Review: Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Earth-AfireThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Victor Delgado beat the alien ship to Earth, but just barely. Not soon enough to convince skeptical governments that there was a threat. They didn’t believe that until space stations and ships and colonies went up in sudden flame.

And when that happened, only Mazer Rackham and the Mobile Operations Police could move fast enough to meet the threat.”

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Review: An Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair

An Accidental GoddessThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Linnea Sinclair’s novels are best described as “sci-fi with a twist.” Her previous books aren’t straight science fiction, but include strong elements of romance and a bit of the paranormal. Her most recent work, An Accidental Goddess, combines likable characters and an interstellar romance’s unique complication.

Gillaine Davre regains consciousness and is nowhere that she expected to be. She soon discovers that she’s not even in the expected century. She and her sentient ship, Simon, have been catapulted more than 300 years into the future: one final casualty of a furious battle involving everything from technology to magic.

Worse, the station that she finds herself on, Cirrus One, is deep in Khalar space. The Khalarans remember her epic battle quite well: so well, in fact, that she’s now revered as the Kiasidira, a goddess.

Aside from a fear that she might destroy a culture, Gillaine has another reasons to conceal her true identity: She rather doubts that her growing attraction to Admiral “Mack” Makarian would survive the truth.

But she may have no choice. The very enemies that she nearly gave her life to destroy have arisen again, and Cirrus One may be their first target.

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Review: Taylor’s Ark by Jody Lynn Nye

Taylor's ArkThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Jody Lynn Nye gained attention when she collaborated on Anne McCaffrey’s Doona series, but her storytelling skills stand on their own in this novel, the tale of a space-faring doctor and her animal companions.

Environmental conditions often make colonization difficult. Enter Shona Taylor, trained to assess hazardous bacteria, chemicals and viruses. She works with a veritable menagerie: mice, rabbits, a cat, a dog and an alien species called an ottle. By capitalizing on their heightened senses, they all function as part of a highly trained diagnostic team, searching out and neutralizing dangers that could affect human colonists.

After a personal tragedy, Shona questions her commitment to this work, until an incredible opportunity comes her way, involving disease research on recently colonized planets. Now working for an independent corporation, she and her animals travel from world to world, only to realize that they’re following the path of a deadly disease: one wiping out whole colonies within days.

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Review: Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo

Ship of FoolsThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Recent science fiction films have altered our view of what a good “aliens and spaceships” stories should contain. Audiences have grown accustomed to sweeping space battles, evil technology and advanced societies.

Richard Paul Russo’s latest novel, Ship of Fools, dares to break those conventions. This story looks inward, to the haunting vistas of human motivation.

The novel takes place on the worldship Argonos: a vast enclosed ecosystem, where generations of men and women have lived, worked, and died without ever setting foot planetside. But now Captain Nikos has received a signal from what appears to be a human colony on the planet Antioch. With 14 years since their last planetfall, he dares not ignore this opportunity.

Bartolomeo Aguilera, Nikos’ close friend and confidante, leads the Antioch exploratory mission. Upon arriving, he discovers the hideous remains of the colonists, victims of an apparent massacre. Soon after, the chamber containing the bodies sends out a signal to deep space. Curious, Nikos and Bartolomeo follow th e signal. The journey ends at an impossibly large alien spaceship, beautiful… and deadly. As Bartolomeo and his teams explore the massive interior, freak accidents begin claiming crewmen’s lives. Others experience changed personalities.

What strange powers are contained within this ship, and should they be disturbed by humankind?

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Review: Technogenesis by Syne Mitchell

TechnogenesisThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The World Wide Web’s growing influence has caused concern among privacy protection groups.

Could the Web be used to destroy one’s reputation, steal one’s money, or even take one’s identity? The more we use the Web, the more danger exists that such scenarios could come true.

Syne Mitchell’s Technogenesis explores the consequences when the Net permeates all aspects of life.

Jasmine Reese’s natural affinity with the Net makes her valuable as an data miner. She can find information where others would ultimately fail, and she’s more at home surfing the Net than otherwise. When her data mask breaks and destroys her connection, Jasmine becomes a “disconnected.” While waiting for a replacement mask, though, she notices the “connected” apparently are watching her.

She delves into the phenomenon; these actions result in her kidnapping by a secret group safeguarding the Net. Their motive remains a mystery until they take her to a temple, where she meets the Net’s overmind, Gestalt. As the sum total of all the “connected’s” consciousness, Gestalt guides humanity toward peace, but the question remains: Does it work for humanity’s good, or rob people of free will? Many wish to destroy Gestalt over that very question, and Jasmine finds herself pressured into infiltrating the group that is attempting to kill the benevolent overmind.

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Review: Bikini Planet by David Garnett

Bikini PlanetThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Humorous science fiction holds a favored place in many fans’ minds, and most will agree that the sub-genre’s grand master, the late Douglas Adams, set the bar pretty high.

David Garnett’s new novel, Bikini Planet, makes a rather unsuccessful foray into humor.

Rookie cop Wayne Norton doesn’t exactly fit into Las Vegas’s anything-goes atmosphere, and yet he’s involved with a former Mafia boss’s daughter. When Wayne saves his future father-in-law from assassination, his thanks are a clout to the head and a few centuries of suspended animation. He awakens 300 years later, and finds himself adrift in a whole new world, where radiation contaminates the land, and fashion apparently no longer exists.

Wayne ends up back in uniform, but finds he can barely operate his weapons, much less function as an officer. His new assignment, fighting over possession of vacation hot-spots, does seem to have some promise, though…

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