Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas by Ant Sang and Michael Bennett.

June 27, 2018 Comments off

go go ninjasHelen and the Go-Go Ninjas by Ant Sang and Michael Bennett. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018

There is a filmic quality about this excellent graphic novel for readers as wide as intermediate to young adult. It has a lot of depth to it.

It is set around a city like Auckland and is in two time zones. In the present Helen is a protester of environmental issues while her prig of a boyfriend is a PhD student working on sound vibrations emanating from plants called paramecia. The two have all but reached the end of their relationship.

The boyfriend scientist, named Marion after John Wayne, has found that by stimulating the queen paramecia he can create sound vibrations that eliminate the need for anaesthetics and create endless possibilities for humankind.

Meanwhile Helen has been arrested for hanging a protest banner off the SkyTower and confronts Marion in his laboratory. Suddenly they are invaded by GoGo Ninjas from the year 2355 who mistakenly kidnap Helen because they felt Marion was a girls name and take her back to the future.

In the future Marion’s invention has created social chaos and the Ninjas want him to reverse the process. But  all is not as it seems. Read it and find out what happens. There is even a Stockholm Syndrome romantic relationship

Very clever, very imaginative and full on action. I was amazed how much philosophical , scientific and emotional argument can be communicated in Ant Sang’s brilliant comic illustrations. Combine this with Michael Bennett’s tight script and you have a film classic in the making. There is even a copy of a Planet of the Apes scene involving the SkyTower in the future, just as Charlton Heston finds the Statue of liberty on the Beach.

I read this very quickly in like 30 minutes, then sat down and read it again. You will two. I am off to read it again. If you miss this you will kick yourself. Very cool indeed

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada.

November 4, 2017 Comments off

mortal coilThis Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2017.

This Young Adult novel can be described as science meets literature and indeed literature meets science. Mortal Coil from Shakespeare and the double helix coil that is the shape of human DNA. Very clever from a very intelligent and literate writer.

It is set in a dystopian world in which gene technology and software rule the planet through a conglomerate called Cartaxus. The World is swimming in toxins and Cartaxus seized control by offering people implantable panels in which are embedded gene control codes that allow them to survive. These panels respond to electronic pulses sent from outside and actually grow inside the body. Most Cartaxus people live underground.

Human gene editing is at the heart of everything until a virus called Hydra begins to infect the planet with clouds of explosive toxins for which there is no cure. Humanity is threatened with extinction.

Dr Lachlan Agatta who reluctantly worked for Cartaxus was a genius who wrote codes to protect people through their implanted panels. Before his death he wrote a code for a vaccine that could nullify Hydra. Cunningly he hid the code inside his 17 year old daughter Catarina without her knowledge and told her to hide outside the Cartaxus World. Catarina is a genius just like her father.

Catarina who narrates this novel, survives in the wild for a couple of years  with help from the underground resistance called Skies. Then one day a superbly wired up Cartaxus soldier comes looking for Catarina asking for help to write the code to destroy Hydra before it is too late. His name is Cole and there is chemistry between him and Catarina which both are trying to avoid. This brings a romantic side to this astonishing story. Together they find out some extraordinary information and have crises and adventures that will blow your mind. The World is at stake.

Superbly written as the science is complicated yet plausible and the reader must be able to understand what is going on to enjoy the story. Emily Suvada achieves this with some panache and keeps the drama up from start to finish.

If you like Rick Yancey’s series The 5th Wave you will love this. The best scifi novel I have read in years.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern.

April 5, 2016 Comments off

flawedFlawed by Cecelia Ahern. Pub. HarperCollins, 2016.

This is one of the most stunning dystopian fiction novels for young adults that I have ever read.

Set in a country much like Scotland, in a city much like Edinburgh, with a population that are led and infected by the most extreme and cruelest Knoxian ethics and values. This is one of the most cruel yet brilliant novels I have read.

The main character is 17 year old Celestine who is a near perfect teenager, doesn’t rock the boat and goes along with society’s rules without question. Before she was born there was a great recession in which the banks folded, the Government collapsed and the economy ravaged. The nation responded by rooting out all the bad decision makers and every person who made an error of judgement whether it be ethical or otherwise.

These people were judged to be flawed and were branded on a part of their bodies that reflect the flaw. Daily trials were held presided by three power judges. The events were televised like reality TV and became the source of the nations entertainment and celebrities but were mainly used  to root out undesirables. The judges were very powerful and the most powerful was Crevan father of Celestine’s boyfriend, Art.

Those  branded flawed have a terrible life, much worse than under Apartheid and treated as outcasts by those who considered themselves more worthy. Celestine is about to find out what this all means and so are you the reader.

In an incident on a bus Celestine shows humanity towards a Flawed old man. This is illegal and she appears before the court and suffers the most cruel treatment of any character I have read about. It will stun you but you will strongly empathise with Celestine and feel her pain.

The novel not only shows man’s inhumanity to man but it asks the question Can you breed perfection  and can imperfection be bred out? Is anybody perfect? and it shows how power must always be checked.

Beautifully written without a word out of place. It amazed me that Cecelia Ahern wrote it in 6 weeks and then tuned it up. This woman can write. The chapters are short and you can’t stop reading. I read it long into the night and at times had to put it down and walk around while digesting what I was reading. Hell I hope Celestine is alright.

There is going to be a sequel to this novel out in 2017. If there is a 10 out of 10 novel this year this is it.

Recon Team Angel Bk4: Vengeance by Brian Falkner

October 31, 2014 Comments off

vengeanceRecon Team Angel Bk4: Vengeance by Brian Falkner. Pub. Walker Books, 2014.

If you are going to write action science fiction novels make sure the science is believable and the action is necessary and exciting. Well Brian Falkner does all this in the final segment to the recon team Angel series. Not only does he do all that but he does it with a style and wit that will have you applauding his genius.

This is the best action writing that I have read since Joihn Marsden’s  Tomorrow when the war began series.

Structured in three parts, each part builds on the other and leads to a hopeful and satisfactory ending.

To recap on the plot. The short, green skinned, forked tongued and sloped headed Bzadians have conquored Australian and much of the World except America and New Zealand. The All Blacks are hard to beat even in the future..

Wars have been fought and the Bzadians held off because of their loathing for cold and water. Now Humans have developed an aircraft (the scream jet) that can fly at mack 7 speed and this threatens to turn the tide of the war. The Recon Angels led by NZ lass Trianne Price accompanied by the Tsar, barnard former turncoat Brogan and insider spy Chisnall are sent on an important mission in an operation that hopefully will turn the war.

The action is brilliant with the dialogue and relationship stuff outstanding. Falkner has a great sense of the absurd and the obvious in dealing with action talk. It made me laugh. his metaphor can be illuminating as when he describes something as “standing out like skid marks on a wedding dress.” Is that good or what?

The best part for me is that the Bzadians are not bad aliens. They have a crime free society. They have a spiritual leader- Azoh and they are neat and tidy. They have their faults and they have developed a bomb -the positronium bomb – that makes nuclear weapons look like firecrackers. The point is will they use it if the chips are really down. More importantly would humans use it in the same position.

An excellent novel for a wide range of age groups from intermediate to young adult. Its depth and its’ humour set this novel aside from most action books. I am sorry to see the end of the series.