Categories
audiobooks Fiction Paranormal

Elevation (+ Laurie) by Stephen King – Book & Audio Thoughts

I needed a Novella for the SFF Oasis book bingo this month and listened to Elevation (and Laurie) written and narrated by Stephen King!

I don’t want to spend too much time talking about these novellas so here is a pair of mini reviews:

Elevation 🌲🌲🌲

I thought this novella was kind of ridiculous. It had an interesting premise but was more about the town of Castle Rock getting woke than the sci-fi element, which was never explored or explained at all.  I liked the characters, character development, and storyline well enough.

What lacked was that I expected King to explore the gravity loss idea and sci-fi element a lot more than he did. As he did not, I found the whole thing lacking. I won’t spoil the ending but found it, just, utterly stupid.  Ok, bye Scott

Laurie 🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶

This seems very un-King-like but I loved Laurie! A man who lost his wife is being nagged by his sister, who brings a puppy to his house. Obviously he gripes and complains and the puppy going to pee on the rug and he hates her, etc etc, but then all cuteness ensues. There’s even a thrilling event at the end.

I need more animal cuteness from King, who usually makes his animals terrifying

He is a pretty good narrator too, he should read more of his own books!

Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: Elevation
  • Author: Stephen King
  • Publisher & Release: Scribner, October 2018
  • Length: 160 pages
  • See ratings above

A quick note on the audio: about 3:46 long from Simon & Schuster audio, released at the above date and narrated by the author

Here’s the synopsis:

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face—including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Categories
Adventure Science Fiction

All Systems Red (Book Thoughts) by Martha Wells

Ahhh I had to restart the novellas before reading Network Effect. I know they don’t really affect the full length book but it feels right and they are quick reads (or listens).

For those unaware, The Murderbot Diaries is a series of 5 novellas and one full length novel set prior to those events, about a security bot who hacks itself and would rather watch tv dramas then do its job.

It’s snarky, at times funny sci-fi that reads more like adventure fiction as the actual science is pretty limited.

Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: All Systems Red
  • Series: The Murderbot Diaries #1
  • Author: Martha Wells
  • Punlisher & Release: TorDotCom – May 2017
  • Length: 160 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ☀☀☀☀ sure for scifi/adventure fans!

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid ― a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

I really love Murderbot.  There is absolutely Nil for world building which is where I perpetually dock a star, but the action, plot, mystery, snarky characters, and AI ethical struggles won me over pretty quickly.

As in most novellas, the plot and action move quickly.  We get what we need about The Company and the function of Security bots, while the rest is characters and banter and action.

I enjoyed the plot too, we get plenty of danger and an added mystery / who dunnit as well.  Murderbot might prefer not to interact with humans but it surprisingly is quite good at it’s job, when while epically half-assing it

It’s hard not to like Murderbot as a character too. It just rolls it’s eyes and snarks at the humans – but lord forbid someone tries to kill the humans because then it’s all NO YOU WONT HURT MY HUMANS!! Mensah and the others are interesting too, in the glimpse we get some complicated crew dynamics as they deal with their terrible situation ( and rogue SecUnit).

I love the moment when MB is like – These are my humans! I also appreciate Murderbot’s sentiments towards humans, AKA it’s favorite quote time – because honestly I relate to the not caring parts 😂

Yes, talk to Murderbot about its feelings. The idea was so painful I dropped to 97 percent efficiency

 

As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure

 

I don’t know why, because it’s one of those things I’m not contractually obligated to care about

 

I was the one who was supposed to keep everybody safe. I panic all the time, you just can’t see it, I told her. I added the text signifier for “joke.”

All in all – definitely check out Murderbot if you like snark and adventure and quick reads.  I will add that All Systems Red won a boatload of awards in 2018 – The Hugo, Nebula, Alex, AND Locus! For all that the Hugo and Nebula have given into the PC crowd, this book wasn’t terrible. Murderbot has no sexy parts (I picture an amorphous Ken doll) and identified as “It” – which makes blessed sense to me – but otherwise the book is not terribly PC and the awards are well deserved in my opinion!

Categories
Science Fiction Thrillers

Novella Review: Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Thank you so much to Rebecca Crunden for sending an epub copy of her sci-fi novella in exchange for an honest review!

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Dust & Lightning
  • Series: standalone
  • Author: Rebecca Crunden
  • Length: 124 pages
  • Publisher & Release: Self – February 2020
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes for fans of scifi and action!

Here is the description from Amazon:

In the near future, humans have gone beyond simple space travel. By the year 4054, multiple solar systems are inhabited, and taking a spaceship is as commonplace as taking an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, not everything about the future is so advanced. The central planets, led by Earth, have risen high at the expense of cheap labour on distant worlds. Dissent is widespread and arrests are common. Sometimes prisoners are released; sometimes they disappear without a trace, sent to labour camps in other solar systems.

When Ames Emerys receives a letter telling him that his brother Callum has died en route to the remote planet of Kilnin, he takes the first ship he can off Earth, desperate for answers. But the secrets Ames uncovers prove far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

And trouble isn’t far behind.

I read this in one session because the action just never stopped and it was impossible to put down. It was believable action too, involving a lot of narrow escapes and cool powers, and I felt like it was well paced.

It’s only 117 pages but there is enough description to get a visual image of the important places and objects, as well as a good sense of setting.

In the brief span of knowing these characters I definitely felt like I knew Ames pretty well, and could at least appreciate Violet for her sense of daring and Callum for his strength. Ames is out to rescue his brother and discovers a whole can of worms (ha ha) involving the corruption of the Democratic Planetary Alliance.

I hope there is a part 2 to this because I really want to know the outcome of the rebellion!


Author and purchase links:

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51004978-dust-lightning
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Dust-Lightning-Rebecca-Crunden-ebook/dp/B084HKS69M/
Website: https://rebeccacrunden.com